Reena Dhawan and Zach Watts, Temecula, California
A celebration of two cultures amidst California’s abundant natural beauty.
Reena Dhawan, a Product Manager and savvy Realtor, united her love with Zach Watts, a Web Developer extraordinaire, with a wedding that was nothing short of spectacular, and packed with happiness, love, and surprises! They spiced things up by blending traditions from different cultures, making the celebration as unique as their love story. Their crew of close friends and family were there, cheering on their love. Watch it unfold.
How they met
Every love story finds its spark in a unique moment. For Zach and Reena, this spark flickered on a seemingly ordinary day, October 15th, 2018, amidst the noise of a training session in Milford, Ohio. What began as a routine work event was soon to evolve into a tale of love of extraordinary beauty. Zach’s rebellious charisma caught Reena’s eye, and their connection came to life during a “Wine Wednesday” soiree. As they hugged to celebrate the night with their friends, their embrace lingered a beat longer, and an unspoken connection was made.
Eventually, the work training ended and Reena went back to California while Zach was asked to stay in Ohio. They bravely faced the hurdles of a long-distance relationship, never giving up. In the end, love won! Zach closed the gap by moving to California, and their hearts found each other, beating as one.
Skip ahead a few years to September of 2021, when their love story took a magical turn at Walt Disney World. With the colorful Moroccan Pavilion as the backdrop, Zach popped the question amid the bustling crowd. Overwhelmed with emotion, Reena said ‘yes,’ and their love was sealed with a promise. Looking back, Reena says, “That moment, forever stamped on my heart, was made even more special by the cheers and applause of the crowd, all of them joining in to celebrate our love and yes, I did ugly-cry.”
Juggling their bustling careers with wedding planning wasn’t easy, yet the joy was in the details. They were ecstatic in choosing unique themes for each event, as well as their dream venues – the beautiful Randhawa Ranch and the enchanting Europa Village vineyard in Temecula. The choice of the ranch, known for its philanthropic efforts in rare diseases, mirrored their own desire to make a positive impact in the world.
During their wedding planning, they encountered numerous obstacles, for instance, county laws in Temecula nearly led them to cancel their ranch wedding twice. Personal adversities such as cross-country relocations, a family health crisis, and a personal loss also added to their challenges.
Challenges aside, they curated a wedding reflecting their love for food, travel, Disney, and one another. Each detail was personal, uniquely theirs, and designed to keep their loved ones close. Their special day unfolded into an enchanting celebration surpassing their wildest dreams, and stood as a beautiful testament to their enduring love.
While the bride was the visionary behind the wedding, the meticulous coordination of every detail was entrusted to the skilled team at High Touch Event. The gifted Shiv Reddy encapsulated their cherished moments in timeless photographs, while the Team at Symboll artfully crafted a captivating wedding video that embodied their love story.
The wedding week began with a cozy mehndi soiree, an intimate gathering of close friends and family. The evening was lit by the cool vineyard night and featured delicious local favorite, Phil’s BBQ. Reena looked graceful in a vibrant ensemble by Mrunalini Rao, and Zach matched her elegance with a pastel floral kurta. It marked the gentle start of their beautiful journey ahead.
Reena’s gorgeous henna designs incorporated and celebrated their interests, such as her love for Disney in the form of a magic castle and Zach’s fondness for magic and mythical creatures with the depiction of a dragon. hey also played a fun game of finding Zach’s name cleverly hidden within the henna artwork, adding to the joyous moments. Zach also participated in the henna tradition, getting a creative design with Reena’s name hidden. Despite his attempt to make it challenging, Reena quickly found her name, and they laughed together, adding another cherished memory to their journey.
The wedding fun rolled into a lively Palm Springs-themed Haldi event the next day. Kicked off with a playful scavenger hunt, the day was packed with excitement. Guests sipped on fun Indian-inspired mocktails like ‘DDLJ,’ ‘Summer in Amber Palace,’ ‘Sweet SRK,’ and ‘Passion Pataka,’ adding zest to the Fourth of July weekend crafted by Sip Sip Mobile Bar. Lunch featured bite-sized Indian treats and California’s classic In-N-Out burgers.
When the Haldi ceremony started, Reena shone in a yellow Rahul Mishra outfit with floral jewelry from The Vintage Snob, while Zach rocked a crisp white kurta. What began as a calming pre-wedding ritual quickly turned into a water balloon fight, leaving everyone soaked, laughing, and unforgettable memories made. Cozy shell pools and palm-tree pink backdrops added to the event’s unique charm.
Since Zach proposed at the Moroccan Pavilion in Walt Disney World, the Sangeet night was imagined with a Mediterranean theme. Guests were treated to delectable Mediterranean flavors with the spread of savory gyro meats, crispy fries, creamy hummus, and refreshing Greek salads, while a selection of curated drinks, featuring “Santorini Mule” and “Moroccan Mojito”, were served by ‘Horse to Water’ in a vibrant red vintage horse trailer, not to mention the endless dessert station where guests indulged in the couple’s favorite sweets.
Everyone immersed themselves in a bustling market filled with playful currency featuring the beaming faces of Reena and Zach. The ingenious “RACH” money added an extra dash of excitement, allowing guests to purchase unique keepsakes while celebrating the couple’s love. The dance floor was adorned with beautiful blue and yellow artistic tiles, whimsical hanging blue frills, and centerpieces featuring lemon and olive leaves—an idyllic setting designed to match Reena’s vision. The night was full of energy from loved ones, taking the stage with unforgettable performances that left hearts full.
The wedding morning unfolded with a blend of traditional and modern elements. The day kicked off with an emotional ‘first look’ between the couple in a rustic barn. Reena arrived in a playful style on a golf cart. As she entered, the barn doors opened and they locked eyes, feeling a rush of happiness. Zach looked dapper in his Jodhpuri Sherwani by Mahavir, teamed with a red mala, while Reena looked stunning in her custom-made red lehenga by Ridhima Bhasin, complemented by beautiful jewelry from Anaqa Jewelers.
The wedding venue was stunning—a beautiful landscape with expansive mountain views. The aisle was decorated with roses, leading to a striking flower-covered mandap. Elegant French-inspired chairs and sun umbrellas added a sophisticated touch, and guests enjoyed thoughtful goody bags filled with snacks and refreshing lassi. Zach joined the ‘baraat’ procession in a sleek white car, while Reena, veiled in a long train and supported by her bridesmaids, walked down the floral aisle.
During a traditional wedding game, a surprising incident sent Zach off the mandap and towards the hills. The crowd was shocked and frightened, but Zach felt strangely calm as if his late grandmother was protecting him. Even as he fell, he felt an unexplainable sense of safety, which he attributed to his grandmother’s watchful presence.
Everyone was relieved to see Zach was well and the wedding continued joyously. Every detail reflected the couple’s personal taste. The menu included live dosa stations, Indian classics including Reena’s favorite goat biryani, and a coffee cart with summer-inspired iced drinks. Despite the fall, the day was filled with joy, laughter, and love, creating lasting memories for all.
Symbolic Ceremony and Reception
Zach and Reena chose the charming Europa Village vineyard for their Western ceremony. Its European elegance made it an irresistible location for their vows. They ensured a sophisticated ambiance with musicians playing beautiful aisle songs. Choosing not to have a first look, they savored the anticipation of seeing each other at the altar.
In their classic tuxedo and timeless white gown, Zach and Reena exchanged their vows filled with deep affection. Bethel, their officiant, added her distinctive flavor to the ceremony that reflected their unique love story. They also included an Irish handfasting ritual, during which Zach’s father tied their hands together as they said their vows, literally “tying the knot.” These vows, a true expression of their love, deeply moved their guests, leaving many in tears.
Adding a final touch of glamor to the evening, Reena slipped into a glittering lehenga by Seema Gujral, shining bright like a diamond. They shared their first dances under an artistically designed fig tree dance floor, creating lasting memories of their deep love.
Their custom menu included favorites like short rib with paella, and local favorite Doh Creamery provided ice cream and edible cookie dough for dessert. The night concluded with an intimate after-party back at the ranch.
As their unforgettable wedding day ended, the memories created a tapestry of love. Reena and Zach’s wedding was a testament to the power of love and the beauty of sharing these treasured moments with the ones who matter most. Remember, “A wedding is a party, not a performance. If at the end of the day, you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly.”
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Randhawa Ranch (Mehndi, Haldi, Sangeet, Indian Wedding); Europa Village Resort (Symbolic Ceremony and Reception )
Wedding Planner: High Touch Event
Floral Decor: Simply Chesca
Groom’s Outfits: Mahavir Collections
Bride’s Outfits: Mrunalini Rao (Mehndi), Rahul Mishra (Haldi), Aisha Rao (Sangeet), Ridhima Bhasin (Indian Wedding), Luv Bridal (Symbolic Ceremony and Reception), Seema Gujral (Symbolic Ceremony and Reception)
Makeup: Drea Makeup
Mehndi: Gopi Henna
DJ: DJ Kush
Entertainment: String Poets
Catering: Chaatcuterie (Haldi), Shawarma Shack SD (Sangeet), Elizabethan Desserts (Sangeet), Charminar (Indian Wedding), Good Coffee Co (Indian Wedding), Europa Village Resort (Symbolic Ceremony and Reception), Doh Creamery (Symbolic Ceremony and Reception)
Photography: Shiv Reddy