Before Mike Cummings could ask his girlfriend’s parents for her hand in marriage, he prepared by doing some research. He discovered that in Indian culture it is customary for the groom-to-be to gift sweets to the bride-to-be’s parents on such an occasion. So, Mike further equipped himself with the requisite pastries with the help of an attendant at an Indian bakery. “I was very nervous,” he admits. “I think Nishita’s father was content to let me squirm for a bit before giving his answer; but fortunately her mom liked me, so she let me off the hook, said yes, and gave me a big hug.”

Mike and Nishita planned their big day as a team. “He wanted to be involved in the creation, choices, and decision making, so both of our visions were captured,” she notes. “As for what was most important to me, I was just excited to be getting married to Nishita and celebrating with my friends and family – the rest was just a bonus,” he declares with a smile. The couple also credit their event coordinators for their invaluable assistance. “Having our wedding planners [was] key and made the process so much smoother,” Nishita adds.

Since their five-year courtship had unfolded in Los Angeles, California, the bride and groom searched for a venue in the area that would showcase the wonderful weather of the location. They found what they were looking for in a chic hotel in West Hollywood, where they could have an alfresco vow exchange and rooftop reception. The colorful extravaganza began with a baraat – groom’s procession – through the lobby. Mike wore an ivory sherwani with an ornate golden collar, cuffs, and buttons, as well as a ruby turban with bullion trim for the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony.

A vivid magenta canopy with clusters of amber and red floral tiebacks at each corner was set on the terrace. Gilded bowls containing petals in orchid and mango bordered the aisle. Reflecting the couple’s taste in music, a five-piece jazz band played modern and classic rock songs as guests took their seats. Mike walked down the aisle to an instrumental rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band,” while Nishita made her entrance to an Indian song. She was gorgeous in a custom-designed crimson bridal lehenga and fuchsia veil with elaborate silver embroidery. The bride accessorized with a collar necklace and dangling earrings featuring white and scarlet stones, and carried a bouquet of chrysanthemums, orchids, and roses in orange, yellow, and coral tones.

Since a fair amount of attendees were not familiar with this type of wedding service, Mike and Nishita painstakingly looked for the appropriate officiant. “We found a Caucasian priest that had converted to Hinduism and could fully explain the intricate details in English,” she says. “All of our guests appreciated the significance of each part of the ceremony.”

After a wardrobe change that fit the ambience of the reception, the newlyweds joined their friends and family. Nishita reemerged in a ball gown – with a removable skirt for ease of dancing – that she designed with her private tailor. A sprinkling of stephanotis blossoms adorned her hair. Mike looked dapper in a classic tuxedo.

The couple selected a modern, elegant aesthetic for the rooftop reception. Ivory draping created an intimate, open tent-like setting, affording expansive views of the Los Angeles skyline. Illuminated glass spheres were suspended overhead along the center of the space. A variety of table shapes were clad in either textured champagne tablecloths or satin-finished linens, while chairs donned sheer sleeves. Large bouquets of mint hydrangeas, blush and white roses, and succulents were displayed atop clear, tall pedestals. Pink dahlias were added to a similar compilation of blooms in low, footed bowls. Each place setting featured a menu – tucked into a rosy napkin accented with a succulent –  listing the delectable dishes of the extensive Indian buffet.

The wedding cake was not merely dessert, but also a striking décor element with its center layer boasting a taupe replica of the laser-cut motif Nishita created for their invitation suite. The confection was fantastically finished with large pastel yellow dahlias, blush and vanilla roses, and succulents. As wedding favors, guests received jeweled boxes and traditional Indian sweet treats that were made from scratch by the mother of the bride.

Bringing their loved ones together, Nishita and Mike’s nuptials were truly a celebration of family. “The memory that I cherish is of my mother. [She] was extremely sick battling ovarian cancer, but managed to find the courage and strength to make it through the day,” shares the bride. “I recall fondly her turning to me at the end of the night and commenting on how we did a wonderful job and that it was a dream come true.” Adds the groom, “I had grown extremely close to Nishita’s parents over the year leading up to our wedding. I was so happy [her mother] got to be there on our wedding day. It will be a lasting memory for me.”