A Bridge to the Future
Photos Courtesy: Fine Art Productions www.fineartproductions.net
Nirmal and Hemali were enjoying a romantic evening at the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. The iconic Manhattan skyline offered the perfect backdrop. Nirmal started with a speech, but his words were ruthlessly subdued by the noise of a train passing by. The noisy scene ended as Nirmal offered a ring. Hemali did not hear a single word, but standing amidst a silence, she realized that Nirmal officially proposed to her.
Just eight months earlier, Nirmal Bhakta and Hemali Patel were strangers and two students at the New York University College of Dentistry. A mutual friend introduced the two. Now, after many days spent together and hours of chatting, they both know they were made for each other.
Now the real challenge was to sketch a perfect wedding plan. Adding to the complexity was a wish from Hemali’s parents – a wedding near their home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Though the newly engaged couple resides in Dallas, Texas, Hemali agreed to the wish. After all, nothing supersedes parents’ wishes!
Sangeet The theme for the sangeet was Moroccan infused with an ethnic tradition ambience. As the tradition goes, the bride was offered gifts by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Her gifts included an array of beautiful sarees, lehngas, and jewelry. The mehndi night was organized in a purely traditional Indian style with decorations of paisley design panels and lighting décor.
Wedding Ceremony The wedding was initially to take place outdoors overlooking a golf course, but due to weather conditions, it was moved indoors at the last minute. The priests performing the ceremony hailed from Chicago, Illinois. The stunning bride’s two mamas (mom’s brothers) walked her down the aisle. A natural mandap was lushly decorated with exotic flowers. The structure was custom-made by the decorator Prashe.
Hemali drew from an ethnic look, as portrayed in Indian epic tales, as inspiration for her make-up and hair. Her maroon and rusty orange colored saree with zardosi threaded embroidery and Swarovski crystals gave her a royal look for the ceremony. Her jewelry was from Udaipur, Rajasthan, and the custom detailed lehnga and saree was custom-made from Seasons India. She wore her hair up in large curls with ornaments and white orchids enhancing her poise.
Her six nieces were the flower girls, and they wore similar lehngas which were custom made at Sequence in Baroda. Interestingly, while Hemali was having her reception make-up done she fell asleep and started sleep talking to her make-up artist. She has a genuine piece of advice for all brides-to-be, “Stay well rested before the event.”
Reception Large, tall centerpieces were eye-catching as the guests made their way into the reception hall. The high ceiling of the venue offered enough space for the centerpieces to rise with beautifully arranged bunches of hydrangeas, orchids, and roses in large vases. All the flowers used were flown in from South America. Two ice sculpture bars with the couple’s initials were also the center of attraction.
During the wedding lunch, chefs offered fresh dosas to the guests. For cocktail hour, grilled vegetables, paneer tikka, manchurian, and Indo-Chinese were available. For the main course, the menu featured traditional Punjabi fare. Andy’s Passage to India provided the catering. Dessert was provided by Cupcakes from Blushing Bakery and Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt franchise based out of NYC, where Nirmal and Hemali went on their first date. The wedding cake was made up of 300 small cupcakes beautifully decorated with edible orchids matching the real orchids used for the decor.
Nirmal’s cousin Vishal sang his toast, which he pre-recorded using an iPhone app to imitate rapper T-Pain.
DJ Smarty kept spirits up throughout the evening. The couple walked in to Souja Boy, since Nirmal enjoys rap music, and the duo’s first dance was to the “Empire State of Mind part 2” by Alicia Keys. During the dance, a video clip of the two filmed in New York City played in the background. Hemali’s father-daughter dance was to the song “Yaadein,” which was memorable and heartfelt.
The royal looking couple made an equally royal getaway in a Rolls Royce.