We've all seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But there is, perhaps, nothing more extravagant than a traditional Indian wedding celebration.
Then, take all those colors and jewels and exquisite rituals and place it all on one of the world's most famous stretches of golf green overlooking the craggy cliffs and fog-hugged Pacific coast, and you have yourself a truly photogenic affair.
For Shivani and Saurabh Sharma, "It was love at first sight," she says, recalling how "he threw parties every couple months in the hopes that I would come to all of them, like in The Great Gatsby." Once engaged, the couple planned a weekend-long wedding party at the Lodge at Pebble Beach that would be peppered with Indian traditions including henna, jewels, and multihued, beaded sari and sherwani. The couple shared their first look and then made their way toward their ceremony chairs and arch overlooking the sea: Saurabh sauntered in on a horse with a sword; Shivani strolled down the grassy lawn, gliding over a swirling flower petal pattern.
Many of the small details—the programs, flower petal cones, table numbers, escort cards, and menus—were handmade by the bride and her mom, and the day was all about color, from the intricate outfits to the florals. While the reception was inside, there was no lack of scenery: A wall of windows let in views of the water and sailboats gliding by.
For those in the planning stages, Shivani recommends some serious down time. "Take the week off before the wedding if you can and have some me time," she says. "Relax and have fun. There's no point in sweating the details at this stage. Just enjoy yourselves during the festivities."
Good advice, as this is your time to hang with family and friends. Even the bride's 95-year-old grandfather in India watched the whole ceremony, streaming it through an aunt's phone in the front row. "Even at 3am local time for him, he wasn't going to miss it and he gave us his blessings through during the ceremony," the groom said. "It was really special."
Venue: The Lodge at Pebble Beach
Makeup: Laenka by Myrium
Caterer: Amber India
Photographer: Viera Photographics
Video: Hoo Flims