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This Couple’s Multi-Day Wedding at Oheka Castle Was a Beautiful Blend of Sikh and Hindu Traditions

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Joel & Justyna

|Planning by 

Ashley Peraino Planning and Design

A chance encounter at The Wayland in Alphabet City in 2017 led to Gagan Gill, the merchandising manager for leather goods & accessories at Fendi, and Dr. Gaurav Chandra’s fateful first encounter. Three years of dating later, he whisked her to dinner at Palma. The normally calm and collected Gaurav was remarkably nervous during the car ride to the restaurant. When they were escorted to the private Aperitivo dining room, Gagan was overcome with emotion. The space was adorned with flowers, lit with candle votives, and made complete when Gaurav got down on one knee and proposed. He flew out both of their families to celebrate alongside them—and order rounds and rounds of congratulatory Aperol Spritzes.

Through florist Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios, the newly-engaged couple enlisted Ashley Peraino of Ashley Peraino Planning and Design to coordinate the three-day traditional Indian wedding on Long Island. “The beauty of our wedding was that each event had a different mood and aesthetic,” Gagan explains.

The Mehndi and Sangeet events were explosions of color, neutrals took the stage for our traditional Sikh ceremony, and the reception was the romantic garden of our dreams!” They selected Oheka Castle for its awe-inspiring architecture, regal interiors, and lush grounds. Fun Fact: It’s also the setting for Taylor’s Swift’s “Blank Space” music video. “We also loved being able to transport guests to a European chateau for a weekend, renting out all the rooms for our friends and family,” she notes. Joel & Justyna photographed the weekend’s most special moments.

Gagan’s bridal wardrobe was a love letter to her favorite Indian designers. “It was important to me that each outfit be reflective of the tradition and heritage behind each event—with an infusion of our personal style, of course!” she adds. For the Mehndi ceremony, she selected a kurta by designer Manish Malhotra. The embroidery, material, and silhouette were the perfect embodiment of her Punjabi culture, punctuated with a modern Manish Malhotra twist of bright colors and bold contrasts. She paired it with a vintage tikka headpiece that belonged to her grandmother who could not travel to the ceremony.

For the Sangeet, she donned a custom vibrant orange lengha by Shyamal and BhumikaShe complemented the artistry of the piece with heirloom gold jewelry, gifts from her aunt. The groom sported a custom-made orange brocade traditional jacket with cream pants and matching brocade loafers.

Incorporating Fendi into her wedding wardrobe was incredibly important to Gagan. When she saw the Fendi silk set from Kim Jones’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection during a market trip to Milan, she knew this was “the one” to wear while getting ready for the big day.

She and Gaurav both agreed on non-traditional colors and co-designed every facet of their ensembles with a boutique in Delhi. They each wore accessories from their respective religions: Gagan, Sikh; Gaurav, Hindu. Her bridal bangles, Chura, symbolize the immense prosperity for the couple and the naat nose ring honors Devi Parvati, the Hindu goddess of marriage. Her jewelry was purchased by her mother 15 years earlier and gifted to her six months before the wedding. Gagan’s Manolo Blahnik Hangisi green pumps matched perfectly. Gaurav’s turban is a symbol of respect, while his Kirjpan sword symbolizes protection for the couple.

Gagan changed into a custom black floral lengha by Sabyasachi Mukherjee for the reception. “The piece featured the most incredible workmanship with organza, which Sabyasachi is known for,” she gushes. Her aunt gifted her a stunning diamond and pearl necklace—so stunning she never wanted to take it off, and Gaurav’s mother bestowed her with diamond studs. Gaurav looked dapper in a Tom Ford tuxedo, Dior shoes, and a Rolex watch—a gift from his father-in-law. 

The Sangeet, which translates into “music night,” was action-packed with 16 traditional performances. “Gaurav’s family takes Sangeets very seriously,” Gagan shares. “Most notable was a Bhangra performance featuring Gaurav’s two nieces and their dance group, who, wearing coordinated colorful kurtas, did a phenomenal job, and brought the entire audience to their feet!” 

Their 150 guests entered the Oheka Castle Terrace Room to discover walls covered in pink draping, three cabanas with lounge furniture, and a fully-stocked bar. Guests dined on cuisine from different regions of India—including the fresh naan two on-site chefs freshly baked—and sipped signature cocktails, mango mojitos, and chai-spiced mules in refined teacups.

On May 6, 2022, Gaurav began the wedding festivities with the Baraat and rode in on a white horse, while friends and family danced to the rhythmic beat of the dhol drum. Gagan’s family greeted the groom and his family, initiating the milni, an exchange of garlands that represents the joining of the two families. Upon guests’ arrival at the Gurdwara atop the hill in Lattingtown, New York, they found their seats underneath the ethereal handpainted ceiling of the place of worship. Their wedding party stood beside them in an array of pastel-color Salwar Kameez outfits.

The Anand Karaj, the official ceremony, started with a prayer and the Palla di Rasam. In this ritual, the father of the bride presents the couple with opposite ends of a scarf to symbolize giving his daughter away. The traditional Sikh service continued with the four laavan nuptial rounds around the Guru Granth Sahib scripture. “I felt incredibly connected to my Sikh religion as we completed each laav and could also see many of our friends and family overcome with emotion are we circled the final round,” she reflects. All of the guests rose during the final prayer recitation, showering the newlyweds with blessings for their new chapter together.

Cocktail hour featured violin renditions of the couple’s favorite hip hop songs and signature cocktails like “The Doctor’s Orders.” This was a tongue-in-cheek play on Gaurav’s profession and the Dead Rabbit bar’s classic drink.

Guests then moved into the Otto Khan Ballroom for the reception with opulent floral arrangements strewn everywhere. Tandoor Catering created the vast spread of Indian dishes, and Oheka Castle’s Chef Daniel concocted the five-tiered red velvet cake. Toasts from the couple’s family followed, including an uproarious speech by Gaurav’s father.

The after-party kicked off in one the castle suites, fully equipped with music and drinks. The bride even switched into a blue marble Fendi silk set to dance the night away in comfort.