Vanesha & Shajib’s amazing wedding weekend kicked off with the Haldi, where turmeric paste is smeared on the couple. We had gotten lucky with a major storm dodging New Orleans but we had high winds that we combated all day as their guests celebrated & enjoyed the food by Orchid Indian Cuisine from Mississippi.
That evenings, guests joined us in the host hotel ballroom for a joint Mehndi & Sangeet party. We wanted to incorporate some elements of New Orleans culture into the decor so a hedge wall was built with Mardi Gras masks and tikka hanging from it along with a mirror for guests to check placement of their new accessories. We also alternated floral centerpieces with our own miniature “bead trees”, which can typically be seen all around the city, especially around Mardi Gras time. New Orleans Henna provided amazing mehndi designs & a brass band heralded the entrance of the couple as the Sangeet kicked off with choreographed dances by the bridal party & family members before Vanesha & Shajib took the dance floor themselves.
The day of their ceremonies, the winds had increased and the rooftop location meant we had some design issues. After almost losing the mandap several times due to the wind, the rental company brought even more weights, so we had over a hundred pounds of weight on each leg of the mandap to help weigh it down. We also took the fabric off the top of it and paired down the fabric and flowers on the sides. The fabric draping for over the guests heads also had to be cut and the aisle arrangements had to be placed flat on the stands instead of elevated on vases, as even with the weight of the water, we were concerned about them staying as well. There were also a lot of logistics on Saturday because a city wide race meant the streets were shut down that entire morning. Items had been delivered & the AstroTurf had been installed the previous afternoon, but we still had to prepare for the largest hit of the weekend, the Baraat!
Vanesha was raised to know that she could do anything a boy could do so when it came to her wedding, she wanted a parade also! We shut down Decatur Street, the main street in the heart of the French Quarter, since it ran right in front of their venue, the Riverview Room. Vanesha started at one end of the street and Shajib started at Jackson Square, each of them on horseback. They paraded toward one another to the beat of the music including a dhol (drum) player, meeting in the middle in front of the Riverview Room.
Following their Hindu shaadi (ceremony), they went back to the host hotel for the private Muslim nikah (ceremony), which was attended by only a small select group of people, while the rest of the guest enjoyed a hospitality suite, rested & prepared for the reception that evening. Orchid Indian Cuisine did a fantastic job of keeping everyone fed and happy throughout the weekend, providing meals, snacks & keeping the hospitality suite stocked all weekend long for all of our guests!
As Saturday night arrived, guests were bused back to the Riverview Room for a reception inside their main space. Shajib & Vanesha wowed everyone with a champagne wall as they entered & a first dance complete with fog. The reception also featured speeches, a birthday cake, cake cutting with their families, yet another brass band appearance, DJ and dhol (drum) player. This is an amazing wedding people are still talking about!
See the short recap video as well as the full videos below (from Mary M. Cinema):