Here, five of California’s top wedding experts chime in on ways to make your wedding ceremony equally your own, with ideas that range from twists on traditions to personalized vows that wow.
Arpna and Neil: An Indian-American Fusion Wedding
Arpna and Neil, like many couples that have ancestral and cultural roots in India, but have primarily been raised in America, wanted to fuse both traditional and non-traditional elements for their big day. Santa Ynez Valley had been the couple’s special escape away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, their hometown, and they wanted to share the relaxing and picturesque experience with their family and friends.
Generally, South Asian wedding weekends are comprised of 3-4 events surrounding the actual wedding day. Arpna and Neil’s celebrations kicked off in Los Angeles with a traditional Mehndi event where the bride and many of the women in the bridal party have their mehndi or henna (an herbal paste applied on the hands and feet of a South Asian bride in decorative designs) applied.
Following the Mehndi, the wedding party moved to the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley for the remainder of the events. First, there was a traditional Peethi event where close family and friends apply a healing paste made of turmeric and gram flour to both the bride and groom. This ceremony is symbolic of the friends and families’ well wishes for the couple-to-be. A rehearsal celebration followed the Peethi. According to Rani Hoover, the extremely talented wedding planner behind the entire event, the rehearsal dinner dance floor was so packed that she decided to double its size for the wedding reception the following day.
The guests had rave reviews of the absolutely stunning venue on the wedding day, beautifully captured by Los Angeles wedding photographer, Brian Leahy. According to Hoover, the intimate Cottonwood grove in the vicinity of the venue, the Gainey Winery, offered natural shade for both the ceremony and Baaraat (the festive entry of the groom atop a white horse into the wedding venue before the start of the ceremony.)
At the ceremony, the bride wore a traditional red, white, and gold lengha choli (consisting of a cropped blouse a long, flowing skirt, and a sash draped over the shoulder) and the groom wore a kurta paijama (a long, silk top and fitted silk pants.) The couple changed into western wedding attire for the reception ceremony.
Both the bride and grooms’ families were self-acclaimed ‘foodies’. This was extremely evident in the custom Indian-American fusion menus catered by New West Catering—guest palates were more than satisfied.
The intricate planning and hard work was also revealed in the ambiance. The design trend throughout all the events accentuated elements of the naturally rustic vineyard with modern lighting, furnishings and personal touches such as a cornhole game designed by the groom, and a custom watercolor painting of the venue. The music for the ceremony was provided by a guitarist with some traditional music intermixed by the DJ, JSH Music.
The breathtaking splendor of the venue continued on into the evening painting the sky with pink sunsets and a view of Figueroa Mountain. The guests moved their feet late into the night dancing to the beats of everything from Bollywood to N’Sync.