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hen writer Pallavi Sharma thought about her wedding day, she’d always assumed that she’d be married in her home state of New Jersey, surrounded by family and friends. But aside from her immediate family, most of her relatives still lived in India. She and fiancé Amol Dixit, a marketing manager for General Mills, were basking in the afterglow of a friend’s destination wedding in Puerto Rico, when the inspiration struck—why not have the wedding in India? “All my grandparents were there, and it was really important for me to have them, and he had half his family there. We thought India might be a nice way to include all of our family and a nice experience for our friends,” she says.

See All Nirali Weddings Here!

Having decided on Delhi as their destination, the duo dove into the painstaking planning that preceded the celebration. “I don’t know how I would have done it if I didn’t have so much family there. Definitely have people there that you can count on,” she advises. “Another thing that helped was I had tons of pictures from magazines of the way I wanted things to look. It helped with dealing with Indian vendors, because the weddings that they planned are different than Indian weddings in America. It helped bridge the gap.”

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Clockwise from top left: Pallavi gets ready. Pallavi and Amol before their sangeet. Pallavi on her wedding day.

Pallavi and Amol, who met as students at the University of Pennsylvania, also wanted to “bridge the gap” for their non-Indian friends and ensure that their stay was both fun and comfortable. “As soon as we had the date, we started to let our friends know, through email, about visas and vaccinations. We sat down and thought about everything they would need to know to travel to India. I spent a lot of time coordinating transportation. In Delhi, logistics are really difficult,” she explains.

The bride and groom even sent their guests “survival guides” in the mail: “Inside was information about what to expect in India and at our wedding, things to do in Delhi, basic information about the airport, hotel, attire and fun things about us.” Amol, whose background is in marketing, came up with the wedding theme of “Destination Delhi” and its corresponding logo, which depicted “an image of India with a star that showed where Delhi was.” It was emblazoned on everything from the little peach-colored luggage tags and mugs all the attendees were given to the signs at the venues directing guests to the various event sites.

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Clockwise from left: Pallavi and Amol walk around the fire. Pallavi with friends. Pallavi with her bridesmaids.

Pallavi and Amol’s devotion to detail certainly paid off. Their decision to have a destination wedding not only enabled them to include beloved family members who lived far away but also allowed them to share aspects of their cultural traditions with their non-Indian friends.

The Venues

The mehndi was held on the lawns of her uncle’s farmhouse on the outskirts of Delhi. The sangeet was at the Taj Palace Hotel, while the wedding ceremony was at the eco-friendly Uppal’s Orchid. “It’s kind of like a small boutique hotel. It has [a] really beautiful lawn. I wanted to have the ceremony outside,” says Pallavi. The couple chose the palatial Hyatt Regency Delhi for the reception site.

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Clockwise from top left: The path to the ceremony. Violet-colored petals spill from urns along the paths. Lime green for the mehndi.
The Décor

Lime-green couches with matching pillows and tables shaded with lime-green umbrellas dotted the landscape of Pallavi’s uncle’s farmhouse on the day of the mehndi. At the sangeet, brilliant pink, silvery gray and scarlet fabrics draped the background and set the stage for the numerous performances by family and friends that night. Creamy white and pale pink flowers and fabrics decorated the wedding mandap, and violet-colored petals spilled from urns lining the aisle down which Pallavi was escorted by her brother. Yellow and white flowers complemented the shimmering golden fabrics decorating the reception hall.

The Attire

At the sangeet, Pallavi wore a midnight-blue lengha from famed bridal designer Ritu Kumar. “I had friends and relatives in India who had been going with more flashy designers, and I had looked at the work of different people, but I kept coming back to Ritu Kumar. Her work is more beautiful and traditional, and I felt that was more me.” Amol matched her in a midnight blue kurta and cream pajamas. While they had no official groomsmen, the two gave navy kurtas as gifts to several of Amol’s friends. “They were matching during the reception, which was nice,” says Pallavi. Her own four bridesmaids wore peach-colored saris.

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Clockwise from top left: The reception hall. Pallavi and Amol in their reception attire. Tall centerpieces dot tables at the reception.

Snapshot: Jay Seth

Jay Seth has been doing professional photography for 30 years. Though he started as a concert, fashion and commercial photographer, he couldn’t resist capturing “the emotional and exotic elements of Indian weddings,” he says. “Having done concerts in the 1970s, I am able to capture the emotional, candid and fluid moments of weddings. Also, having done fashion photography, I apply the elements of posing and fashion in my photography of weddings.”

Though he had already planned a trip to India independent of Pallavi and Amol’s wedding, he does travel anywhere in the world. Prices start at $5,000. For more information or to book, visit www.jaysethphoto.com.

For her wedding outfit, Pallavi stayed with Ritu Kumar and donned the designer’s trademark—an elaborately embroidered red lengha. An antique piece of gold jewelry her mother had worn to her own wedding was pinned to Pallavi’s lengha. “It was really meaningful,” she says. Amol, she remembers, “was so handsome—he wore a cream-colored sherwani and it had very fine embroidery in gold and maroon, but very subtle.” At the reception, Pallavi wore a baby-blue and candy-pink lengha, while Amol accompanied her in “black pants and jacket with gold and peach-colored shimmery work on the trimming,” which had been purchased in Bombay by his family.

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The Entertainment

The sangeet was essentially a talent show, with several song and dance performances by both family and friends. The bride even surprised the groom with a dance performance. (He returned the favor by singing her a song at their reception.) “For me,” says Pallavi, “one of the highlights was Amol’s high school buddies singing [at the same event] with my Indian relatives.”

The Special Touches

The groom’s uncle married the couple. “He performed the whole thing in English and he incorporated traditions from both of our families,” explains Pallavi. The family touch continued with her mother-in-law’s efforts to procure Indian outfits for the non-Indian guests to wear. “They loved it,” she recalls, “and it was nice to see everyone really embracing India while they were there.

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Clockwise from left: Pallavi and Amol walk through the market. The couple and their guests sightsee. At the Taj Mahal.

For Pallavi, one of the best aspects of her wedding was the work of her photographer, Jay Seth. Though based in America, Seth was already planning a trip to India, so she was able to avail herself of his services. “I think that was the best day of my life, I was so thrilled!” she laughs. And Seth was able to add a more Western touch to their Indian nuptials. “He took us out to a market in Delhi to do a photo shoot of us walking through the stalls. Those ended up being some of my favorites because the pictures were casual and we were having a lot fun. [It was] different from the traditional staged wedding pictures you see.”

The guests also took in sights beyond the wedding festivities—the couple took them sightseeing on a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. “Two days after the wedding, we rented a bus and did a Delhi day trip. We wanted to make sure people saw more than just the wedding, so we picked out a few things. It turned out to be fun for us, because a lot of times when we go to India it’s mostly family and no sightseeing.” n

Deepa Kamath hopes her next destination will be somewhere with sandy beaches and tropical waters.
Published on June 18, 2007.
Photography: Jay Seth

Vendor List

Venues: Taj Palace Hotel, Uppal’s Orchid, Hyatt Regency Delhi
Photography: Jay Seth, 718.939.8620
Bridal Attire: Ritu Kumar

Comments are closed.
  1. June 22, 2007, 12:07 pm Anna Bella

    How absolutely stunning! I can’t find the words to say how beautiful this is – I’m addicted to learning more!

  2. June 26, 2007, 12:18 pm Mark Pierce

    What a beautiful wedding experience – thanks for sharing your special event. All you are missing is Amol’s elephant ride photo!

    – M!

  3. June 27, 2007, 9:57 am Narinder

    It’s absolutely amazing!!!

  4. June 28, 2007, 8:32 pm Eunjoo

    I had worked with Pallavi years ago and lost touch. What a wonderful surprise it was to see her on this site for her wedding. (There is no mistaking that smile)

    Congratulations Pallavi! You look beautiful.

  5. July 2, 2007, 8:07 pm Nishaw

    Wow! What a beautiful wedding! I’m thinking of a destination wedding myself. Does anyone know anything about the Regal weddings in india that take place at the palaces. http://www.regal-weddings.com

  6. July 11, 2007, 9:05 am David Snyder

    I knew these two crazy kids would make it!

  7. July 12, 2007, 3:09 pm Seema

    Regal Weddings… hmm.. read something about them in a Bridal Magazine last month. Seems they offer dream weddings!

  8. September 20, 2007, 11:02 am Loknath Swain

    REALLY NICE WEDDING EXPERIENCE WRITTEN IN NICW WAY.

    Loknath Swain
    Content Writer
    Mumbai
    9833181107

  9. October 13, 2007, 2:32 am Ruchi

    Have you heard of Bespoke Weddings Abroad http://www.bespokeweddingsabroad.com They specialise in weddings for couples in India, amongst other destinations. They look pretty good also.

  10. January 3, 2008, 6:45 pm Purva

    Check out Shehnaaiusa.com for bridal and planning, they did my wedding last year.

  11. April 21, 2008, 3:12 pm Priya G

    Bespokeweddings? this company seems to be using copied pictures on its website! whatta shame! A wedding planner company dont have its own pictures an ideas!!

  12. July 2, 2008, 3:16 pm mili ghosh

    Hi Nisha..We do wedding cinematography and recently we filmed a royal wedding at the Jag Mandir Palace in Udaipur. The wedding is also getting featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine – July 2008 Issue. You can check out the Udaipur wedding clips on our website –
    http://www.memoinmotion.com

  13. October 8, 2008, 3:23 pm leena

    You are a beautiful couple. I loved your wedding article and pictures. Best wishes to you both.

  14. January 9, 2009, 7:21 am melanie

    i just got this site. beautiful. what great photographs!