Good Morning Lovelies! We are super excited to bring you this gorgeous Indian wedding at the La Clos Chance Winery in San Martin, California. Sami and Niket got married in a vintage bohemian inspired traditional Indian ceremony with so much color and culture. We can’t tell you how blown away we are by this wedding. The whole ceremony was laden with personality and unique details infused by the bride. We asked Sami to guide us through the traditional rites and her gorgeous day. As usual this perfection was captured by the talented Jide Alakija of Alakija Studios.
From the Bride:
The inspiration for our wedding really started with something simple- I have always loved flower crowns and imagined wearing one on my wedding day. They’re sweet and lovely and whimsical, and represent two quite different aesthetics in my mind- 1) Bohemian, hippie, peace and love, and 2) A proper English countryside garden party from the 1930s. My love for flower crowns and all things vintage evolved into the idea of a vintage/bohemian garden party wedding complete with twinkly, yellow-toned lights and candles, long strands of flowers, lightweight fabrics, flower crowns, a free-flowing reception dress, and an outdoor reception with dancing in the moonlight.
Special Projects: I know DIY stands for “do it yourself”, but I took the approach that it also can mean “design it yourself”! I found several amazing vendors on Etsy, and they all were very receptive to me taking some of their existing designs and personalizing them so that they fit our wedding. I purchased my beloved flower crown as well as a vintage-style large clip/fascinator from thehoneycomb named Blanche, who was amazing in personalizing two of her designs to match my outfits and style. I also purchased some barefoot sandals from Courtney of FancyFeetOnEtsy, which pink, gold, and silver and had little starfish embellishments which were perfect for wearing on the wedding mandap where we are barefoot.
We had several DIY projects featured in our wedding, and these were easily my favorite unique touches that made our wedding special. Hanging from the arbor behind our wedding mandap (stage), which framed the vineyard in the background, were these beautiful strands of ribbon with brightly colored flower pomanders. These flower/ribbon strands were very lightweight, and they swayed and danced in the wind in a really beautiful way. My mom, cousins, and my cousin’s daughter Niki made these themselves- and did a great job! It was great because you could still see the vinyeards in the background but the flower strands provided a great pop of bright color.
For our wedding weekend, Niket and I blended his North Indian customs with my Southeast Indian customs. There are distinct traditions unique to every region of India, and weddings are the main event where these traditions come to life. The ceremony began with the North Indian tradition of the bharaat, which is a parade from the groom’s family to joyfully announce the arrival of the groom to the wedding venue. There was a gentleman playing a traditional dhol, which is a particular type of Indian drum that has a wonderfully loud, crisp sound that carries well so you can hear the groom’s family coming from quite far away! The whole family danced, and Niket was picked up and carried for part of the way by his brother and cousins, and they danced the whole way up the long walkway to the winery entry.
When the bharaat reached the winery, my family and friends were waiting to receive them and greet them with a traditional garland exchange. My mom exchanged garlands with Niket’s mom, my dad exchanged a garland with Niket’s dad, etc. It ends up being a really fun part of the ceremony because the garland exchange is meant to be a game- the uncles are supposed to pull the bride away from the groom as he tries to put the garland on her, and vice versa.
There is also a tradition during the marriage ceremony that I really love called saptapadi, in which there are seven little stones set in a line, and the groom has to guide his bride’s foot to each stone in accordance the prayers recited by the priest. Each stone represents a different aspect of a healthy marriage. My favorite of those is the last stone, which calls on the couple to be lifelong friends. There is also a traditional “giving away” of the bride by the bride’s father, in which my dad said some prayers while holding my hand and then placed my hand in Niket’s hand as part of this ceremony, and asked him to take care of me.
My absolute number one super favorite thing I customized and purchased on Etsy was my cake topper made by the wonderful Trina of TrinasClayCreations. This cake topper was a miniature replica of my fluffy blonde goldendoodle named Rio, and looked JUST like her!!! Even down to the silly expression with her tongue sticking out and heart-shaped tag with her name on it, it was perfect. I had Trina incorporate our Tiffany blue/red theme to match our cake by putting mini Rio on a light blue base and adding a bright red flower garland just like the ones Niket and I wore during the ceremony. This meant so much to me because Rio could not come to our actual wedding, and seeing our little Rio figurine on our cake that said “All you need is love… and a dog” was just such a delightful little detail that highlighted that special little someone in our lives that Niket and I love too much to even say with words!
Advice from the bride:
The main piece of advice I’d give to brides-to-be is to be true to yourself on your wedding day and in your wedding planning- whatever that means for you. Be as involved as you would like to be in the planning, and appreciate all the work your loved ones put into making your special day happen. Keep in mind what is important to you for your own wedding, and what isn’t so important to you for that day, and be honest with yourself, your fiance, and your families about it so that everyone is on the same page. If you have a 100% solid view of how you want to look that day, go with it. If you don’t have a preference about what food is served, let someone with stronger opinions about that make the choice. No matter what choice you make on any aspect of the wedding, there will be guests who love it, guests who hate it, and guests with opinions at every point in between those two. So make choices that reflect you and your fiance, and what is important to you- whether it’s family (including pets!), heritage, whatever!- and try to quiet your inner critic and the critical voices of others. It’s important to remember that the wedding is a party, not a performance, so there’s no “right” way to do it. You aren’t competing with anyone else’s wedding, so don’t worry about whether your wedding is fancy enough, extravagant enough, quirky enough, or anything like that. Your wedding will be wonderfully you, and that is a beautiful thing.