It's an absolute honor to bring to light the ceremony of Amrita and Brian, featured in our Best of 2018 Emagazine and fully shot by the talented husband and wife photo team of Anza Foto + Film! Inspired by their recent trip to Barcelona these soulmates showed off their essence and style in the beautiful decor, in the bride's own words: "We wanted to make sure the ceremony was still uniquely us. Adding to the venue, the design was woodsy, midsummer night’s dream theme, of course with some Indian elements" And with a color palette inspired by the bride's wedding dress the outdoor ceremony was a whimsical fairytale! Organic Elements really knew how to translate the couple's vision by creating the fantastic ceremony decor while Korie at Bliss Events guaranteed it all went without a hitch by all accounts! Brian's big arrival in a convertible vintage vehicle was another great highlight while our bride Amrita's entrance completely stole the limelight! Ingeniously blending Amrita's Indian background and Brian's Jewish American culture, they opted for a short Hindu ceremony performed by the Hindu Pandit Dharmasetu Das and that later shifted for an American style ring ceremony exchange! Go into the bundle of pics of our gallery to find more of this fusion wedding wonder!
Rancho Santa Fe, CA Indian Fusion Wedding by Anza Foto + Film
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
We first met at college in Minnesota when we were neighbors in our freshman year dorm. We started hanging out through our mutual friends and dated a bit our sophomore and junior years. After college, now both living in Chicago, we started seeing each other again, and the rest is history.
There were a lot of different moments that led me to know Brian was the one: 1) He encouraged and supported my unconventional and adventurous spirit; 2) he liked my drive and loved it when I ran with it and achieved my goals; 3) I loved the balance of our relationship - we could talk politics and art for hours, as well as goof around and party. We always introduce each other to new things, and both of us truly enjoy it. I discovered so much more about myself as I hung out with him more and more; and, 4) His open-mindedness and comfort, and how he interacts with activities and cultures that are new to him.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Brian proposed to me during a three-week trip we took to southern Europe in June of 2018. Towards the end of our trip, Brian took me to Parc De La Ciutadella, in Barcelona, and brought me out on a rowboat where asked me to marry him. After, we walked and took pictures next to Gaudi's Cascada Fountain.
Tell us how you went about planning your wedding, and your overall experience with the Venues, Hair & Makeup, Outfits, Decor Theme, and all of the other important details.
Three months before our wedding, crisis struck, and we lost the dream wedding venue we had booked several months earlier. Luckily, through a family friend/contact, we found a beautiful Spanish-style residential estate as a replacement venue, with an enormous backyard in Rancho Santa Fe.
We are both from very different cultures (I’m Indian and Brian’s American-Jewish), so we thought it would be really fun to blend both cultures together into one ceremony! We picked the La Jolla/Del Mar area because it’s a special place for Brian’s family, and it’s simply gorgeous in the summer. We were having three events so we wanted it to be a fun vacation area for our family and friends.
Brian and I have an eclectic aesthetic and loved our recent trip to Barcelona. We wanted to make sure the ceremony was still uniquely “us”. Adding to the venue, the design was woodsy, midsummer night’s dream theme, of course with some Indian elements. The color palette was inspired by my wedding dress.
On the wedding day, each event was set up so the guests could enjoy different parts of the estate. Each area had its own special element that tied into the larger theme. We started in the front of the house with a cocktail hour, which had the Baraat, Bridal Entrance, and Milni. The music for this event included lots of Spoon and Nicolas Jaar (our favorite artists!). Brian was driven in by his groomsmen on a 1950s Porsche convertible to a Spoon song, and then I walked in through the large main doors of the house to Havana by Camila Cabello. Then we had the Milni (the joining of the families) - my favorite event!
After the Milni, we moved to the ceremony, which had a woodsy romantic feel. The aisle entrance was two big branches with flowers and orbs. The mandap had wooden poles and loose flowers. The mandap ceiling was made of branches and had Moroccan lanterns and orbs hanging. A big thank you to Organic Elements for pulling that together! Under the mandap, we also had stunning gold painted peacock sweetheart chairs from TBD San Diego. We had mixed farm chairs from Archive Rentals and large white umbrellas for shade. To blend the white umbrellas into the theme more, we added orbs to the inside of the canopy of the umbrellas and vines up their poles.
Our ceremony started as a short Hindu ceremony, and then transitioned into my best friend from college, a philosopher, introducing our vows and leading the ring exchange. Dharmasetu Das ji, our Hindu pandit, was fantastic to work with and did a fabulous job explaining the ceremony to our guests. Brian and I both wanted a more egalitarian ceremony than the traditional Hindu ceremony, so Panditji helped us personalize it. For example, there was no kanyadaan - instead, our families supported our decision to marry, and my mom, who brought me up herself, played the roles traditionally played by a male family member.
After the ceremony, we had another cocktail hour next to the estate’s gorgeous pool area and cabanas. The guests mingled while the bridal parties and family took pictures, as hot air balloons from a nearby competition floated by high above in the skies. Then we moved on to a dinner in the backyard. Here we did the grand entrance with our bridal party, performed the breaking of the glass (a Jewish tradition), and family and friends made speeches. We had long communal tables so all the different groups of family and friends could mingle. Under a full moon, the lighting above the tables had a variety of Edison bulbs and orbs, perfect for a warm, romantic night. The buffet was lit up with candles instead of overhead lighting. The wood communal tables had golden flatware and charger plates topped with embroidered gift bags my mom brought from India. The tables had loose floral centerpieces and vines, and Indian sari material as overlays.
The sweetheart table was absolutely amazing. We carried over the theme from the ceremony, so the sweetheart table had the same type of flowers and lanterns. Two branches lit with fairy lights stood behind our table to function as frames. I also added a crystal chandelier to hang over us. The sweetheart chairs were the gorgeous peacock chairs, the same ones we sat in on the mandap.
Then we moved to the dance floor. Here we did the first dance, bouquet toss, the garter toss, the shoe game, and the hora (another Jewish tradition)! For the decor, we used an assortment of Vietnamese silk lanterns crisscrossed along the ceiling of the dance floor, as well as a lounge area lit up with fairy lights. DJ Sahara was fantastic to work with.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I knew I wanted pastels with a focus on floral embroidery. I loved the Garden of Eden designs from Varun Bahl. One of the perks of the dress was that it wasn't super heavy - it was mostly (stunning!) embroidery with minimal pearls and sequins. I knew I wanted to be able to party in it with my new husband and all my family and friends!
My hair was inspired by Pakistani brides! I knew I wanted my hair down but wanted it to be elaborate. I also added a passa (hair jewelry).
My makeup artist was Shelby Henry. I found her on Instagram and loved her technique, especially flawless and elaborate eye makeup.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The design process! We are both from distinct cultures (I’m Indian and Brian’s American-Jewish) and so we thought it would be really fun to blend both cultures together into one ceremony! And also planning how we are going to introduce the families and cultures to each other through the wedding, and just planning a fun day that brings together our personalities as a couple!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Everyone told us that they loved the food from Food Curry and More in San Marcos. We were also told everything looked beautiful, and the successfully blended many cultures
People also loved our Wedding card, which included cover art of Radha Krishna and a helpful timeline (with pictures) of our two days of events.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Two moments come to mind immediately. First, walking down the aisle with my grandparents and seeing Brian under the whimsical Mandap with my mom and both our families surrounding him. The orbs and lanterns from the ceiling just made it more of a fairytale.
Second, the Milni. Having both sides of the families meet each other and give each other hugs was really special.
One funny moment - we hadn’t done a rehearsal of the ceremony so a couple of bloopers happened. The funniest one was when Brian was going to put the sindoor (red powder) on my hair. Growing up in India, it’s so obvious that the sindoor goes in the parting of the hair so I didn’t think to tell Brian beforehand that he’d have to do this. At the ceremony, the Panditji gave Brian the sindoor and he literally shakes it on my hair like it’s salt. Haha. So lesson learned, definitely do a rehearsal if you are doing a cross-cultural wedding.
For events other than your ceremony, please tell us as much as you would like about the decor, style, dances, and all the special details.
We had two additional events - a Mehendi and a Groom’s Dinner.
The Mehendi was an afternoon apéro riche held at L’Auberge Del Mar’s Pacific Terrace. At the Mehendi, we did a chudda ceremony as well as lots of singing and dancing. Brian has a large family so we also did some speeches at the Mehendi. Traditionally, the Mehendi event is a women-only event but we opened it up for everyone to enjoy. We also had favors from India as well as a Mehendi artist so everyone could partake in the tradition. My mum, sister, and family friends also did choreograph dances.
For the design, I knew I wanted a structure but one that complemented the ocean view and winds. We went with a naked teepee from Southwest Teepee Rentals. The teepee had lounge seating complete with a mix of fur and leather. The color palette was browns and white with some turquoise.
My mother picked out my outfit from Ogaan in India. I love yellow and my mom was so cute when she showed it to me so I knew I had to wear it. I had my hair in a fishtail braid with a flower crown using the same type of flowers used for the decor.
The groom’s dinner, similar to a rehearsal dinner, was hosted by Brian’s mom at the Pacific Terrace. We all got to see a gorgeous sunset over the ocean. Amazing! Brian’s cousins (who are amazing singers) also performed several songs on guitar.
For my dress, I wanted to wear white to the event as a nod to American culture. I wanted the dress to be structured and have a Victorian collar. Elliat had the perfect dress!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Consider doing one ceremony for our cross-cultural wedding. It’s super fun to have the cultures and families meld together. And it brought everyone closer.
Make sure you get along very well with your planner. When you interview, keep an eye on how supportive they are going to be in crisis situations. Crazy things can happen, and you want to be working with someone who makes things easier.
Always take a step back and enjoy the process! On the wedding day, it will be surreal. Enjoy every moment and interaction!
The details really make the entire wedding decor come together! Even seemingly small things, like what chairs to use, can make a big difference in the overall feel of your wedding.
Consider a ceremony rehearsal for a cross-cultural wedding.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
We loved including our family members in our wedding planning. It made the entire event even more special, even if there were a few more disagreements. Brian’s sister designed the cutest card with a baby pic, and Brian’s mother planned the groom’s dinner. My mother and I did the ceremony.
AnzaFoto+Film, our photographer/videographer was excellent. Kristina and Eric are husband and wife and have a great vibe. Their pictures and videos are to die for! They captured the whimsical vibe and all the Indian and Jewish traditions perfectly! A big thank you to them.
I'ts almost time to wear the dancing shoes for Amrita and Brian's big soiree, so stay tuned!
Mehndi Artists: Henna San Diego | Mehndi Venue: L Auberge Del Mar | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Rancho Santa Fe Estate | Planning: Korie at Bliss Events | Event Designer: Amrita Chadha - Bride | Floral & Decor: Organic Elements | Makeup: Shelby Henry | Hair: Susie Beyer-McCarthy | Catering: Curry And More | DJ: VOX Djs | Bridal Fashion: Varun Bahl Couture | Dessert: Coast Catering | Lighting: San Diego SociaLights | Rentals: Crown Rentals | Rentals: Archive Rentals | Hindu Pandit: Dharmasetu Das