Wedded Bliss by the Beach: Shikha and Jigar's Grand Celebration at Westin Long Beach
- Author: Natali Grace Levine
- Wedding date: 09/03/2023
- City: Long Beach
When destiny writes a love story, it’s always epic, and for Shikha and Jigar, it was no different. Their first encounter? July 2019, at a mutual friend's abode. Shikha recalled, “I saw him and for some reason, I just knew in my stomach that this person was special!! I knew I would see him at my brother's birthday party in September and I locked it down!” Two years of romance, two years of engagement, and a wedding set against the backdrop of Labor Day Weekend. What a love story!
“At 21 years old, I could not have imagined getting engaged,” Shikha says, “Jigar asked me to marry him on top of South Park Center in Downtown Los Angeles and I happily said yes!”
Their all-star team deserves a standing ovation. From the magical captures of @balerinafilms to the artistic touch of @catcimshmua, everyone played their part to perfection.
Shikha, with a glint in her eyes, said, “Talk about the best of the best! I can't even exaggerate how amazing these people are and how wonderful their teams are to work with. I was comfortable, I felt loved and taken care of, and most importantly, I felt heard!”
The dawn of their big day was riddled with anticipation and beauty. The invitation cards were handpicked from India, with Jigar’s family overseeing every intricate detail. “We selected colors based on our outfits and it worked out like a dream,” shared Shikha.
As for that stunning ring? “I come from a jewelry family so when it was time Jigar went to my dad and bought a timeless, classic, and clean ring. Nothing fancy - just perfect. It's like the Golden Gate Bridge - I can spot my ring from the sky.”
During her Mehndi Shikha wore “a beautiful multi-color set that my grandma wore when she got married to my grandpa!” So precious!
Every bride dreams of that perfect dress, and Shikha is no exception. Her search took her to the bustling streets of Kolkata, India. “I knew that I just wanted something that was pure red. I didn't want a tomato red or a burgundy red. I just wanted a deep red that screamed bridal,” she shared.
“When I walked into this store, I just knew as soon as he pulled it out that it would be the one. I jumped up and said "Okay I am ready" and my mom said "Thank God,” Shikha recalls with a smile on her face.
For her final look, the bride “had a double dupatta so I did a classic drape on my shoulder and I had one on top of my head. I also did a full bridal Matta Pathi and that was my favorite part!”
As for flowers, “We used JnJ florals and they did a beautiful white/pink bouquet. I told them I just wanted a large bouquet and to keep it clean!”
The moment their eyes met was one for the books. Jigar, seeing Shikha in all her bridal splendor, was spellbound. “He was overwhelmed with emotions and honestly couldn't even get words out. By the time he tried to say something, I was already starting to fix his necklace as it wasn't tight enough,” giggled Shikha.
The bride, ever observant, chuckled, “I thought wow thank God he wore a real Saffa because he looks soooo good and the cardboard turban would not have given that same effect.”
Their pre-wedding shoot was an intimate affair, merging homey warmth with the majestic Laguna Beach. “For our engagement shoot, we did photo/video with Balerina Films at our apartment and in Laguna Beach. We recently moved in together and are proud of our tiny home but also we live 10 minutes from Laguna Beach so what a great opportunity to do two very different shoots!” said Shikha.
“Indian Ceremonies are different - it is not just the wedding and reception. We had 5 events spanning 3 days starting with the Haldi and Mehndi on Friday, Sangeet on Saturday, and Wedding and Reception on Sunday,” shares the bride.
The ceremony itself, set at the Westin Long Beach Balcony, was nothing short of a fairy tale. With views overlooking the pier – a tribute to Jigar's late grandmother – emotions ran high. Shikha made her entrance to “Kabira (Encore)” from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
For a flower girl, the couple chose the bride’s cousin, Amaya. “She is a firecracker and the day we got married was actually her birthday!!” shares Shikha, “I can't tell you the amount of times I heard "Go Shawty, its yo birthday" as we were getting her ready in the bridal suite!”
There was a sudden change in plans which eventually turned out to be the couple’s favorite memory from the ceremony. “Our priest was a substitute as our original guy got sick! We were laughing and making jokes through the entire ceremony because he had no idea what was going on and Jigar and I were just making the most of it,” laughed Shikha.
With the Indian wedding hustle, their post-ceremony shots captured candid moments around the Westin, weaving a tapestry of love and joy.
Their color choices were a kaleidoscope, echoing their outfits and moods. “For the Haldi, we stuck with yellows and orange tones, for the Mehndi we did green and blue, for the Sangeet we did a multi-color with red, pink, and orange dominating tones, for the wedding we did white and pinks, and then the reception we had black, gold, navy,” Shikha revealed.
Their choice of venue? “We loved the Westin as soon as we saw the property and they had a ballroom big enough to fit 560 people + they let us sell out their property with over 100 rooms just for the Gupta + Dholakia party!”
Their first dance to "Nazdeekiyaan" spoke volumes of their journey. Shikha explained, “It talks about how only two souls know the closeness they are experiencing. As a younger couple, I think it was very on point.”
And instead of the clichéd cake? “We hate cake for so many reasons. SO stupidly expensive for half the crowd to hate it, no one ever watches the cutting, and we don't even like cake so instead we did Indian sweets and desserts that we enjoy,” she smiled.
“The party did not stop once it started and it actually continued from 12 AM-3:30 AM in the Westin lobby. Shout out to the best hotel staff for letting us all come hang out and make a ruckus for an excessive amount of time! It was unreal, unforgettable, and I know in my heart this was a next-level experience,” Shikha happily shares.