Where do we even begin with Sanjay and Steven’s incredible wedding weekend at Cedar Lakes Estate?? It was the first gay wedding for many of the guests and Sanjay and Steven “were determined to ground the weekend in themes that everyone could connect with: love, community, and partying very hard.” Planned by Amanda Savory Events, it’s a visual spectacle filled with gorgeous details, cultural significance, nods to the couples’ many travels and the underlying theme of bringing people together in the spirit of joy. How better to do it than joyful details including florals by Rye Workshop, a traditional Indian wedding procession, calligraphy by Mimms Cross, a cake by Momofuku Milkbar, and—of course—vibrant-hued smoke bombs?! Every last detail is captured by Edward Winter with READYLUCK and we’re thrilled to share the photos here with you today.
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What made the wedding special and unique?
All weddings are special because they bring families together. The one additional layer of significance for us was that both Steven and I had a long, often challenging, journey to get to this point where our families could be so incredibly supportive. This was the first gay wedding for many of our guests. We were determined to ground the weekend in themes that everyone could connect with: love, community, and partying very hard.
Also, both Steven and I have lived all over the world and moved quite a lot. Consequently, we have lots of circles of friends and family dispersed everywhere that we rarely get to see together. Bringing them all together in one place – and actually having the time to spend time together during the daytime – was absolutely the most incredible rush. We hadn’t anticipated how important this factor would be until the weekend arrived.
Our wedding brought people together in a spirit of joy. Our families and friends became one big loving community.
Tell us about your tux and where/how you found it!
When picking tuxedos, we knew we wanted something modern, but not so ‘out there’ that it would look ridiculous when we looked at our photos in a decade. We also knew we wanted to complement each other, but not match exactly – which ruled out the classic black tuxedo.
We ended up finding the perfect duo of a bold blue and a midnight navy color at the Hugo Boss store in Soho, NYC.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
We injected our personalities and cultural backgrounds into small moments throughout the wedding. At our ‘sangeet’ event the night before the wedding, two of our closest friends hosted a live ‘newlywed’ game that allowed our guests to get to know us a little better. We also served a fusion Indian-American South menu that evening with dishes such as cardamom-spiced fried chicken and Kashmiri style collard greens.
In lieu of a guestbook, we invited guests to share messages with us on the backs of vintage postcards of destinations that we’d traveled to together, such as Iceland, the Cook Islands, and South Africa.
Finally, for our first dance we elected to surprise everyone with a fun mashup of songs that represented where we came from (nods to “California Love” and the “Dirty South”) and where we met (“Empire State of Mind” – Alicia Keys & Jay-Z).
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Honestly, the afterparty! We loved every minute of our wedding weekend (even the rain!), but it was only after the reception that we could totally let loose. Ironically, the afterparty was the one event that we planned the least and so it was the most thrilling for us to experience it with no expectations.
For our afterparty, we moved over to a venue called The Treehouse where our friends danced into the night on an outdoor patio while our DJ pumped out our favorite 90s tunes accompanied by live Indian Dhol players. It was so exhilarating to have all of our favorite people celebrating with us in one place.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Despite an explicit verbal agreement that neither party would pop the question until they had dated for at least two years, Sanjay proposed on a private lagoon voyage in his 100th country (and Steven’s 25th), the Cook Islands, just shy of the second anniversary of their first date. Steven immediately accepted and then promptly proceeded to dance uncontrollably. Some might say the surprise had been ruined when the captain of the boat winked at Sanjay and loudly announced that a bottle of champagne was in the cooler as he dropped Steven and Sanjay off on a private island, but then again, when has a chilled bottle of champagne on a private island ever ruined anything?
Photography: Edward Winter / READYLUCK // Event planning: Amanda Savory Events // Flowers: Rye Workshop // Stationery: Suitesmith // Location & catering: Cedar Lakes Estate // Calligraphy: Mimms Cross // Cake: Momofuku Milkbar // Officiant: Rvnd. Mary-Rose Engle of Engle Heart // Music: DJ Rishi of Silk Events (sangeet baraat ceremony reception); Suit & Tie of Élan Artists // Rentals: Patina Rentals (furniture & lounge) // Sherwanis: Maharani Fashions // Grooms’ tuxedos: Hugo Boss // Grooms’ bowties: Sarar // Steven’s shoes: Hugo Boss // Sanjay’s shoes: Calvin Klein // Cake topper: Etsy // Dance instructor: Alan Watson Easy Wedding Dancing // Horses: Echo Lake Stables