Anupama and Raghu, Gokarna Forest Resort, Nepal
This couple’s intimate destination wedding turned out to be a three-day party!
Anupama’s Tinder match showed up on the same evening she had a writing assignment due in law school. Despite the impending submission, she went out to meet Raghu and we’re not sure if she scored the marks, but score a husband she did. The duo got married recently and had WeddingSutra Favorite House On The Clouds film the revelries in a beautiful video, while Rimi Sen Photography documented the wedding through a storytelling series of photos. The excited bride shares with us their love story and the highlights of their wedding.
How We Met
“I was in law school in Berkeley and we met on the night I had to turn in my final writing submission. Safe to say, I didn’t do justice to the assignment. Raghu came to Berkeley and waited for me for an hour. When I got there, he surprised me with mom-made-biryani (read: bribe). I was so impressed with the courage levels, to be honest – it was only the first date and he wore pink pants and brought biryani? (Like what?)”.
“My girlfriends and I planned a road trip across Texas during spring break. I clubbed that trip with a weekend at Raghu’s aunt’s place in Austin – with him of course. The trip was going so well that we kept delaying him handing me over to the girls. Ultimately, he drove me 300 miles to a remote little town off San Antonio and we stayed in a shabby motel for one night. That was the romantic environment in which he popped the question. It was hilarious and rather perfect!”
“We got married at Gokarna Forest Resort, Kathmandu.
While looking for wedding venues we panned across the globe –Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka – you know the drill. My parents are big on golf so they visited Gokarna for my mother’s 50th birthday. They loved it and couldn’t stop raving about the food and hospitality. I am so glad we went with Gokarna. The venues were stunning and the hotel truly bent over backwards and did everything in their capacity to make the wedding amazing. Nepal is truly such a beautiful place and the people are incredibly kind, hospitable and generous.
We created a “hunter’s lodge” for the youngsters so we could house the under-30s in one area and that was the continuous after-party spot. This was a great idea because it became a great place for everyone to get to know each other and have a blast. PS: This block had an endless supply of party smart!”
“Our wedding planners were Aliya and Vishal from Wedding Duo. They’re a team from Delhi we worked with remotely over FaceTime and WhatsApp calls. They were receptive to our ideas and did go the final mile in putting in the midnight hours to take the ideas to execution.
Rimi and Naman photographed our wedding and I think I can write an essay about how much I love Rimi! Rimi flew to San Francisco and did a 5-day pre-wedding shoot with us. The shoot was full of missed sunrises and sunsets and she slept in the living room in our tiny home. She became a delightful friend and that translated into amazing photographs. She also had Naman join us for the wedding. Naman is such a fantastic, down to earth and happy person to be around. I have to say that this was the best decision I ever made – well second best after Raghu.
I will always be at a loss for words to describe how wonderful House on the Clouds, our videographers were. If you have the opportunity to have your wedding shot by them, PLEASE DO THAT. I spent most of my Sangeet dancing and chilling with this crew – they’re amazing and I can vouch for that!
We did something non-traditional – we created our own website and mobile application and used that for all our communications. Raghu and I purchased software and then DIY-ed the entire project. We had guests from all over the world and we’re not big on paper. Thankfully, everyone loved it and we have something beautiful to hang on to forever. With the help of dear friends, we also made a drunk save the date video (inspired by drunk history) where we drank for 5 hours and created a time-lapse video to remind everyone to RSVP – it was super fun and intimate and made everyone laugh!
Live, Love, Dance took care of the choreography. Aanchal is a GODDESS! My mom and dad loved her so much that we flew her down to Kathmandu and had her with us throughout the wedding. She put in crazy hours and was kind, patient, understanding and a riot to be around. She did a flash mob, conceptualized entries for every event and truly made the sangeet her own. We will forever be grateful to her for giving us so much love and unconditional support.
As a special surprise, I pre-recorded my wedding vows over our favorite song (Oh Love by Prateek Kuhad). Gurmeet and his team from Acoustique Productions came to my house and walked me every step of the way. The final piece (as embarrassingly intimate as it was) was the most special wedding gift I could give Raghu. I can’t thank Gurmeet enough for being so patient with me in those stressful, nervous days before the wedding. Fabulous, professional and wonderful people!”
“We began with a Coachella themed pool party. We wanted to bring some California dreaming to the wedding so we conceptualized a pastel, gold palette with pineapple elements. I can’t even begin to explain the effort that went into this event! Raghu and I sourced most of the décor from the States and had 10 suitcases flown into Kathmandu via family and friends. It was undoubtedly a smash hit – everyone let their hair down and the DJ really made the event super fun.
My outfit for the pool party was from the States; a Jovani dress that I bought at Gesinee’s Bridal store.”
Mehndi and Movie Night
“Next was a movie under the stars. We had a teepee and fairy lights set up and we watched a Bollywood movie with popcorn and chuski stations. We brought in a little bit of a mela vibe to it because this was the mehndi night.
I wore a lehenga from Agunj in ShahpurJat that I had customized. I basically had one day to buy all my Indian outfits but we made it work! Gunjan has a really stylish collection but I do think it could work out better if you had the opportunity to do a trial near the date for re-adjustments.”
Haldi and Holi Party
“The event started with the pellikuthuru function that we mixed with a Holi party so everyone could be involved in the color plus water balloon madness. We had Lennon sunglasses, genda garlands, and really cool performers. The whole event had the 70’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna Bollywood vibe. Immediately after, we had a paintball tournament set up in the woods that everyone seemed to have a blast at!
I wore two lehengas both by my favorite designers and humans – Renee Label. Karuna has been a friend for a long time and she makes beautiful pieces! She has the ability to make my clothes the way I want them with no micro-management. They also made me a lemon yellow saree for the haldi party that I paired with a lacy bralette and was good to go!”
The sangeet had a Sufi theme. We had an amazing Sufi band, a mashaal entry and we gave out cool nawabi hats and paasas. Aanchal made the event a smashing hit with some surprise performances too. Everyone – literally every single person went on the stage!
For this function, I wore a lehenga from Agunj.”
“We had a beautiful, pastel-themed Telugu wedding with all the traditions we liked. I wore a lehenga, my bridesmaids carried mirrored Jaipuri parasols, we had pre-recorded vows, my sister and her team stole shoes and bullied Raghu; in fact, Nick (Raghu’s best man) swears that he was assaulted while trying to save the shoes! It was truly so beautiful! We had beers, a flutist, raffia fans, and a bubble send off.
Ashlesha did our makeup. By “our” I mean she did mine, my mom’s and my sister’s. It’s a funny story how I found her. She did my trial literally one day after she got married (she was still in wedding clothes and her house was all decorated). She is such a lovely, warm person and truly went the last mile with me. My best friend told me to pick my artist carefully because I would spend all my time with her. I’m so glad I listened to her because Ashlesha was such a pleasure to be around and it doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous!
While I did wear a few real jewellery pieces, most of my ornaments were costume. Minerali in Bandra had almost everything. Stylish, statement pieces and I’m not too traditional so their collection was absolutely perfect for me. They made my bridal set happen last minute with a smile on their faces. Great team, great stuff. I can’t thank them enough for making my looks happen!”
“Our last event was a lantern themed reception. I think this was the most fun event for me because I finally relaxed. After three days of non-stop partying, this was when people gave really emotional and warm toasts; the best man, father of the groom, bride, Raghu’s aunt etc. People sang impromptu and the event was truly heartwarmingly beautiful. We did party till 6 am so I don’t know if I can call this mellow!”
Advice For Couples
“I think a wedding is a representation of who you are as a person and what brings you joy. You need to figure what that is and then stay firm on making that happen. Raghu and I truly consider our friends to be family. We wanted to have a three-day party and we made that happen. I’ll also say that this whole process was a DIY for us. If you look at wedding planning as a team-building exercise, where you truly do the whole thing on your own, you will become better partners in life.
Needless to say, while we did plan as much as we could, a lot of things went wrong in the last couple of weeks. So prepare as much as possible, and let go in the end! My mom, sister and best friend literally made the event come together. Raghu’s family and friends truly made their presence felt and brought joy. It was everyone’s collective effort that made the events fun. So just let your hair down and have a good time because there are no do-overs.”
Venue: Gokarna Forest Resort
Wedding Planner: Wedding Duo
Bride’s Outfits: Gesinee’s Bridal (Pool Party and Reception), Agunj, ShahpurJat (Mehndi and Movie Night and Sangeet), Renee label (Haldi and Holi Party)
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Ashlesha
Choreography: Live, Love, Dance