Floating Mandap Indian Wedding

{How They Met}

Yousouf and I met through mutual friends while we were both at St. George’s University. He was studying for medicine and I was working on my Masters in Public Health. We started to hang out more and became friends. After I came back to The States, we stayed in touch and grew closer as friends. As we grew closer we were skeptical about a relationship since we were long-distance. But we decided to give it a shot, and made it work with Skype, Facetime, letters, and visiting each other whenever we had vacation.

In February 2016, I was able to get a month long hospital rotation where Yousouf was doing residency. One weekend, he had planned an outing to New York City; which included a carriage ride in Central Park. During the ride, we stopped at a fountain to take pictures. After taking a few pictures, Yousouf turned to me, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!


{Wedding Venue}

We needed a venue that was available for the dates we had in mind, since we had limited dates we could work with between Yousouf in residency and me finishing up medical school. We were looking for somewhere unique and with a space for an outside ceremony. We worked with ShaadiShop and saw a few venues before the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort but there was always something that didn’t quite fit what we were looking for. The Hilton Waterfront was an amazing venue with great views of the beach. We knew right away this was the right space for us.

They had already done a number of South Asian weddings before, so they were familiar with our cultures and traditions. Vanessa, our Catering Sales Manager, even brought up some tips and pointers, and reminded us of things we hadn’t even thought of.


The Hilton was great to work with and accommodating from our very first meeting and throughout all of our interactions before the wedding. They also had a plan B in case it rained. The night before the wedding my family and I had stayed at the hotel, they upgraded our suite and sent us a welcome basket with cheese and fruit. The day of the wedding they were running around making sure things were running seamlessly, and helping us with whatever we needed. After the reception, Yousouf and I came back to our room and found they had gifted us a framed picture of us from the ceremony. It was little personal touches that I really appreciated. They went above and beyond, and made our day even more special.

Decor & Entertainment}

For the ceremony, I wanted a rustic theme. As far as colors, I thought yellow would be traditional. Melissa, our decorator, added in some peach and ivory to make it more modern. Since our reception could not be outdoors, we decided to do a vintage garden theme. Almost like bringing the outdoors inside. I wanted a little more bold colors for the reception, like maroon, but something that fit in from the ceremony, since were using some of the same floral arrangements.

Our decorator, Melissa McGowan of Flowers by Cina, was so creative! She came up the idea of having a “floating mandap” , in order to have more seats for guests on the pool deck. Everyone loved our photo booth at the reception. The photos doubled as a souvenir they could take home as well.

Entertainment by Joya Kazi Umlimited

{Wedding Party}


{Beach & Reception Photoshoot}

Since the Hilton Waterfront is directly across from Huntington Beach we were able to do a beach photoshoot before our reception.

Memorable Moments}

Dulhan: When I saw myself in the mirror after I was ready for the ceremony, I almost didn’t recognize myself. I think that’s when it hit me that I was getting married.

Walking Down the Aisle: I remember just looking at Yousouf.  It was surreal, we had been waiting for this day for so long, and it was finally here.



Our parents helped out a lot from helping find vendors to our moms getting clothes for us, the family and the wedding party. There wouldn’t have been a wedding without them, and we cannot thank them enough. Our siblings helped out so much throughout the entire process and did a great job hosting and MC-ing at the reception. Thank you to our wedding party for helping with random things the week-of. It really takes a village and we wouldn’t have had such a great day without the help from all our friends and family.


{First Look}



{Keeping Things in Perspective}

Remember, this is just one day, or in our case–one week. And being South Asian, this is for your families as much as it is for you, the couple, and there will be some compromises that have to be made throughout wedding planning. Also, things will go wrong during the wedding, but the guests won’t know any difference, so just play it off.  Don’t forget to take a few moments to soak it all in–all the friends and family that came to celebrate you as a couple.

{Vendor Testimonials}

Catering & Dessert: Rasraj Cuisine of India
Instead of cake we served mithai and Rasraj was great. I feel food at Indian weddings can get repetitive. Rasraj did a great job with having unique dishes.

Reception: Rasraj Cuisine of India
Rasraj was extremely professional and courteous. The food was delicious and they really understood what we wanted. The tasting we went to before selecting our dishes was so elegantly presented. 
Food was a priority for us and they hit it out of the park. We couldn’t be happier with their work and recommend them.

Décor: Flowers by Cina
Melissa is really good at what she does. She really listened to what we wanted and worked within our budget. She took my ideas and made my vision come to life. She made our wedding look amazing.

DJ: Parag from Special Occasions 
Parag was great. He understood our busy schedules, and worked with us. He was great DJ and getting everyone pumped up.

Hair/makeup: Lulu from Dolled Up By Lulu
Lulu was great, very professional and she always does an amazing job with her brides. I knew I was in good hands. She and her associate showed up ready to work at 4:30AM, and again for the reception. She’s done a number of Indian weddings, so she knows what kind of makeup works.

Reception Fashion: Shymal & Bhumika
I enjoyed working with them. I got to customize my gown, from color to embroidery details. They asked for very specific measurements, to make sure the gown fits well. I would just make sure to give them enough time to make sure your piece gets to you on time, and if any adjustments need to be made. They are based in India, so things do get delayed. They had great customer service.

Mehndi: Nisha Amin
Nisha did a great job with my henna along with my family and Yousouf’s family. She was very accommodating.

Photographer: Jim & Megan from Jim Kennedy Photography
I am so glad we went with Jim and Megan. They worked with us in choosing unique locations, like heading down to the beach for sunset shots. He’s really creative and quick! He was patient with our friends and family. Megan was great with kids. We’re so happy with the way all of our photos- candids, and posed- turned out.

Robles Video Productions

Planner: Wendy Dahl, Chic Productions
We had day of planning; however, Wendy worked with us throughout the planning process. We met about 2-3 times the month-of the wedding. We were told by a guest, that this was the first Indian wedding they had gone to where things were actually running on time, and that’s because of Wendy and her team. Not only did they make sure everything went off without a hitch, they made sure Yousouf, our families and I were well-fed, well caffeinated and hydrated throughout the day.

Entertainment: Joya Kazi Unlimited
The guests really enjoyed the dances!

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