This wedding, by far, is one of the most beautiful celebrations I have ever laid my eyes upon. Uniquely mixing cultures and traditions, it also looks like one heck of a good time. Cherry Blossom Events orchestrated it perfectly, with Geneoh Photography and Casey Huxtable ensuring no moment will ever be forgotten. TGIF because I can’t stop going through this enchanting gallery over and over again.
From The Bride… Planning a wedding is no easy feat, even on the smallest of scales. In my opinion, planning a fusion wedding is in a world of its own! From the moment we got engaged, Kabeer and I knew that we wanted to plan a wedding that would be representative of our family moving forward. We wanted to celebrate the marriage of two cultures full of their own traditions and two families with different approaches to weddings. Most of the elements of our wedding had the “fusion” touch, including the ceremonies, the food, the decorations and the attire. We wanted to highlight the essence and beauty of both cultures without competition or compromising each other’s values. Perusing wedding blogs for fusion ideas was extremely helpful and inspiring for many of the details. Instead of having a traditional 3-day (at least!) Indian wedding affair, we opted to have our celebration include a Sangeet (traditional singing and dancing event) inviting both families the night before, and we decided that our wedding day would have a baraat, a traditional Hindu ceremony and a civil ceremony. This made the wedding day a little bit longer, but in the end it was much more fitting for our budget, allowed us to include all the elements we hoped to, and allowed our guests to attend all the festivities. I would encourage brides planning a fusion wedding (or any wedding) to communicate as much as possible with both families before making decisions, listen to others’ ideas and try to honor the most important traditions to each family. Identify what elements are most important to you and your groom and pick your battles wisely.
I am from Wisconsin, so having the celebration at a barn was an easy choice. We found Over the Vines in Edgerton, WI and knew that this was our venue. The property was beautiful, and I loved the elegant chandeliers in the barn. The owners, Billie and Ryan, were very accommodating to the elements of our wedding, such as having a horse on the grounds for the baraat and having a small fire for the Hindu ceremony next to their gorgeous 100-year-old barn. If you are planning a wedding from out of state like we did, find vendors who communicate well and who you can truly trust. We knew that Billie and Ryan had our backs and we spent many evenings on conference calls with them ironing out details.
Gene Pease and Benj Haisch of Geneoh Photography captured our day beautifully. They are incredible talents and we will cherish our images forever. Because we splurged on photography, we needed a more budget-friendly videographer. We hired a family friend, Casey Huxtable, and he did an incredible job for a fraction of the cost. For the attire, I searched everywhere – online, Indian fashion designers, American gowns that could look fusion…but I struggled to find a fusion wedding dress. I decided against wearing a traditional sari, as I knew I wanted to wear something white. Still, I wanted the beautiful Indian beading incorporated in some way. My sister Claire, my maid of honor, and I sketched out a design and headed to Dallas, Texas to meet with Prashe Shah, a talented Indian wedding planner and fashion designer. She understood my vision and created a truly beautiful garment. I love that it is a one-of-a-kind piece. My favorite element was the tulle sash over my shoulder. It had the feel of the draped sari but was light and full of movement. I found my gold tikka on Etsy. The rest of the jewelry was from family. Kabeer borrowed his sherwani from a family member and had his safa (turban) made in Mumbai when we traveled there for our engagement party. We bought our flower girl outfits in Mumbai, and Kabeer’s mother had outfits made for all of our groomsmen and bridesmaids for our Sangeet event the evening before our wedding. This way, we incorporated all the traditional attire of both cultures throughout the weekend. I chose Jenny Yoo bridesmaids dresses in two shades for my girls and utilized Indian accessories with henna to create their fusion look.
Thinking outside the box, using family member’s talents (+ asking for their generous help!), and spending a little extra time on many DIY elements saved us thousands of dollars. Flea markets and antique stores in northern Wisconsin were my main supplier of decorations. I found amazing wooden chairs for our mandap at a flea market, and many vases were less than $1! We also found vintage cheese boxes, gorgeous old brass pieces, a croquet set, our ring box, and wooden crates. We found a vintage vanity during someone’s spring cleaning on the side of the road and used that as our dessert display! Kabeer made our bags set himself following an online how-to to represent our alma maters, Arizona State and University of Wisconsin. I wanted a photo display of our families, so I asked our mothers for photos of our grandparents and great -grandparents. We framed the photos and placed them on some simple yard lattices to create a family tree of sorts centered around a photo of Kabeer and I. I thought it was a neat way to showcase the creation of a new family line. My sister is an incredible artist, and so I asked her to do our chalkboards and table numbers. There was one chalkboard that had a quote from Kabeer from a conversation we had years ago. He said “I cry when you cry, I jump when you jump, I dance when you dance” to me and I never forgot it. It was a special surprise for him to see at the reception. Writing our table numbers in Gujarati was a fun way for people to find their table. I found a farmer’s market vendor from outside of Madison to supply the flowers and bridesmaid bouquets, and my aunt and cousin completed all the vases and centerpieces. We found affordable fabric in India and had gold-tasseled table runners made for our tables. We hired a florist only for my bouquet and the arrangement on the mandap. My older brother Lucas built the mandap, and it was a perfect rustic piece.
Watching Kabeer make his entrance on the regal white horse, hearing the music and drummers go wild and watching our families dance and join together as his family approached mine, was a moment I will never forget. Our dholees (drummers) made the baraat come to life with traditional drumming and a music cart playing a background track. We had a traditional Hindu ceremony followed by a civil ceremony officiated by my father. We wrote our own vows and asked family and friends to play instruments, sing and read our readings. I asked my dad, an eloquent speaker and one to always entertain the crowd, to officiate our civil ceremony. Having him there added a level of comfort and humor to our ceremony that made it that much more special.
Hiring a day-of wedding coordinator was our best decision. Sarah Sarbacker and her team of ladies from Cherry Blossom Events took care of absolutely everything that was planned as well as unplanned. It started raining (and eventually monsoon-ing) in the middle of our civil ceremony, and Cherry Blossom coordinated the movement of everything inside for what turned out to be a seriously stormy evening. In the panic of the rain starting, we skipped the traditional vows and my dad forgot to ask us to exchange our rings. We basically shouted “I do!” and snuck in our first kiss before the downpour commenced. We realized we forgot about the rings and quickly exchanged them before running inside the barn to escape the rain. The sound of the rain pounding on the barn roof was really romantic, and it all made for quite the memorable ceremony! We have enough”good luck” from that rainstorm to last a lifetime.
Madison, Wisconsin has an awesome food truck scene and we love creative and adventurous food. We worked with Christine from Slide Food Cart to create a really fun fusion menu, including homemade mango lassi and a variety of sliders including Chicken Tikka Masala sliders (Which we named Dehli-icious)! Fried cheese curds are kind of a must with any event in Wisconsin, which was taken care of by a late-night food truck visit by Fried and Fabulous. Moscow Mules are our favorite drink, so we gifted our bridal party with copper mugs and offered that as our signature cocktail. Budgeting tip: food trucks saved considerable dollars and kept our per-head cost very reasonable. My mom and I worked with my favorite hometown bakery in Wausau, WI to bake my favorite carrot cake recipe for one of our cakes. Buying small cakes for the cake cutting/display and using sheet cakes for the rest was a fabulous money-saving tip. Family members from India brought traditional Indian sweets to also offer for dessert. One of my favorite finds was our elephant cake toppers that I found in a market in Delhi.
We supplied our DJs, Sound by Design, with a playlist mixed with everything from traditional Bangra music to Top 40 hits. It made the reception such a fun dance party, and everyone left with a few new Bollywood dance moves. The sparkler send-off during a brief moment of dry weather was the perfect end to our wedding day.
Planning a fusion wedding was a constant balancing act, but in the end I think we highlighted and celebrated the essence of both cultures and families really well. Our day was full of vibrant details, many labors of love, and rich traditions. It could not have happened without the generous contributions and tireless energy and support from our families. It was a wonderful start to our marriage, and we will never forget it!
Photography: Geneoh | Videographer: Casey Huxtable | Flowers: Lewiston Perennial Farms | Wedding Dress: Prashe Shah | Cake: 2510 Bakery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Slide Food Cart | Catering: Fried And Fabulous | Hair And Makeup: Nola Kahn | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Attire: Perry Ellis | Baraat : Maharaja Farms | Bridal Bouquet And Mandap Floral: Daffodil Parker | DJ And Photo Booth: Sound By Design | Day Of Coordination: Cherry Blossom Events | Dholee: Amit Patel | Invitations And Stationary: Ty Tekavec | Personalized Mugs: Custom Copper Mugs | Rentals: Best Events | Vineyard And Barn: Over The Vines