A Two-Day Indian Wedding in Miami with Four Events and Baby’s Breath Decor
In August of 2017, Priya and Anurag met at the wedding of Anurag’s brother. It was a 4-day celebration, which gave the two plenty of opportunities for periodic encounters, chats, stolen glances, and a “fake phone number exchange.”
“Despite Anurag’s frequent dereliction of hosting duties to steal moments with me,” Priya explains, “our deepest conversations didn’t begin until the reception where we found ourselves chatting the night away. About what? Health technology. My passion for digital health and his experience in healthcare investing was the first bond we shared. The night was coming to an end, and Anurag asked for my number. I eagerly obliged, but I accidentally missed a digit!”
Anurag was thinking about Priya the next day, and was surprised to see a 9-digit number when he decided to text her. Fortunately, social media enabled him to “slide into her DMs” on Instagram to get the full number.
“On our first date, we enjoyed a classic NYC night out,” Anurag describes. “Dinner, drinks, and dancing. We had an immediate connection and were able to talk for hours.”
“My home is where you are.”
A Rhode Island Engagement
Years later, in December of 2021, Priya and Anurag had plans to escape the cold in New York by jetting off for a Miami getaway. Anurag, however, had something else in mind and suggested they enjoy a “relaxing winter wonderland weekend” in Newport, Rhode Island instead. In reality, he had been planning to propose to Priya for months, and knew Rhode Island would be the perfect engagement destination. Not only was it a nostalgic location for Priya, but it would mean her family could be present for their Rhode Island engagement.
The couple’s Newport weekend involved dinner in a private igloo overlooking the water, walks to see the Christmas lights, ice skating at Gurney’s, and hot chocolate. On Saturday, December 11, 2021, they were enjoying lunch at The Chanler, with a beautiful and wintry view of the New England shoreline. Priya asked, “Are you really not going to propose to me this year?” not knowing that Anurag was sitting there with an engagement ring in his pocket. He confidently replied: “No, not this year.”
After finishing their meals, the couple went for a walk around the property and came across a private balcony that was clearly reserved for a private event. Anurag told Priya to open the doors leading to a private room, where she found picture frames and baby’s breath decorating the space.
“I remember saying, ‘Oh wow, I think someone is going to propose here,’” she says. “Clearly, the surprise hadn’t been given away. I walked further into the room and realized the frames were photos of us from every important time period of our journey together. All of a sudden, a camera flash went off. I cried happy tears once I understood the weight of the moment, and said ‘Is this really happening?’ Anurag grabbed my hands and told me how much he loved me. He ended it with: ‘My home is where you are, my home is you, and I’m incomplete without you. Will you marry me?’”
After Priya accepted, the newly engaged pair were joined by Anurag’s last surprise of the day while “waiting for an Uber” – Priya’s sister and brother-in-law pulled up to take them to a rooftop gathering, where they were greeted by both sets of parents and siblings to celebrate their Rhode Island engagement.
Planning a Destination Wedding in Miami
The couple decided to host a destination wedding in Miami, and enlisted the help of RB Event Design. Their wedding planner, Reema, had planned Priya’s sister’s wedding 6 years ago, so it was the perfect fit.
“When we saw the Spanish Monastery, we knew this is where we wanted to get married,” says Anurag, about their wedding ceremony location. “We then saw the Biltmore and DuPont, and felt a vision coming together.”
“I know this is cheesy,” Priya adds, “but it was super important to us that all of our guests know they have been a part of our journey together and are meaningful people in not only our lives, but our families’ lives as well. For both of us, family is the most important thing, and it was our goal to spread love and happiness to the individuals that made us who we are today. We genuinely wanted everyone to feel love and warmth throughout the weekend.”
A Series of Formal Events and Baby’s Breath Décor
Priya and Anurag’s wedding celebration consisted of a series of four formal events. Each event was designed to feel different and showcase different aesthetics, gradually building the drama beautifully captured by Jarar Kazmi from Sollis Studio.
“The one thing that drew us to all of our venues was that they all had a very Mediterranean Spanish feel,” Priya says. “For the Mehendi, we wanted it to be bohemian chic. We asked our designer to add warm flowers, wicker lanterns, and a fun photo opportunity. For the Sangeet, the ballroom had a very royal and grand feel, so we wanted the decorations to incorporate romantic flowers and colors but also tall antique gold candelabras. Our ceremony really honed in on nature. We had mahogany chairs and a wood base for the mandap.
It was full of greenery and white flowers, with big lanterns. It was whimsical and felt like we were one with nature which really felt perfect at the venue. It felt like you were transported to Europe, especially in the cloisters where the guests had lunch after the ceremony. For the reception, we wanted to go completely modern and classy.”
With baby’s breath being the bride’s favorite flower, clouds of it were incorporated throughout the wedding décor. Gold and glass candelabras were set on every table with a long baby’s breath runner for the family tables. There were also baby’s breath wreath and candles for the table décor, and the bride and groom had a stunning baby’s breath frame with hanging candles set up behind them. It was a spectacular setting for their 210 guests to gather together.
The MeheNdi and Sangeet
The bride and groom spread their formal events out over the course of two full days, kicking things off with their boho-chic Mehendi on Friday at the Biltmore Hotel. Guests enjoyed an American-style brunch with chicken and waffles, along with traditional South Indian food. There were also henna services, and some dancing once the mimosas and bellinis were served. That evening, everyone reconvened for a lively Sangeet in the hotel’s Alhambra ballroom, complete with choreographed family dances and Bollywood music.
“It was honestly so touching to see all of our families dance, especially because most of the dances were surprises to us,” Priya recalls. “There was definitely a lot of laughing and crying. Anurag and I also left our Sangeet to have a private moment to ourselves outside. We got to talk about our day and take in that our wedding is actually happening. At that point, our wedding was half way over, and we were so happy we took that moment together to take everything in.”
“My favorite moment was seeing Priya do her solo choreographed dance at the Sangeet,” says Anurag. “The whole time, she was looking at me and dancing for me. It was truly really special to see, especially because she was hiding from me in our apartment so I wouldn't see a preview of her dance. She also danced to one of our favorite songs.”
The Wedding Ceremony and Reception
The wedding ceremony took place Saturday morning at the Spanish Monastery. Since the bride and groom didn’t have a first look photo session, they were excited to see each other for the first time at the ceremony aisle.
“We are so happy we skipped the first look,” Priya shares, “because we were able to be so raw and vulnerable with each other the moment we knew we’re about to get married to each other. I did a first look with my dad, and then my uncles and cousins. It was truly special to do that with them. The ceremony was extremely special to us because we got to combine both of our Indian cultures.”
After exchanging vows, the final event was at the Historic Alfred I. duPont Building, where the newlyweds and their guests celebrated with an ultra-chic reception. Guests were served a plated dinner with additional family-style dishes from Chef Hemant Mathur and the Indian Harbor. Priya was especially thrilled about three wedding details that were incorporated – a large statement mirror with a famous Bollywood movie quote for wedding selfies, signature drinks with a Bollywood twist, and an interactive seating chart.
“I always wanted a flower wall where guests got to pick a flower and see where they were sitting,” she says. “We had a green moss wall with white roses and a sign that said, ‘I pick you’ with our hashtag because we ‘picked’ them to celebrate with us and they got to physically ‘pick’ a flower.”
A Mini Moon in St. Barts
Since Priya planned most of their wedding events, Anurag on mini moon duty. He planned every part of their mini moon in St. Barts, which was a complete surprise to Priya.
“We stayed at a beautiful villa overlooking the water,” she describes. “He surprised me with an at home chef who made us a 4-course meal, an at home massage, a luxury spa day at Sisley spa at the Cristopher hotel, a beach day at Cheval Blanc, and amazing dinners. But the biggest surprise was getting us a private catamaran boat for the day. We had crepes and cheese on the boat along with wine and homemade pineapple rum our captain made. We got to explore St. Barts and swim in the water. Honestly, the whole trip was incredible. Being together for the first time as a married couple felt surreal, especially after a long and fun wedding week.”
The newlyweds are planning to visit Japan for a longer honeymoon, which will take place closer to their one-year wedding anniversary. Since they will be visiting during Cherry Blossom season, they will be taking several weeks off to enjoy Japan to its fullest.
Reception Location: The Historic Alfred I. duPont Building, Miami, FL; Ceremony Location: The Ancient Spanish Monastery, Miami, FL; Sangeet & Mehndi Location: The Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables, Miami, FL; Planner: RB Event Design; Floral & Event Design: Suhaag Garden; Caterer: Chef Hemant Mathur and Pradeep Hedge; Entertainment: Awaaz Entertainment; Engagement Ring: Tacori; Wedding Dress: Sabyasachi; Reception Dress: Dolly J Studio; Hair & MUA: Glow by Herneet; Mehndi Hair & MUA: The Clyque ; Groom’s Attire: Canali; Cinematography: Joseph Minasi Studios; Photography: Sollis Studio