Shiv asked asked me to marry him on the side of a mountain in the South of France, beneath a grove of ancient mulberry trees. He had chosen to propose in France not only because we both love to travel, but also because it was the last place I had lived before I met him, and because I am a French translator. The moment of our engagement was so poignant–I recall looking up into the ink blue sky of June in Provence, breathing in jasmine on the night air, and admiring the berry toned flowers on the table before us, squeezing Shiv’s hand.
Later, as we planned the details of our wedding, we decided that it was important for us to celebrate our marriage outside, in a garden that could capture some of the feeling of our engagement night, echo our love for France, and our love of history. Many of my closest family members live in the Bay Area, so Beaulieu Garden was a perfect fit. We chose midnightand evening-sky blues along with berry tones as primary colors for the wedding to evoke the night sky in Provence and the mulberry trees we sat under when we decided to join our lives together. I worked with our lovely floral designer to include fragrant, local garden roses, jasmine and lily of the valley–for Indians and for Iranians, fragrance and the sacred are deeply connected, thus it was essential to incorporate fragrance. We also made sure to include in our décor pomegranates and young almond branches, along with other seasonal fruits, as symbols of hope and good fortune in our new life together, and as symbols of respect for our diverse family traditions.
It was important to us to have our guests feel as though we were all taking part in a large, elegant dinner party, in which each guest was a member of our family. Photos of our departed loved ones were positioned on the mantle of the outdoor fireplace so that we could honor their constant presence in our lives: my Great Grandmother, pictured in these photos on her wedding day in 1924, was the inspiration in selecting my wedding dress. And Shiv had my engagement ring handmade after a historical design, using a diamond that has been in his father’s family since the 1860s. Most of all, Shiv and I wanted to create a sacred, intimate and inviting experience to honor and celebrate our love for one another and for our closest family and friends. We are so grateful for all of the talented vendors who helped us create a day that we will cherish and remember for the rest of our lives.