Gargi and Andrew
Two cultures merged beautifully at Gargi and Andrew's LA wedding
How we met
They met through a common friend and soon started competing with each other while playing the popular Scrabble-type game Words with Friends. “Andrew would always win!” says Gargi. They continued bumping into each other at mutual friends’ places and their friendship turned to love. So what attracted Gargi to Andrew? “He is an engineer and I am an accountant and we got along because we really enjoyed each other’s nerdiness,” recounts Gargi.
The couple chose to get married at the upscale Hyatt Regency Long Beach hotel in California. Gargi explains the choice of venue, “We both really wanted a venue that was close to the water as we have both grown up in Southern California and love the beach and ocean. Also, we wanted a venue that accommodated an Indian caterer as we wanted to serve Indian food. Finally, we had a limited amount of dates that worked with our horoscopes. Due to that we only had four months to plan the wedding. This was one of the few venues that checked all the boxes.”
Since this was a cross-cultural wedding – or a “fusion wedding” as Gargi terms it – the couple did not have a week-long affair with multiple ceremonies. However, Gargi says, “We did all the events that were important to me and my family. We had a grah-shanti pooja, mehndi party, haldi ceremony and a Hindu wedding ceremony as well as an American one, followed by a reception.”
Gargi wanted the grah-shanti pooja ceremony to be an intimate one so it was held at her parent’s house. In keeping with the traditional vibe of the ceremony, the decorations primarily involved colourful sarees and vibrant flowers.
The mehndi party was hosted by Gargi’s uncle and aunt and had a fun, casual tone. “The food was fun as well with pav bhaji and dosas. We invited both sides of our families and close friends to this event,” she recalls.
For the wedding and reception decor, Gargi went the floral route as she wanted a dreamy, romantic vibe for these events. “I picked ivory, baby pink and coral as my colours. I love roses and peonies so those were the flowers used for the mandap and bouquets. I used gold accents where appropriate,” describes Gargi.
The couple had the Indian wedding ceremony, cocktail-hour American wedding ceremony and reception on the same day, in that order. So this called for some innovation and flexibility in terms of the decor. “I wanted the mandap to become the altar in a short amount of time and wanted decor that could easily support that,” says Gargi. The all-white mandap festooned with pretty flowers looked striking against the blue of the Pacific Ocean in the background. The couple also took a fun ride like along the beachfront in a boat, dressed in their finery. Some members of Andrew’s family wore striking ethnic Indian ensembles like sarees and kurta pyjamas making it seem like one big, happy, integrated gathering which this wedding truly was.
Gargi’s mum travelled to Mumbai to suss out her bridal trousseau and technology came to the rescue here. “My mum would FaceTime me every night to pick my outfits. My wedding and mehndi outfits were by Chamee & Palak. My jewellery was purchased from the US as we found a lady who sells really unique and beautiful kundan jewellery in her store Karmik Fashions.” Gargi looked resplendent in her peach blouse and pink lehenga ensemble for the Indian wedding which had a net dupatta and leaf motifs embroidered in gold all over. Gargi also had a special vision for her bridesmaids sarees, and her mum found the perfect ones in pink ombre with elegant gold borders and blouses that made her idea come to life
Andrew’s rich cream coloured sherwani with delicate gold thread embroidery on the Chinese collars was purchased from Mumbai. His tuxedo, from Yves Saint Laurent, was purchased in the US. Gargi’s all-white gown for the American wedding ceremony was from BHLDN, the wedding brand from the niche luxe store Anthropologie.
A beautifully cut strapless white gown with a delicate bolero and waist sash, it was paired with a short, elegant veil. However, she implemented an interesting scheme for the groomsmen. “When it came to the groomsmen I wanted them to be in suits even for the Indian ceremony to show both cultures. I went with light grey because it complimented the wedding colors and made Andrew pop in the pictures. The groomsmen rented their suits so they could look exactly the same.”
Challenges of organising an Indian wedding in the US
Gargi shares, “I think in this day and age there are so many Indian people in the US so a lot of resources are available. However, the biggest problem is still the range of outfits. There isn’t as big of a selection here and the limited options are not always the best. Plus, the bridal ensembles here turn out to be pretty expensive most of the times.”
The Wedding Makers
Make-up Artist: Design Visage
Florist: Chloe and Mint
Mandap and other rentals: Opus Event Rentals
Mehndi Artist: Rupal Shah
Caterers: Manohar’s Delhi Palace
DJ: Fusion Sounds
Photos Courtesy- Dipan and Barry, Hitched Photo