Anisha Datwani and Anoop Rathod first met in New York City through a mutual friend. The two chatted at Sweet & Vicious, a bar on the Lower East Side, and enjoyed each other’s company. Anoop, however, was set to fly out to Croatia the next morning for a two-week trip before heading back to Philadelphia.
“At this point, I thought that was pretty much it,” Anisha explains. “After he got back from his trek, he came to New York and we went out on our first date. He kept coming to New York from Philadelphia; and every time, we managed to meet and spend some time together. The rest is history.”
“ANISHA AND I HAD WRITTEN OUR OWN VOWS FOR EACH OTHER. IT WAS TRULY TOUCHING TO HEAR EACH OTHER SPEAK OF THE FUTURE.” ANOOP RATHOD
It truly turned out to be the perfect example of how opposites attract. Anoop has a cool, laid-back demeanor, which pairs well with Anisha’s lively and outgoing personality. In terms of the New York dating scene, he was also different than any other man Anisha had met.
“He was straightforward, genuine, and spoke his mind,” she describes. “He was by far the most intelligent and well-spoken guy I had met, but also the most humble. Initially, I thought we were quite different. But in the end, his warmth and kindness won my heart.”
The first year of their relationship was split between New York and Philadelphia, while Anoop was completing his MBA. A year and a half later, the couple was finally in the same city, working in NYC. One Friday, the two went to visit Anoop’s parents for a casual weekend trip when, on the morning of their departure, a stretch limousine pulled up to the driveway. They drove to Philadelphia and ended up at Kanella, their favorite brunch spot, while enjoying a beautiful, sunny January day.
“As we were cutting through the park, he asked me to marry him,” Anisha recalls. “We spent the rest of the day celebrating at all our favorite bars and restaurants. When we got back to New York the next day, he had planned a surprise engagement party with all of our friends waiting to celebrate!”
Wanting to have an intimate destination wedding, the wedding planning process began with the couple deciding on a location. It wasn’t easy to find a resort that could accommodate everyone on their guest list, while offering sufficient outdoor event space. After traveling around to Los Angeles, Miami, Puerto Rico, and the New York tristate area, Anisha and Anoop fell in love with Arizona.
“Arizona was a new destination for our guests, so we thought it would be an exciting one,” Anisha adds. “Our guests who travelled from the East Coast and internationally enjoyed all that Arizona has to offer – the pink mountains in Sedona and the Grand Canyon.”
Keeping with Indian tradition, the wedding day kicked off with the groom’s baraat, which included a traditional Indian drummer leading the procession towards the ceremony. When the bride made her entrance, she was escorted by her four closest male family members.
“The emotional high point of the ceremony was the exchange of vows,” says Anoop. “Anisha and I had written our own vows for each other. It was truly touching to hear each other speak of the future and our love in front of our family and friends.”
Not wanting a typical indoor ballroom reception, the newlyweds refer to their reception as “The Secret Garden.” They had a vision of creating an intimate, majestic, and natural setting, which was brought to life by chandeliers, candles, and creative mood lighting. It was even more beautiful than the bride and groom had imagined.
“We were so lucky to have all our family and friends join us from all over the world,” says the couple. “We felt so loved, celebrated, and wanted to savor this moment as long as possible.”
Location: JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa Phoenix, AZ
Planner: Apropos Creations Chandler, AZ
Floral and Event Design: Wendell Design Group Florist Tempe, AZ
Wedding Dress: Sabyasachi
Linen: Southwick Linens Chandler, AZ
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals Phoenix, AZ
Lighting: Arizona Stage Sound & Lights Phoenix, AZ