A year after Sonia Garg and Chennakeshava (Key) Joga fell for one another during dates that often lasted all day, Key decided it was time to pop the question. So in a nod to a date they'd talked about but never taken, he took his bride-to-be ice skating, then on a hike — with a handwritten note, their favorite bottle of wine, and a ring in hand — and got down on one knee.
Keep reading to see all the bright colors and pretty details, photographed by Arising Images.
To honor her heritage, Sonia wore a traditional red lengha. "Since we had a short engagement, I was worried I wouldn't have time to find the dress. But when I put this lengha on, it just felt right. I felt like a bride!" she says. Her intricate jewelry came from Kolkata, India. She also had her hands decorated with mehndi.
Key wore an atchkin, a traditional Indian groom's outfit, with custom embroidery to match the detailing on bride's gown. To merge Key's South Indian background with Sonia's North Indian upbringing, the bride asked her bridesmaids to wear silk saris, the popular choice in Southern India. "That way we could really unite our cultures," she says.
Though it had rained for days before the wedding, the couple lucked out with a bright, sunny day. The tent over the ceremony featured clear panels to let the light in.
The aisle and altar were decorated with lush clusters of white hydrangeas and red, yellow and orange roses. At the altar, a pair of gold-accented chairs were adorned with garlands of carnations, chrysanthemums, and orchids.
Sonia carried a bouquet of white, yellow, and red roses and calla lilies as her father walked her down the aisle. "There isn't a moment during a Hindu wedding for the couple to exchange personal vows," says the bride, "so Key and I recorded our own vows beforehand and they played as I walked down the aisle."
Sonia and Key spend a great deal of time with their pundit, or Hindu priest, to create a unique ceremony that combined the wedding traditions of both Northern and Southern India. The result included exchanging floral garlands and the showering of akshadai, or rice grains, which serves as a blessing for the marriage.
Guests tossed rose petals as the newlyweds walked back up the aisle. That evening, the couple invited their 200 guests to celebrate at a sophisticated reception at The Henry Hotel.
At the end of their night, Sonia and Key set off for Big Sur, California, where they camped out for a few nights under the stars before heading to a luxury resort. Looking back on the tightly-timed planning process, Sonia suggest brides enjoy the journey. "Have fun with the process," she says. "The details will fall into place, no matter what. Just enjoy the festivities and don't let the minutia distract you from one another."
Ceremony Venue: Private residence || Reception Venue: The Henry Hotel || Wedding Coordinator: Blissful Weddings and Events || Officiant: Shri Janakirama Sastry Vithala, Bharatiya Temple || Bride's Wedding Dress: Frontier Bridal, Surrey, B.C., (604) 325-4424 || Jewelry: Nemichand Bamalwa & Sons || Shoes: Michael Kors || Hair: Six Salon || Makeup: Amanie Mokdad || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Frontier Bridal, Surrey, B.C., (604) 325-4424 || Groom's Attire: Frontier Bridal, Surrey, B.C., (604) 325-4424 || Wedding Bands: Blue Nile || Florist: Butterfly Flower and Design, (586) 977-2100 || Invitations & Paper Goods: Seahorse Bend Press || Catering: Ashoka || Cake: Sweet Dreams || Rentals: Bos Tent Rental || Decorator: Colonial Event || Videographer: Shane Tincu Films || Photographer: Arising Images