Nisha & Snehal's Cozy Two-State Wedding {Buffalo, New York}

2016 Jun 4 - by Kate
We are delighted to bring you this cozy and absolutely lovely big fat Indian wedding on the blog today. Our couple Nisha and Snehal set out to capture (along with photographer Jessica Ahrens) an Indian wedding in a small city with few Indian wedding vendors. Buffalo, NY did have some importance in their lives—it's where they began dating.

We had the opportunity to ask Nisha all about her wedding, so without further ado, take it away Nisha!

Tell us about the wedding.

When Snehal and I decided to take our long distance relationship to the next level and get married, our biggest challenge was finding a city to host our wedding in. With family and friends spread out across North America and with the two of us living in different cities and countries, finalizing a venue was our biggest challenge.

We decided to host our wedding in Buffalo, NY, the land where we started our journey together as a couple. We couldn’t think of a more perfect place to celebrate our marriage. We began our wedding planning in an attempt to host a big fat Indian wedding in a small city with few Indian vendors. Now that we look back, despite our struggles with narrowing the perfect vendors, we wouldn’t have changed that for anything as we managed to pull off a happy three day wedding affair successfully!

Buffalo, usually known for its notoriously cold weather, was as warm as it could be for November and free of snow. The love, hugs and smiles from our friends and family kept us feeling warm and cozy.

Our wedding celebration was held at the Salvatore's Grand Hotel. We incorporated the best of Snehal’s Gujarati traditions and my Tamil-hood in our two-state wedding. We kicked off the celebrations with a henna/sangeet evening filled with many amazing performances by our talented family members.

On day two, we held our pre-wedding religious rituals and Snehal’s haldi ceremony at the local Hindu temple, followed by a mix and mingle evening with fun games for people to break the ice. On day three, we had our wedding ceremony and reception.

Could you tell us about any special wedding customs/clothing you had?

When we envisioned our wedding, we wanted to have an event incorporating religious traditions that were important to us as well as have a big ‘happy’ party that Snehal and I promised to enjoy! For our wedding ceremony, we decided to go with a pretty peach and fuchsia pink color theme with red and gold for accents.

We started our wedding ceremony with a fun baraat procession followed by the ‘oonjal’ or ‘swing ceremony.

I wore a traditional South Indian Kanjeevaram saree through the first half of the wedding ceremony and Snehal wore a sherwani and dhothi to complement my saree.

In Tamil Brahmin weddings, the bride usually changes to a nine yard saree mid-ceremony before tying the knot. I used this opportunity to change my outfit, but instead of a nine yard saree, I wore an elegant red bridal lehenga for part two of our ceremony.

I guess I always envisioned myself tying the knot in a red lehenga just like in the movies?

We tailored the ceremony to include the best of both our cultures and even wrote our vows for each other which added a nice personal touch to the ceremony. Our reception was a Western style event with a Bollywood twist. We opened our reception party with a concept video of Snehal and I.

What was the inspiration for your wedding?

Our venue had a Victorian feel to it and we hosted our events in a beautiful ballroom. We incorporated Gujarati and Tamil traditions into our wedding and had a Western style reception. But above all the little details, our inspiration and wedding goal was to have an amazing celebration with a lot of dancing and great memories. That was the driving force behind the wedding.

What was the hardest part about wedding planning?

I guess the hard part about planning for me was to put a cap on my never-ending ideas. My brain (in general) is constantly thinking of things to do. Throughout the wedding planning year, I came up with a zillion ideas and wedding projects to complete. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to share my excitement and to be a part and parcel of all my madness.

But at some point, I had to cap my ideas so that we could set realistic goals and execute the wedding successfully. Also, since Snehal and I planned the whole wedding ourselves long-distance over a year, we were the only ones that knew every little detail in its entirety. We decided against a planner as we wanted to take the time to plan our personalized event ourselves. This gave us an opportunity to get to know each others tastes and gave us time to do fun projects together.

Although we had made a list of things to delegate during the wedding, we were still very involved in executing things, which was a bit stressful at times. I remember so many people asking me so many things on the morning of the ceremony and I said to myself, “Keep calm and eat your granola” so I could be well fed before a long and crazy day with energy to think on the go and multitask!

Did you do any DIY (do it yourself) or special projects/things at the wedding?

I designed our wedding programs to match our peach and pink color theme. In the program, I wanted to explain the significance of the Hindu rituals that we chose to include in our wedding. People appreciated the thought behind this, especially since the wedding involved a blend of different customs.

I created “Indianized” wedding timelines to provide information to our hotel guests about the shuttle services. I also made our reception seating chart and incorporated our colors of royal blue, red and gold in it. It was a fun project that let me get in touch with my rusty craft skills.

We decorated a bike with flowers to make a colorful prop for our henna and sangeet event. I didn’t think this would be such a big hit…but we got many people posing creatively to show off our bike:)

What was your favorite part of the wedding?

There were so many things that we loved and enjoyed about our wedding. My favorite part was the whole planning process. Snehal and I created a wedding blog section on our wedding website. We used this space to document every step of our planning process—all the details from selecting our venue to sending out invites to counting down to the big day. I am so glad that we did this as we have such a great memory of our wedding planning year.

We had the crazy idea of doing a surprise 10-day count down for each other before the wedding. This was so much fun and we both got creative using different avenues to count down on social media.

What 3 words of advice do you have for future brides/grooms-to-be?

Go with the Flow: When you make a plan, be ready for a change of plan. There are so many things that will not go exactly as per plan on your wedding day and that’s absolutely Ok. Anticipating change and detour from the plan will help to ease a big chunk of that stress! Deep breaths and focus on yourself!

Process and Cherish: You spend a long time planning your wedding. Your wedding day will arrive before you even know it and it will be over in a jiffy! Try your best to process all the special moments…be in the moment and throw Mr. Stress out the window:)

Eat and Enjoy: On your big day, you will be swarmed by people wanting to take photos with you because they love you and are so excited to celebrate with you.

Anything else you would like to add?

Smile loads, party hard, and have a blast at your wedding…this is your day! You can also check out our wedding video here and my blog.

Congratulations Nisha and Snehal! Wishing you the very best.

{Vendor List}

Venue - Salvatore's Italian Garden Restaurant // Photographer - Jessica Ahrens Photography // Videographer - Black Horse Videography // Wedding Mandap and Florist - Fancy Florist // Wedding Cake - Dessert Deli // Hair & Makeup - Salon B // Caricature Artist - Adam Pate // Bride's Reception Outfit - Ash Creations