I have physical reactions to weddings this pretty. My heart starts to beat a bit faster, my smile gets wider and my fingers get antsy. I can barely wait to sit behind this computer and share the beauty with the rest of our wedding-loving readers. Because I know you get it – the pitter patter, the grin, the excitement – it happens to you too. And today it’s all thanks to this cultural beauty captured by Julie Kay Kelly Photography at Calistoga Ranch. It’s two beautiful ceremonies in one gorgeous post, making this gallery simply fabulous.
And just when you thought this couldn’t possibly get better, it does. Oh it really does…
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From Julie Kay Kelly Photography… Growing up as a little girl in Louisiana, Brittany’s wedding fantasies did not include a sari. The first time she saw an Indian wedding though, two years after Vivek proposed to her on a Ferris wheel, she was smitten. She fell in love with the vibrant colors and beautiful rituals and wanted the guests at her wedding to experience the same magic and meaning as she had.
Currently living in Austin, and with family and friends scattered around the globe, the two chose the beautiful Napa Valley as a central destination that few of their guests had ever experienced. The couple loved Calistoga Ranch as soon as they saw it. Secluded and rife with natural beauty, Brittany knew her guests would feel at ease there. Originally, Brittany and Vivek thought they’d get married in 2013. It turned out that Calistoga Ranch still had an opening on Labor Day weekend, though, so the couple planned their wedding in a whirlwind five months, with the help of San Francisco event planner Sheila Dizon.
On the night before the big day guests gathered around Calistoga Ranch’s long turquoise pool to enjoy Indian food and the application of mehndi, or henna, to their hands. The wedding day began with a Catholic ceremony at the nearby St. Helena Church. After a few hours’ rest, Brittany exchanged her long white gown for a breathtaking jeweled red sari; Vivek traded his suit for a traditional sherwani and red turban.
In one of the most dramatic, joyful moments of the day, Brittany’s mother then waited near Calistoga Ranch’s picturesque lawn for Vivek. He entered on horseback, his friends and family in a singing, dancing crowd all around him. After receiving a blessing from Brittany’s mother, Vivek waited for Brittany under the ‘mandap,’ or traditional ceremony structure, and Brittany walked down the aisle between her mother and father to meet her groom. Guests watched, mesmerized, as Brittany and Vivek performed the traditional tying of their hands together, walking around the fire, and other rituals.
The celebration then moved into Calistoga Ranch’s wine cave, where guests dined and danced to the music of DJ Mike Swing, a Texas musician the couple flew out for the occasion.
The experience was everything Brittany had hoped for and more. She loved experiencing and sharing all of the Hindu rituals with her guests, and loved the Catholic ceremony just as much. Having heard the traditional wedding vows spoken so many times, she practically knows them by heart. Getting to say them herself to the man she loves – that was a dream come true.
Photography: Julie Kay Kelly from Julie Kay Kelly Photography | Second photographer: Kristi Knoblich from Allison Reed Photography | Catholic Ceremony Venue: St. Helena Catholic Church in Saint Helena, California | Hindu Ceremony + Reception Venue: Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga, California | Cinematography: Thomas Hughes Films | Event Planning: Sheila Dizon from Event Solutions | Floral Design: Natalini Flowers | Catering + Wedding Cakes: Calistoga Ranch | Indian Music: Jugalbandh including Peter Van Gelder on Sitar, Teed Rockwell on Touchstyle Veena, Gangadhar Gerhard on Tabla + Rhonda Gerhard on Tanpura | Reception Music: DJ Mike Swing | Wedding Invitations: The Paper Place | Wedding Dress: Kitty Chen Couture | Indian Sari + Suit: Silk Threads |Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom’s Attire: Armani | Hair: Carlos Guevara from Ron King Salon