A Marriage of Cultures
This particular inspiration board was really fun for me...Maya has asked me to come up with some ideas for her Muslim/Indian/Pakistani inspired wedding, that in my opinion, already sounds spectacular....

This particular inspiration board was really fun for me...Maya has asked me to come up with some ideas for her Muslim/Indian/Pakistani inspired wedding, that in my opinion, already sounds spectacular. I have had a love affair with India's vibrant colors and textures for some time now, though unfamiliar with the various wedding customs of the culture. This was such a great opportunity to discover beautiful traditions and touches that can be incorporated into all types of weddings.

Here is what I came up with...


Top Row: Wedding Attire by Sila, Ring by Page Sargisson, Lanterns by Raj; Center Row: Tents by Raj, Flowers and Shoes on Brides; Bottom Row: Cake by Hollyhock Cakes, bangles by Susan Hanover on Neiman Marcus; red dresses on Brides

Maya mentioned that she is thinking of incorporating deep red, gold and perhaps accents of chocolate brown into her wedding style, so as to convey a feeling of warmth and elegance. I loved this palette so much that I really ran with it. But, I shouldn't put the cart before the horse (or something like that)...let's start with the ceremony.

Both Pakistani and Muslim Indian weddings typically consist of numerous days of celebration...each with their own significance and purpose. Because this is a marriage of cultures, I am going to focus on the actual wedding day, rather than the events leading up. I love the idea of keeping the ceremony really traditional and focused around the union of two families...classic Indian music welcoming guests, perhaps glasses of rose water punch passed, ornate deep red and gold programs adorning each chivari chair. I imagine Maya and her fiance being married under a lovely white tent with deep panels of fabric catching the wind, fresh red flowers tucked into every corner and floating white candles of different heights accenting each floral arrangement. Exchanging lei's would be a lovely touch.

As the guests move into the cocktail hour, they are welcomed with ice cold glasses of sparkling lemonade and an array of Indian & American hor'dourves. Maya mentioned that she would love to style the wedding with lots of really beautiful, lush florals and introduce her guests to the beauty and culture of India. For me, I envision her using flowers native to India...huge banana leaves with deep red orchids (or something similar), gorgeous Bamboo bowls filled with floating water lilies adorning the tables. I love the idea of having Maya or her fiance's family give a welcome toast and invite the guests to also give words of wisdom to the couple.

As an aside, my dear friend Jill gave me these adorable silver frog place card holders by St. Hilaire...as I was looking for some interesting ideas for Maya, I found these similar, oh-so-cute gold elephant holders. Imagine using a chocolate or red colored card stock with crisp white calligraphy to mark each guest's table. So chic! And, it's a great way to thread the warmth of gold into the wedding palette.

Okay, moving on. I see the reception dinner tables transitioning smoothly from those at the cocktail area, still following somewhat of an opulent, warm & inviting ambiance. Antique gold or chocolate linens with gold threading, large overflowing red florals, ornate china and glassware. I love the idea of draping gorgeous printed fabric panels casually over the backs of the chairs...almost as an afterthought. And finally, lots of hanging lanterns or chandeliers (if you have a place to hang them...if not, place lanterns in large groupings around the room)

I envision the food to be a fusion inspired menu...think western comfort food with deep accents of Indian spices and flavors. Have a pianist play soft, classical Indian music while the guests are dining.

After dinner, let the party begin. Turn up the music and encourage guests to start celebrating! Throughout the reception, I would thread some traditional and also personal touches...have an artist offer Henna tattoos to your guests, place photo albums filled with childhood pictures of the bride and groom around the reception area, asking your guests to write well wishes beside the pictures, leave antique Indian jewelry boxes filled with handwritten thank you notes for the guests to take as favors. Every detail should be personal and touching, rich in a familial spirit.

I hope this helps, Maya...I feel like if you stick to tradition and elegance, you really can't go wrong.