Poorva and Endre met as colleagues in Canada. Here, she writes about their inter-cultural union and wedding celebrations in Ludhiana and her home town, Khanna in Punjab.
How we Met
Endre and I met in Toronto where we both worked in business development for an I.T. Company. We were colleagues for a couple of years and then we weren’t, that is when our relationship started. We haven’t yet reached a conclusion about who developed an interest first- the jury is still out on that one! I liked him from the start for his determination and sensitivity. And he told me that he found my blend of Indian and personal values very fascinating.
Shortly after we started dating, we both knew that we wanted to be together for life. That is when I made a phone call to India where my parents live. ‘Mummy Papa, it would be nice if you visited Canada. No, scratch that, I need you to come and see me’! I guess they had been waiting with bated breath for a call like that, and they met Endre over dinner ten days after that phone call. And my amazing parents immediately saw Endre for the amazing person that he is– the differences didn’t even matter to them!
The Wedding Celebrations
The wedding had to be planned in less than three months to accommodate everyone’s schedules! And I could reach India only ten days before the wedding, while Endre was there five days before. But my parents rose to the occasion and managed everything like champions. We had three main functions- the Mehndi, a pre Wedding Reception and the Wedding. The pre-wedding celebrations were in my home town, Khanna in Punjab. The main wedding was in Aveda Hotel in Ludhiana. We chose Aveda because it fit in with our vision of having the wedding in a wide open landscape with amazing food. We had many guests comment on the delicious menu and our guests from Canada had a comfortable stay at the hotel.
The most memorable function for me was the main wedding, my parents and brother took a lot of special efforts in making it a truly meaningful function, so they curated the ceremonies and the rituals to fit our family traditions, the inter-cultural union and mine and Endre’s personalities. In fact, Endre and I exchanged vows during the pheras since I translated the Panditji’s words. And my ‘vachan’ (seven vows) was in English too!
My Dream Wedding
When my family started planning the wedding, I had only three asks of them. And for me these three asks were the essence- I didn’t worry much about the other details and I didn’t sweat the small stuff.
Ask #1: The wedding had to be in an open space and it had to be a day function. I didn’t want my parents to stay up all night, and I don’t like the deserted look of the venue when the Pheras happen early in the morning at 3 a.m.!
Ask #2: The wedding photographs and the film from the day function had to be memorable. After the food has been eaten, guests have been seen off and real life starts, some of the magic that stays beyond the actual day are the photos and the film. I wanted them to be something that could transport me back to the excitement and joy of the day. And in addition to a million other things that go into memorable photos, daylight is one important thing. Hence another reason for a day wedding!
Ask #3: The wedding dress/lehenga had to be something unique as well as traditional- my vision was that it should be something timeless that I could pass on to my children.
Some of the people and places who came together to help me realise my vision:
– My parents- the wedding planners extraordinaire! In fact, my mother is planning to venture into wedding planning full time- specialising in Punjabi brides living in US/Canada.
– The wedding venue, Aveda Hotel, beautiful lawns, amazing food, great service.
– Rishabh Sood of Candid Tales and his team (Steven and Aman). They were phenomenal and I have to thank my brother for doing the research and involving them. The Candid Tales team patiently listened to me rambling my ideas and talking about my inspiration and they quietly polished my ‘suggestions’.
– Yadoo Sharma from Lakmé Salon in Ludhiana. I found Yadoo bhaiyya thanks to WeddingSutra.com. Like all good Makeup Artists, he didn’t just make me look beautiful, he also made me feel beautiful.
– Roop Kala, Ludhiana. I didn’t have time to get a lehenga made or customized, so I was really doubtful a week before the wedding if the wedding dress was going to be exceptional. But me and my mother walked into this store and found the lehenga that fit all our criteria. And their in-house tailor is very good!
As someone who has been working and living abroad I feel getting work done in India is tricky but at the end it is all worth the effort! The clothes, the jewellery, shoes and the accessories, everything is exquisite in India. But it comes with a cost- and the cost is not money but the effort involved in chasing. Everything you order may not be delivered on the day it was promised so you have to keep that in mind while working on your timelines. There will be exceptions of course and fortunately we also worked with vendors who delivered as per the schedule. But generally you have to build a tolerance for turnaround times and you can get fabulous results if you prepare yourself for the delay.
Growing up in North America, we are used to the planned, dress rehearsed weddings. That is not what Indian weddings are. My biggest tip to NRI brides who are getting married in India is that you should accept Indian weddings for what they are- joyous chaos. You get to experience a range of emotions at our weddings in India, and that is the beauty of it. Focus on your ‘must haves’,and beyond that don’t worry, enjoy the big day and remember that stress and chaos are inevitable! Don’t focus on details so much that you miss the emotions that your entire family is investing in to make your day special. And your sincere thanks and appreciation can be your best gift them to them!
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- Rishabh Sood