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A Modern Hindu Wedding in Los Angeles

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Julie Pepin Photography

A mutual friend set up Foram Bhatt and Benjamin Nyberg at a holiday party back in 2011, and to say they instantly hit it off would be to put it mildly. As Foram describes: “About seven Tecates in, Ben plucked a carnation from a nearby flower arrangement and offered it to me, and we’ve pretty much been together ever since.”

Foram, a copywriter for a FinTech company, and Ben, a tech lead at a digital creative agency, dated for three years before getting engaged during a trip to Los Angeles to visit her parents. “Ben suggested we go for a hike and I should have had an inkling then because I don’t think he’s ever before suggested that,” she explains. He had picked a spot to propose in Santa Monica, but once Foram discovered the trail had a $20 entrance fee, she refused to go in. “Isn’t hiking one of the only free activities we have left in this world? I insisted we leave and find another spot,” she says. They ended up setting out on another nearby—and thankfully free—trail, and when they got up to the top, Ben got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. “I blacked out, but I do remember crying tears of joy.”

Foram, whose family is originally from India, knew their upcoming wedding would be a multicultural event that would mix both of her and Ben’s traditions. In the end, their wedding was actually a full week of celebrations, including a Mehndi party hosted by her aunt and uncle the night before the big day. “There was some pressure for our wedding venue to be special enough to culminate the festivities,” says Foram. “But, we knew we’d found the right venue the moment we walked into the L.A. River Center and Gardens. It was this unexpected oasis tucked away in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles.” The decorations were kept simple and sweet. They added a few strung lights, candles, centerpieces made by a friend, and table numbers created by Ben’s sister.

Since Foram would be getting married in a traditional Hindu ceremony, she wanted two wedding dresses for the festivities. Her goal was to find gowns that “felt easy but unexpected.” Thankfully, she found a modern take on a traditionally red wedding sari in ombre tones and with simple border beadwork, that conveyed just that. To finish off the look, her mother sourced jewelry from India. For her Western-style wedding dress, Foram seized a last-minute impulse and made a purchase on The Outnet. “I loved the simple silhouette and beadwork on this Needle and Thread beauty and knew it would be perfect for the reception,” she happily explains.

The day of the wedding, the couple decided put a modern take on their family traditions during the ceremony. “Customarily, an Indian baraat involves just the groom’s side,” Foram explains. “But Ben rode in on a horse with both sides of our families dancing him to the altar.” They were later married by Foram’s father in a Hindu ceremony that was recited in English. The two exchanged traditional Hindu vows, as well as ones written on their own. “It was beautiful and emotional and flanked by both sets of parents and our siblings at the mandap—it felt like a true union of our families.”

The party that followed was also all about upending expectations. The couple lightened things up by adding playful touches to the evening, like a strolling magician during cocktail hour and a late-night nacho bar. During the reception, Ben even managed to surprise Foram when he took to the stage and sang “I Saw The Light” by Todd Rundgren. “I was filled to the brim with love,” she says. They later chose Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” for their very first dance as husband and wife. As for the rest of the guests? Well, they didn’t exactly stick to the dance floor.“There was dancing on chairs, on ledges, and tables,” Foram remembers. “It was an incredible party created by our all-girl DJ duo Haute Mobile Disco.” The playful spirit of the night ended with a giant group hug. “It’s almost bittersweet that it just might be the greatest party we’ll ever throw, but then again, isn’t that the point?” says the bride.

Foram + Ben from Carrie Todd on Vimeo.