I am a pastry chef who trained in London, Simmer is from Tehran, his favourite city in the world, but his life and work keeps him travelling. We met in Mumbai through a family set-up that we were both resistant toward. We never expected to get along so well. To keep family involvement to a minimum, both of us told our parents that we had not liked each other, while secretly continuing our courtship. We traveled together, fell in love in Goa, and later I visited his home in Iran. On Valentine's day Simmer whisked me onto a yacht just off Gateway of India and proposed to me under the stars.
Umaid Bhavan Palace
After a courtship of such heightened romance, we wanted to be married in a place that would reflect our love and passion. We initially considered Bali and Goa but one visit to Umaid Bhavan Palace and we knew that is where we wanted to marry. Everyone, from the General Manager of the hotel to the housekeeping staff, were warm and welcoming and just knew what it was that we were looking for. The walls of the palace, the beautiful grounds and the impressive Meherangarh Fort in the distance sealed our decision.
The Wedding Planner
We went to a very well-known wedding planner in Delhi, ready with our details. Her pitch was as impressive as were her charges; we still considered hiring her except that it became impossible to reach her. We thought that if she was this inaccessible now, we would spend the months before the wedding just trying to reach her. So instead we hired a wedding planner who was recommended to us by relatives. While he and his staff were excellent in handling our transport requirements, they came up short on all other fronts. Finally, I quit my work and we decided to take over our own wedding planning. It was an exhilarating five months of planning and after scores of phone calls between guests, vendors and the hotel, we were on-time with every detail. I handed off my excel sheets to my sister, putting friends and relatives in charge of different aspects of the wedding. In the end, we did it without much assistance from our planner.
Our functions were spread over 3 days. The first day we welcomed guests at Umaid Bhavan Palace with an informal lunch in the courtyard. The same night we celebrated our Sangeet in the palace's main lawns, under billowing, white canopies decorated with white floral arrangements enhanced with soft, yellow candles and lighting. We began the evening with a slideshow organized by a friend, immediately moving into dance performances, the finale being an exhilarating performance by close friends, cousins and aunts on Dhan Te Nan (our wedding's theme song). The evening drew to a finish late because DJ Gaurav's tunes did not allow our feet to stop. The next morning was the Mehendi by the poolside and even though I had planned the theme with the decorator, I was wowed by the vibrant colours he had weaved together for us. The function ended with my husband and some guests getting into the pool!
The next function was our Quawwali evening at the spectacular Meherangarh Fort. We had arranged it such that the guests would walk up the long ramparts of Meherangarh Fort amidst a festive, traditional atmosphere. My to-be husband and I, led the entire wedding party hand-in-hand through Rajasthani dancers and fire-eaters. We got to the top, opened champagne and enjoyed the spectacular jugalbandi arranged for us by the palace. The rest of the night was a dream - with the amazing quawaali singers and DJ Gaurav making sure everyone had a fabulous time, so the tired bride and groom got to bed by 6 am only.
The wedding the next morning was a graceful affair, the tiredness from the night before disappearing under the beautifully decorated palkhi in the Baradari draped in pink and white. After a happy but teary bidai with my dear father and a farewell filled with laughter and the school songs sung by my friends waiting near the car, Simmer and I retired to the breathtaking Maharani Suite.
What I wore
For the Sangeet at Umaid Bhawan Palace I wore a pink custom-made tissue lehenga by Jade at Peddar Road, Mumbai. For the Mehendi at the Umaid Bhawan Palace I wore a pleated, silk brocade, ankles bare lehenga by Pinkye Dhawan, Delhi
Quawwali at Meherangarh Fort- a Mustard net sari with antique velvet blouse by Rashmi Kapoor, Delhi. Anand Karaj- Rose pink color anarkali with cut-work by Jade
The couple Avani Patel and Abhinav Sah are kick ass, they're like the ninjas of wedding photography - www.photokhichega.com
Gaurav Malvai DJ extraordinaire: 0-9811225230
Gautam Vedi, Flowers and decor: 0-9810160902
Mrignaina: 09810250738 / firstname.lastname@example.org. The queen of the brushes who matched the wedding's colour themes to my mood, hair and make-up.
Photographs courtesy- www.photokhichega.com