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Payal and Kashyap

A traditional Gujarati wedding in Chicago

Kashyap and I are both pursuing our MBA at the MIT Sloan of School Management in Boston. We met when we were students at University of Illinois. Prior to our wedding, I was residing in Chicago. Kashyap proposed to me at the gorgeous lake, Xi Hu, in Hangzhou, China in May 2008. We did not have a formal engagement party, but two months before the wedding, our highly talented wedding photographer Sangeeta did a gorgeous pre-wedding photo shoot in New York.

About the Wedding

Our wedding was held on August 22, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. We had traditional Gujarati wedding ceremonies which started with a modern-style Mehndi night on the rooftop of our friend’s apartment building in downtown Chicago. The next day the Grah Shantis and a Garba-Raas night were held at a temple in Chicago. The wedding and reception was held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, and selecting this venue was one of the best decisions we made. We received tremendous help from Mary and Alfonso in planning and coordinating our special day..


The Jai Mala was an especially fun tradition in our wedding because after Kashyap’s friends started whistling and chanting my name, I came to greet Kashyap with a garland. To make the tradition challenging, Kashyap’s tall friends lifted him much higher than my brothers and uncles could lift me. So it was very difficult for me to garland Kashyap and at one point I refused to put it on him and jokingly said I’d walk away unless his friends lowered him. After a struggle, I finally managed to garland him.

Wedding Decor

The most unique aspect of our wedding was that all the decor elements were designed and bought by both of us. The mandap and aisle fabric, tablecloths, chair ties, ceiling drapery. Indian serving bowls and other details were also chosen by us and custom designed in Gujarat, thanks to the help of Kashyap’s family. The decor for the wedding ceremony consisted of cream-colored drapes at the room entrance and red velvet carpet aisle with lit fabric stands and submerged flowers in vases. On both sides of the mandap there were two very large bouquets of white roses on tall stands. The guests were seated on gold chivari chairs and were served appetizers and a colourful chiku juice.


The reception cocktail hour began immediately after the wedding ceremony. Guests were served an array of appetizers, cocktails and colorful martinis, including the signature Payal of Kash martini. An elephant shaped ice sculpture (martini luge) with our initials was in front of one of the lit bars. Our engagement and childhood photos were displayed all around the reception area. The Reception hall was lit with blue lighting and the dance floor had our monogram (initials) highlighted on it. Guests were served in a family style and the dessert was kulfi ice cream served in martini glasses. After dinner, an air wall of fabric opened up to allow guests to enter the sweet room which had a variety of Indian sweets.

What we wore

I wore a custom-designed traditional red and white Gujarati “panetar” choli covered with gold embroidery. Kashyap got his red sherwani and matching dhoti from a store on C.G. Road in Ahmedabad, India. For the reception I wore a blue custom-fit dress with a fishcut skirt. The design was modern with gold pattern throughout. I purchased both outfits from a store named Roop Ranjan in Ahmedabad.


We had fun at a post-wedding portrait session in Toronto where we got a chance to again wear our beautiful wedding clothes.

We could not have had such a beautiful wedding without the help of our wonderful vendors and our family, friends, and most of all my sister Unnati. Thank you so much for all your efforts in making our day fabulous. And thank you WeddingSutra for sharing our special day on your website.

Our Recommendations
Venue: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, IL 
Photography: Kumari Photo & Design from Toronto 
Videography: Rishi Kumar Videography from Toronto 
Bridal Makeup: Sonia Sandhu 
AV: Precision Lighting & Sound 
Food: Saffron Restaurant & Catering in Westmont, IL 
Pictures courtesy: Kumari Photography 
Wedding Shoot Make-Up: Sherry Vanstone 

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