Cultural Weddings/Real Weddings

Rustic & Romantic Micro Wedding Marrying North & South Indian Traditions

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 9

In a recent chat with a friend who plans mostly South Asian weddings, we discussed the difficulties of sizing down what are traditionally large, festive, multi-day celebrations during the pandemic which calls for such intimate affairs.

While many couples have chosen to wait, in order to preserve the big wedding traditions, others have found ways to adapt to today’s necessity & trend of Micro Weddings. Neethu & Ashish, with help from their planners Leilani Weddings, found ways to make their intimate wedding feel absolutely grand.

“No matter the size of the wedding, we knew it was meant to be cinematic.” said bride Neethu.

Marrying their respective North & South Indian traditions, including photos of guests who couldn’t attend and adhering to the many COVID-19 wedding protocols, this multicultural Micro Wedding in Southern California is gloriously rustic & romantic. It reminds us, like many of our intimate wedding couples, how the size of your guest list doesn’t decide the magnitude of the moment.

Neethu shares so many true & quite frankly profound sentiments about wedding planning particularly during these times, but this one really got us:

At the recommendation of the CDC and request of the couple the ceremony lasted 14 minutes because that’s all you need to say “I promise to like you and love you deeply and forever”.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 33
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 15

Our Love Story

Our story is that of a modern-day romance, we met through the dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel.

As if swiping right doesn’t require enough grit, we remember the traffic on our first date to be atrocious, estimating nearly a two-and-a-half-hour commute just for Neethu to meet Ashish halfway between LA and Anaheim. But true to his character, Ashish disregarded the 401 warnings and drove all the way to LA for that first date – and continued to make the commute for nearly every date since then.

We have become partners in adventure and ambition, often emphatically clad in matching tracksuits. Together we have climbed mountains, explored new cities, danced till we dropped, and spent most Sunday mornings at home competing over who can make the best sandwich. We challenge and cheer each other on knowing the next adventures in life will be better-taken side by side.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 55
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 21
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 22

The Planning & Cultural Traditions

If you’ve seen a Bollywood movie you know, a traditional Indian wedding is a gallant affair three days long where the family and often whole community gather to guide the bride and groom into their new roles. From a colorful Sangeet where the bride and women guests are dawned in henna and exchange advice to brothers dancing in a Baharat procession with the groom as he rides in on an elephant, a horse, or sometimes a sports car, each event is nothing short of cinematic.

In a pandemic, a big Indian family is replaced with sentiment for the couple and symbolism of the North and South Indian families coming together. The wedding began with Neethu’s parents singing a Tamil prayer that immediately brought guests to tears – ok, mom and bride started crying first. Ashish’s family infused their traditions by designing a simple Gujarati meal with naan, dhal, paneer, and of course samosas. We exchanged garlands in the traditional playful style where both bride and groom attempt to evade the other’s garland before Ashish gave Neethu a traditional Mangal Sutra and Thali, along with wedding rings, representing the beads of both North and South India.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 24
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 29

The Venue & Photography

No matter the size of the wedding, we knew it was meant to be cinematic. The Stone Hurst was chosen not only for the sprawling and romantic outdoor gardens that kept guests distanced and safe during a pandemic wedding, but also for the chandelier-lit barn.

Photographer, Eric West, was integral in creating intimate and cinematic moments from detail shots of our rings juxtaposed by cactus spikes to the light tracing of the beads across Neethu’s wedding dress and even a dusty solar flare that made us feel straight out of a movie.

We’ve worked with West Imagery since our engagement and we plan to work with him life long. We consider him a part of our story.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 26
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 14
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 27
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 19
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 13
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 34
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 36
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 6

The Ceremony

Photos of ancestors and a statue of Ganesha overlooked the ceremony as we wanted to feel the presence of both family and culture throughout the day.

Unable to bring the family priest to California, Neethu asked her older brother to officiate a civil ceremony.

Uncommon to traditional Indian weddings, the ceremony also included a flower girl, a MOH and Best Man, vows, and the bride’s friend playing guitar as she walked down the aisle. At the recommendation of the CDC and request of the couple the ceremony lasted 14 minutes because that’s all you need to say “I promise to like you and love you deeply and forever”.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 38
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 7
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 42
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 41
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 10

Special Details

We’ve always known how integral our friends were to our story, but in 2020 our friends made our wedding possible. Lending their talents across make up, music, cakes, gifts, and set up. They even purchased a bagel breakfast before the wedding to symbolize how we met on Coffee Meets Bagel.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 43
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 32
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 4
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 8
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 45
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 49

Advice to Other Couples

Surround yourself with trusted voices and shoulders to lean on from the very beginning. If someone, anyone, places unnecessary pressure to make purchase decisions outside of your budget or creative vision feel empowered to say no thank you and look for another vendor. Not only will you see there are a plethora of options but it’s also a nice reminder that you are a boss babe.
For example Neethu, who has severe asthma, ignored popular traditions to have a flower filled festivity and had a few select Silk flowers on tables and as a bouquet.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 52
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 50
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 53
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 54

The Minimoon

Our adventurous honeymoon had to be postponed due to the pandemic so instead we went on a Mini-moon to Malibu. Leading up to the wedding day we both were a little more conscious of what we were eating so we could feel our best. And as a motivator we talked about the foods we wanted on our mini-moon. From our wedding night through the four days to follow, we had pizza. From classy Italian to Costco slices, it was a pizza moon that we loved.

Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 16
Rustic Indian Micro Wedding – Stonehurt Wedding Venue – Leilani Weddings – West Imagery Photography – PrettyParty Floral 1

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