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A Beautiful Traditional Indian Wedding with a Hindu Ceremony in Kolkata

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Candid Tales

|Planning by 

Krafted Knots

Serena Dasani and Sourav Bose, who both work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston—she, as a resident in anesthesiology and pain medicine, and he, as a resident in general surgery—got engaged at the top of the Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico. To host their February wedding, the two, who met while obtaining their MD and MBA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and The Wharton School, chose the Taj Bengal in Kolkata, India as their venue. “We selected Kolkata for its unique balance of colonial history and renaissance Indian charm, a balance not found in many other cities in India,” Serena says. “Sourav’s mother also grew up in Kolkata, so it was a special opportunity for us to connect with extended family and across generations.”

For her wedding wardrobe, Serena and her mother traveled to India to pick out all of her outfits. “I chose to wear a mix of traditional Gujarati clothing and contemporary designer-wear,” the bride says. At the religious ceremonies, she wore custom ensembles, and at the social events, she wore a combination of Anita Dongre, Vedika M, Akansha Gajria, Shyamal & Bhumika, Chopard jewels, and Christian Louboutin shoes.

While Serena was traveling in Ahmedabad, she also designed her bridesmaids’ looks. “Each of my bridesmaids wore light, fun lehengas,” she remarks. “Five wore lilac with gold accents, and five wore white with red accents.”

The day prior to the wedding, Serena’s hands and feet were decorated with Mehendi, and the couple had Haldi ceremonies, where turmeric paste was applied by their family. Then at the Sangeet, which was floral themed, guests enjoyed henna artists, and friends and family perfumed dances, songs, and skits. “Many of our friends had just met the night before and had just planned and practiced their performances in the hallways of the hotel!” Serena says.

On February 25th, 2020, the wedding began with the groom’s mother performing a ritual, wishing him well in marriage. Then Sourav, his father, and his nephew rode in a 1927 Austin Seven Tourer to the mandap, led by dancing and a brass band. Serena, seated in a palanquin decorated with florals by Rings ‘n’ Roses, was carried on the shoulders of Sourav’s groomsmen to her fiancé.

During the service, the couple circled fire, and Sourav applied vermillion to Serena’s forehead. “The classic Hindu wedding ceremony is thousands of years old and has immense gravity,” the bride explains. “The rituals and practices combine prehistoric and contemporary elements. To have had our friends and family participate in and experience our ceremony with us was beyond special.”

The wedding concluded with blessings from friends and family, and once officially married, there was a quick transition to the cocktail hour. For the reception dinner, a delicious buffet of Bengali dishes was served, followed by the newlyweds cutting their wedding cake.

The first, father-daughter, and mother-son dances were combined into one to a Hindi song that had ballroom and classic Indian elements, and then dancing took over the rest of the evening with DJ Tabrez Alam. Later, the after-party kicked off at the rooftop pool lounge of The Park Hotel in downtown Kolkata. “At that point, we had both been up for 24 hours but could not stop dancing and having a good time!” Serena remembers.

“The most meaningful part of the wedding festivities was getting to share the spiritual and cultural moments with all of our friends and family who had traveled from six continents to celebrate in Kolkata,” the bride remarks. And after their amazing wedding weekend, the new Mr. and Mrs. went on a mini-moon with their wedding party and close family to Puri, Sourav’s father’s hometown. They later hope to go on their officially honeymoon to Antarctica, once it is again safe to travel.