Today’s wedding has so many lovely details and personal touches, I just knew you would enjoy it. Says Neela, the beautiful bride: “Planning our wedding was a unique experience coming from two different cultural backgrounds. My family is from Afghanistan, so we wanted to incorporate the cultural elements of a traditional Afghan wedding into a sort of fusion with the grand outdoor manor style weddings that I have loved since a little girl.”

And that’s just what they did!

The ceremony took place at the Love Temple on the grounds of Villa Montalvo.

Instead of one beautiful cake, Neela and Marshall had three! “Our cakes echoed antique Wedgwood patterns and Victorian cameos,” says the bride. Dessert also included pink Persian Rose macarons.
Neela shared all about the day with us:

Why did you choose this location? Picking the venue was my favorite part. I wanted to find a mansion or a home that had large manicured gardens, like something from an E.M. Forster novel or the Great Gatsby. Villa Montalvo was such a beautiful location, with its gorgeous historical villa, with both a sprawling natural landscape and a manicured Italianate garden and great lawn, and a beautiful Spanish style courtyard with fountains. The theme for the wedding went from there.

Tell us about incorporating Afghan wedding traditions into the day. Bringing in my culture and my family’s traditions was very important, but I was a little stumped at how to work things in seamlessly. Amy Nichols was wonderful with helping me solve this problem. She researched the cultural traditions and worked them into our timeline. We had a very memorable Afghan ceremony on the veranda that was elegant and touching. Part of this ceremony involves henna, so I thought it would be fun to have a henna artist on hand during the dancing portion of the event. It was a huge hit! She was wonderful and it was really great to have something else going on during the dancing that guests could occupy themselves with. Our caterer was also integral in working in all of the traditions and cultural elements. Our wedding occurred during Ramadan, so some guests were fasting. Global Gourmet made certain that they were not neglected and that they were served properly at exactly sundown. The menu that they created for our wedding was spectacular, and they were able to incorporate some Middle Eastern flavors. The guests had the most fun during the dancing. The DJs are friends of ours who know our taste in music very well, and they managed to track down a lot of very hard to find Afghan music as well. They were going to play it by ear, to see what people loved dancing to the most, and we were both surprised that everyone loved dancing to the Afghan music! It really brought both families and cultures together. It was so fun to see my family teaching my husband’s American family some of the Afghan dance moves.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Our wedding was a perfect marriage of two very different cultures, which represents my husband and me as people so well. We wouldn’t have been able to pull it off and make it look as beautiful without our all-star team of vendors. It’s so important to do your research in this regard. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results (especially the gorgeous photos by Cooper Carras).

Photography: Cooper Carras / Venue: Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California / Planner: Amy Nichols Special Events / Bride’s dress: Vera Wang / Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN / Hair, makeup: Armando Sarabia / Flowers: Natalie Bowen Designs / Henna artist: Henna and Beyond / Cakes: Cake Coquette / Macarons: Chantal Guillon / Catering, rentals: Global Gourmet

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