Real Wedding: Bollywood Bash

Hindu wedding

Surya & Preet
The Grand America Hotel, Sept. 1
Photography by Rebekah Westover


Surya, who grew up in Salt Lake City, and Preet, who is from Sioux Falls, S.D., met as college students at Duke University. Surya first caught Preet’s eye in their shared second-year organic chemistry class. Study dates soon evolved into actual dates and eventually adventures throughout North Carolina. The couple spent the rest of their undergraduate days at Duke as college sweethearts, even adding another member to their “family” during senior year: Tyus, the couple’s beloved Labrador retriever.

Hindu wedding


After both earning undergraduate degrees, the couple continued their education together at Duke University’s School of Medicine. Once they completed their first semester in medical school, Preet surprised Surya with a holiday getaway to Paris. On the last morning of their stay, Preet brought Surya to Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge along the Seine River in Paris, made famous by the many locks placed on the bridge by partners and lovers. There, Preet got down on one knee and asked Surya to spend the rest of her life with him.

Hindu wedding


The couple chose to host a traditional Hindu wedding — in a vibrant red, pink, orange and purple color palette — at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. The wedding day began in the hotel’s large courtyard beneath a mandap, or wedding arch, custom made for the space. Beneath the mandap’s flowing rose-colored canopy flocked with roses, peonies and carnations, Surya and Preet were married by Sri. Satish Kumar Nivarthi, priest with the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple of Utah. Surya wore a stunning gold and fuchsia sari while Preet was dressed in a beige sherwani with gold detailing. Following the ceremony, Preet rode a ghodi, or white horse, down 600 South surrounded by the wedding party, his and Surya’s families and hundreds of wedding guests. During the procession, staff at The Grand America transformed the courtyard into a large outdoor dining room with white tablecloth-dressed tables, gold bamboo dining chairs and grand floral and candelabra centerpieces. For dinner, Surya changed into a brilliant gold-embroidered off-the-shoulder gown while Preet donned a crisp dark-blue suit. Wedding guests were served several traditional Indian dishes including chicken tikka masala, paneer tikka masala, palak paneer and naan. Dessert was a four-tier wedding cake with layers of lemon poppyseed cake covered with strawberry cream cheese frosting and other layers of chocolate and vanilla-flavored cake with chocolate ganache frosting.

Hindu wedding
Hindu wedding
Hindu wedding


After dinner, guests moved inside to the Grand America’s ballroom. There Leslie Price, with Leslie Dawn Events, used pink and purple mood lighting, clusters of vibrantly clad pillows, lanterns and urns full of floating flowers and candles to create a festive, Bollywood-inspired landscape. Guests danced and mingled long into the night to music provided by DJ Elliott Estes. After the ceremony, Surya and Preet honeymooned in the Maldives and then returned to North Carolina to finish medical school.

Hindu wedding


Wedding Planning & Design: Leslie Dawn Events
Photography: Rebekah Westover
Venue: The Grand America Hotel
Florist: Sax Romney Florals, @saxromney
Hair & Makeup: Mindy Graham
Bride’s Ceremony Sari: Shyamal & Bhumika
Bride’s Reception Dress: Sabyasachi
Groom’s Suit: Brioni, Bergdorf Goodman
Videographer: Jared Wortley Films
DJ: Elliott Estes

Check out another traditional Indian wedding here.

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Melissa Fields
Melissa Fields is a wife, mother, freelance writer, editor and—since the moment she migrated to Utah from Michigan more than 25 years ago—a huge fan of the Wasatch Mountains. A few of the outlets Melissa writes and edits for include Salt Lake Magazine, Park City Magazine, Utah Bride & Groom Magazine, and When not wordsmithing at her laptop, Melissa spends her time volunteering, hiking, pedaling, skiing, rock climbing and playing her guitar.