August 13, 2019
Prapti+ Chinmay // Aranya Farms, Ahmedabad Wedding Photography by Memoire
In India and across various cultures, most weddings are extravagant and larger than life events as an accepted social custom. Prapti and Chinmay wanted to normalize their wedding and host it at a relatable scale. They wanted the focus to be on something that is meaningful, humble and personal. As designers, we totally synced with this ideology. It made us a perfect team!
The wedding was to be a reflection of their personalities, an intimate yet festive and celebratory affair with their loved ones. The experience of the wedding was more important to them.
The concept for design was developed after rounds of discussions and interviews with the couple. We understood them and gathered what is important to them and why.
When we started developing language for them, we knew that it has to be timeless, rooted yet contemporary, profound yet versatile and above all beautifully personal to them.
Prapti means Achievement/Gain and Chinmay means Knowledge / Supreme Consciousness. Together their names mean, Enlightenment.
This led us to the fundamentals of life, Panchtatva – five core elements…. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. These became our concept and not theme. So each element and each ritual were designed/conducted with the understanding and abstract interpretation of one or more elements. And the marriage ceremony became the symbol of every element coming together depicting ultimate enlightenment, their union. Several areas of the wedding as well as the individual functions were derived by each element – Earth, water, fire, air and space and all 5 were represented in the main wedding ceremony.
It was challenging to translate the intangible concepts of Panchtatva in the design through the various elements of decor of flowers and furniture. But Prapti and Chinmay put complete faith in us. With this trust and responsibility we felt empowered and creative to bring out our best through the various details and execution of the wedding. A lot of it was customised with multiple agencies involved to design the overall experience.
The pre-wedding events were hosted by their families at their respective houses in an intimate setting.
Function – Gujarati pre-wedding traditional rituals and Bride’s Mehendi
Element – Air
Name – Naaz – Reflection of the contemporary Indian Bride, Prapti
Based on the element of air, we designed the space reflecting Prapti’s aura, her personality and style.
Prapti has studied fashion so for her mehendi, her backyard was designed with a multitude of Indian textiles and fabrics for her love of textiles. There were also pictures of Prapti with their family and friends on banarasi fabric hoops in the backyard. The space was used for three days as the family gathered and rejoiced in the various ceremonies of Grah Shanti, Pithi and her Mehendi. During the day, the hues of pinks and reds adorned with fresh flowers accentuated the garden and in the evening, lights and songs made a warm atmosphere!
We also added similar elements of saree hoops, copper vessels and floral arrangements inside the house, to let a consistent decor flow inside and outside the space. By adding something completely alien, the house would lose its familiarity. Instead we focussed on details that would sync with the existing home decor as well create a visual memory and a festive ambience for the guests with the same homely warmth.
Function –Satyanarayan Katha at Groom’s House
Element – Earth
Name – Saayan – A Tropical Story
They both love greens and it’s reflected in their lifestyle and home. At Chinmay’s house, the garden is beautifully landscaped with different palms and some luscious greens. Inspired by the earth, the colours and decor were kept natural incorporating a lot of tropical prints. The design complemented the freshness of the trees and bright flower stems of heliconia and bird of paradise added a pop of colour. This space hosted a katha ceremony for which the backdrop was made with betel nut leaves. Other pre-wedding ceremonies and for the family to get together, the space provided a natural, ambient setting!
Function – Mehendi and Sangeet
Element – Space
Name – Aasma – a celebration for the young, modern and chic couple
Space – up in the sky, liberating and infinite.
Inspired by space, the decor was focussed to create a breezy, soothing and contemporary vibe.
The Sangeet was non-conventional – unlike the usual choreographed performances, the night saw both the families dedicating speeches, dances and songs to Prapti and Chinmay. We designed a designated area to display a sweet poem written by Prapti’s father called ‘Vidai’ (Gujarati word which means farewell to the bride. The entire poem was written in Gujarati). This became a part of the decor with flowers and lights adorning the area!
The canopy was created with lot of lanterns that lit up the space. Soothing whites and blues were used in the seating and stage design. The stage in itself was not only a performance space but also a photo booth as we created a tunnel lit up fairy lights and covered in a printed floral patterned fabric between the two halves of the stage!
Function – Gujarati pre-wedding traditional rituals for the Groom
Element – Fire
Name – Amber – is the radiant colour of fire!
Fire is the central witness to Indian rituals, as prayers are offered to God through the medium of fire. Grah Shanti (one of the pre-wedding rituals to please the heavenly bodies for a favorable influence) is one such ritual conducted by the priest. The powerful and pure energy of fire was our inspiration.
The common plot lacked any distinguishing or festive features. So along with the mandap the entrance was defined in the middle of the plot by creating panels of geometric designs with festive elements like marigold and gota patti. A special area for Chinmay was highlighted with accents like wooden tables and genda phool arrangements. Reflecting Chinmay’s sense of style, the decor was kept tasteful and elegant with the choice of flowers and patterns created for the backdrop and entrance panels.
Main Wedding Day
The main wedding venue was a farm house with lots of trees and waterbodies. The bride and groom, both love landscape which we observed at their respective homes as well. The venue was chosen because the intimate scale that it provided, which was surrounded by lots of trees, lotus pond and a swimming pool. The couple wanted a venue which would make their guests comfortable away from the city’s hustle bustle and still keep them connected to each other during all the ceremonies. And thus this venue turned out perfect with its scale and greenery.
The main entrance had the space element with lots of reflective and white surfaces, with typographic words that were chosen from the ancient Sanskrit shlokas on the reflective surfaces and adorned with white flowers.
The air element was depicted near the entrance where we hung bells from the trees. These bells had silver tassels, and swung with the wind.
The lounge area for guests had the earth element. It was designed with calming hues of pinks and reds with carnations and baby’s breath on the table setting where people can sit, chit-chat and lounge.
The food area had the fire element with gold and metallic in the fabric and orange lilies.
The Pancholu (first dinner after the wedding) by the pool had the water element. The tables were covered in a patterned chevron blue cloth. We designed a floating mirror installation for the pool, where the family was gathering for their first meal. All the five elements were abstracted in shapes that represented the five elements. Almost 20 ft in length, these elements which were completely covered in small mirrors were floating on the swimming pool, and created a beautiful reflection in the water with the moonlight.
When Prapti entered the wedding venue, her brother and sister-in-law sang hers and Chinmay’s favorite song, “I can’t help falling in love with you”, by Elvis Presley! All her bridesmaids were standing on the sides of the aisles with lillies, welcoming her to the wedding stage!
Mangalshtak is an ancient shlok, verse written to evoke the Gods, Goddesses and planets in the universe to bless the couple. The family and guests participated in reciting the verse. These verses were customized and personalized to make it more relatable and to bring out the meaning of the ancient text in a more associable way.
Also what made the wedding more special was that the couple got a tattoo of one of our designs on their honeymoon! Based on the concept of the five elements for the wedding, we designed an installation representing the elements in simple shapes. They got this motif as a tattoo on their arms! It makes us understand the power to create beautiful ever lasting memories for the wedding day which get translated into so many special ways like photographs and tattoos! Our design stays eternal and what a joy to cherish them again! As designers it’s satisfying to know that at the end of the day, the bride and the groom had absolute fun on their big day and were not stressed.