Navjot and Rakesh met in July 2009 in New York while she was on holiday. Rakesh was living there at the time and on one fateful evening their paths crossed. They kept in touch but with Navjot residing in Vancouver and Rakesh on the other side of the continent and in a different country they never imagined that their friendship would turn to love. The years following would involve many travel miles booked, plane tickets purchased, extended stays in respective cities and years of long distance love. It wasn’t until they both moved to Chicago that they were finally together in one city.
Fast forward six years later in November 2015- Rakesh treated Navjot to a weekend trip in Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate her birthday with a big surprise in mind. There, the two took in the city’s architecture and sights before a private carriage led to them to a quaint restaurant where the wrap around patio was adorned with flowers, candles, wine and nibbles. Moments later, Rakesh popped the question. “It was a picture perfect day,” Navjot said. Her ring: Single Stone
When the couple started their wedding planning they knew they wanted their wedding reception to take place outdoors in picturesque Vancouver amidst the water and mountains. Being that the summer is an extremely busy time for weddings in Vancouver the couple had the challenge of finding a venue that would allow for just that. Miraculously, The Brockhouse was available on August 22nd, 2015 and the two booked it without a second thought. And so the wedding planning began!
Navjot and Rakesh both agreed that they would make it a point to not argue during the planning phase “We felt that if we argued every detail leading up to the day we wouldn’t enjoy the wedding as much”, Navjot said. This was the best conversation they had and they also decided to set aside “wedding planning” discussion time and not let it take over their lives. Both agreed that the planning was extremely enjoyable and to this day still state that they would do it all over again. Constant communication between everyone involved ensured that the events went smoothly along with staying organised. In fact the hardest part was when it was over and there was no planning left to do!
Being from two different religions (Sikh and Hindu), the couple wanted to incorporate both cultures yet maintain a western flair. Neither of the couple was extremely religious so they had one goal in mind. “We wanted to make it a wedding not just for us but for all our guests” Rakesh mentioned and they did just that. They had several conversations early on with both sets of parents and families to discover what traditions their parents wanted to include. The couple noted that was the best thing they did as it ensured everyone was on the same page and happy. They decided to have a Sikh wedding at a Gurdwara but added traditional Hindu elements including the groom’s entrance with a brass band, a sindoor ceremony, and the tying of a after the Sikh ceremony was complete.
They also exchanged rings at the Gurdwara to complement the western tradition. Outfit wise, the couple opted for traditional Punjabi outfits from Sunny’s Bridal including Rakesh wearing a turban along with several of his non-Sikh friends. “To have not only Rakesh but his family and friends show respect to our religion really proved to us how much their family was meant to be apart of ours” said Navjot’s mum.
Cocktail Hour & Evening Reception
“The reception itself was a dream and our favourite part”, the couple said. We kept it small and with only 110 guests and started it early while the sun was still out. “Traditionally, Vancouver Indian wedding receptions start after 7pm and we wanted to enjoy the outdoors with our guests!”. Rather than making a grand entrance the couple decided to mingle with their guests on the lawn at the Brockhouse while they look in the sounds of the string quartet and enjoyed small bites and good company.
The intimate ambiance was very relaxed after a long wedding week and it was easy to see that everyone was having a lovely time. For the cocktail hour, Navjot opted for a simple black gown from Halston, which she admits she had reservations about. “I wanted to complement Rakesh’s custom tuxedo from Alexander West but was weary of how my family would react with me wearing black. I put on the dress and showed it to them and just the sheer act of running the idea by them got their agreement and blessing”.
For the formal part of the night, Navjot wore a custom made gold gown, which she created with a local Vancouver designer. The reception itself felt like a large family dinner with conversations buzzing about, humourous and heartfelt speeches, amazing food, and dancing.
I was lucky enough to be apart of the wedding and found that the couple took care of every detail. They had several wedding events leading up to their big day including a traditional pre-wedding party with Punjabi folk songs and Gujarati dandiya to a day out on a yacht with close friends followed by a cocktail party to kick off the wedding weekend. The last piece of advice the couple gave was to “hire a day of coordinator. Their help allows you enjoy the day fully without thinking about anything and takes the burden off a family member”. The couple chose to use Margot at Petite Pearl Events who took over the planning approximately two weeks before the wedding. She ensured each detail was taken care of on the wedding day and allowed Rakesh and Navjot to enjoy the start of their happily ever after.
Punjabi Outfits: Sunny’s Bridal
Cocktail Hour Dress:Halston
Tuxedo: Alexander West
Reception Dress: Local Designer
Wedding coordinator: Petite Pearl Events