Monday, December 27, 2010

A Look Back: A Magnificent Indian Wedding

I can hardly believe that it has been a whole year since my amazing experience in Bangalore, India planning and designing Rushmi and Vikram's wedding. It was a project that was exciting and challenging in so many ways, from the solo international travel to learning the religious and cultural customs of a South Indian wedding to deciphering the services and talents of wedding vendors who had never pushed their own limits in the ways I was requiring. I know for certain that this whole project could have fallen flat had I not had the unwavering trust of the bride and groom and both of their amazing families. They took a risk by hiring a White, American, Jewish New Yorker who had never even been to Southeast Asia to plan a traditional Hindu wedding with a little Western flare, and I will forever be grateful. It was an experience that made me a better designer, a better planner and a better person. I eagerly await the next opportunity to explore a new part of the world and a new part of myself. You can read my original posts here(1), here(2), here(3) and here(4).

Take a look at this beautiful couple and enjoy...

This is the traditional entrance gate at the front of the property. Notice that in between the two doorways we hung a large mirror to ward off evil.

The venue is called The Tamarind Tree, aptly named for this magnificent tree just inside the entrance gates. We enhanced its beauty with strands of lights and hand-strung flowers.

This is the view of the front of the property from the entrance. The pond was home to hundreds of floating lotus flowers on lily pads and the steps were lined with varying sizes of pillar candles. The large structure was set for cocktails upon guests' entrance, but was later transformed into the dancing area.

The groom was escorted on the patterned petal aisle by the bride's brother and followed by her family. In the background, you can see the mandap created with gold, red and amethyst fabric and adorned with strands of jasmine.

During the traditional Hindu ceremony, the bride is showered with rice under the mandap.

This is the interior property at a glance. Because of the rain that followed soon after this photo was taken, we don't have any pictures of how this looked when the sun went down and the candles and the lights started to glow. The head of my Indian production team, upon first seeing it all illuminated, said it looked just like heaven. That was just one of many times that the amazing, talented, and earth-shatteringly hard working Geethanjali Santosh melted my heart. The structure on the right with the flower strands on the poles housed the dinner buffets. The rotunda in the center was where the band played and the structure on the left was the bulk of the dinner seating.

The long tables were adorned with a landscape of pieces... tall branch arrangements with hand-strung orchids and hanging candles, low vases with red mokara orchids, small glass with submerged orchids and floating candles and low pave'd collections of vibrant flowers.

Bangalore's first ever 6-tiered wedding cake was decorated with chocolate by Henna artists to create the authentically Indian motif.

The bride and groom's fathers embraced under a sky illuminated by fireworks. This was my first time ever facilitating fireworks at a wedding - and it was amazing!

Amidst 500 guests and a lot of excitement, this wedding was warm, intimate and full of love. Strangely enough, I found that to be true of my entire experience in India. Certainly, it is busy and crowded and a tad chaotic, but I cannot remember ever being embraced as warmly and openly as in my time in Bangalore. Now, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

All photos by Sudhir Ramachandran

Happy anniversary, Rushmi and Vikram! And a very happy and healthy New Year to all of you!

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