Designed around the idea of “My Big Fat Indian Wedding” this celebration is a cultural beauty like you’ve never seen. Five days of festivities made up their agenda and Gurminder Banga came along for the ride behind the lens. Go see more this way in the gallery!
Our Wedding Planning
Having our families spread across the map, the biggest question was the destination for the wedding. Most important to us, was the presence of our grandparents on our big day. With our grandparents in Gujarat and my granddad unwell to travel, India became the obvious choice. I nervously began to plan a wedding in a country I wasn’t at all familiar with. This was very challenging. Deciding on venues, trusting event planners, and communicating what I envision each of my events to be was nerve wrecking. I was excited to be able to have a BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDING in all its glory but I was also nervous to plan in a country where cultures would be different from what I have always been brought up knowing and taking for granted.
I was adamant about having Banga Studios for my wedding photography. The one thing that mattered most to me was having all my memories captured beautifully and having seen Banga work with other friends, I knew they were perfect for us. They keep the shoots fun, adventurous, and most importantly memorable. Both our families naturally thought I was crazy when you can surely find photographers in India. They suggested I look into photographers in India and so I did, even though I had my heart set on Banga Studios. After having looked into many photographers in India, not liking many of them, and finding the ones I remotely liked way too pricey, our families agreed that we should go with whomever we loved. One thing that becomes clear while shopping around for vendors or even bridal outfits is to go with your first instinct.
Day 1 – Welcome Dinner
This was meant to be a very casual event with the purpose of getting know the close family members and friends. It was held at Hotel Surya Palace in Baroda, where we all dined, mingled, and played a few games while we got to meet each other’s families. The dress code was Indian but casual. I wore a simple suit by Anita Dongre.
My makeup on all five days was done by Farhin from Sara Makeup in Ahmedabad and she had a team to do the hairstyles. While Farin was amazing with giving me the looks I wanted each day, I struggled with the hair stylists who could not understand exactly what I wanted on most days and continuously had me delayed for most events (I had to account an extra hour or two into my getting ready time for troubleshooting hairstyle issues!)
Day 2 – Mehendi/Sangeet
On day two both families held separate Mehendi events during the day where the bridal Mehendi and Mehendi for close family was done. We had our photographers on site to capture the event.
Day 3 – Vidhi & Raunak’s Varghodo
My vidhi was held at Sangath Party Plot in the morning. We hired an Indian band in all its glory to play at the venue while guests entered and also during the ceremony. The vidhi is a religious ceremony and the bride and the outfit worn by the bride gets trashed with haldi by the end of the ceremony. For this event, I wore a simple yellow saree which I bought from a small shop in Nadiad (I don’t remember the name). The event décor was done by the venue owners. I wanted to have the traditional marigold decors for this event as it’s a very traditional/religious ceremony. In the entrance, I wanted to have birdcages decorated with marigolds, and an entranceway built with marigolds incorporated into it. For the mandap area, I wanted big bells hanging scattered across the top of the stage area.
Raunak’s vidhi was held in the lawn area of the Grand Nakshatra Hotel the same morning. They also hired a band to play during the ceremony. Raunak wore a white kurta pajama set for the religious event when they apply haldi to him. He then changed into a second raw silk kurta pajama outfit which he purchased in Surat at Kora by Nilesh Mitesh. His décor was simplistic and they had a red drape tent for the mandap section with chairs placed around the mandap for guest seating.
Day 4 – Wedding Day
Our wedding theme was very regal. Our outfits were inspired by the Maharaja’s and Maharani’s of Rajasthan. I wanted to have an outfit that was very tradition yet also comfortable to carry on my body for the day. I went with a red Anita Dongre outfit with gotapatti work which I shopped for in Mumbai (it was exactly what I imagined, and once I saw the outfit, I knew was done shopping for my wedding outfit). Raunak on the other hand knew he wanted a dhoti sherwani, which we searched for tirelessly. This is until we went to D-Mode Tailors in Bandra (Mumbai), where they were able to brilliantly customize the outfit we had in mind for him.
Our wedding event and décor planner was Velvet Events. Anuj from Velvet events was very thorough and accommodating to my wishes. He was very flexible with his meeting times and would also come home to meet with us in the evenings and after hours if we were swamped with other wedding duties. I wanted to have a very romantic ambiance with chandeliers in the entryway and lots of floral and drapery to the venue. I merely showed him a picture of a hexagon shaped mandap and he went out of his way to design the entire mandap. The guest seating was theater style and went around the mandap. He was great and managed to pull together 3-D images of what the venue will look like on the wedding day. He handled everything from décor to perfuming the venue to background music and more.
Day 5 – Reception
Our reception was meant to be the grand finale as the wedding festivities came to an end. We held our reception party at Umang Party Plot. Bhagwati décor took the lead with décor here. Our inspiration for the reception décor was Palais du Versailles. We decided on lots of layered chandeliers and chandelier cut outs for the stage, a huge revolving stage for our entrance. We had a huge set up for the bar and food on one side. There were various dishes and desserts offered, as well as a live paanwala, who sat on a pedestal and made fresh paans for all the guests.
Raunak’s suit was tailor made at Indochino in Toronto and my gown was from Shyamal & Bhumika. Shyamal & Bhumika were great, in that they customized the gown I selected in-store to the color of my choice, with the right amount of tulle to give me just the right amount of ‘poof’.
Having the wedding in India was one of the most daring decision I have ever made, but definitely one I wouldn’t change for anything else in the world. I highly recommend India for a wedding destination, if what you want is the big fat Indian wedding in all its glory. India makes every possibility a reality, from horse carriages and fireworks on the street to revolving stages, and grand outdoor weddings. Nothing is impossible.
Lastly, we are very grateful for our wonderful team of photographers who despite being in an unknown city, jet lagged, and feeling a bit under the weather managed to scout out some of the most fitting and perfect locations for our photo shoots. They captured every detail of every moment so beautifully and have left us with memories to last a lifetime. Through their pictures we can forever live those moments over and over again.
Photography: Gurminder Banga | Cinematography: Red Studio | Ceremony Venue: Boulevard 9 | Reception Venue: Umang Party Plot | Bride's Ceremony Outfit: AnitaDongre | Bride's Reception Outfit: Shyamal & Bhumika | Location (Mendhi): Tulsi Banquet Hall | Location (Sangeet): Party Plot