As a fan of bold colour, multi-cultural weddings are such a visual treat for me. So I’m totally thrilled to be blogging this afternoon’s fusion Jewish Hindu or ‘HinJew’ wedding that’s an all-out explosion of colour and fun. From the bride’s multi-coloured hair to her stunning dress, vivid jewellery and wonderful mix of flowers, to the groom’s hip style and snazzy bejewelled shoes!
This wedding really shows how to perfectly amalgamate cultures, rituals, merrymaking, and personality! Talia and Indra made sure that amongst all their combined traditions they didn’t forget to let their personalities shine through. One of my favourite (and oh-so-simple) party details is that they had a design-your-own-‘mac-and-cheese-bar’ , because Talia is obsessed with this dish!
I absolutely adore Talia’s colourful dress and accessories which suit her down to the ground and I think that it’s safe to say that Talia’s dad agrees too. The emotional photo of him when he sees her for the first time gave me a lump in my throat…
So settle down and enjoy Talia’s infectiously fun words, alongside some super stunning imagery from Roots of Life Photography.
a colourful city chic venue
Talia, the Bride: We chose theWit in Chicago, as we wanted a unique and colourful wedding venue with a city feel within easy walking distance to fun things to do before and after the wedding. And in terms of Chicago, there is definitely a significance there. We knew we were going to be a destination wedding for most people no matter where we had it, since we had guests traveling from South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, Texas, Canada, India, etc. So we chose to go with our favourite US city, which earned a special place in our hearts since we had our first date there. It made the whole event that much more meaningful to be able
Both our Save The Date, which we sent out electronically via Paperless Post, and our paper cards, involved a lot of research to find just the right style to represent how fun and special our relationship and this wedding was going to be. While we were fairly untraditional with our colour scheme for a Hindu or Jewish wedding, we decided to go with the red version of this card to honour the red bridal colour typically seen in Hindu weddings.
My dress and all of our wedding garb (jewellery, veil, his outfit, shoes…. pretty much everything except my sandals) came from Sahil. I had gone shopping a few times with family and friends and hadn’t had any luck. During Indra and my winter vacation, we decided to look together and found this dress… Well sort of. It was actually a more pastel version of the dress, which I liked a lot, but wasn’t 100% sure about (I’m indecisive, so no surprise there).
Indra loved it and I texted a picture of me wearing it to my brother, best friend and mum and they all loved it too. And all of them mentioned how it matched my hair! BUT – I left it with Sahil to get fitted so it would be more of a cross between a sari and a lehenga, which was appealing to me since I could be a little more self-sufficient after the alterations. When they sent it back, it was the same dress, only way more vibrant! I guess they had replaced it with a similar, bolder one, but I love love loved it, so I guess it was meant to be.
accessories + jewellery
I wore a maang tikka, earrings, a veil, necklace and tons of bangles. I love big colourful jewellery so it went perfectly with my style. The maang tikka and bangles were to represent Hindu bridal styles and the earrings and necklace worked great with those. The veil was for Hindu and Jewish wedding traditions.
hair + make up
I just handed the reigns over to my super talented makeup artist Joanna of Joanna B Artistry. I didn’t have any look or anything picked out, which is kind of scary, but I knew from Tara she could be completely trusted…. and Tara was right! She took my personal style, wedding outfit and jewellery, skin issues, pretty much everything into account to make my makeup and hair absolutely stunning.
Gold sandals with some clear jewel thingies on them. They matched my outfit brilliantly and allowed Indra to remain taller than me, whereas had I worn heels that would have brought our 3″ height difference even closer together… I have to say they were really comfortable though, especially since I had to take them on and off to get under the chuppah.
the handsome groom
Indra wore a teal and gold coloured sherwani with a pink and gold dupatta and the most amazing jewelled shoes! His brother even teased him asking if he was marrying me or his shoes because they were so over the top bejeweled! I loved them! And I loved that he matched my outfit so well. I knew in advance what he would be wearing since we picked it out together (honestly I picked out the shoes!), but he looked absolutely stunning wearing them. He also wore his adorable glasses that he bought just before the wedding.
We had a bridal party who didn’t stand up at the chuppah with us, but did occupy the first couple of rows during the ceremony and did get special intros before the ceremony. We basically gave them an idea of what our wedding colours would be and then allowed them to choose their own outfits. They all had such different cultures and personalities and we really wanted that to shine.
Memorable moments of our interfaith HinJew ceremony
I just loved how amazingly the Bengali traditions tied in with the Jewish ones. Probably wrapping our toes around the betel nuts seven times was my favourite, but I got particularly choked up when we put our wedding rings halfway down each others’ pointer fingers and then on the ring fingers.
Also there was one part where Indra’s mum was helping during the ceremony and she whispered something very sweet to me, first in Bengali, then in English. It was very moving. Oh and how can I forget – my dad walking me down the aisle! It didn’t help that he purposely said something super sappy that made me cry just before walking down the aisle, but he’s very silly and sweet and in retrospect that wasn’t surprising whatsoever. In terms of pre-ceremony, the first looks with Indra and my dad were really meaningful. It was so special for me to spend time with just the two of them before Indra and I took our vows. And I can’t remember ever seeing my dad cry in my whole life other than during the first look.
I let my super talented florist Heidi of Field and Florist design our chuppah based on our taste, budget and overall feel of the ceremony, and she was amazing! We’re so lucky we found her.
music for the ceremony
I couldn’t believe how seamlessly Max of Style Matters pieced together our totally varied taste in music. He played everything from the Jackson 5 to Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, The Beatles, various Indian music, and more! Indian music played as our bridal and groomal parties walked down the aisle. I walked down the aisle to I Got a Sure Thing by the Jackson 5.
our outstanding florist
We went with a fresh picked flower look and other than requesting colourful things with interesting textures, we gave Heidi from Field and Florist free creative reign. She figured out our taste perfectly after just a couple phone calls and was a dream to work with. It was incredible how she so immediately understood our taste (and budget!), when other florists seemed to have a much harder time. I guess she’s a natural! On the tables she took that same look and combined it with mason jars and tea light candles.
our incredible photographer
Tara of Roots of Life Photography is seriously amazing! So fantastuc that even though she lives four hours away from us, we decided she was going to be our official photographer for any events we have from now on. We initially were thinking of doing our wedding in Charleston, South Carolina, and during that time had interviewed a lot of photographers and not found that great of a match (some were very talented but way overpriced, whereas others were in our budget but didn’t quite have the style we were looking for).
When we saw Tara’s photos and offerings, we knew that was it! But even more than that, she is just so super sweet. And considering how much time you spend with your photographer on your wedding day, that was really really important! She’s also really amazing at navigating family drama issues, which is a must for any wedding photographer…
make-your-own food bars!
Hors d’oeuvres included samosas, goat cheese tomato soup shooters with fancy grilled cheese and mango risotto cakes. The main course included a design your own mac and cheese bar (I am absolutely obsessed with macaroni!), a design your own pho station, and Indian curry bar with two types of curries and naan.
We did a teeny tiny butter pecan cake mainly for photography purposes. But the real dessert action was at our dessert bar! We had Chinese almond cookies, Southern style coconut cupcakes and (my personal favourite), Vietnamese coffee shooters with Beignets.
The Chinese cookies were a reference to our love of and many visits to Chicago Chinatown. The cupcakes were a reference to us both being from the South (well really Indra moved to India when he was a toddler and grew up there, but he spent the last 7 years of his life in South Carolina and I grew up there). The vietnamese coffee is just another nod to our love of asian food and vietnamese coffee in particular and the beignets were a reference to our trip to NOLA, which was absolutely amazing. All of this was prepared by the pastry chef at theWit.
entertainment and party!
We had an open bar and DJ and figured that was enough! For the open bar we included four styles of craft beer local to the midwest and a few different types of liquor. We upgraded to kraken as our rum option and had them make a special version of our favorite drink for us, which includes kraken, clementines and bitters. After the reception was over, the young folks headed up to ROOF on theWit (the hotel bar) and then went bar hopping from there.
My dad and I first danced to Dear Prudence by The Beatles and Indra and his mum danced to Maa da ladla bigad gaya .For Indra and my first dance, we chose Happy by Pharrell because we actually wanted everyone to dance with that and we thought that would be a good song for that. It took some persuading but eventually people joined in. But the song that ended up feeling more like a traditional first dance was played much later (40 Day Dream by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). It felt like we were the only people in the room.
Old fashioned chocolate glazed doughnuts from Do-Rite Donuts and ground Intelligentsia coffee! Delicious. They are both super Chicago, make for a great breakfast combo for the day after the wedding, and are two of my favourite things to have while in Chi-town.
advice to other brides
Figure out what’s important to you, point your budget towards that, and the rest you can decide if it’s really needed and if so, how much you want to spend on us. For us, it wasn’t a big deal at all to have aisle runners, gold bows on our chairs, and things like that. But having amazing food, drinks and photography were musts, so we really honed in on that. Also it is possible to have gorgeous flowers without blowing bazillions of dollars on that! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
In terms of enjoying the day, I really felt like having a first look with Indra and my dad was so important. It was meaningful but also allowed me to have a quiet moment with two of my favorite people. Having everyone stare at you for hours, especially if you’re an introvert, can be really intimidating! Figure out how to best make yourself comfortable as much as you can beforehand and plan accordingly. It’s a huge day, emotions are flying, you have to do you!
Also having a great DJ is important because once you’ve gone through the ceremony bit you can just dance your stress away! And remember that weddings can make people a little emotional, and they can show that in a variety of ways. Don’t expect everything to go exactly how you planned or for people to act exactly how you expect. Don’t worry about anything other than you and your soon to be spouse having the day of your lives.
Talia + Indra’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Roots of Life Photography
Venue + catering — theWit
Wedding Planner — Simply Azure Events
Bride’s outfit + accessories — Sahil
Groom’s Attire — Sahil
Flowers — Field and Florist
Hair + Make up — Joanna B Artistry
DJ — Style Matters
Bridal Henna — Sumeyya of Henna Craze
Stationery — Paperless Post