Jenny and Nitin Wedding (Write Up)

November 7, 2009

Official Pictures !! (Click on "highlights")

The wedding was perfect.

The wedding was unbelievable. Before the wedding itself, I had always said that to keep my wedding small and as simple as possible. Wedding planning for a large event seemed so long, arduous, and unnecessary.

But given how amazing of a shared experience our wedding was for us and our guests -- I don't regret a thing. I think weekly planning meetings for one whole year was worth it! At the end of the day, we invited ~700 guests and ~300 ended up coming.

Jenny celebrated the Mendhi Ceremony on Friday morning, which is when the Henna Artists draw designs on the hands and feet of her and the rest of our close family and friends. It was hosted by my sister and was a great kick-off to a weekend of festivities. We also had some excellent Mediterranean food. :)

Friday Night - Sangeet - Hosted by my Grandpa. All of our guests celebrated the opening of our wedding with a night on a yacht.  I was originally thinking "this wedding is huge" and I wouldn't recognize a lot of the people who attended. My parents are friends with a large Indian community and I didn't recognize names on the guest list. But then, when Jenny and I greeted each guest as they walked in, I recognized nearly everyone from different phases in my life. Family from India. Family from England. The cousin who I hung out with a lot when I was 10. The Aunt and Uncles from San Francisco who we visited each year when I was a teenager.  It was very touching. I literally grew up with this community and they felt like an extended family. Every person who came to our wedding was there for a reason and it was awesome having them celebrate this day with us. It was basically a loud dance party on the upstairs level and small tables and awesome Mexican food on the lower level. I typically never dance, but I was so so happy and danced the night away. I also had a lot of opportunities to catch up with my friends (some of whom I had not seen for 5+ years...)

One other cool aspect of the night was to watch my friends and family from different phases in my life interacting with each other. Weddings are the only time in your life that people from different walks of your life can be together.  

Jenny was glowing the whole night as well. We were both just in the moment and as happy as possible. It was a perfect evening.

The next day (Saturday)we had an Indian wedding, tea, White wedding, cocktail hour, and reception. Prior to the wedding, I felt that we could have done at least 1,000 more hours of planning for the event to live up to our expectations. We had a minute by minute timeline, but there is much more we could have done. As it unfolded, things happened unexpectedly, but the day and evening could not have gone better. Because we had been having weekly meetings for ~1 year, we probably did a lot more planning than people do for most weddings. We had logistics for 3 events from 3 hotels, welcome baskets, decor, food, flowers, and coreography for 2 weddings all planned out.

The Indian ceremony was very interesting to the white guests.

The White ceremony was very interesting to the Indian guests. For some of the Indian guests, this was the first time that they actually got to see a white ceremony. 

(Our original wedding web site.)

We had my good friend, Chad, an internet ordained universal life church minister (and also a Jew), be the officiant for Jenny, (raised Catholic), and me (Hindu) for a "white" non-denominational wedding. But it was perfect 20 minute ceremony. It was a very powerful and meaningful moment and experience. We wrote every word of the vows, and Chad did a heartfelt introduction. It could not have gone better and was the happiest moment of my life. We also got several compliments on that ceremony afterwards. 

For the reception, the bridesmaids and groomsmen entered to "I got a feeling." My family entered to Indian music. Then, Jenny and I entered to "snoop dog" because my friends call me "snoop." The crowd went wild. Then we went into the first dance and the reception.

The honeymoon was AWESOME. We drove down to the Florida Keys in my parent's convertible and did nothing for a week straight. Our schedule was: breakfast, morning nap, read on the porch/outside, huge lunch w dessert, eat milk and cookies, afternoon nap, walk around a little bit, huge dinner, laugh about how we over-ate but how happy and lazy we are, sleep, repeat.

My major take-aways/lessons:

  • Make your wedding personal (people loved that one of my best friends officiated, we wrote our own vows, my cousin DJed, we had scrapbooks, we had our favorite books and games laid out, we had lounges conducive for chatting for non-dancers, another friend, Orion, played piano ... each personal touch allows the guests to get to know the bride and groom a little better.)
  • If you can afford it, choose the best vendors (Jenny and I were both reluctant about doing it at a fancy place [the breakers], but having excellent flowers/decor/caterer/venue/dj/photographer made our wedding awesome with no stress at all.)
  • Manage the entire guest experience (especially transportation logistics) and not just the wedding. (Planning transportation logistics for an uncertain number of guests in 3 "selected" hotels and an uncertain number of other hotels, with welcome baskets, timings, communications, helpers, and food is no trivial task.)
  • Assign as many tasks as possible to someone else (Who is going to be responsible for collecting and distributing groomsmen tuxedos before and after the wedding? Who is giving the gifts? Who is gathering and lining up the groomsmen and bridesmaid before they make their entrances? etc.)
  • Make it BIG (and inclusive) (Again, Jenny and I were reluctant about my parent's inviting people that we didn't know, but there were so many faces that I recognized from throughout my childhood. Let your parents invite whoever they want to because when the day comes, having all those people there makes it feel like you are blazing through all the best memories of the best parts of your life.)
  • Being the groom solves my biggest complaint about typical parties. (I usually dislike parties because of the "eyes darting" syndrome of people looking for someone more interesting to talk to. In the case that you are the groom, you completely get the full undivided attention of the person you are talking to. I loved it :) )
  • Weddings are awesome at giving you perspective (My Best Man gave a great speech, my Dad gave a heartfelt speech, our groomsmen and bridesmaids were all so helpful, and our family truly pulled through for helping make this the most memorable day of our lives. Those type of moments helped me realize what is trivial and what is important in life. Having solid friends and family is amazing.)
Bottom bottom line: We had the time of our lives! :)