Vegan-Friendly Indian Wedding

{Sheenika + Varun}

Sheenika and Varun’s got married at Coyote Hills Golf Club in Fullerton, CA towards the end of 2016. They decided to host a vegan-friendly wedding day and worked closely with their caterers, who went all out! See more details inside! We caught up with Sheenika to get the low down on her wedding.

{ShaadiShop’s Favorite Interview Moment}

Before we dive in to the details about their wedding, we had to share our favorite interview moment with Sheenika. We asked her to describe how she felt when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time, dressed as a bride:

“It didn’t hit me that I was getting married until I saw myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize myself and was thinking “wow, I look like one of those brides on Instagram that I’ve been using for inspiration.” I was happy, excited, and couldn’t wait to get married!” We feel you girl. All that hard work re-gramming, saving, pinning, etc. finally the day arrived!


{Vegan Wedding & Reception}

I’m vegan and Varun is vegetarian and the dishes we served reflected both of our diets. Thankfully, Indian food is already veg-friendly and the increased conscientious across the world, on various dietary restrictions proved to be a non-issue for Mantra Cuisine. We had a bit more work to do to find a baker (more details about that below), but in the end it all worked out! Instead of cake we opted for an elaborate dessert display featuring: lemon cupcake minis with vanilla frosting and emerald pearls, chocolate cupcake minis with chocolate frosting and gold pearls, thumbprints with raspberry jam, pumpkin holes (ALL vegan).

{Venue Selection, Decor & Entertainment}

Varun and I agreed that we wanted a non-hotel venue. Our vision was to have an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. We were definitely looking for venues that had natural elements such as water, wood and greenery. We loved seeing the golf courses because they encapsulated all of our wants.

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Coyote Hills has hosted Indian weddings before, so they understood that we needed:

  • 2+ hours for the ceremony
  • a walkway for the baraat
  • more setup time compared to non-South Asian weddings  

We were a little worried about being short on time for setup, however, we persisted and were able to start well in time for our afternoon ceremony. Coyote Hills was flexible and their staff was very understanding of our culture and special requests.

ProTip: Clarify “special” needs early on. We wanted vegan options for our dessert, however none of the venue’s approved bakers could make a vegan cake. However the venue worked with us to adjust their package to accommodate our need.

Ceremony – red, white and natural elements (wood branches, greenery)

Reception – emerald green, gold and white

Photo Booth by Andy Shah Photography (visit their page on ShaadiShop)

See our wedding highlight video below.

Interactive Dance with Karmagraphy. Kavita from Karmagraphy gave Bollywood dance lessons to “randomly” pre-selected guests. They learned a part of a dance in front of the whole crowd! These people had secretly learned the full dance prior to the wedding and surprised our wedding guests with a choreographed number!

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{Clothes + Jewelry + Mehndi}

Ceremony – red and white lehenga. Golds/shimmery makeup
Reception – gold, champagne gown. Same makeup as the ceremony.

ProTip: Work your network! The parents of one of my bridesmaid’s live in India, so my she coordinated everything from measurements and designs, to managing the tailoring. It’s a big project, one less thing that we had to take care of and we were able to scratch it off our to-do list fairly early on in the planning process!


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Walking Down the Aisle}

While walking down the aisle, I remember feeling extremely grateful for all of our family and friends being there to support us and give us their blessings on our special day. I just kept looking into the crowd, smiling, and saying hi to everyone!


{Special Thanks to Our Parents}

We want to thank our parents for their continued patience, support and love during the planning process and our brothers for their heartfelt, amazing speeches at our reception and the wedding party who helped us every step of the way and for bringing the party!


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ProTip: We all know South Asian weddings are family affairs. Usually there are lots of cooks in the kitchen. Our advice? Avoid “middle-man communication”. It’s easy for the bride and groom to become the messengers between and amongst both families. It felt like playing telephone back in the day, when messages were shortened, misinterpreted, or just wrong altogether. We quickly realized that direct communication was the best way to go.

{Wedding Video}



Sensitive Sweets

Mantra Cuisine

KnK Entertainment

Fusion Sounds


Henna Dil Se

Henna Dil Se

ZoArt Photography

HollyCal Productions

Mahesh Bhatt

Planner: Shilpa Patel Events


Cake/dessert: Sensitive SweetsBecause of their allergy-free desserts, my brother was able to eat desserts for the first time at a wedding! Everything tasted amazing and we truly appreciated the expansive tasting we received the first time we made an appointment!

Catering: Mantra Cuisine: We knew we wanted Mantra to cater our wedding. We didn’t consider others. From the lavish food tasting at the beginning stages to handling all of the logistics with our venue, thank you for providing our guests with the freshest, most delicious Indian food!

Decor: KnK EntertainmentI had no words when I first saw my ceremony and reception décor! Vishal and his team went above and beyond my expectations. We are still hearing from our guests about how much they loved the simplicity, yet elegant look of our decor. It’s exactly what I wanted: rustic, natural wooden elements, yet elegant.

DJ: Fusion SoundsI’m so glad they were available on my wedding day! Thanks to Sandeep, Pratik and Krishan, our guests were pumped up the whole evening! Loved every song choice and the ambient lighting!

Hair, makeup, mehndi: Henna Dil SeNadia transformed me into a bride for my special day! Her choices on what would work with my skin and dresses were perfect. I loved how I looked glam, but not over the top!  For me mehndi she was able to incorporate special notes within the mehndi, including our wedding date, our hashtag and of course Varun’s name. Loved every detail of my henna!

 Photography: ZoArt PhotographyPicking a photographer who wasn’t my dad was one of the hardest decisions for me, but as soon as I saw Robin’s work at a friend’s wedding, I knew we had struck gold. Robin stuck with us through our very busy schedule and was very flexible! We recently received our sneak peaks and we are absolutely in love with our photos!

HollyCal Productions: 
Sammy was easy to work with and provided us exactly what we needed within our budget. We were able to get some unique features including a drone and even the mannequin challenge during our reception!

Shilpa Patel Events: Shilpa and her staff were hands down amazing. The day was unbelievably smooth! Being on time at an Indian wedding?! Who knew! Their calmness, ease and a constant smile on their faces was exactly what I needed so I wouldn’t worry about the day’s logistics. Learn ore about Shilpa Patel Events, on ShaadiShop.

Officiant: Mahesh Bhatt, All World Gayatri Pariwar
Mahesh Uncle conducted such a beautiful ceremony and his spiritual side was in alignment with our beliefs. Being able to explain each step in English was important for us as our guest makeup was from all different cultures.

Congratulations Sheenika and Varun!


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