Planning a South Asian Wedding During a Pandemic

-AS SEEN IN BRIDAL GUIDE MAGAZINE-

south asian wedding
Photo: Manish + Sung Photography

As nimble in hosting intimate micro-weddings as well as large-scale celebrations with up to 800 guests, Jersey City, NJ based Diwan by Design, is especially renowned for visually spectacular South Asian wedding events, a series of jubilant festivities steeped in the rituals and traditions of the bride and groom’s families’ culture. In riding the roller coaster of the pandemic of 2020, Sneh says, “I have always asked my clients, ‘What are the three things you cannot live without for your wedding?’ Before the pandemic couples might say food, music, decor. Now it has shifted to specific moments, such as father/daughter dance, exchanging vows and having my grandparents attend. Based on their answers, we do whatever we can to make that happen.”

south asian wedding
Photo: Manish + Sung Photography

Favorite Moments from Pre-Pandemic Weddings

“One highlight of traditional South Asian weddings is the baraat, the groom’s procession. The procession is an event unto itself. It starts in the morning, with the groom’s side of the family, his friends, groomsmen, DJ and dihol player (drummer) gathered outside the venue, awaiting the groom’s grand entrance. It is a dramatic moment. Some memorable groom processions have also included colorful smoke bombs, creating magical clouds of color, which look great in photos!”

“I also love when the bride and groom see each other for the first time. In Hindu traditions, the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna designs, mehndi, typically two days before the wedding. Mehndi represents marriage and good luck. It is said that the deeper the hue of the mehndi after it dries, the deeper the love between the couple.”

south asian wedding
Photo: Shanti Weddings

Favorite “New Normal” Moments

“Though it was challenging, couples were more open to new ways to create special intimate moments without losing the glamour and romance you expect to experience in a wedding.”

“For one memorable micro-wedding, we completely transformed the backyard, so that you felt like you were stepping into a magical dream world. We covered the pool with flooring, built out the tent, and lit it with chandeliers and twinkling fairy lights. The couple was married in a small private ceremony with parents and siblings in attendance, and the sister of the groom officiating.

Another resourceful couple made their celebration personally meaningful starting with a beautiful engagement session around NYC, stopping at different locations where they had shared a fond memory. On the following day they celebrated their love and love of the water with a private ceremony on a boat cruise around Manhattan.”

south asian wedding
Photo: The Day by Ira Lippke

Universal Truths

“No matter how big or small the celebration is, as a planner, our work remains the same. We still put in the same amount of attention to detail, sourcing the right vendors, building a timeline, and making sure everything runs smoothly.”

south asian wedding
Photo: The Day by Ira Lippke

Why I Love Weddings

“I love seeing a story come to life! From the first conversation to creating mood boards, site visits, building a vendor team, and finally the execution! Every wedding is different, with its own traditions. Seeing the smiles (and happy tears) on the couple’s faces and feeling the love in the room when friends and family come together to celebrate is truly a feeling that never gets old.”

south asian wedding
Photo: Ryon Lockhart Photography

Looking Ahead

“I look forward to not having to factor in additional time for temperature checks for all the guests/vendors at the wedding — there is already enough stress on the wedding day. And being able to hug my clients again!”

south asian wedding
Photo: The Santos & Co.

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