Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Real Weddings: Ayesha and Apoorva

By Jean Grant| Photography by F29 Studio
| November 27, 2019

Ayesha Kapadia, a policy analyst for the Ontario government, and Apoorva Kelkar, a hospital pharmacist, met as classmates at Alexander Mackenzie High School in Richmond Hill. After graduating and heading to different universities, they lost touch for seven years, but reconnected at a mutual friend’s birthday party in 2014. A few days later, Apoorva reached out to see if Ayesha wanted to meet up. On one of their first dates, he took her to see the cherry blossoms at High Park. Four years later, he proposed on the same bench they had sat on back in 2014.

Ayesha and Apoorva have different cultural backgrounds: Apoorva is Hindu and Ayesha is Zoroastrian. It was important for them to incorporate both of their religious traditions, but they wanted to do it as simply as possible. “Indian weddings can be huge and super-grand, but I didn’t want anything too over the top,” says Ayesha. That said, they had to accommodate two separate ceremonies, and Ayesha insisted on a big late-night dance party.

The couple ended up packing everything into one day, with over 16 hours of activities. They started off with a Hindu ceremony at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a cultural centre in Etobicoke, followed by a Zoroastrian ceremony and dinner reception at The Doctor’s House in Kleinburg. There were three elaborate outfit changes, rituals galore and cherry blossom trees at the reception. Ayesha got the epic dance party she dreamed of, complete with performances from friends and more than a few tequila shots.

Cheat sheet:

Date: May 19, 2019 Photography: F29 Studio Day-of planner: Designed Dream Wedding Planner Bride’s outfits: Sia Boutique in Vadodara, India; Coronet in Mumbai, India; Roopkala Heritage in Mumbai, India Groom’s outfits: Manyavar in Mumbai, India; D. Shamji and Co. in Mumbai, India; Surmesur Custom Menswear, Mississauga Venues: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir; The Doctor’s House Cake: Cakeity Cakes Flowers: Aprile Florist Decor: Design Mantraa; Bridal Solutions Inc. Music: DJ Rajen, Empire Entertainment; flutist Sahil Khan Invites: Flashing Lights Photo and Design Guests: 380

Ayesha got ready at her parents’ house. She was up doing hair and makeup at 4:30 a.m., and they left for the temple at 8 a.m.:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The temple where the Hindu ceremony took place was seriously majestic:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Red and green are traditional Hindu wedding colours:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The urn with the coconut is called a kalasha and represents the source of life:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The floral garlands, made from red roses and white carnations, are called jaimalas. The couple place them over the other’s head to show they consent to marry:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Part of the ceremony involves lighting a sacred fire as a symbol of purification and sacrifice. Ayesha and Apoorva gave offerings like puffed rice and ghee:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

They received final blessings from the priest:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

They served both breakfast and lunch at the temple for their guests before heading off to the next venue for a head-to-toe outfit change. Aside from family members and a few close friends, they had different guest lists for the two ceremonies. The traditional colours in a Zoroastrian ceremony are all white. Ayesha bought her white lace sari in India:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The Doctor’s House is a revamped heritage home five minutes from where they live. The couple loved the history of the place and the surrounding gardens:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

During the Zoroastrian ceremony, a priest takes a rope, ties it around the couple and passes it through their family members’ hands:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

There was also a ring exchange, and the deal was sealed with a kiss:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Next, it was time for the final outfit change of the day: a lehenga, a traditional Indian skirt, for Ayesha, and a tux for Apoorva:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

It had started to rain, so Ayesha was ushered to the reception hall underneath a Winnie the Pooh blanket that one of her friends had brought:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The couple sat at their own table, surrounded by cherry blossom trees as an ode to their first date. There were plenty of toasts:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Before the reception, Apoorva’s cousins performed a dance:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The couple joined them:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The had their first dance to the acoustic version of Kygo’s “Firestone”:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

There was a dramatic finish:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

They also played the shoe game, but instead of shoes they used Bitmoji-inspired cut-outs of their faces (the couple love to communicate via Bitmoji):

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The cake, which was made of a mix of vanilla sponge with hazelnut cream and double chocolate with cream cheese frosting, was also topped with Bitmoji-inspired models of the couple in their reception looks:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

Instead of a guest book, the couple had friends and family sign pieces of a puzzle:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The party got started with tequila shots on the dance floor:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

The festivities lasted until the wee hours of the morning:

Real Weddings: Inside an elaborate Indian-Canadian wedding with two ceremonies

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