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How we met
Says Siddhartha (Sid), “So, I'm having dinner with one of my closest business school buddies. About three-quarters of the way through the evening, he mentions a girl he thinks I should meet. I’m intrigued. He tells me all about Zunu and shows me a picture. She looks cute and smart and I'm game to meet her. Of course, it's not until the end of dinner that he reveals that she is his cousin! Despite the distance, I decide to go for it. Life wasn’t the same afterwards! I still remember the first time I met Zunu. Dressed sharply in black, she was every bit the spunky, pretty, smart girl described to me at dinner. I think I knew then, subconsciously, that she would be one.”

After dating for a while, Zunu tells us how Sid sealed the deal to forever, “Early February 2015, I got a call from one of my closest friends. She sounded excited and said that she was visiting Hyderabad for an official trip. I invited her to stay at my place but she insisted that I stay with her at her hotel, the Falaknuma Taj Palace. I immediately agreed! It’s one of the most beautiful palaces in India and the place where Siddhartha confessed his love for me for the first time! I found out Siddhartha had a sudden business travel plan the same weekend my friend was visiting Hyderabad. But he said it would be a hectic work weekend for him. I went to the hotel, carrying a gift for my friend who I hadn’t seen in ages. And then I saw Siddhartha! It was the best surprise ever! He took me by the pool, went down on one knee and asked me to marry him!! I bent down and said yes - five times. It was a like a fairytale and was the best day of my life!”

Wedding Venue
“We wanted a destination wedding, a relaxed one. I visited Leela after seeing a few hotels. The minute I saw it, I fell in love and was pretty sure I wanted to get married here. The Leela Kovalam staff were very helpful. Both families are big time foodies and Leela offered us amazing food! Almost every event had a different cuisine catering to our guests from all over India, the US and Australia.”

Wedding Planning
“I was working in the US for 6 months before my wedding. The wedding planning in India happened with a lot of assistance from my parents. The event-planning in the US was handled by my husband and his family.

For the wedding in India, we relied on the internet and of course on WeddingSutra to look for vendors - make up artist, wedding cards, photographer, designers, videographer. Our decorator, Sudha Dalmia from Kolkata came through a reference and we loved what she did with each of our events. It was amazing! Having done most of the research ourselves, we didn’t really need a wedding planner. We hired someone local to manage different vendors, the hotel offered lot of help and our huge family also pitched in!”

Wedding Events
“We had a 3-day destination wedding in Kerala, India, and a 2 day event in San Francisco. As my family is originally from Rajasthan and Haryana, and my husband's family is from U.P., some of our wedding events had a Kerala theme and some a Rajasthani one.

In India, we had an eventful 3 days at the Leela Kovalam - all the guests were staying in the hotel. The hotel offered different venues for all the events, which were uniformly beautiful.

Day 1
Guest Arrivals - most of the guests arrived in the afternoon and we had a Kerala style Panchavadyam welcome for them.

Welcome dinner – the entire venue was decorated with diyas, something I’d really wanted and the decorator outdid herself. Local artists performed Kathakali followed by Kalaripayattu. I wore an ivory lehenga by Anita Dongre.

Day 2
Mehendi (held during the day) – We had a Rajasthani theme so the décor was bright and beautiful. Rajasthani folk dancers performed, and there were bangles, and purses for the women and brooches for the men. I chose to wear a sharara from Shaymal and Bhumika for this event.

Sangeet – Later that evening, the Sangeet was held by the beach. I wore a bridal creation by Sabyasachi. We had a massive screen set up to telecast the video of any song the DJ played which turned out to be a big hit with our guests!

Day 3
Haldi - We had 2 beautiful haldi stands built for the bride and groom by the poolside.

Kerala style Sadhya lunch - all 300 guests ate together on banana leaves, a new experience for all of us. There were gajras also for all the women.

Shaadi – I wore a lehenga by Manish Malhotra. It was the first outfit I tried during the wedding shopping and I knew it was the one!

With a Rajasthani theme, the decoration was just out of the world and the shaadi was just perfect.

After the ceremony, we had speeches from bride and groom’s side followed by dinner.

A month later, we had a 2-day event in San Francisco, US.

On the first day, the Sangeet and Mehendi were held at the San Francisco City club. The venue was beautiful. The theme was Christmas as our event took place the day after Christmas.

On the following day, we had the Cocktail and Reception at the Hyatt.

At the reception, we entered the venue on 'Nacho jii phaad ke' from Happy Ending and our first dance was 'It Never Entered My mind - Miles Davis'. I always wanted to dance to this song as my first dance! Then there was the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, speeches from our families, and a toast from my husband's uncle who is a very close family friend. This was followed by dinner and dancing. Amber, San Francisco did the catering and it was delicious. The DJ was amazing too. We had an after party with our friends which continued till the wee hours of the morning.”

The Wedding Makers
Photographer - Richa Kashelkar – we highly recommend her, she was simply fabulous.
Makeup Artist in India- Ambereen Yusuf - I loved her work and would highly recommend her, but do take a pre-bridal trial with her
Makeup artist in US - Nikki Ngo - She was great. My sister in law found her.
Wedding cards – The Entertainment Design Company - since the wedding was in Kerala, we kept the color white and gold, and we loved the final outcome!
Wedding Registry – Wanderable

Photos Courtesy - Richa Kashlekar

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