Nikita and Sebastian live in NYC but decided to bring the fusion wedding celebrations to the sunny West Coast! The chosen place was the Park Hyatt Aviara and its lush green grounds that turned out to be the perfect venue for their beautiful fusion ceremony. Adorations Botanical Artistry took advantage of this elegant outdoor space to design a stunning ceremony mandap that framed the sweethearts during their two ceremonies. I absolutely adore the bold flowers and greenery against the cream drapery, the graceful settee from TBD Rentals and the towering palm trees! The western ceremony was officiated by a bride’s cousin while a short version of the Hindu wedding ceremony immersed all the attendees into the beautiful rituals. This effortlessly romantic union allowed Studio Merima to create the breathtaking photographs of the Hindu and Western rites that you will find right below! Browse this spectacular ceremony images in our full gallery and get ready to be inspired!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I met the groom, Sebastian (Bash), through the brother of my college roommate/bestie, Claire. They're all from San Diego so that's the connection. Andrew introduced us at a brunch one day in Brooklyn. Bash and I were friends for a few years and I never really saw him in a romantic way. He ended up becoming my best friend; someone who I could say anything to and do all kinds of activities, like going to concerts, restaurants and dance parties with and have the best time. One day, I asked him to come over and help me re-string a ukulele that I just bought and had no idea how to play. It was an impulse buy. He was formerly a music teacher (and now an editor at Bloomberg) and plays a few instruments. He came over, we had mint juleps and he taught me how to play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on my balcony. It was easy enough for me to learn. Though kind of an overplayed wedding song (sorry people out there who played it at their wedding), we ended up playing it at ours as I walked down the aisle- sentimental value and all. Anyway, it was that moment that things shifted for me - seeing him as more than a friend. He was everything I wanted that I didn't know I needed - a good soul, who's funny, handsome, smart as hell and knows everything about me and wants to make me happy. Best decision I've ever made.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Our proposal story is my favorite! We got engaged in Game of Thrones's country, Dubrovnik, Croatia. The lead up to the proposal is one for the books. We were at the airport, on our way to Europe when I noticed a lock on Bash's backpack. Now, I was pretty hopeful we'd get engaged on this trip, but couldn't be sure, so I was suspicious of the lock. Earlier that month, I had gotten robbed at a movie theater, so he merely explained that the lock was to protect his passport from being stolen. I believed him...sort of. Turns out, the ring was in there, with a little note to the TSA agent reading, "Dear Sir or Madam...if you find this, please take me aside and let's talk about it. It's a surprise, for my girlfriend." He did get stopped, but the good news was I had my face buried in my phone and they didn't get to it.
In Dubrovnik, there were so many "almost" moments for the proposal - it was comical. First, on the Game of Thrones tour, as I was sitting on the Iron Throne, Bash crouched down and I thought it was happening. Actually, he was trying to crop something out of the picture he was taking. Next, we were at a beautiful restaurant, Nautika, overlooking the sea - a location featured prominently in the show. I thought this could be a great place for a proposal, but is a bit too public for my hub. Behind me was a couple, and as I overheard their conversation, THEY HAD JUST GOTTEN ENGAGED. And seemed kind of transactional about it. I actually heard the words, "I hope your mom's happy." Bash's face at this moment, not so happy haha. After this, we had one more day left and at this point, I was sure the proposal would not happen. It was a boat day to some islands nearby and the whole thing seemed out of character for Bash. There were too many opportunities to lose the ring along the way, so I knew Bash wouldn't risk it. I was wrong. We took a private speedboat out to Mljet,
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I started out like most brides do...with the internet - Pinterest, the 'gram, etc. I had certain colors in mind for each occasion. Specifically, I wanted to wear red to my ceremony and have my girlfriends wear navy blue. I also wanted to wear white to my reception. I saved a lot of pictures and at first thought, I wanted to go "western" as Indian Americans say (my husband's sister thought it meant literally a western John Wayne theme when we said that haha). With so much going on and planning the wedding in 9 months in SD, we all had to divide and conquer. My mom and dad went to India to get all our outfits and I worked out all the details for the weekend off. With that, I never actually tried on my wedding dresses. My mom and dad, along with close friends, have got all the ins with the designers in Delhi and Bombay. My mom specifically has an insane knack for style. We finally landed on Suneet Varma for the ceremony and reception and then Falguni Shane for the welcome party. My parents literally FaceTimed me at 3 am with Suneet to pick the right look. What I ended up with was beyond what I could have imagined and fit me perfectly. I didn't even have to get it altered. Just so I could have the feeling of trying on my own wedding dress, I did go to BHLDN to find my wedding shower look, so that's something!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The food tasting was the most enjoyable part of the planning process. Both tastings, one at Masala Street and the other at Park Hyatt, were so different and stuffed us to the brim. MS literally gave us like full-size portions - I needed to be carried home with a forklift. But, we really got to be creative to bring to life the best menu possible. PHA main courses and cakes were to die for and so fresh. Both chefs are incredibly talented. I also got to be super creative with the cakes, asking for a cupcake tour of multiple flavors, made to look like a tree.
Also, working with my wedding planner, Melissa along with Park Hyatt Aviara coordinator, Meredith, made the whole process so much easier. And I'm a BIG planner so it was the perfect team effort.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Probably how authentic the wedding was to our personalities:
- from the music selection: we walked out to Miley Cyrus's Party in the USA, our first dance was to David Bowie's Heroes, and the Father-Daughter Dance was to Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl; also our processional wasn't too normal Hindu sounds, it was to the Game of Thrones theme song
- to the pranks on April Fools Day: my favorite was creating a fake menu that confused ALL of my guests - they laughed pretty hard about it later (I told them they had to kill their own chicken in the back that they wanted to eat.)
- to the dances: all our friends and family, both Indian and not, participated in the choreographed dances and crushed it! My mom and her friends tapped into their inner Bollywood, Aunty Neetu and Uncle Rishi Kapoor surprised us with an opening number, our American and Indian friends and family brought the house down with their performances, and even the groom took part to surprise me too. I myself closed out the night by bringing my old *N Sync moves to life by doing the steps to Bye Bye Bye. Not sorry!
- The short ceremony: Most Hindu weddings are hours long, with the pandit going on in a language no one understands. I kept things short and sweet - 45 minutes, with my hilarious cousin, Herukh, officiating and Dharmasetu Das as pandit who just did the pheras and manga exchange. It was all I wanted and needed. I just wanted to marry my husband and have people actually attend. Everyone, including our Indian aunties and uncles, were impressed and felt they learned more at the ceremony than they ever had AND THEY ACTUALLY came. Most people skip.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
At our welcome party, we had an incredible band, the Lucky Devils. The party was elegant and outside, but things really got bumping toward the end of the night. One song in particular that got everyone really into it, was Shout. The band pulled us up on stage and had Bash even sing the high notes, which took everyone by surprise. I was a great groupie. It was one of the times we were totally in the moment and it really stood out because it wasn't planned.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
- Brides, real talk, you will cry when planning your wedding and quite possibly even weekend off, so find a way to enjoy the moment.
- ALSO, don't build your wedding around the expectations of what your guests may want. Take in your vision and your family's, but because it's what you want, not because you think will make your guests say, wow, "what a great wedding." This is your day, or in most Indian's cases, weekend.