wedding planner
about us
site map

BRO Features
Feature Story
Featured Events
Picture of the Month
Great Ideas
Wedding Topics
Latest Trends
Your First Home
Cooking for Couples
Romance & Money
Fit & Beautiful
Relationship Guide
Love Stories
Ask the Experts
Fun Stuff

The Green Corner
 Organic and  Sustainable Weddings

Destination Weddings

BRO Store
Favors & More



Laura Hunt

A Traditional Indian Wedding

Part II - Special Touches

Text: Johanna Kaestner
Peter Atherton

In October you learned about Indian wedding customs. This month you will participate in all the planning that went into this elaborate celebration.

Even if you are not of Indian descent, you will find many ideas you can incorporate in your own wedding.


Ritu's whole family was heavily involved in the wedding planning process. The family members embraced the traditions of their Indian Hindu culture and combined them with special elements to make this wedding unique.

Brother, Rajat, designed and created beautiful programs in red and cream, which guided guests through the many-tiered Hindu wedding ceremony and provided translations for the Sanskrit language parts of the ceremony. He designed the red flower-vine motif on the program, which then was placed on all the signs and decorations adorning the mansion. He also created a slide show, commemorating the couple's childhood and courtship, set to their favorite Indian music. Rajat, who is a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Stanford, used his technical skills to create different effects in the slide show. He did it so well that several people asked him afterwards if he would consider doing this professionally!

The bride's mother, Abha, hand-wrapped all 300 gift favors in the bride and groom's favorite colors of red and gold (also the wedding theme colors), to create a customized look for the favors.

Ritu's father, Ravi, gave Indian names to all the signature drinks for cocktail hour; some names were those of favorite cities in India! The drinks included Indian Summer (a cranberry cosmopolitan), Bombay Dreams (a mango margarita), and Calcutta Cooler (a passion fruit Italian soda). All the drinks featured fruits that are widely used in Indian cuisine.


A large, pillared "Elephant Gate," placed outside the hall, welcomed the guests. Decorated with flowers, it featured designs of standing elephants.

There were three Mehndi artists at the party to decorate the hands and feet of the guests with intricate Henna designs! Having other women join the decorating process means that they wish the new bride good fortune and happiness.

A professional Indian band performed for the first hour of the event. The band dedicated songs to the new couple, who were sitting in Indian-style thrones across from the stage. From time to time Ritu & Ajit performed a few impromptu dances to their favorite songs. Following dinner and dessert, friends of the bride's mother performed Indian wedding songs, accompanied by an Indian drum.

To commemorate the Sangeet Party, Rajat had created a CD for all the guests. The cover was enhanced with a superimposed photo of Ritu & Ajit. The CD with the title: "Come, Let Us Sing," reflected the theme of every Sangeet party and contained several of Ritu & Ajit's favorite Indian songs.

Abha, the bride's mother, had additional gifts for the guests. She individually wrapped sets of Indian bracelets in colorful cellophane paper. She tied each package with a red thread that had shells strung through. This symbolizes good luck and the act of welcoming others into your home. Part of the favors were bindis (decorative stick-on jewelry that married Indian women wear).



To kick off the festivities a small reception was held before the wedding ceremony. Guests enjoyed fruit tarts, bruschetta, Indian sweets, lemonade, rose water punch (served in India more commonly) and soft drinks. The cold refreshments were perfect for the beautiful, cloudless, warm day!


The mandap, which was set on a high stage, had four large, Indian-style pillars, and was in white lattice-work. It was a new mandap, recently sent over from England. A three-foot copper statue of the Indian elephant god, Ganesh, was also in the mandap. The couple sat on two red thrones, and the families of the couple sat on the periphery of the mandap. Guests were seated beneath two canopies with flowing white drapes, evoking opulence and peace.


After the ceremony, drinks and appetizers were offered on Kohl Mansion's expansive patio.
A professional pianist performed a mix of Indian and American tunes on the grand piano in Kohl Mansion's library. This well-known musician previously performed for President Clinton at the White House.

Guests were greeted by a four-foot long and three-foot high elephant. With its trunk pointing upwards. It was decorated by Floral Designer Pico Soriano with banana leaves, pompoms, roses, mixed foliage, and moss. Pico's flower arrangements were created with a round base and peacock feathers; they looked like real peacocks from a distance. Peacocks are also auspicious animals in Indian culture. The flowers for these arrangements included an urn arrangement of hydrangeas and roses, inserts of peacock feathers, and roses in saffron, butterscotch and burgundy on the rims.

Appetizers were both Indian and multi-ethnic. Among Indian snacks there were: paneer pakoras (fried cheese dumplings), hara kababs (spinach dumplings), samosas (potato-filled pastries), fresh fruit, and Vietnamese spring rolls with dipping sauce. These were accompanied by the signature drinks named by her father.
There were a champagne fountain and a chocolate fountain with a full buffet of cookies, fruits, sweets, and other treats that guests enjoyed dipping into the milk chocolate.

The Digital Memory Book, reflecting Silicon Valley's digital age, was provided by Senet Entertainment. Senet took photos of guests and events throughout the wedding and posted them on monitors. Guests were free to print out as many photos as they desired. They could contribute some of their photos with additional notes and advice for the couple's digital memory book.


The mansion's three rooms - the Great Hall, the Green Room, and the Black and White Room, had amber lighting. Spotlights from above illuminated the beautiful flower arrangements on each table. Gold lighting washed the entire patio outside, to give it a warm feeling. Ritu and Ajit's names, along with their wedding date, was displayed on one of Kohl mansion's walls, using the lighting technique called gobo lighting.

Every table had a red tablecloth underlay and a gold organza overlay. Gold chivari chairs were placed at all the guest tables. Clear glass votive candles were placed on every table. The flower arrangements were in long-stemmed crystal vases, and the flowers were in deep oranges and reds - the most auspicious colors in Indian weddings.

The favors consisted of small Lenox boxes, made of fine china, in gold and cream. Inside were sweet candies in wrappers that said, "Thank you for celebrating our day with us." The guests also took home Lenox's signature silver-plated wedding photo frame (5x7). Many guests have already put photos of their favorite memories from the wedding in their frames! All the wedding favors were hand-wrapped in gold and red by the bride's mother.

 In each room of the mansion, Senet Entertainment had set up large, flat-screen TVs, which were showing what was going on in other parts of mansion, in real-time.

For the reception, Ritu changed into a gold lehenga with red undertones, to match the color scheme of the reception. It had hand-done embroidery and crystals all over. Ajit also changed for the reception into a striking Claiborne charcoal suit. Ritu and Ajit entered the hall and immediately started their first dance, to a beautiful Indian song. The song, called, "You Came Into My Life," talks about the feelings we all have when we find the person we love.

Following speeches, guests got to view the very special slide show created by Ritu's brother. One of Rajat's hobbies is photography. He spent several months with the bride and groom, taking photos of them in various locations in the Bay Area. He assembled the pictures, along with childhood and family photos, into a beautiful and sentimental video montage and slide show accompanied by Ritu and Ajit's favorite Indian songs.

Then the restaurant Amber India catered a six-course Indian meal. All food provided was meatless and eggless, as Ritu's family follows a Hindu vegetarian diet.

After greeting most of their many guests, Ritu and Ajit led everybody into the library, where the cake cutting took place. The cake, an exact replica of the red and gold wedding invitation, was made by Not Just Cheesecakes. Debbie Smith and her cake artist, Tracy, met with Ritu and her mother several times to get the design just right. Ritu's family framed the invitation on a red, velvet backing, in a gold beaded frame, and placed it next to the cake, so guests could see the similarity!
Please read also:
A Traditional Indian Wedding
Part I
Wedding Cake Indian-style
Celebration of Henna

Photography: Peter Atherton
Food: Schumann's Four Seasons Caterers
Indian Food: Amber India Restaurant, Mountain View
Cake: Not-Just-Cheesecake
Flowers: Pacifico Soriano Designs
Rentals: A-Abco Rents and Sells
Mandap: Avasar Rental East Bay
Lighting: Enchanting Lighting and Sound Station San Francisco
TV Light Feed, Digital Photo Booth, Digital Guest Book, Digital Photos: Senet Entertainment Corp
Wedding Coordinator Day: Eduard Liwanag


© 1995 - 2012