A Plant-Filled Indian Wedding in Sonoma, California
Divya and Tejas met at the happiest place on earth. No, we're not talking about Disney World, but rather Claremont McKenna College, the small Californian school has consistently ranked as one of the happiest colleges in the country. Their friendship quickly blossomed and the two remained close even after post-grad jobs took Divya and Tejas to different coasts—New York and San Francisco, respectively.
After years of romantic reunions in their new cities, back at Claremont, and even in Paris, the two couldn't deny that there was something more between them. They agreed to make their relationship more of a priority and Tejas moved to San Francisco in 2013.
Four years later, Divya and Tejas knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Tejas planned a romantic drive to their first San Francisco neighborhood and proposed on their favorite tucked away spot that overlooks the entire city skyline. The proposal was followed by a surprise lunch with close friends and family. Afterwards, Divya suggested they stop by their favorite neighborhood bar. Little did she know that Tejas had planned for even more friends from all walks of life to greet the couple, predicting that she would make the suggestion. The couple ended their engagement day with a private pasta tasting for two.
Eighteen months after that, over the weekend of September 28, 2018, guests joined the couple in Sonoma for a weekend of festivities that blended their Indian heritage with their American upbringing. Nestled in wine country, The Barn at Tyge William Cellars offered views of the water and rolling hills; paired with the venue's white, clean barn (which was filled with twinkling lights and chandeliers), the location was perfect. As for how the achieved the picture-perfect celebration? "We created our wedding weekend by asking what feels most 'us' and reflective of our partnership," recalls Tejas.
The First Peek
Tejas and Divya wanted their invitations to convey their wedding weekend's vibes. They choose to mimic the color palette and florals they would use in the celebration: The invites featured letterpressed text on thick pearl paper featuring the couple's signature eucalyptus logo inside a blush envelope. A beautiful watercolor design of anemones and olive leaves completed the suite.
The Thursday Kickoff
The couple's wedding weekend spanned three days, featuring a traditional pre-wedding Mehendi party on Thursday, followed by the Sangeet on Friday, and the official ceremony on Saturday. The Thursday night festivities featured intimate cocktails and appetizers, as well as prayers with family and close friends.
At the Mehendi party, Divya and guests had the opportunity to have intricate henna done for the weekend ahead. The bride's design included the Golden Gate Bridge skyline, Tejas' initials hidden in leaves, and the same eucalyptus logo featured on their invitations. "When I put my hands together, they formed a really beautiful peacock design that I loved, too," she explain. The groom's design featured a bride and groom, Divya's initials, and even a little picture of the couple's college mascot.
The Perfect Accessories
Throughout the weekend, Divya wore intricate jewelry created by Indian artists that matched the couple's neutral, soft color palette. "On Friday at the Sangeet, I wore delicate earrings that are my mom's," recalls Divya. "My older sister also wore these earrings for her wedding!" She also donned bangles, per tradition.
Divya and Tejas made a special trip to Mumbai to find clothing for the wedding. It was here that the bride visited Indian designer Sabyasachi's flagship store, where she found her wedding look: a neutral dress made with raw ivory and light pastel silk. "Its shape, intricacy, and style was truly Indian," she says.
Divya's bouquet, made by Meredith Law Designs, featured tonal blooms in a loose asymmetrical style. It included white anemones, blushing bride protea, peach and blush Juliette roses, as well as eucalyptus, olive leaves, airplants, and succulents. It was finished with a raw silk ribbon; the stems were left exposed.
A Custom Kurta
Tejas chose to wear a formal piece of Indian attire known as a Kurta. It was made at a family friend's store, Benzer, and featured intricate gold threaded designs.
"In addition to writing notes to each guest who attended, we gifted our family members, wedding party, and each other with personal presents that expressed our love and gratitude," explains Tejas of their leather tray keepsakes.
Divya's Antara wedding band featured the same delicate, dainty stones seen in her engagement ring; the petal-like marquise stones fit around the diamond solitaire perfectly. "I really loved the idea of doing something that fit like a puzzle piece with the engagement ring," she explained. Tejas chose a simple brushed gold band with a matte finish by the same designer.
The First Look
On Saturday, the couple chose to have a intimate moment, just the two of them, before their ceremony. "I was overwhelmed with happiness, joy, and excitement when I saw her," remembers Tejas. "I cried tears of joy and was so pumped that the day and time had come."
The Grand Wedding Party
The bride and groom's wedding party featured a mix of family and friends from all walks of life, cousins, and all of their siblings.
The ceremony's scenery played into the bride and groom's theme of garden-rustic, French-Country-meets-modern design. The chose a color palette of warm grays and blush pinks; potted plants that spilled out of wicker baskets, gold lanterns, and pots of fluffy pampas grass completed the décor.Fresh coconut water (served right out of shaved coconuts!) was offered to keep guests refreshed during the service.
Olive Tree Entrance
Each bridesmaid walked down the aisle carrying an olive tree planted in a gold votive jar. "We both used to have an olive tree in our home, and we loved the idea of having bridesmaids carry something that would live beyond the ceremony," explains Divya.
During the ceremony, the couple exchanged vows that they had written together on a trip to Sonoma months earlier. "They were each so individually and together 'us'—a mixture of emotion and promises and above all joy," says Divya.
Olive Leaf Exit
During the recessional, the couple put a twist on the traditional Indian rice toss. To incorporate their love of music, they filled rolled up sheet music cones with olive leaves for guests to throw, instead.
The couple featured tongue-in-cheek signs throughout the weekend as a nod to their sense of humor.
During the cocktail hour, the couple served a bride's drink called "The Spice of Wife"—a spicy jalapeño vodka lemonade—and a groom's sip titled "The Let the Gala Be-Gin," a gin-based Pimm's cup. For appetizers, they offered Indian bites including chili cheese pakora, lemon mustard paneer tikka, vegetable bonda, and spicy chana chaat.
The Magical Garden
The reception took place on a lawn surrounded by grape vines, just outside the barn. The couple set up a clear tent decorated with sparkling lights and mini chandeliers. "It was the perfect way to stay warm and still see the stars and the vineyard outside," says Divya.
A Plant-Filled Setting
Each table was decorated with gold cutlery, ivory and gold chargers, natural green napkins, menus, and a sprig of olive at each setting. Metal dishes filled with even more florals, gold lanterns, and blush pillar candles were the tabletops' focal point.
Dinner Is Served
As a nod to their original neighborhood, the bride and groom's Indian menu was created by a San Francisco-based chef. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, the couple chose to have gulab jamun—a donut hole nestled in sweet rose syrup—as their dessert.
Photography, Sylvie Gil
Event planning, Stephanie Cole of Cole Drake Events
Catering, Ramekins and Chef Ranjan Dey
Flowers and calligraphy, Meredith Law Designs
Videography, Jesse Eckel of Owl and Tree
Officiant, Shyamala Littlefield
Donuts, Johnny's Donuts, Chef Ranjan
Music, DJ MoMentum
Bride's shoes, Mansur Gavriel
Hair, Danyelle at Urban Beauty Loft
Makeup, Megan Naik
Groom's shoes, Ecco
Lighting, Jeffrey Mills
Transportation, Pureluxe Transportation and Google Buses