Traditional Hindu Ceremony + White-Hued Reception in California

Toral and Neelay

Photographed by: Lin & Jirsa PhotographyLocation: Palm Desert, California, United States

Though Toral Patel and Neelay Mehta had worked together in the past, it wasn’t until they decided to casually meet up outside of the office that they felt a spark. Once they got to know one another, there was no denying they were a match, and they’ve been together ever since. When Neelay decided to propose, he knew immediately how he didn’t want to go about it. “He asked me in a hotel room – very private. It was just the two of us, as the situation could have been really awkward,” Toral reveals of her feelings about public proposals. She accepted immediately.

Over the course of their 14-month engagement, the pair found out just how complicated planning a wedding could be. They were surprised to find that some of the vendors that they looked into gave off an impersonal vibe – though, they note that they got lucky with all of the vendors they hired. Upon finding a wedding planner, the duo elected to host their nuptials near Palm Springs, California. “We wanted to do something out west,” the bride explains. “It had to be able to accommodate the amount of people we were expecting while not looking too crowded.” With 600 guests in attendance, comfort and space were of the upmost importance. 

Their wedding team was able to transform the hotel venue according to the exact specifications of the couple. As the wedding was to include a traditional Hindu ceremony, the celebration lasted the typical three days, giving Toral and Neelay the chance to incorporate many design concepts. The pair hosted two ceremonies – one inside their venue and one on the lawn – to keep with tradition. Throughout the weekend, the bride wore striking ensembles comprised of many different colors and fabrics, as well as stunning jewelry pieces and intricate henna tattoos. For their more western celebration, the bride donned a beautiful white-and-metallic gown while the groom departed from his beautifully designed, traditional outfits and donned a classic black tuxedo.

The reception space exuded an incredibly sophisticated “white wedding” motif. Tablescapes were either round or winding along the edge of the dance floor – each displayed a patterned ivory linen, gilt-rimmed charger plates, and fresh floral centerpieces designed in a unique, almost “mountainous” concept. Floral fixtures suspended overhead and an asymmetric compilation of blossoms adorned the space behind the stage, creating a wave-like floral wall. Candles bedecked every table to provide a soft glow, and purple uplighting was the only featured color in the ballroom. “The décor was hands down the best part of the wedding, but also the most challenging,” says Toral. Attendees danced and mingled to their heart’s content all weekend long. The only thing the pair would have done differently? “Plan even more ahead!” exclaims Toral. “Too many things were done during the final week.”

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