Most readers of Sacramento Bride & Groom are looking for guidance as they plan a wedding and reception that may take the better part of a day and involve 100 to 150 people. It’s a major undertaking, to be sure. But if you think putting such an event together to be a challenging project, consider the effort required to put on a traditional Indian wedding! We’re talking a four-day event, starting with the Sangeet, an event where families of the couple have the opportunity to meet or get to know one another better and enjoy music, singing and dancing.
This is followed the next day by the Chunni, a traditional pre-wedding ceremony meant to honor the engagement between the bride and groom, in which the groom’s family enters the bride’s home to present gifts and perform traditional rituals. This is a followup to the Rohka, a small ceremony held a couple of months prior to the wedding that symbolizes the intentions of two families to have their children wed. Rokha means to stop, meaning that the couple will stop looking for prospective spouses. Traditionally, an engagement is considered official only when the the Chunni is complete.
More well-known is the application of intricate henna designs on the bride’s hands and feet, which takes place on the following day in an event called the Mendhi. This is a party where colorful attire is the rule, and there’s plenty of dancing and singing of traditional songs taking place as tattoos are applied.
Finally, after three days of buildup, there’s a wedding and a reception. Guest lists tend to be large, and there are many traditions to be observed.
And on top of all this there are many decisions to be made regarding clothing, hair, makeup, jewelry, gifts, and feeding and entertaining all of those people. Whew! It seems like a girl doesn’t need a honeymoon after all of that as much as she needs a vacation!
Fortunately, when Navroop accepted Harman’s proposal, she was up to the task. She gathered an expert team at We Do Designs and they got to work with some very specific ideas from Navroop about themes for her events. For the Sangeet, it would be a traditional look, but not specifically an Indian style, opting instead for a Moroccan-inspired rustic theme. For the next day’s Chunnni, an emphasis on elegance and flowers. Not surprisingly, Bollywood was the theme for the Mendhi, with all of it’s singing and dancing. Spring Tea Garden was the theme for the wedding, and the reception would be all about glam.
Different themes meant unique color palettes for each event, starting with vibrant hues of tangerine, fuschia, magenta, and green for the Sangeet. For the Chunni, the focus was on pinks and whites for a graceful spring look. For the Henna night, white and dark green fit with the Bohemian theme. The wedding day featured soft pastels, and for the reception, Navroop admits she fell in love with lavender. And of course, flower selections complimented the look, with plenty of ranunculus, hydrangea and orchids.
Not to be outdone by the scenery at her own wedding, the bride dressed in clothing and jewelry from India’s top designers. A beautiful teal and green colored outfit decorated with deer for the Sangeet, and for the wedding, a wonderful taupe lengha adorned with beautiful parrots, and a blush veil. Then, glam for the reception – a midnight blue lengha designed to evoke modern royalty.
On the wedding day, things got started a bit behind schedule. As Navroop says, “I know Indians find it difficult to be on time, but my wedding started an hour and a half later than the time mentioned on the invite!” But once underway, Harman recalls, “The most romantic part of the wedding day came when she first walked in. I was so nervous! Even though I had my entire family there with me, I felt so alone. Then Navroop walked in and sat down next to me. I felt a sense of calmness. I was marrying my best friend.”
The wedding ceremony featured many traditional rituals in which the bride’s family reinforced their ties, even as they let go of the bride to join her new husband. Her brothers walked Navroop around the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Holy Scripture), led by Harman in a ritual that symbolizes making a commitment to God. And the Vaadi ceremony (the bride’s official departure from her home) was a very touching moment. “After all the fun and laughter, there is a great sorrow that looms the air. During the Vaadi ceremony, my family and I officially said goodbye to each other.” Navroop explains.
Remember that bit about modern royalty? Maybe royalty was a bit of an illusion – before the reception, the bride, dressed up in that heavy designer outfit, snuck off with her new husband to Taco Bell for burritos. Would you like hot sauce, your highness?
Then it was back to the reception for plenty of great food, music, dancing and enjoying their first night as husband and wife. And that vacation that seemed so well-deserved? A trip to Italy is on the calendar, with plenty of time allowed for just relaxing.
Navroop puts it all into perspective this way: “I would advise all brides to enjoy every moment of the wedding. It is a once in a lifetime day, and there is no need to stress about the weather, coordination, anything really. In the end it all works out! Rain or shine, as long as you have family and friends to celebrate with, that’s all that matters!”
And finally, some wise words from Harman, “Don’t stress out. Enjoy your wedding. Everything will not go as planned. Your wedding will not be perfect, but you shouldn’t try to make your wedding perfect, you should try to make memories.”
Words from Nadia Khan, Planner at We Do Designs: I have been working with WeDo Designs since March 2016. My passion for planning was developed as a young girl. I have a mother who is obsessed with creating elevated experiences. It started with our house party family events which turned into community events. She was always doing more than she needed to or what I felt was “Extra”. Years later I appreciate and value all things “Extra”.
As We Do Designs developed and began to grow its offerings it was a natural transition for me to focus my energy and passion for elevated experiences to the planning and execution stage. My compassion and commitment to my clients is something I take great pride in. It’s my goal to ensure they are being taken care of as well as the event itself. Half my role is seemingly to manage my clients in the form of coaching and advising, sometimes even on how to handle in-laws.
[PLANNER/DECOR/FLORALS] We Do Designs
[Venue] Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Sahib [Photo/Video] Aperina Studios [Cake] Tatiana Zablotsky [Gown] Rimple and Harpreet / Mahish Malhotra [Menswear] Sabyasachi / Hall Madden [Jewelry] Nanak Jeweler, India [Hair/Makeup] PMA [DJ] Decibel – DJ 808 [Invitations] Florid