An Indian Wedding in Sonoma Valley // Shauna and Vinay

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Marriage is union of two people, two families, and in Shauna and Vinay’s case a blending of two cultures. As they entered into a union together, they offered a unique experience for all their guests by spreading their wedding ceremonies across two days and two cultures. The Kunde Family Estate’s diverse property was the perfect location for the celebrations. The first day guests were treated to the colorful Vedic Ceremony down in the ruins. The second day on Boot Hill, they were treated to a traditional western ceremony, elegant white wedding dress and all. The Vedic ceremony is an ancient Hindu marriage ceremony that brings two individuals into a harmonious union. It is a long day of many different meaningful rituals, each one filled with colors, music, family and blessings. I love that each bit incorporates the whole family and that the ceremony itself is focused on mutual devotion – teaching that they will move forward and tackling this life together, as one. After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a beautiful Sonoma sunset while sipping mango lassi’s, enjoying the many colorful bracelets or getting henna paintings. After mingling for a while, guests moved into the ruins to watch the choreographed dance that told the story of Shauna and Vinay’s relationship. It was a wonderful surprise to them and very clearly, many friends and family worked incredibly hard to make it happen. What a treat! The night ended with a amazing meal and dancing in the ruins. One more Sonoma wedding to go!

Here is a brief rundown of the days events to explain the photos: The day began with the Barat, and Vinay riding a horse with his entire family in tow.. making ALOT of noise. Her family was waiting to receive them for the Milni – which is a ceremony where the corresponding person from each side of the family great each other and exchange garlands. This was one of our favorite parts of the day. It was so great to see each member meeting each other, hugging and trying to pick each other up! The ceremony consist of several rituals, beginning with the lighting of the sacred fire.  Shauna’s parents offer her hand to Vinay, in Vedic tradition, this is the greatest gift anyone can give. Vinay then holds Shauna’s hand and they both solumly pledge that they will forever love each other and remain mutually devoted to each other for the rest of their lives. As they around the sacred fire, they take seven steps and make seven promises to each other:

  1. We will provide for the household and live with honor and respect
  2. Together we will develop mental and spiritual strength
  3. We will preserve our wealth through righteous means
  4. We will share our joys and sorrows through mutual love and trust
  5. We will nurture our children
  6. Together we will strive for self-restrain, longevity and peaceful life
  7. We will have true companionship and everlasting partnership

And in the end Vinay adorns Shauna with the vermilion powder, symbolizing her as his eternal partner and vowing his love, devotion and integrity. And after seeking a blessing from their elders… they walked away with one more wedding to go!