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Richa Joshi and Gaurav Ranjit at Upper Deck Resort, Lonavala

The couple knew they needed a resort with an excellent view since they wanted all their functions to be held outdoors

Our new series, ‘Featured Weddings’ brings you wonderful moments from weddings held at the finest venues across different cities. Here, we feature US-based couple Richa and Gaurav’s intimate destination wedding affair in Lonavla.


Richa and Gaurav wanted a destination wedding. Their families were keen on Mumbai. Lonavala seemed to be the best of both worlds. Richa says, “Once we decided on Lonavala, we knew we needed a resort with an excellent view since we wanted all our functions to be held outdoors. We Googled and came up with four top contenders: Della, Dukes, Upper Deck and Fariyas. Then we did a little more research with friends, family and even Skyped for a virtual look and decided it would be Upper Deck. It’s a boutique resort on top of a hill and has breathtaking views all around.” 



It was the perfect destination for this couple, as Richa explains, “I am a Pahadi (originally from Uttaranchal) and my husband is a Maharashtrian (originally from Bombay) and we were getting married in the Pahads of Maharashtra!”



Wedding Planning

We live in the US and decided to plan the wedding ourselves! So we had a tremendous amount of help from our family but as you can imagine, we used the Internet a lot! I read so many blogs but WeddingSutra was my favourite go-to. It gave me references, ideas and experiences from real life couples/brides. My wedding dress was from Chamee & Palak whom I found in the WeddingSutra Lehenga LookBook. In fact, the LookBook helped me not just with my trousseau but also with photographers and make-up artists. 


If you want to be plugged in to your wedding planning, you have to understand that it takes time, patience and effort. We had to carve time out of our busy work schedules to get things organized. It meant finding vendor options, contacting them, making comparisons before finalizing. You can’t do it on your own. We were lucky to have the help of family and friends in India after we had our initial Hangout or Skype sessions with the vendors. 


Wedding Events

We stayed at the Upper Deck for two days. On the first morning, we held a small Mehndi function while there was kite flying in the afternoon. I wore a teal lehenga with gold and pink highlights, designed by my mother and friend. My husband kept it simple with a white Lucknowi chikan kurta and a mango half-jacket. 



That evening, we hosted a cocktail hour followed by the exchanging of rings and a sangeet. Since it was an evening by the pool, we wore blue and black. I wanted an indo-western dress and found the perfect anarkali/gown at Seasons, Santa Cruz. My husband bought a bandhgala suit a week before the function. Then, he had some last minute alteration glitches with his trousers, which he brilliantly handled by mixing and matching. 



On the morning of the second day, we held the haldi, and the wedding in the evening. We kept our wardrobe simple and elegant on our big day. I wore the Chamee & Palak lehenga for the wedding and my husband wore an Anita Dongre sherwani. 


The Wedding Makers

Although we did meet some wedding planners on our short trip to India a few months before the wedding, we were disappointed when they asked us to choose from the options already in their brochures. We’d have preferred to discuss and develop the custom ideas we had for our wedding. 

That’s when we came across Lonavala’s Wedding Decore Company. We wanted to use the outdoor beauty of the resort and wanted the décor kept minimal yet elegant. Wedding Decore executed our ideas brilliantly even though they had not done anything similar before. And it was well within our budget too! 



My husband and I already had a clear vision of what we wanted the photography to capture, décor, events, portraits. So we wanted to hire a photographer who we could be open and comfortable with, rather than super professional and maybe uptight. We found our photographer quite late, only about 2 months before the wedding. But we got a steal! Himanshu (from Himanshu Rohilla Photography) is not primarily a wedding photographer only. He is into music, travel and sports photography as well, but it gave him an edge. He wasn’t creating the same scenarios he’d done for a dozen other couples. 


For make-up, I wanted to look my natural best and was having a hard time selecting artists based on pictures of their work. Finally, I went with a personal recommendation from a friend. I was very happy with the final results thanks to BLUSSH salon and so was my super critical family! 

Photos Courtesy- Himanshu Rohilla Photography

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