Natasha, an Indian American and Tom from England first met at a bus stop when they were travelling from London to Oxford. Natasha was a graduate student at Oxford University and Tom was working as a Technical Director for a Digital Security Company. They started chatting at the bus stop and got to know each other well during their hour long journey from home to Oxford. They kept in touch thereafter and one year after they first met, Tom proposed to Natasha.
Natasha shares her journey in planning her multi-cultural wedding in Bangalore.
Our wedding was celebrated over a period of three days, from January 3 through January 5, 2014. We decided to host the wedding in India because most of our family lives in India and it was difficult for them to travel to the West. We chose Bangalore for various reasons- it is a cosmopolitan city with a lot of history, architecture and culture, it is also the greenest city with a very pleasant climate and easy to get to by air, train and road. We had guests coming from all parts of world- Hawaii, North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East as well as within India from New Delhi to Chennai and in between.
The Wedding Planner
Me and Tom traveled to Bangalore three times during the course of our wedding planning- we had to coordinate the wedding between three continents so a wedding planner was a must. We made a decision on the planner a five months before the wedding date, but unfortunately our experience with the planner was not okay, and when we realized things were not working out we decided to terminate the contract and look for another planner. In December i.e. one month before our big day, we hired Bangalore-based wedding planners Divya and Vithika. It was incredible how quickly they understood our needs and put all the logistics together including classical music for the ceremony, band baaja and ghodi, safawalas, henna artists, make-up artists, videographer, welcome bags etc. Though we were having a traditional Indian wedding, there were many Western elements like an assigned seated dinner that Divya and Vithika helped us plan. They did an amazing job in making the planning process as easy and painless as possible.
The wedding celebrations kicked off with a very English style Hi-Tea reception by the pool side of ITC Windsor. This was a great opportunity for us to introduce the guests to our families. This was followed by Sangeet in the evening – at the Regency Hall of the same hotel. The theme for the Sangeet was Rajputana. The decor was in bright colors of Rajasthan. The girls wore bandhini lehengas and the men had pink and bandhini safas.
The next day, the Mehndi ceremony took place on the Prince of Wales lawn at the Taj West End. The lawns were decorated with Moroccan lamps, carpets and poufs. While me and some of our other guests were getting our henna done in the morning, Tom and his friends, and my family played a bride’s side versus groom’s side cricket match on the Bangalore University grounds. The same evening we had a Rehearsal Dinner at the Bangalore Club.
Next was the Wedding day. All our guests gathered at the Taj West End on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for the baraat, which came from the back entrance of the Taj to the Prince of Wales Lawn. The focal point of the ceremony was the mandap adorned with abundant fresh flowers, crystals and pearls. The aisle created for our entrance to the mandap was draped with champagne color fabric accentuated with abundant orchids, hydrangeas and crystals to match my ivory and purple lehenga. Background music with live sitar, tabla and flute complimented the ambiance.
The Nikkah ceremony on the Prince of Wales Lawn was followed by a seated dinner in the Queen Victoria Ballroom, which was completely transformed from the original purple color to traditional red and gold. The entrance to the ballroom was lined with rose petals and traditional Urlis. Upon arrival, the guests received metal handicraft Bidri boxes filled with nuts and sweets, a reminder of their time in India and the memorable celebration which they were a part of.
Advice for couples getting married in India
– If you’ve always lived in the West, and are getting married in India, getting things done might seem difficult or different. We realized it when we started talking to vendors– we felt they were giving an answer they’d like us to hear rather than the truth. So try to make atleast two trips, talk to the vendors freely so you are able to get some clear responses.
– Organize detailed itineraries for the events so everyone knows what is happening when.
– Delegate tasks to others. You do not want to be stressed with superfluous stuff on your wedding day!
For our new blog post series, ‘Long Distance Wedding’ we’re featuring couples living abroad who planned a wedding in their hometown in India. We want to hear your story, how you shortlisted venues and your experience with the wedding planner (if you hired one) and other vendors. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your wedding photo and required details (below), and we’ll get in touch if you’re selected to be featured.
Name of Bride and Groom
Where you’re based or where you were based when planning the Wedding
Where (venue + city) you got married and when (date)
Photos Courtesy- www.kathaimages.com