A Colorful Indian Wedding in Napa Valley
Mahncy and Anish
Anish and Mahncy have different versions of how their classic office romance blossomed into their happily ever after. As Anish remembers, he was sitting in the open-plan office in their San Francisco consulting firm when he noticed a girl he hadn't seen before. They were introduced, shook hands, and went back to their computers, where he received a g-chat message, striking up a conversation from his new coworker, and serving as his recollection of her making the first move.
The way Mahncy tells the story is a bit different. The same colleague that introduced the pair mentioned how great of a resource Anish was, and that they all use g-chat to communicate. She gave Mahncy his email address, and being the newbie that Mahncy was, she messaged him to give him her own, thinking it was mostly office protocol. That night at the company happy hour, he asked for her number. And from there, regardless of who made the first move, the spark had ignited.
After four years of dating, Anish (who now works at Google), planned a Bay Area scavenger hunt that served as a walk down memory lane for their relationship and ended with him standing on the beach and proposing to Mahncy (who works at Facebook). A little over a year later, on July 2, 2016, the setting was equally dreamy for their Napa Valley nuptials. Meadowood Napa Valley came with stunning views and plenty of room to accommodate their 308 guests and fulfill their desire for a celebration with a modern, outdoor, rustic feeling.
The couple made a trip to India to try on possible wedding ensembles—visiting multiple stores over a few days. Anish lucked out and found his in a few hours. But it took about ten additional hours to outfit the rest of the family—a task that had the groom exhausted to the point that he found a comfortable couch in the store and took a nap. "Overall, it was a tiring few days, but worth it in the end," he explains. He sported Manish Malhotra from head to toe. As did Mahncy, who loved the intricate work that embellished the pieces she found. "I immediately fell in love with the hand work," she says. "It was so unique. Growing up, I had seen traditional Indian weddings and had always envisioned myself in an outfit like that."
The Bridal Bouquet
Mahncy asked for a "wild, organic, and colorful" bouquet and left the rest up to her florist. The result was this stunning creation, which included spray roses, fringe tulips, ranunculus, astilbe, gloriosa lilies, peonies, sweet peas, and anthurium.
Bridesmaids in Palette
All of the bridesmaids and the one bridesman wore traditional Indian garb by Bhaavya Bhatnagar, in their own style and varying colors that were flattering on them. "We thought an ombré would not only be gorgeous and fun for photos, but also a creative way to make sure everyone could be happy with their color," says the bride.
A Spin on Tradition
Grooms traditionally arrive on a horse in an Indian wedding, but Anish wanted to change it up and decided on a vintage Mercedez Benz instead. So, during the baraat—when he proceeds to meet the bride's family before the ceremony—Anish was driven in in style, accompanied by the sounds of the dhol drums.
A Welcoming Tradition
As the baraat arrived at the ceremony location, Mahncy's family welcomed Anish's relatives, and the bride's mother welcomed him by applying tilak (red vermilion powder) to his forehead to protect him from evil. Anish was then escorted to the mandap (nuptial canopy) where he awaited his bride-to-be.
Fans from India were placed on each seat to help guests stay cool in the sun—though it ended up being a perfect 70-degree day. And since Indian ceremonies have multiple steps, and each section is filled with meaning, programs explained everything to the guests, so that everyone could understand what was happening throughout. Like all of the paper goods, these incorporated the orange color that was a focal point of the wedding's design.
Joined by her parents, Mahncy entered the ceremony to the sounds of a sitar, specifically a song called "Ek Ladkee Ko Dekha" from an old Bollywood movie. "The song's title translates to 'The Time I Saw That Girl' and is a love song about the first time a man sees the woman he loves," Mahncy says.
The mandap anchored the ceremony, which was held in the Grove at Meadowood. It was covered with flowers and greenery, and the chairs were set up in multiple directions to optimize space and guests' visibility. The ceremony fused Mahncy's Hindu background and Anish's Christian upbringing.
The ceremony began with the jaimala, or exchanging of flower garlands, which symbolizes the couple's choice and acceptance of each other. Other rituals included offerings to the sacred fire to emphasize the couple's joint responsibility to maintain their union, taking seven steps together to represent seven aspects of marriage that they strive to uphold together, the recitation of blessings from the bible, and finally, a hymn of peace, harmony, and happiness.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the newlyweds walked up the ombré petal-covered aisle, hand-in-hand and bound together by scarves to signify their union and their connection physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was right after Anish's most memorable moment of the day—when he got to call Mahncy his wife and the pandit pronounced them married.
The Sounds of a Celebration
The sitar player continued during cocktail hour.
The crowd moved to the golf course for the cocktail hour, where they relaxed in lounge areas and enjoyed drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
A Colorful Seating Chart
A large seating chart was on display during cocktail hour, so guests had plenty of time to find their table assignments for dinner.
Friends and family traveled from near and far. Many wore traditional Indian attire, including these colorfully-clad ladies.
Ready for the Reception
The same garlands that adorned the car the groom arrived at the ceremony in were repurposed for the golf cart the couple used to get to the reception. A quick outfit change for them both—Mahncy into a Manish Malhotra gown, and Anish into a custom tuxedo—had them ready to dance the night away. They were introduced into the tent as a mash-up of "Eyes" by Kaskade and "Drop it Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg played.
Lounge areas, a bar, the band, a dance floor, and a mix of tables filled the reception tent. The couple also wanted to honor their families by having them sit at two tables on either side of them.
Just the Two of Us
The happy couple opted for a sweetheart table. "We thought it would be nice to listen to the speeches throughout the night and enjoy our meal with some moments where it was just the two of us," Mahncy says. "We knew we'd be celebrating and dancing with our friends and family, so we thought this would be a nice way for us to cherish some of the special moments of the reception together."
Colorful floral arrangements adorned the backs of their chairs.
Centerpieces of carnations, roses, peonies, ranunculus, and other colorful blooms topped each table, along with glass orbs that were arranged down the middle of each. Gold-beaded glass chargers anchored the place settings, which were complete with a linen napkin, petite vases holding individual blooms, and the watercolor menu. Guests chose between entreés of roasted rack of lamb, northern halibut, or grilled maitake mushrooms.
The Wedding Cake
The cake, made by Jasmine Rae Cakes, was an organic design with a ruffled exterior and decorated with fresh flowers. The orange theme was tied in through the ombré of the decorations. Inside, a combination of unexpected flavors awaited guests: tiers were vanilla bean cake with passion fruit curd, coconut cream, and Swiss meringue buttercream; and chai cake with goat cheese, roasted apples, and brown sugar buttercream was stacked.
Dancing the Night Away
After their first dance to "Come to Me" by the Goo Goo Dolls, the bride danced with her father to "My Wish" by Rascall Flatts, and the groom joined his mom to the sounds of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac—and then the newlyweds joined back together with their parents coupling up to finish out the song.
The appreciative couple thanked their loved ones for coming by sending them home with a pair of stemless wine glasses from Tiffany & Co., also tying in to the wine country setting.
Dinner and dancing kicked off the reception. A silent disco followed, and as that wound down, Mahncy plopped herself down on a couch near the dance floor. Before she knew it, she was surrounded by Anish, her parents, and her sister. "It was such a special moment as I realized that exactly that day my family had grown."
Photography, Meg Smith
Location and Catering, Meadowood
Event planning and design, Alison Events Planning + Design
Flowers and design, Shotgun Floral Studio
Videography, Justin Fone Productions
Stationery, Yonder Events
Cake, Jasmine Rae Cakes
Tent, staging, lighting, and draping, Zephyr Tents
Bride's and groom's ceremony attire and bride's reception dress, Manish Malhotra
Bride's hair and makeup, and bridesmaids' makeup, Neja Cosmetics
Fashion styling, The Wedding Detailor
Bridesmaids' dresses, Bhaavya Bhatnagar
Lighting, Illusions Lighting Design
Travel agent, Life:Styled Group
Restrooms, The Water Cottage
Dance Lessons, Cynthia Glinka