Swati Tomar and Anshuman Gupta, both from Delhi were in school together though they didn’t interact much then. “We weren’t friends in school, but even after we passed out we were aware what the other was up to, thanks to a common friend. I moved to the US to pursue my Phd while he was working with SEASPAN Shipping company. Around this time we connected, got to know each other well and were in a long distance relationship for four years before we tied the knot. We live in Singapore where Anshuman works as an Analyst with DHL. I am currently exploring job opportunities in the new city and in my free time I enjoy writing about social issues, food and life experiences. I blog@http://tomarswa
Swati writes about planning her wedding in New Delhi while she was in the US.
Our wedding was held in our home town. The functions included the Engagement ceremony at Janakpuri Club, and the Wedding & Reception at Bulbul Resort, Rohtak Road, Mundka. We tried to depart from the usual norm for the Pheras. We exchanged our holy vows in the evening before the reception as neither of us liked the idea of late night/ early morning Pheras.
Our entire wedding planning happened while our parents were in Delhi, me in the US, Anshuman in Singapore and my brother in Germany. So it was really tough to have group discussions but we managed thanks to video chats and phone calls. We didn’t want to hire the services of a Wedding Planner so we had to do everything ourselves. Luckily, one of my friends was getting married at the same time and she suggested Bulbul Resort in Rohtak Road, Mundka. Our parents checked the venue, visited a few other venues and then confirmed Bulbul Resort. The in-house person at Bulbul took care of the basic coordination with the caterer and venue decorator.
In Search of the Perfect Lehenga, Makeup Artist and Photographer
I spent a lot of time online—on WeddingSutra and other online resources checking the work of Makeup Artists and creations by Designers and Stores. My Makeup Artist Jitin Rathore was recommended by a friend while I found my Reception Lehenga from Kamaali Couture, Delhi through an online search. Helping my family to select the Wedding Lehenga (from Frontier Bazar, Rajori Garden) while I was in the US was quite a nightmare- the store does not allow Lehenga photos to be clicked and there was no way I could see the options. Somehow I managed, thanks to an amazing friend who explained to me on phone what it looked like and the fabric. As an NRI bride, I felt a big store like Frontier Bazaar should offer videochat or skype facilities. Another interesting development was how tech-savvy Mehndi Artists have become. I was thrilled to see so many Mehndi Designs online and most Mehndi Artists from Delhi were prompt with their email replies.
I saw the work of some Candid Photographers online but most of them were unavailable or over my budget. So my father through a friend found Delhi-based Ashish Vohra who did our pre-wedding shoot and photographed all our wedding celebrations.
Long Distance Coordination
Planning a Long Distance Wedding is easy and yet not easy. The wedding industry has finally changed, most vendors and stores have a good online presence but for a lot of other things, physical presence or phone follow-ups are essential. Luckily for me, many friends helped. I came to India thirty days before the wedding while Anshuman came fifteen days before. For him, getting clothes and other grooms paraphernalia was fast and easy, for brides obviously there is a lot more time and effort involved but I think I managed fine.
My Recommendations for NRI Brides
1. Spend as much time as you can online.
2. Prepare a rough sketch or list of what you are looking for— be it clothes, jewellery or décor. Store the papers in a file and remember to always keep it with you when you’re out shopping.
3. Oh yes, when I’d contact wedding vendors via email I would not mention I am based in the US, as I felt I would get ‘higher rates’. Maybe sometimes it worked or my perception could be wrong.
4. If you’re planning to reach India just around a month before the wedding, and if your wedding is a not-so-big affair it should be a smooth sail—provided of course you’ve spent adequate time on online research.
5. Finally, stay cool and don’t sweat the small stuff!
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- Ashish Vohra