When Reina Shah and Kavi Vyas had their first date in San Francisco where they both reside, neither wanted the night to end. “Time flew by,” smiles Reina of their five-hour date. Though he waited to ask for his beloved’s hand in marriage until the time was right, Kavi confirms, “I knew I wanted to marry her after our first date.” A surprise proposal, captured by a professional photographer and orchestrated with the help of Reina’s family and best friend, set forth the preparations for their big day.
With just over a year to design the multi-day event, the pair relied on their families as well as Nahid Farhoud of Nahid’s Global Events. “It was so comfortable,” Kavi shares of the planning experience. “Nahid handled everything, and all Reina, myself, and her parents and brother had to do was sit back and relax.” Desiring a destination locale that was easily accessible, warm in the month of October, and had comfortable accommodations for their 300-person guest list, Reina and Kavi selected a beautiful beachfront resort near San Diego, California. “Coronado Island was perfect,” affirms the bride of their choice.
Staying true to the timeline of traditional Indian wedding ceremonies, the baraat – or groom’s procession – started the nuptials. “I came in on a boat with my groomsmen, and we were greeted by all our family and friends,” remembers Kavi. “It was longer than normal because no one could stop dancing.” At sunset, loved ones found their seats for the ceremony as the couple and their respective parents joined together beneath a custom-made circular mandap, which was strewn with red and gold drapery and adorned with florals in shades of pink, peach, and ivory to match the sky at sunset, with accents of gilt leaves.
The bride was stunning in a gorgeous rose-colored lehnga with bullion-hued details, while her bridesmaids were dressed in tangerine saris. The groom donned a beaded ivory sherwani to complement his bride, while groomsmen wore customary attire in an apricot shade. Though Reina’s hands were embellished with traditional henna artwork at the prior mehndi ceremony, she stunned her groom with a personalized twist. “I’m a huge sports fan and Reina surprised me by putting all my favorite sports logos in her henna,” he notes. Following the alfresco proceedings overlooking the bay, loved ones adjourned to the ballroom for the sangeet, which continued the joyous festivities.
After celebrating the happy couple on Friday night, the fête wasn’t over yet. Reina donned a Sonaakshi Raaj dhoti sari for a pool party – serving up the groom’s favorite Mexican fare as well as treats from a liquid-nitrogen ice cream station and playing Swahili music to honor the bride’s Kenyan family – that was held on Saturday, prior to the revelry set to take place that evening and into the early-morning hours. “We even had ‘nap time’ listed on our event card between the pool party and the reception so everyone had downtime,” says Kavi.
For the final event, Reina changed into a gorgeous peach-hued lehnga, while Kavi wore a tuxedo with bow tie and cuff links personalized with the coordinates of their first date. The space was bedecked with gorgeous floral chandeliers overhead, as well as collections of high and low centerpieces topping guest tables. Arrangements showcased roses and hydrangeas in tones of vanilla and pink with accents of verdure. Towering candleholders displaying flickering taper candles provided a romantic ambience as loved ones enjoyed a buffet-style dinner service, 10 different desserts in lieu of cake, and plenty of dancing. “We danced all weekend – it was wonderful,” says the groom.
“I think the beauty of a destination wedding is having everyone there for the whole weekend, so you really have a chance to mingle with every guest,” declares the bride. “It was so fun – from the ceremony, to people jumping in the pool at the pool party, to dancing until 2AM, and then enjoying an after-party until 5AM – everything was perfect.” Her groom agrees wholeheartedly and would only change one thing: “[I would] marry her sooner,” he muses.