Cultured weddings give us an insight into what would have otherwise been a mystery. I don’t know about you but I’ve never been to an Indian wedding and would love to but in the meantime, I’ve found an Indian wedding that is so beautiful I had to feature it.
From the seriously stunning attires to the groom’s ceremony arrival on a white horse adorned with beautiful jewellery (yes you read that right), a white horse! This wedding is not only intriguing but an eye opener to what really happens at an Indian wedding.
The love Story
We met while we were both in medical school, doing research at the National Institutes of Health (nerdy, I know!). We were living on the NIH campus right across the hall from one another. I had just bought a bike from Craigslist and was wheeling it up to my room when I ran into Bharat, who had recently developed an interest in cycling. Bharat offered to lend me a bike lock and suggested we go for a ride. We grew close while exploring biking trails in Bethesda and D.C. and bonded over a shared passion for travel, science, medicine, and good coffee.
The next few years of our relationship involved much commuting between Boston, Bethesda, and Philadelphia as I moved to finish medical school and start residency, and Bharat continued at the NIH to complete his PhD. We both realized, however, that we shared a number of traits—an openness to new experiences, a closeness with their families, a devotion to making each other laugh—that would form a solid basis for a strong, and lasting marriage.
The Proposal Story
I had taken an extended trip to Portugal with a friend of mine from school. After 12+ hours of travel home, I finally reached my apartment. Upon reaching my door, I noticed a small coffee table of mine had been placed outside the door and had a bouquet of flowers on it. For some reason my first thought was that someone had broken into my apartment while I had been away (it must’ve been a very thoughtful criminal). After opening my door, I saw a trail of rose petals leading to my dining table. On the table, an array of photographs of Bharat and me was arranged. In the center was a box of chocolate chip cookies, my favorite. On the cookies, the message “Will you marry me?” had been written. I turned around and found Bharat on one knee with the ring. After a long trip home, it was the best surprise I could have asked for and of course I said yes!
I found the planning process fairly easy. I knew we were going to have an Indian wedding, something with which I had zero experience. So I relied on Bharat’s parents to do a lot of the planning for the ceremony, and they were amazingly helpful. Taking a laid-back attitude to everything definitely helped keep things stress-free.
The venue for our ceremony and reception was the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. We liked the mix of indoor and outdoor space, beautiful lawn and trees, stone-walled barn, and large pavilion which would be great for dancing. We intended to have our ceremony outside on the lawn, however it rained so we had it in the pavilion, which turned out perfectly! It was so intimate and elegant, especially once the ceremonial flame was lit, and the sound of raindrops tapping on the roof made for a nice backdrop. The staff there did an amazing job with the last minute change in plans. The venue had a long driveway which was also perfect for the baraat (groom’s procession on horseback).
Our caterer, Palace of Asia, was known to my in-laws knew of, as they cater many Indian weddings in our area. As soon as we sat down for the tasting I knew we had made a good choice.
Our florist, Pure Design, I found completely by chance. I was often very last minute about planning and realized somewhat close to the wedding that I still needed a florist. This was on a Sunday. I looked around for the closest florist that was open on a Sunday (there were only a few nearby!), and it happened to be Pure Design. I was very lucky—the staff were so warm and welcoming, and seemed to understand exactly the look I wanted.
One Thing They’d Change
I wish it could’ve lasted longer! Honestly, my only regret is that there was so much going on on the wedding day that I wish I could have had more time to sit and talk with each and every one of my friends and family.
Absolutely! We had a Hindu ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, the groom and his family arrive to meet the bride’s family in a procession called a baraat. This is a joyful event with drummers and dancing. My husband arrived on horseback. The ceremony itself is conducted on a decorative platform called a mandap. Both sets of parents sit on the mandap with the bride and groom. Most of the ceremony is conducted in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, however our priest explained each part of the ceremony in English as well. In terms of dress, for the ceremony my husband and I both wore formal Indian dress (he wore a sherwani suit and I wore a lehenga).
A Stunning Indian Wedding
Mostly we will remember the joy of being surrounded by so many family and friends from various stages of our lives. We’ll also remember the music – a mix of contemporary Bollywood, old school R&B, and new hip hop/dance music. I didn’t leave the dance floor the whole night! One highlight was seeing my 90-year-old grandfather – who previously had been walking around with two canes during the day – throw aside his canes and show off his dance moves. Bharat’s cousins also performed an incredible Indian dance routine for the guests.
The Weddding Style
“We would describe our wedding style as rustic Indian fusion wedding. I chose cream and gold for the bridesmaids’ saris because I wanted something simple and elegant that would complement my gold lehenga. However, we chose bright pink flowers because we wanted a nice pop of color against our more muted outfits. My aunt did most of the decor, with the exception of the mandap. One nice touch she did was to hang up an elegant beaded string over the fireplace and pin baby photos of us and photos from our parents’ weddings to it using clothespins. Another unique project was our Polaroid camera guest book – a nice alternative to a traditional guestbook!”
“I was with my parents in Chicago, and we decided to go to Devon Street which is an area with many Indian shops and clothing stores. I knew basically nothing about Indian formal attire but I knew I wanted to wear gold, and that I wanted to wear a lehenga (traditional Indian outfit of a skirt, blouse and scarf). The one that I chose was actually the third outfit I tried on, and I probably chose it after only 30-40 minutes of shopping! I loved it right away (though no, I didn’t cry). Then for the next 3-4 hours, I sat there as my father tried on different Indian outfits for the wedding. So I always make fun of him that it took him much longer to choose his attire than it did for me.”
“The biggest single investment was the venue, which was completely worth it. The setting was beautiful, and luckily we chose a venue that had an equally good indoor and outdoor space, as we did end up having the ceremony indoors due to rain. We saved on the décor as my aunt did much of it (with the exception of the mandap), and she did an amazing job.”
Advice To Future Couples
Have a laid-back attitude, don’t stress over every little detail as most of the guests won’t even notice them, and choose the aspects of the wedding which are most important to you that you want to prioritize. For us, this was the food, photographer and DJ.
Asya Photography, https://asyaphotography.com/, [email protected] Tel: 610.864.6363
Venue: John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, 1201 Pawlings Rd, Audubon, PA 19403
Phone: (610) 666-5593
2605 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659 Phone: (773) 338-3636
Bride’s hair: Attia Reeder, Panache Hair Design
2001 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
724 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 925-8639
1345 Oak Tree Rd
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: (732) 404-1144
36 Bromfield St.
Boston, MA 02108
500 S 22nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 545-6666
Weddings & Events
Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor
8126 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Phone: (215) 247-7374
Catering:Palace of Asia
3421 Kirkwood Highway
Wilmington, DE 19808
Music: DJ Ravi Jackson Email: [email protected], phone: (267) 614-1895
A big thank you to Alanna and Bara for sharing their special day on Bontle.
If you’ve loved this stunning Indian wedding, you might like this one.