Charming Indian Fusion Orchard Wedding

Sanjyot & Michael

About The Couple

How we met…

We met like fire and water. Did not get along at first at all. We are both art directors and were working for the same ad agency at the time. However, Michael is a brat and for some unknown reason, he started playing random pranks on me.  From glitter bombs to photoshopping my face on a bird’s body and pasting  100 copies of it around the office. They say boys tease girls when they really actually secretly like them. I didn’t buy that! I hated him. But I got him back, I’d hide his precious collectables, cover his desk in trash et al. Eventually, we found ourselves sitting right beside each other at a happy hour.  With no other option left, we started some small talk, which led to some big talk which led to realizing that we both had a few things in common and he wasn’t so bad after all.

How we are as a couple…

Cartoons! We are a pair of cartoons like Tom and Jerry. We love poking fun at each other, getting the other one in trouble. We love simple joys of doing little things that mean a lot, laughing a lot,  constantly keeping each other entertained. We fight like children too. There’s a lot of “Stop being so crazy!”, “No, YOU stop being so crazy” kind of things going on.

What marriage means to us…

It means home. It means we have found each other and we are home. We can choose to sculpt our lives however we wish from here on. We can choose our own adventures, our own outlooks, our own routines and always have a friend to keep you company in all those. A friend who won’t judge you, who will protect you, share your concerns, make you happier, push you forward, make you laugh and probably continue to play pranks on you.

How he proposed…

Mike is a motorcycle maniac. He’s obsessed with them ever since he was a kid. He always teased me about how he was going to propose using a hex nut from his bike. So I had no hopes from his man! There was a lot of good stuff in my life. I had gotten a new job, a new apartment, my birthday was coming up and we were going on a trip with some friends. So I was super high on life that day. He called me over for dinner to celebrate all the new beginnings.  While cooking he tells me to grab him some sugar. As I browsed through his cabinet I saw a sparkle. At first, I thought I was hallucinating about rings! But I did a double-take and the wide grin on his face confirmed this was real. When he asked to marry me, I was going to internally combust with all that happiness.  I suddenly remembered that I had something in my bag I had planned to prank him with. A Hex Nut! I had bought it the day before to play a prank on him if he ever joked about proposing again. But this was no joke! I gave him the hex nut and we laughed at the coincidence. It was meant to be. ‘We’ were meant to be.

For our honeymoon…

We had a mini-moon right after our wedding. We flew from NYC to Portland, OR, renting a car and did a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles. Along the way, we hit some local spots as well as some landmarks we’ve always wanted to see such as Crater Lake, Redwoods National Park, Napa, SF, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Catalina Island. We didn’t book any hotels so we were being super adventurous and just deciding everything on the go. It was so much fun!

For the mega-moon, we are saved up for a trip to Spain and Greece the following year. We’ve always wanted to watch a MotoGP race in Spain, amongst the crazy Spaniards!

The Details

Wedding Planning

PLANNING: We set aside a whole year to plan this. We gave ourselves time. Also being art directors, our jobs keep us very busy plus we make sure to find time for our families and friends and ourselves. At the time we started planning I hadn’t even attended a wedding in the U.S., so I had no idea where to start from, where to find vendors, etc. We also wanted to make sure we found the right venue for the celebrations. We love nature so we knew the wedding had to be outdoors, at least a part of it. We are also not over-spenders and like the simpler stuff that means more than it costs.

VENUE: We chose Alyson’s Orchard for our wedding celebrations. It’s a very serene place – away from the cities, on top of a hill, surrounded by well-kept rows of apple and peach trees. While we’re looking for venues, we initially looked at historical gardens, private bungalows with beautiful backyards, hotels by the lake, but when we saw a small sparkling pond in the middle of this orchard overlooking the hills, we were smitten. There was nothing artificial or commercial about it. It was pure. And we knew our guests would love to be here too. We even rented a farmhouse on their property where the bridal party stayed. The staff there treated us like family and took very very good care of their property. Maybe down the line, we might even renew our vows there! We just need a reason to go back there and party.

PHOTOGRAPHY: I found First Mate Photography Co. through some vigorous online searching. Photographers, at least the good ones, get booked more than a year in advance. So we did have our set of disappointments when we couldn’t get any dates from the ones we had initially shortlisted. What I loved about First Mate Photo was the incorporation of art in their pictures. It was no surprise that we started enjoying the unique placements, compositions that First Mate Photo was indulging us in. And after speaking to Chad, it only became clearer that he was a nice, humble guy. He didn’t try to oversell anything but spoke about everything very passionately. Also, First Mate doesn’t hold your hi-res photos hostage for more money. “What am I going to do with those?” he said, “They take up space on my hard drive!”. I think it’s crazy that some professional photographers only give you low-resolution digital files for the base pay and only release high-resolution if you pay more.

Wedding Events

Our wedding was held over a few days in August 2015 at Alyson’s Orchard in countryside New Hampshire, USA:

  1. Mehendi – Saturday AM, Alyson’s Orchard, 20 guests. Catering by Dosa Kitchen, VT.
  2. Rehearsal Dinner – Saturday PM, Alyson’s Orchard, 40 guests. Catering by Top of the Hill Grill, VT.
  3. Ceremony & Reception – Sunday PM, Alyson’s Orchard, 100 guests. Catering by Luca’s Mediterranean Cafe, NH. Our priest Mahesh Shelat was great. He and his wife invited us over to get to know us before marrying us. It was a great personal touch.

Wedding & Reception Look

SANJYOT’S OUTFIT: Surprise Surprise, I chose the first outfit I tried on. My sisters-in-law and I went to The Mall of Oak Tree in NJ, to ‘scope out’ the things we could find there. Much to our luck, I saw my favorite colors from across the showroom and ran straight to them. I tried them on and unanimously my sisters said, “That’s so you!”. It’s unlike me to buy something so quickly, so I tried a few others but my heart kept pulling me back to the red-yellow-pink lehenga. A definite OMG-this-is-the-one moment. My Reception dress is from Kalki in Mumbai, India. I was looking for something that had the ivory of an American wedding and the red of an Indian, and I found the perfect match in a gold-ivory-red net lehenga.

BRIDE’S JEWELRY: All my jewelry came from India and some of it was my mother’s. She always planned for me to wear her wedding jewelry and heirloom pieces from my grandmother at my wedding and we did just that. My favorite though was my headpiece. I looked and looked for months, made my cousin in India run around to find the perfect statement piece. And you can tell from the pictures how glam it turned out.

BRIDE’S SHOES: I had told myself I wouldn’t spend a gazillion dollars on shoes for my wedding. And I found the most affordable and beautiful pair at Badgley Mischka, with a lot of help from my bridesmaid aka bestie.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Blushing Brides.

MEHENDI: Manisha from Henna Cafe was my henna artist and she is so pleasant to work with. She drove two hours from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and I’m thankful for that because her designs were exactly what I wanted. I wanted a simple mandala on the back of my hand that looked like a jewel in itself and intricate net-like designs on my palm in which Mike could find his initials. It was quite funny because everything looked like an ‘M’ to him. It took a lot of “Is it this one?” “Is it this one?” until he found it.

GROOM’S OUTFIT: For Mike, we found a simple sherwani that matched his taste from The Mall of Oak Tree. For his Reception suit, though, he went all out. We found an amazing local designer, Kamaal Kadri, through a friend and he tailored a custom suit for Mike. It fit like a dream.

Bridal Party Look

BRIDESMAIDS: I wanted to let the bridesmaids decide what they wanted. While I love vibrant colors, I never wanted to impose those on them. I really wanted them to love the saris and make sure they can wear them again later. So we went through our savior, Pinterest and narrowed down on an ivory white sari to complement my bright red and yellow dress but had the borders and blouses in reds, pinks, and greens to match my dress.

GROOMSMEN: We didn’t want them to buy Indian clothes because they may not wear them in the future and would land up wasting money. Something all couples should remember is that just because it’s your wedding, don’t ‘make’ the wedding party do what you like. Instead, think about making this experience fun and affordable for them too. That way they will put more heart into what they do for you while enjoying themselves. We stuck to renting light-weight suits, from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, with a red tie to pull it all together.

Theme & Decor

THEME: We started thinking about taking the Bollywood-meets-Hollywood theme very literally. For instance, we thought of having fusion names for the food or having the cake be half-Indian inspired and half-American, etc but then it became more about the ‘things’ than about us. So we decided to make the wedding feel like ‘us’ than a material/tangible theme. We chose bright fuchsia and tangerine colors, mixed with reds and yellows to compliment the greens and blues of the venue. Being the kind of personalities Mike and I are, we knew our guests would associate the vibrancy of the colors and the modesty of the venue to how we are as people and how we want to begin our new life together.

DECOR: The mandap, garlands, vases, etc. was done by Holly and her husband from Naturally Elegant Designs. Holly is such a sweetheart. She spoke like a friend, suggested amazing ideas, worked with my DIY ideas and everything in between. The pinks, oranges, and reds came together so well, they popped against the orchard and everyone’s jaws dropped when they came in. You can tell by all the Instagram tags (#indiawedsamerica) how much everyone loved the setting.

Invitations

We designed our own invitations. We were our own worst critics though. We went through a few different designs and landed on this. We created an illustration of us doing the things we love. Mike loves motorcycle riding, I love tagging along with my (future) dog. It added a personal touch when everybody received the invites. I did calligraphy on the envelopes so everyone’s names can look super pretty when they get it in the mail.

DIY Details

In order to save paper and money, I used the back of extra RSVP cards and invitations to make place cards and centrepiece cards. I absolutely love doing calligraphy and by doing this DIY project it really helped relieve my stress. Instead of using ginormous flower arrangements and then watching them wilt.

For centerpieces I used round river stones in a jar, which guests could write and leave messages on. Some doodled, some drew hearts with our names on it, some revealed their happy marriage secrets, and some just spread the love. We pick a few out every once in a while and read them little by little. It really makes us oh so happy!

Cake

The cake was from Jacques Pastries in Suncook, NH. After some serious sketching on our part, we eventually chose a cake that had movement, had the simplicity and the beauty of the best-day-of-our-lives. We added the ombre touch so we could incorporate our colors. My favorite piece was the topper. We got it custom made from TheRosemarryToppers, whom we found on Etsy. It was designed to look like us and have similar outfits. Look how cute we look like miniatures!

Favors

We picked tiny four oz jam bottles made by Sidehill Farms in Vermont. It was so amazing to work with them on creating custom labels, matching the packaging to the flavors. Our guests still tell us how much they enjoyed the jams. These were created from fresh fruit with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The jam touch really fit well with the fact that we were at an orchard.

Music & Dance

MUSIC: We had the pleasure of working with DJ Jay Thakrar (DJ Jay) and DJ Yogz from Boston Sound and Light Company. DJ Yogz introduced us and he a hit! Everyone loved his fusion mix of Bollywood and Hollywood hits, everyone wanted to keep dancing even after the venue was closing. To top it off, DJ Jay & DJ Yogz not only took care of the music but he actually managed the flow of events at the Reception. We all know that things are not going to go on time at a wedding. I was freaking out because the shoot took longer and everybody was waiting to see us, but we didn’t know how to do our reception entrance. Jay handled it all. He came out back, talked to us about who enters when told us to relax and enjoy and not be stressed about timing. He was awesome!

FIRST DANCE: Mike and I worked on a sort of surprise first dance for the guests. Since these were all close family and friends they knew I was a dancer but also knew Mike wasn’t. So we worked with my dance teacher Pooja Narang of Bollywood Axion to create a fusion dance, which blew their minds. It started off with a violin edit of All of Me by John Legend, then merged into my solo on O Re Piya, followed by Mike’s (first ever) solo on Rock With You by Michael Jackson and the finale on a Superbass-Bumbro Remix by Culture Shock. Everyone cheered us on, some had happy tears in their eyes and my aunt even said it looked like we were on Dancing With The Stars!

Top Tips for Brides-To-Be

  1. Eat the food. We were so busy meeting everyone that we hardly ate the yummy food at our rehearsal or our wedding reception. Even the cake! So maybe include half an hour in your day for just you two and enjoy what you’ve created! Ask a bridesmaid or groomsman to make sure no one disturbs you during that time.
  2. Don’t overspend. Keeping the costs in your budget will seem hard with so many beautiful options out there. But remember that the guests will be there for you and not for those monogrammed napkins. Craft an idea that best suits your personalities and then edit! Edit until you can’t edit anymore. That will help you save money for your honeymoon.
  3. Get a day-of planner if you can. Someone who can help keep everything in check on the day of the wedding. I delegated tasks to all my bridesmaids and family members, but now I honestly feel I should’ve hired someone to take care of that part, so the wedding party could’ve stayed back and relaxed with me.

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