Sneha Subramanian and Ethan Fischer, InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort, Chennai
From the crafts of Rajasthan and Meenakshi Sundareshwar to paintings of artist Raja Ravi Varma, the wedding decor celebrated India’s artistic heritage.
Sneha and Ethan’s beautiful wedding was a memorable celebration of art, traditions, and cultures to mark the coming together of their family and guests from all over the world. Hosted across InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort and other venues in Chennai, the spectacular shindig planned to perfection by WeddingSutra Favorite – The Wedding Experience pushed the boundaries of creativity for an experience like no other.
How they met
Sneha Subramanian, the Head of Marketing for a renowned Tech company based out of Chennai, met Software Engineer Ethan Fischer while studying at the University of Chicago where they were pursuing their respective courses. Their friendship evolved over time into love, and they blended their cultures and families to wed in a vibrant wedding celebration in Chennai.
Sneha and Ethan wanted their wedding to be imbibed with the rich flavors of both their cultures and heritage. Also, with the wedding being hosted in India, they wanted to imbibe the essence of Indian culture and traditions in their ceremony and decor.
They entrusted the team of The Wedding Experience to orchestrate a unique experience for their guests coming from all over the world. Shedding light on the process, they share, “With the couple and their families living abroad, almost all of the planning was done virtually. We worked on their brief of creating a vibrant, multicultural celebration and took inspiration from every nook and corner of incredible India. From our visits to Jaipur to the pre-wedding shoot in Karaikudi, every experience gave us insight into the local crafts and showered us with ideas. Understanding that this will be the first impression of what Indian culture is for many of the guests, we carefully curated pieces for the events that stood out and made an impact. We expressed our concepts through four carefully curated elements: the Invite, Mehendi, Wedding, and the Reception, each bringing its unique touch to India’s heritage and customs. While aspects from both the North and South of India were used in each of the events, the running theme across all elements was Shri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar, to signify the marriage and marital unity of the gods Parvathi and Shiva. The Invite started the wedding celebrations with custom invitations for hand-picked guests, which were inspired by Madurai’s famous Meenakshi Amman Temple, the murals of which were used on all sides of the box, with the top being a Thanjavur-style painting of the marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareshwarar.”
Hosted at the rooftop Q-Bar at Hilton Chennai, the Mehendi function channeled the essence of Rajasthan. Inspired by the beauty of Hawa Mahal, the decor saw colorful stained glass, handpainted arches, traditional blue pottery, multicolored mosaic lamps, handwoven dhurries, and vibrant drapes and carpets, all of which were sourced from Rajasthani artisans. Stalls of tarot reading, bangle making, rice engraving, a perfume bar, and potli favors set a “haat” like ambiance for everyone to enjoy, offering a memorable experience to their International guests. In keeping with the earthy, traditional tone of the occasion, the couple flaunted statement pieces by Anita Dongre.
A celebration of Sneha’s Tamil heritage, the wedding ceremony hosted at her ancestral family temple was a tranquil blend of enchanting decor and traditions that gave their guests a taste of South India. Imagined entirely in hues of red and white, the decor transported the guests to another realm as they entered a stunning walkway of patola drapes, floral chandeliers, and motif fabric danglers. An extension of the walkway decor, the photobooth offered a chance for some memorable pictures while a six-foot tall floral elephant installation greeted the guests as they walked towards the mandap. Built with Chettinad pillars and a floral backdrop of Meenakshi Sundareshwar artwork, the mandap was a nod to Karaikudi, where the couple had done their pre-wedding shoot. The mandap canopy of densely packed floral string scallops also recreated the auspicious Meenakshi Sundareshwar Kalyanam at Madurai.
For the Oonjal (Swing) ceremony, a traditional South Indian swing decorated with anthuriums for a modern touch was set up amidst a sea of red rose petals that completely covered the temple portico floor. The experience was no less than a dream!
The festivities came to a splendorous end with an evening Reception at InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort. To give an informal feel to the evening where they could walk around the venue, the decor recreated the concept of a Pushkarini – a central temple waterbody. Filled with lotuses, rose petals, and diyas, the breathtaking water structure was surrounded by table seating for an ethereal ambiance. It was also surrounded by LED diyas for guests to set afloat on the water, while a canopy of custom-made fabric lamps, red roses, and crystal chandeliers hung overhead.
The couple corner was flanked by famous Raja Ravi Varma paintings – Hamsa Damayanti, Radha in the Moonlight, and Kadambari, along with terracotta horses for a stunning sight. More terracotta props such as tulsi planters, elephant figurines, and floral runners on tables added an earthy feel, while teakwood sofas, engraved statement teapoys, gramophones, brass work like Nandhis, and flower vases added a vintage charm. The bar counter featured prints of famous South Indian musical instruments and a backdrop of cascading crystal chandeliers leading to the stage where musicians Rajesh Vaidya and Abhijit Nair entertained the guests with their magical performances.
While the occasion in itself was nothing short of magnificent, even more, personal touches were added to make the evening truly unforgettable. From the rooms to the venue, ten arches created the Kanchivaram silk route, with each arch telling a unique story. The photobooth recreating a women’s dresser complete with mirrors and a Chettinad Athangudi tiled floor was a nod to Karaikudi again. The evening ended with a pyrotechnic display on the beach to mark the momentous celebration they had all experienced, and the guests returned with hand-painted Pichwai plates to remind them of it for the rest of their lives.
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Hilton Chennai (Mehendi), InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort, an IHG Hotel (Reception)
Design, decor, planning: The Wedding Experience
Bride’s Outfits: Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Reception), Anita Dongre (Mehendi), Kanakavalli (Wedding)
Bride’s Jewelry: Amrapali Jewels (Reception)
Makeup: Prakruti Ananth
Entertainment: Abhijit Nair and Rajesh Vaidhya
Photography and Videography: Weva Photography