When Sapna and Ari met in August 2008, they couldn’t deny their chemistry. Just over 10 years later, they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Since the duo started planning their big day during a pandemic, they had to navigate a lot of uncertainty. “The constant shape-shifting and guest-list changing made things tough,” Sapna admits. “There were moments of ‘Are we really doing this? Should we just scrap the whole thing? Does this matter?’ But, we settled on plowing through and adapting the best we could.”
Although planning their wedding during a pandemic wasn’t an ideal situation, a flexible and communicative vendor team as well as a clear vision made it all possible. “Our vision for the weekend was three distinct days that focused on our guests—their experience, their safety and comfort, and the idea that perhaps they would see, try, and learn something new about themselves after a year or so of being indoors,” Sapna describes. Other non-negotiables for the affair? A weekend filled with vibrant yet muted colors, décor that wasn’t too over the top, and no roses.
Since the typical Indian wedding weekend with hundreds of people was out of the question, the duo had to think strategically about their venue. Initially, the bride wanted to book Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming for her bachelorette party, but had to shift gears due to the pandemic. She decided to check back in to the location for her wedding. “We flew out to experience the property, and we immediately realized the hotel was going to give us something different,” Sapna states. “All we had wanted for our wedding was for it to be something unique. Whether guests loved it or hated it, we didn’t care. We just wanted it to be something they would remember.” She continues, “We had never seen a three-day Indian wedding on a working cattle ranch right here in the states.” With endless activities, excellent food, and high-quality service, it seemed like the perfect place to host their wedding weekend.
After a legal ceremony on the Boston Harbor, Sapna and Ari tied the knot on September 5, 2021 in front of 168 guests in Wyoming. Keep reading to see how their event unfolded, planned by Diwan by Design and photographed by KT Merry.
Sapna and Ari kicked off their wedding weekend with a Haldi ceremony, which took place on a balcony overlooking the ranch. To highlight the sweeping views of the property, they kept their décor to a minimum. “Sarah Winward and team brought out the yellows of the turmeric in creating a pathway to the overlook, as well as in her simple draping around the furniture,” Sapna says. The bride-to-be even channeled the vibrant hues of the turmeric paste in her attire.
Next up on the agenda was a western-themed welcome party. The dress code? Denim on denim. The future newlyweds matched in jeans—with Sapna clad in an embroidered jacket with cowry shells by Arpita Mehta and Ari in a Ralph Lauren jean jacket. Their friends and family also had fun dressing for the occasion. “One of our favorite parts of the evening was seeing our guests coordinated in blue denim outfits,” Sapna reflects. Although the specified attire enhanced their aesthetic, there was a deeper meaning behind it. “I had a brother who passed away in 2009,” the bride explains. “His name was Neel, which means ‘blue’ in Hindi. To see these waves of blue throughout the day and into the night seemed to us a sweet and simple way to have Neel be present.”
The duo hosted their welcome party’s cocktail hour in the gardens, which was filled with immersive activities and apt décor, curated by Diwan by Design and Eclectic Hive. Guests could don cowboy hats and snap selfies in a section adorned with bales of hay. A lounge area with leather and wooden accents also offered guests a comfortable refuge while helping the theme come to life.
The Lodge at Brush Creek Ranch was the perfect place to host the dinner portion of their welcome event. Wooden tables peppered with white floral arrangements and knotted blue napkins evoked a western feel. Guests dined on tofu, burgers, and steaks while Ari and other family members delivered speeches. They ended the night with a bang—a live country music concert.
For the sangeet, the bride donned a yellow and ivory raw silk lehenga featuring beaded detailing by Abhinav Mishra. The groom tapped the same cheery hue for his custom outfit made by Nishi Berry at Fooljhadi.
To execute their “sangeet under the stars” vision, the couple and their team organized the function at the venue’s farm. When guests arrived, a tunnel of floral arches greeted them. A chic lounge area decorated in yellow, green, and orange shades provided seating for everyone to watch the performances, which took place on a stage bordered with pampas grass and orange blooms. A statement bar framed the entire setup.
“The dances and performances were our favorite part of the night,” Sapna gushes. “My brother sang a song by the Monkees, he and I did a flute duet in memory of our brother, our friends and families performed amazing dances, my three oldest friends gave a speech (one learned a bit of Hindi and Bengali to deliver her remarks), and folks participated in karaoke.”
For the ceremony, Sapna sported a gold beaded lehenga by Sabyasachi. Choosing a piece from the Indian fashion designer was a no-brainer for the bride because it captured a key moment in her relationship. “Ari’s first gift to me from India was two Sabyasachi sarees,” she reminisces. Not to mention, Sapna has been a fan of the designer’s work for years.
When it came to the look and feel of her ceremony attire, the bride decided to switch it up. “I knew I didn’t want to wear the traditional red,” she admits. “I wanted something subtle to meet the colors of the ranch and was on the hunt for an antique gold lehenga.” Although Sapna had a clear vision in mind, her search to find “the one” was a challenge. Instead of having the traditional shopping experience, the bride had no choice but to order her lehenga online and coordinate all of the details on WhatsApp since the pandemic prevented an in-person visit. “It’s tough not knowing the exact look and feel of fabrics,” she shares. “Hoping for the best, we just went for it.” With help from her bridal stylist, Susmita of Style by Susmita, everything fell into place.
Just like the rest of her wedding festivities, Sapna went light on the glam for the ceremony. “I don’t usually wear face makeup or much jewelry, so I wanted to stay true to ‘me’ during the weekend,” she explains. She also embraced her natural hair, having it styled in an effortless updo. The bride polished off her beauty look with Essie’s Romper Room, a pale pink shade.
Ari coordinated with his bride in a gold custom kurta that Nishi Berry of Fooljhadi designed.
It was nice to just be me and Ari, working through our outfits, taking in the sun, and remembering that this was our day.
To cherish a few moments together alone, Sapna and Ari opted to do a first look. “Once the baraat would start, the day would be shared with all of the amazing folks who traveled to celebrate us,” the bride mentions. “So, here, in this moment, in a space KT found far away from the action, it was nice to just be me and Ari, working through our outfits, taking in the sun, and remembering that this was our day.”
The couple worked with Sarah Winward and her team to conceptualize and execute a one-of-a-kind mandap and show-stopping floral installations that marked the entrance. “What she came up with still amazes us to this day,” Sapna reflects. “The structures were not only reusable, which was important to us, but they also created a compression and expansion experience for guests as they walked into the ceremony site—an idea inspired by Richard Serra’s art," she said. "The magnitude of these structures was juxtaposed with the simplicity of the arrangement—it was solely and entirely baby’s breath!” The same wispy bloom was also used to lined the aisle.
Ari ditched the traditional baraat and made his grand entrance on a pickup truck. The trailer was even large enough to accommodate all of his groomsmen. His guests trailed behind the vehicle, dancing to the live music and anticipating the moment the couple would say “I do.”
After Ari found his spot at the altar, he watched Sapna float toward him with her father by her side. For a special touch, one of Sapna’s family friends, Anuradha Palakurthi from Juju Productions, wrote and performed the bride’s processional song.
The duo had a traditional Indian wedding, complete with unity ceremonies. During the jai mala, the bride and groom exchanged flower garlands.
After becoming husband and wife, the two updated their wardrobe for the reception. Sapna kept the same Sabyasachi lehenga she wore for the ceremony, but her stylist changed the draping to create a new look. Ari swapped his kurta for a Zegna suit.
Cocktail hour took place on the lawn, with the bar serving as the focal point. Friends and family found their seats on a wooden seating chart, draped with floral garlands and stationed with a cloud of baby’s breath.
Since the welcome dinner and Sangeet played with color, the couple wanted neutrals for their post-ceremony party. They selected a color palette of white, beige, and gold. Banquet tables, lined with pillar candles and floral centerpieces, filled the space. They had each place set with etched chargers, ribbed glassware, and gold and white flatware.
“We almost scrapped the idea of having cake, as neither Ari nor I are big cake people. But as a nod to my brother Neel who loved cake, we had a simple pound cake-like cake on the side, which we cut in private, as another way to bring him into the day,” Sapna remarks. White blooms and grasses embellished the confection.
Sapna had one more outfit change before the evening came to an end: a colorful floral gown by Naeem Khan and yellow Manolo Blahnik pumps. The newlyweds spent the last portion of their wedding weekend on the dance floor with their loved ones. Their live band, SoundUp, was a huge hit. “Given how much Ari and I love going to concerts, attending festivals, and listening to live music, we went with a band for the reception,” Sapna says. “Ari chose them particularly for their energy, the full 10-piece band, and their flair on top 40 hits.”
Seeing their wedding weekend come to life made planning multiple days of events so rewarding for the couple. What helped make their dream a reality was identifying a clear vision from the start. “When you have your top priorities figured out, you’re able to focus on what matters when things out of your control come at you (like a pandemic!),” Sapna shares.
Venue Brush Creek Ranch
Planner Diwan by Design
Officiant Jayant Sane
Bride’s Welcome Dinner Jacket Arpita Mehta
Bride’s Sangeet Attire Abhinav Mishra; Kshitij Jalori
Bride’s Ceremony Attire Sabyasachi
Bride’s Reception Attire Sabyasachi
Bride’s After-Party Attire Naeem Khan
Shoes Allbirds; Needledust; Manolo Blahnik; Gianvito Rossi
Bride’s Hair & Makeup Style by Susmita
Bridal Styling Style by Susmita; Gabrielle Hurwitz
Bridal Party Attire Nishi Bery at Fooljhadi
Bridal Party Makeup Faces by Liz
Groom’s Attire Zegna
Groom’s Styling Gabrielle Hurwitz
Groomsmen’s Attire Nishi Bery at Fooljhadi
Engagement Ring Zohrab Jewelers
Wedding Bands Tiffany & Co.
Floral Design Sarah Winward
Invitations Invites and Events
Other Paper Products Designed by the C Paperie
Music The Whitfields at Imprint Group; SoundUp; Pavan Events
Sangeet Choreography Drasti Mody from Divya Drasti School of Dance; BFunk
Design, Decor, and Rentals Eclectic Hive
Mandap Jacob Wolf; Sarah Winward
Production Threshold Services
Henna Artist Henna by Nayalesh
Catering Gaurav Anand
Cake The Bakery at Brush Creek Ranch
Favors Ranavat; The Chai Box; Needledust; Noshinku
Accommodations Brush Creek Ranch; Saratoga Hot Springs Resort; The Hacienda Hotel
Photography KT Merry
Videography Storybox Cinema