I recently went to an event billed as a “scintillating evening of fun and information, focused on the Bay Area Indian wedding market.” Well, it was all that and more. Afterwards, I wanted throw my own Indian bash. I wanted to be Indian.
The festivities were held at the New Delhi Restaurant in San Francisco, but you might have thought you were in an Indian palace. Owner Ranjan Dey had transformed the place: tables were dressed in vibrantly colored, satiny linens in pink and purple and each one had a gorgeous floral centerpiece. Candles were everywhere, and the tall columns throughout glowed with color thanks to special uplighting. He even had bright orange and hot pink designs projected on the ceiling.
The riot of color was intoxicating, as were the signature Mango and Lychee Martinis. I fell in love with Indian food, enjoying every dish from the Chicken Tikka Masala to the Gulab Jamun (a dessert of milk dumplings in a warm cardamom syrup). I could have eaten a whole pile of naan bread!
Ranjan was the perfect host: he not only filled us up with great food, but filled us in on some Indian wedding facts and traditions. Who knew there were 28 states in India, each with its own language, cuisine and art? That means every Indian wedding must be customized according to the religious and culinary requirements of the families being joined.
I was so into the spirit of things, I simply had to have my hand painted by Renda, an artist from the Henna Garden. When I asked her why women did this before their wedding, she said that when a woman’s hands (and feet) are decorated with henna, she can’t use them for a while and has to be taken care of and pampered—perhaps for the last time before starting her new married life.
If you’re planning an Indian wedding, rehearsal dinner or other event, Ranjan is the man to call. He has a deep knowledge of everything Indian, as well as connections to all the services you’ll need—including an elephant for that spectacular entrance. It’ll run you $5,000–8,000, but who cares?
Here are the other vendors who made this stunning event possible:
Music: Sonny Gallardo of Exquisite DJs
Invitations: Rhonda Steward of Cedar and Rose
Décor: Iffat Khamisha of Palms Party Planner
Photography: Ben Janken of Ben Janken Fine Photography
Florist: Orna Maymon of Ornamento
Linens: Lily Yeung of Wildflower Linens
Catering: Ranjan Dey of New Delhi Restaurant and Stacie Hallinan of Four Seasons