Uttara and Nishant, Ambrosia Resort and Spa, Pune
This Maharashtrian-Peshwai wedding between two college sweethearts saw two cultures come together in elegant events and traditional ceremonies.
Uttara and Nishant’s ceremonies were filled with cultural significance and featured traditional elements that added to the celebrations and their outfits. The Canada-based lovebirds travelled across the ocean to celebrate their love in their hometown, Pune, with their near and dear ones.
How We Met
Recalling their college days, Uttara says, “Nishant and I met nine years ago in our hometown, Pune, at a college event. Nishant, a mechanical engineer, was doing his Bachelor’s in VIT and I, a product designer, was pursuing my bachelor’s from MIT, Pune. We shared nothing in common except for a couple of mutual friends and Nishant got my number through one of them after we had met. After a couple of conversations, even though Nishant was certain I would reject him, he took a chance and asked me out for a cup of coffee. To his surprise, I agreed. Till date, I believe that it was the best decision I have ever made.”
“Nishant had to move to Montreal, Canada, to pursue his master’s degree and we couldn’t bear to stay apart for very long. A year after Nishant’s move, I shifted to Toronto to do a postgraduate course. After eight years of a thriving relationship and unconditional love, the next obvious step for us was to get married. We travelled back to our hometown and got engaged in front of all our loved ones,” says Uttara.
Their engagement was accompanied by a Sakhar-Puda ceremony. Both their families came together, and the groom’s father gifted the bride a packet of sugar to signify the beginning for their new bond.
“Being truly Maharashtrians at heart, Nishant and I decided to have an authentic Peshwai wedding in Pune. We wanted to have an intimate wedding and we chose Ambrosia Resort and Spa as our wedding venue. Located in the outskirts of Pune, Ambrosia is surrounded by greenery, tall coconut trees and beautiful earthy, rustic architecture. It was the ideal location to pull off a small yet royal Marathi wedding.”
Uttara says, “I flew to India three months before the wedding to look into every tiny detail. Being a designer, I wanted to design my wedding card. Along with planning the wedding decor, I also sketched and planned all our outfits. I had the support of my brother, friends and family in India to help me put together and plan everything for my wedding – from hand-painted sarees and wedding favors to decor elements.
“For the wedding photography, we chose Alhhad Deshpande from Photizo Studio. Photizo Studio is a team of extremely talented photographers based in Pune. Both Nishant and I had worked with them during our engagement shoot. I chose Tejaswini, a Pune-based makeup artist, for my wedding and reception makeup. I genuinely think Tejaswini is the most patient and talented makeup artist and I trusted her blindly. She makes sure you look like an absolute stunner on your big day.”
Grahamak and Sod-Munj
The wedding rituals were all rooted in Peshwai culture. Every Maharashtrian wedding starts with Grahamak, a ritual conducted at the bride and groom’s respective houses. This is symbolic of inviting the gods to make the wedding an auspicious occasion. The bride looked gorgeous in her mother’s 29-year-old wedding saree called ‘shalu’. She wore it for good luck as she took the first step towards her happily ever after.
Following the Grahamak, Nishant participated in a ritual called ‘Sod Munj’, which signifies that a Brahmin boy has returned from his education and is ready to get married and embark on a new chapter in his life. Nishant wore a traditional white dhoti coupled with janwha (braided white threads) for his Sod-Munj.
They hosted a cocktail dinner on the rooftop of Adda in Kothrud, Pune. The guestlist included all their friends and cousins. The beautiful bride wore a custom-made red gown designed and stitched by her mother. The dashing groom wore a brown blazer that he bought from Canada.
Mehndi and Sangeet
The bride’s family organized her mehndi function at their 54-year-old bungalow in Pune. Born and brought up there, the location was a treasure trove of her childhood memories. Taking charge of the decor herself, she managed to pull off a small yet colorful mehndi and sangeet party. She wore a banarasi lehenga in royal blue that her mother bought specially from Banaras. Nishant’s quirky blue Nehru jacket and a white kurta complemented the bride’s attire perfectly.
The bride chose fresh yellow and orange marigold flowers for her mandap, a tribute to her Marathi roots. She wore a red nine-yard Paithani saree by Swamini Saree called ‘nauvari’ and an off-white Paithani ‘shela’ (dupatta). Paithanis, made from fine silk, have a unique square border and are considered one of the most exquisite pieces of artistry from Maharashtrian culture.
Uttara wore family heirloom gold jewellery, including the mohan-maal (beaded necklace), laxmi-haar (coin necklace), naath (nose ring), and her great grandmother’s kolhapuri saaj (necklace worn as a headband).
Nishant wore a traditional Maharashtrian barabandi (12 laces) kurta along with a red dhoti and red paithani uparna (stole). He also wore the bride’s grandfather’s pearl bhikbali (earring for Peshwai men). The couple’s matching embroidered ‘Nishara’ juttis added a special charm to their ensembles. All the close friends and family members were dressed in traditional Maharashtrian attire – the ladies in nauvari sarees and the men in kurtas with red tilak topis (traditional Maharashtrian turban).
The wedding ceremony began early in the morning with the Satapathi – a ritual of going seven times around the holy fire, reciting the seven vows of marriage. The bridesmaids accompanied the bride to the mangalashtak (haar ceremony) under a phoolon ki chaadar made of marigolds. Following this was the Kanyadaan, where the bride’s parents give her away to the groom. Nishant then sealed their bond with a mangalsutra (a necklace to mark their marriage).
After the morning rituals, Uttara changed into a bright yellow saree by Peshwai Creations; a gift from her uncle. Nishant wore a white sherwani with a yellow dhoti, red Peshwai pagdi and a yellow and white pearl necklace. Both of Nishant’s outfits were designed by Ivory Bazaar Boutique in Pune.
The parents hosted two separate receptions to introduce the newlyweds to the families. The first reception was held at The Orchid, Pune. The bride wore a raw tissue silk saree in pink – a gift from her mother-in-law. She paired it with a hand-embroidered blouse from Label Radhika More. She completed her look with a heavy maang tikka and traditional kundan jewelry. Nishant wore a tailored Lane Bottoli suit that matched Uttara’s saree.
The second reception was held at Vishnukrupa Hall in Shaniwar Peth. Here there was an authentic Puneri menu. Uttara wore a silk brocade saree from Chennai in hot pink, which was a gift from her parents. Nishant chose to go with a royal blue three-piece suit and a pink tie. The guests had a blast at the afterparty, burning up the dance floor and celebrating Nishant’s birthday as the clock struck 12.
After their fun-filled, traditional wedding, the couple took a quick four-day honeymoon in Bali. Uttara says, “Even though we are back to the horrific December cold in Toronto, we could not be happier to embark on this new phase of life together.”
Advice For Couples
“It’s essential to include your roots, traditions and rituals into your wedding to make it more personal. From planning our wedding in our hometown and hosting functions at my ancestral home to following traditional customs and a set dress code, our wedding reflected what we are made of.”
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Adda, Pune (Cocktail), Ambrosia Resort and Spa, Pune (Wedding), The Orchid Hotel, Pune (Reception 1), Vishnukrupa Hall Shaniwar Peth, Pune (Reception 2)
Groom’s Outfits: Ivory Bazaar Boutique (Wedding), Lane Bottoli (Reception 1), Raymond (Reception 2)
Groom’s Jewellery: Shri Krishna Pearls
Bride’s Outfits: Swamini Saree (Wedding), Peshwai Creations (Wedding), Label Radhika More, Enaya Store (Reception 1)
Bride’s Jewellery: Diamonds For Less, Toronto (Engagement Ring), KRA Jewellers, Pune (Wedding)
Makeup and Hairstylist: Tejaswini Makeup Studio
Photography and Videography: Photizo Studio