This Couple Celebrated Their Indian and Jewish Backgrounds During a Labor Day Weekend Wedding
Just like the movies, Adam went home one Friday night with Kosha's phone number physically written on his arm. "Our meet-cute was legitimately something out of a TV show or movie, which is fitting since I used to be a TV agent," Kosha says of the couple's meeting in a Los Angeles bar. That was January 2014—nearly four years later, on September 3, 2017, they tied the knot in a destination wedding in Santa Ynez, California, a few hours away from their West Hollywood home.
"As perfectly scripted as our meeting was, the proposal had its own set of hiccups," the bride says. Adam, a real estate developer, planned to propose and whisk Kosha, an agent for the ventures group of a talent agency, away to New York City, but she accidentally found out about the proposal "through a series of hilariously unfortunate events thanks to him putting my frequent flier number on the secret plane reservations," she says. The couple ended up venturing to Santa Ynez over Labor Day weekend in 2016 instead. It worked out in the end though, since the venue became the backdrop for their wedding weekend, which took place exactly one year later.
Just under 250 guests attended their four-day Labor Day weekend celebration, which perfectly blended their Indian and Jewish backgrounds. "I will never forget my Indian relatives line dancing up a storm or Adam's amazing friends from Wisconsin leading his baraat with their newly learned Indian dance moves," Kosha says. "This seamless blending of cultures was so critical to both of us, and really the driving force behind the whole weekend."
Over Labor Day weekend in 2016, Kosha and Adam stayed at the Santa Ynez Inn and fell in love with the area. Those chose Royal Oaks Ranch as their wedding venue for a variety of reasons. "As an Indian-American born and raised in Los Angeles, I was looking for creative ways to avoid the giant Indian wedding in a hotel ballroom cliché," Kosha says. "It's not anyone's fault—there are only so many places to fit 500 people for a sit down meal." She knew her parents would make a large contribution to the guest list (she and Adam did, in fact, invite about 400 people) and needed the space—but she also wanted the venue to reflect her and Adam's story. "In that way, Santa Ynez was perfect," she says. It was also far enough outside Los Angeles to feel special, but close enough that everyone could make it."In Indian culture, the bride's house is a focal point for the wedding, and it was nice to feel like we had a 'house' home base for the weekend's activities," Kosha says. Other events were held at Roblar Winery. The vineyard location's rustic vibe guided the themes of the wedding, which included soft florals and Indian accents against a palette of greens, yellows, and pops of gold. Each event (there were six in total!) had a distinct vibe, with various celebrations leading up to Sunday's ceremony.
Six Wedding Events, Four Days
The festivities kicked off on Friday and didn't stop until Monday. On Friday afternoon, the couple wore green and red outfits to traditional Gujarati ceremonies, including the mandva and pithi. "The mandva is to bless the altar," Kosha says, "while the pithi is a cleansing ceremony in which friends and family get to slather the bride and groom with a turmeric and rose water paste to give them a healthy glow for the wedding."
Not Without Hiccups
One of the first small hiccups of the weekend came from the turmeric, which stained Kosha's manicure. She fixed that the next day, following Friday evening's barbecue and bar night—which was supposed to have taken place at the Maverick Saloon (it closed shortly before the wedding). The duo rolled with the inconvenience, though. Kosha, in a white lace dress and cowboy boots, and Adam, who wore a plaid shirt and jeans, invited their guests to celebrate at their caterer K'Syrah's event space, instead, where they had line dancing, country music, and good food.
Saturday's "Indian Night"
Saturday began with a wine tasting and ended with Lagnotsav Sandhya. "Loosely translated, the Lagnotsav Sandhya is an evening wedding party," Kosha says. "It was a totally made up event, and what we affectionately called our 'Indian night.'" Early on, the couple decided they didn't want to have two ceremonies, so many of the Indian traditions took place at this party, the night prior to the wedding. The celebration featured henna stations, Indian chaat food stations, and a photo booth. "Adam came in on a horse for his baraat, the traditional Indian groom processional, with all of our family and friends dancing around him, as I watched from a balcony from above," Kosha says. "It was an incredible moment and something I will never forget."
The Bride's Lengha
The lengha Kosha wore Saturday evening was from a store she found in Mumbai.
"I love old Bollywood vintage glamour!" Kosha says. "I wanted to feel ornate and dripping in rustic gold, and since it wasn't the actual wedding, just the night before party, I was able to play around with darker colors." The vintage-inspired accessories, like the headpiece and the nose ring, were purchased at an Indian jewelry store after finding the lengha.
The Groom's Sherwani
Bike Cart Prop
Kosha and Adam used a bike cart as a photo booth prop during Saturday night's Lagnotsav Sandhya—it contributed to the party's Indian street fair-inspired décor.
Dancing in the Rain
There was plenty of Bollywood dancing during Indian night, including a big group number in the rain. "Keeping with the blending of cultures, this group dance started with Indian songs but ended with a flash mob to Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody,'" Kosha says.
The Wedding Dress
The official wedding ceremony took place on Sunday, which is when the bride finally debuted her Monique Lhuillier wedding dress—finding the lace sheath number, however, wasn't as easy as she'd anticipated. Kosha had one shopping day with a few friends, her mom, and future mother-in-law. The first three stores they hit weren't great, but the last, Monique Lhuillier, was the winner. "I ended up falling in love with three lace sheath dresses," Kosha says. "I never thought I'd be in a sheath!" Though each one made her feel like a million dollars, the winner's flattering shape and flared train were too good to pass up. She ended up altering its neckline into a deeper V. A few weeks later she showed Adam the company's Instagram page and had him guess which dress she chose, thinking he'd never guess the right one—especially since it wasn't a style she originally saw herself in. "He picked the exact one somehow!" she says. "I couldn't even be mad that he picked it out of a hundred pictures. It made me feel like he knew me better than I knew myself, and I had clearly made the right choice."
Kosha kept her accessories understated with simple Schutz Shoes sandals and elegant diamond studs, a gift from her parents. She wore a veil for some portraits, but swapped it out in favor of flowers in her hair during the ceremony.
Her grandmother—who was one of the bride's favorite people—passed away a few months before the wedding. "My 'something old' and 'something borrowed' was my grandmother's handkerchief, and it meant so much to me," she says.
Adam worked with Kosha's father, a wholesale and custom diamond jeweler, to create her engagement ring. "While I'm sure most grooms don't have the option to go to their father-in-law to get a ring, they were able to bond through the process and the fact that my parents made the ring somehow made it that much more special," Kosha says. They chose simple wedding bands: A yellow gold band for Kosha and white gold band for Adam.
Though the couple took portraits in their traditional Indian dress before their Saturday event, they wanted another round (which included a sweet first look!) in their Western attire.Adam wore a suit by Di Stefano for the ceremony. "I wanted a brighter blue than navy and thought the suit color was a perfect complement to the blush tones of the wedding and the greenery of the area," he says. He also wore a Rolex Milgauss, a gift from Kosha the day of the wedding. Groomsmen wore Indochino suits in navy blue.
The Bridal Party
Best friends and siblings made up the wedding party, but only relatives stood during the ceremony. Kosha gave each member of her bridal party single flowers, which they held during the service.
Kosha's 'maids wore dresses by BHLDN
, which she loved for their understated beadwork—a subtle nod to Indian fashion.
The Sunday afternoon ceremony took place just outside the house the couple was staying in, on the lawn adjacent to the pool. The space was decorated with vintage doors, windows, floral arrangements, and rugs from
.Originally scheduled for 3:30 p.m., the ceremony began about 30 minutes late due to a potential rain storm. Guests waited out the weather threat during an early cocktail hour, but, thankfully, the rain never showed.
Bulleit the Rescue Dog
Kosha and Adam each had both parents walk them down the aisle. It was symbolic for Adam, whose parents are divorced but created a tight-knit family. Kosha wanted the moment to be about both of her parents giving her away, and not just her father, since both have played important roles in her life.
, a fusion sitar player, played Beyoncé's "Halo" during the bride's processional. "Marry You" by Bruno Mars was played for Adam. The musician stayed for the cocktail hour and was so loved, that other friends have since used him for their weddings.
Adam's grandfather officiated the wedding, which the couple wrote together to reflect the blending of their cultures and themes that were important to them. They included readings from Plato and the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, exchanged traditional Indian garlands, and, keeping with Jewish tradition, broke glass—each broke their own to symbolize equality (unfortunately Kosha cut her foot!). The wedding was briefly interrupted by an emergency flash flood warning on people's cell phones, but was still the highlight of the weekend. The couple wrote their own vows and flipped a coin during the ceremony to see who would recite them first.
A Blending of Cultures
"We have so much advice for interracial and/or first-generation couples looking to find a way to honor culture and integrate tradition, while still managing to make the wedding reflect who you are, both as individuals and as a couple," they say. "It's about embracing all the little details that have made you both the people you are today, and finding ways to blend it all together." Making it up as you go along makes it that much more unique and special, they've learned.Kosha's favorite part of the celebration was waking up with Adam on the morning of the wedding to finish their vows. "I love that we are an imperfect, procrastinating couple that eschewed tradition and slept in the same bed the night before our wedding," she says. "We are not perfect but we are perfect for each other."
Kosha and Adam exited the ceremony to "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit.
An Early Cocktail Hour
Originally planned for after the service, the cocktail hour took place before, to give the impending rain a chance to show up (or pass over, which it did). "Highly recommend starting cocktail hour pre-ceremony even if you don't have crazy weather," Kosha says, crediting the light-hearted reactions to the emergency weather alert that went off during the ceremony to everyone's slight buzz.The guests' experiences were a priority, as was their advice: Instead of a traditional guestbook, Kosha and Adam asked them to fill out advice cards that were sealed into a box with wine, to be opened on the couple's fifth wedding anniversary. The sign read: "Wine and wisdom get better with age, please leave a note we can cherish together as we toast our anniversary."
The reception took place outside a barn, a little ways away from the ceremony site and main house. Originally, the barn was deemed off-limits by the venue, but with the bizarre weather threatening rain, COJ Events was allowed to set up the reception tables nearby, while the dance floor, band, and bars were set up inside the barn itself. "It was the exact aesthetic I'd wanted all along with just a little added stress day-of to get there!" Kosha says.
The Place Settings
Marble tiles, calligraphed with each guests names, marked each place setting. The tiles were one part of the wedding favor, but the couple didn't give out anything else formal, Kosha says. Instead, guests received gift bags at the hotel with some of Kosha and Adam's favorite things, like chai and earl grey tea bags "because we love tea and they represent our cultures."Menu cards, designed by Beacon Lane (the company that designed the invitations), were tucked under the tiles. The rest of the reception was designed to be deconstructed and rustic, with no linens at the long wooden tables. Dinner was served on gold plates with matching flatware alongside golden tumblers. Long garlands of greenery and blush flowers in gold vases wound along the middle of the tables. The newlyweds sat on a sweetheart couch.
"We served meals family-style because we wanted everyone interacting," Kosha says. Most tables were either all meat-eating or vegetarian, so slighty different menus, reflecting the choices for each, were also on display.Vegetarians enjoyed orzo risotto, braised smoked portobello mushroom, and vegetarian falafel, while meat- and fish-eaters dined on cedar plank salmon ("A dish Adam made for me on our second date!"), prime rib, and tomato braised chicken.
Three Cakes and a Cookie War
Local vendor Decadence Cakes made three cakes for the reception, which were displayed on stands at a table with wine boxes. The flavors reflected a mix of Indian and Western: passion fruit Bavarian cream with fresh raspberries, lemon cream with lemon curd, and chocolate chai cream. Plenty more of each flavor was available in sheet cake form in the back. "We also served cookies and had a mini chocolate chip cookie war," says Kosha. Adam chose chewy cookies from Diddy Riese in Westwood, and Kosha picked crispy cookies from Tate's Bake Shop.The cake-cutting ceremony took place just after the couple entered the reception, which was followed by their first dance to "Free" by Zac Brown Band. "We love going to their concerts, and it's a beautiful song about not needing a lot in life other than love," the couple says. They rehearsed the dance, which included a lift. "I had so much fun learning and practicing the dance with Adam," Kosha says. "I love to dance, and it is totally not his thing but yet another thing he did for me." Next, they danced with their parents, which was particularly meaningful to Adam, whose mother is in a wheelchair and practiced for months with her physical therapist to stand and dance with him. "There was not a dry eye in the house!" Kosha says.
The wedding weekend concluded with a Labor Day pool party, complete with a taco truck and margarita machine. "Having been to so many weddings together, we know how nice it is to have a day after event to say goodbye to everyone, but how torturous a formal brunch can be," Kosha says.
Photography, Marissa Maharaj
Event planning, COJ Events
Cocktails, The Whaling Club
Videography, Kapsule Co
Stationery, Beacon Lane
Choreography, Your Night Choreo
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier (ceremony)
Henna, Karishma Beauty
Bridesmaids' dresses, BHLDN
Dog Tuxedo, Olivia's Doggie Designs
Horse, Horse For Wedding