Anyone planning an Indian wedding with Hindu traditions? Meghna + Pankaj’s luxe multi-day celebration at Santa Barbara’s Bacara was full of surprises: the color, the fashion, the decor, the festivities… it was all so thoughtfully planned and executed right there on the beach, with the help of Beth Helmstetter Events. We’ve got more photos from Lauren and Abby Ross, a peek into their day by Robert Michael Films, AND details on the full wedding schedule in the post for you below…
Meghna explains, Our goal was to create a magical, memorable, elegant experience for our family and friends, that was a true reflection of ourselves, our love, and our gratitude. The entire process really was a labor of love. Pankaj and I are both very detail-oriented people, so we poured our time and energy into making the wedding weekend an experience that everyone would remember forever.
Vaishali Gordhan, of Henna by Vaish, was my mehendi artist. She has a wonderful energy and she did a beautiful job of bring my creative vision to life. We used fleur-de-lis motifs to symbolize the city of Paris, where Pankaj and I got engaged, and wave patterns to symbolize Santa Barbara. In the end, Vaish captured our love story beautifully through her art.
They held each event at Bacara, and enlisted Beth Helmstetter Events to help make each event distinct from the last, while enhancing the beauty of their surroundings. See the full event schedule at the end of the post!
M’s bridal bouquet by Holly Flora featured blooms in shades of fuchsia, raspberry, burgundy, nude, and pale blush. It was adorned in lockets with photos of each of her late grandparents on their wedding days.
Originally, I wanted to be a non-traditional Indian bride and wear a muted palette. However, as the setting of the ceremony was finalized, we realized that a more vibrant color would be more striking with the blue sky and ocean as our backdrop. I ultimately decided to wear a red and gold lehenga from one of my favorite designers, Sabyasachi. It was traditionally inspired, but with a modern feel—a perfect representation of who I am as a person. The blouse had a sweetheart neckline and the chiffon dupattas had playful gold polka-dots. The all-over golden embroidery featured an intricate paisley pattern. I paired it with gold wedges.
Meghna’s advice to those planning an Indian wedding: plan and order what you need early! Especially when it comes to the wedding attire, as each event features completely different, custom looks with multiple accessories.
One of my favorite memories was our first look, which took place on a private bluff overlooking the ocean. The clouds were clearing, and the sun was breaking through; there was something so beautiful about it. At the time, it felt like some sort of blessing.
In that moment, there was a rush of emotions. I’ll never forget the look in Pankaj’s eyes—we couldn’t hold back our tears of love and joy. We had both been dreaming about the day for so long.
Now, in hindsight, we never could have anticipated how that moment would change our level of commitment to one another and solidify us as a team, ready to take on the adventures of life ahead, hand in hand.
These colors! And these…
For the reception, I wore a custom blush version of the Sunset Gown by Naeem Khan. It was so special to be able to visit his atelier in New York and work with the team on this special dress. It featured a deep cowl neck at the back, and intricate crystal beading that shimmered under the candlelight. I paired it with a custom a yellow diamond bracelet, cocktail ring, and earrings.
Such a stunning film by Robert Michael Films. Now, the entire wedding schedule…
Wednesday morning: intimate mehendi gathering
An informal event for family before guests arrived, in a private villa overlooking the ocean.
Thursday evening: welcome dinner and Mehendi party
Summery event on a private resort lawn for closest fam + friends, featuring a family style dinner.
Friday morning boat party
A wedding party boat ride along the Santa Barbara coastline, for the bride and groom to thank their closest friends for being part of their lives and celebration. The nautical-inspired event included custom favors, lunch, and drinks.
Friday evening Sangeet on Friday PM
A romantic evening Sangeet in the courtyard with an adjacent ballroom, with the outside decorated with suspended chandeliers. There were separate lounges, overflowing blooms, and candles and lanterns to set the mood. The event had a cocktail hour, DJ, a custom menu by Indian Accent, performances, and a dance by the entire wedding party.
Saturday morning wedding ceremony
The oceanside ceremony included a baraat procession and Hindu ceremony which was adapted to include personal vows. After, guests brunched by the ocean.
Saturday evening reception
A formal event with all 250 guests, including a sunset cocktail hour, Bacara ballroom reception, toasts, dances they had choreographed, and a custom Indian-inspired menu.
Sunday morning brunch
A casual terrace brunch where guests could come and go as they wanted, giving them time to say goodbyes while leaving time to explore Santa Barbara on their own.
Whew, what a wedding. Congrats to Meghna + Pankaj!
Photography: Lauren and Abby Ross / Videography: Robert Michael Films / Venue: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara / Planning & Design: Beth Helmstetter Events / Floral & Decor: Holly Flora / Hair & Makeup: Makeup by Shilpa, Santa Barbara Bride, Unveiled Makeup & Hair / Cake & Treats: Sweet Lady Jane / Lighting: Bella Vista Designs Inc / Mehndi Artist: Henna by Vaish / Transportation: A Rental Connection / Specialty Rentals: Theoni Collection / Rentals: Raj Tents / Priest: Krishna Jois / Turban Service: Royal Style Turban Service / Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Ybarra Music / Live Music: Ronobir Lahiri Music / Baraat: Enchanted Carriages / DJ: DJ Tanveer / Rigging: Five Star AV / Groom’s Barber: Erika Rodriguez / Red + Gold Lehenga: Sabyasachi / Ceremony Jewelry: Kishandas & Co / Bridesmaid Saris: Custom from Megha Rao of holiCHIC / Reception Dress: Custom Blush version of Sunset Gown by Naeem Khan / Groom’s Sherwani: Sabyasachi / Groom’s Tux: Tom Ford / Watch: Omega / Groomsmen: Mallika Oberoi /