A Modern Sangeet and Traditional Garden Wedding in New York
Tina and Peter
Tina Chadha and Peter Haslanger had quite the “meet cute.” It was 2009 and she was on the hunt for a birthday party venue with a pal, hopping in a cab and accidentally giving the driver the completely wrong address. Ending up at the alternate destination, she decided to go in to the bar she’d arrived at anyway. After having fun, she knew it was the spot for the next week’s festivities, but went back once more to just to make sure. That’s when she met Peter, who was in town for a buddy’s party. They met and she casually mentioned that he should come back the following Friday for her soiree, and the rest is history. On June 14, 2013, they kicked things off with a sangeet and dance party, and in their back-to-back celebratory manner, followed up with a Hindu wedding.
A Sangeet Start-Off
The pre-wedding celebration began with a co-mingling of families and friends in New York City’s Studio 450. Guests came from India, Spain, England, Africa, and of course across the States. Traditionally, the mehndi ceremony is held prior to the sangeet, during which the women get their hands painted with henna. Tina’s hands and feet were decorated that morning (it took over three hours) in a delicate pattern.
Something for Everyone
Tina and Peter set up a little bazaar where guests could pick up bangles and bindis, as is tradition for the hosts to provide these items for their guests to wear at the wedding.
Goodies to Go
Pink pouches were set out for guests to put their bangles and bindis in to take home.
The Traditional Attire
Tina wore a hot pink and navy lehenga by designer Manish Malhotra, a favorite among the Bollywood set. It featured a “Chikan” design, which is a traditional embroidery of hand-stitched, block-print patterns. Peter’s outfit was by Arjun Khanna, which Tina found at the designer’s flagship store in Mumbai.
Made In India
Six months before the wedding, Tina and her mother went to India and brought back decorations, after scouring marketplaces with local family members, including the bride’s cousin Neha, who is a wedding planner over there.
A Venue With Views
The loft space in the heart of Manhattan offered city views and a blank canvas for décor. In addition to the items brought back from India, Tina incorporated tissue pom poms she found on Etsy.
Colorful glass lanterns and votive candleholders sat atop pink paisley runners.
A Bold Lounge
“The stark white interior of the venue provided the perfect canvas for an all-out colorful Indian celebration,” Tina said. Vibrant furniture was set up with embroidered umbrellas (sent from Jaipur) for guests to relax on.
Sandy Pantangay of Créme Delicious created colorful henna-inspired mini cakes, and she was on-hand to paint the real stuff on anyone at the gathering who wanted to partake.
Tina worked with her friend Priya Patel of Love Made Visible to create the wedding stationery suite, which included letterpressed pieces and two sets of invites to reflect the different moods of the events. The sangeet’s palette of vibrant pink and orange felt different from the wedding day’s elegant gold foil and floral designs based off of traditional Indian textiles.
The Wedding Location
For their Sunday wedding, Tina and Peter chose the Hempstead House on Long Island’s Gold Coast. The majestic estate, which is part of the Sands Point Nature Preserve, offered a picturesque landscape. The wedding, which was romantic and soft aesthetically, incorporated the bride’s Indian heritage with details such as Ganesh statues that greeted attendees upon arrival.
Wed in Red
Years before the wedding, Tina (a style and home editor) interviewed Sabyasachi Mukherjee when he showed at New York Fashion Week and hit it off. When it came time for the big day, the duo worked together once more—this time on a pair of remarkable ensembles the bride would wear, including this red lehenga worn for the ceremony.
She accessorized with gold Saint Laurent sandals, a maang tikka headpiece, and traditional gold and pearl jewelry passed down among the women in her family.
The Groom’s Garb
A Grand Entrance
During the baraat (the ceremony where the groom enters on a horse to meet the bride’s family), Peter put his own twist on things. Typically, the groom enters on a noble steed, accompanied by a parade-like procession of his family and friends all dancing their way along. Peter’s friends and uncle (all musicians) performed the traditional drum beat that plays during this ritual, and his young nephew, Ben, joined him for the ride.
Spitz and Peck created a floral-covered mandap for the couple to wed under, with views of the idyllic Long Island Sound just behind it. The ceremony was perfomed in Sanskrit by a priest who translated the ceremony into English so that everyone could follow, communicating the meaning of each part of the service along the way. Peter’s aunt, a deacon, also contributed with a lovely sermon.
Though the groom loves beer and the bride loves wine, the one common drink they both love is a cocktail of vodka, grapefruit juice, mint, lemon, and bubbly. The dubbed it “Love Like A Sunset” in honor of the colors reminiscent of the end of a summer day, and after their favorite song by the band Phoenix.
Edible Escort Cards
Putting their spin on an old tradition, guests’ names and table assignments were handwritten on heart-shaped picks and inserted into mithai—Indian sweets normally distributed after the ceremony.
The Bride’s Sari
Tina changed into this ethereal white sari during the reception.
Guests dined at large tables anchored by loose arrangements of peonies, garden roses, scabiosa, anemones, and jasmine.
A Surprise Song
To do something special for her musician groom, Tina walked down the aisle to a song he had composed during the week leading up to their engagement. Little did she know, he had something up his sleeve for her during the reception. He surprised her by performing another song he wrote just for her.
A light lemon cake by One Girl Cookies was piped with buttercream and accented with fresh flowers.
Photography: a Couple of Cameras
Wedding Location: Hempstead House
Flowers: Sprout Home
Mandap: Spitz & Peck
Officiant: Pandit Harish Sharma
Cake: One Girl Cookies
Hair: Francine Berkowitz of John Sahag
Makeup: Raychel Wade of Cheek to Chic
Wedding rings: Tiffany & Co.; Piaget