Inside Weddings - - Contents - Pho­tographed by Clane Ges­sel

Septem­ber 22, 2018 Jersey City, New Jersey

When Ni­rav Me­hta trans­ferred from his firm’s of­fice in New York to Tokyo, he had no idea it would lead him to meet­ing the love of his life, Akina Uchida. A lit­tle over a year af­ter they started dat­ing, she took him home to meet her par­ents. When Ni­rav had some alone time with her mother and father, he took the op­por­tu­nity to tell them he wanted to marry their daugh­ter. “Akina hadn’t told them I wasn’t Ja­panese,” he notes. “I think that they were still in shock to find this 6’2” In­dian-American guy in their house speak­ing flu­ent Ja­panese, but when I asked, they were more than happy to say yes.”

Four months later, the cou­ple was legally mar­ried and had a small re­cep­tion in Tokyo. How­ever, they wanted to cel­e­brate state­side as well. “It was im­por­tant for me that we could have a big In­dian wedding that all his rel­a­tives could at­tend,” con­firms Akina. Ni­rav agrees, adding, “I wanted my par­ents to have a great time.” They, along with his sis­ter, were incredibly help­ful when plan­ning the event on the wa­ter­front of Jersey City due to the dis­tance of the guests of honor. Though the ma­jor­ity of the nup­tials fea­tured tra­di­tional In­dian cus­toms, as­pects of the bride’s Ja­panese her­itage were brought in as well. “Since it was a bright, sunny day, we handed out Ja­panese-style para­sols, put the Ja­panese flag on the wedding cake, and had peo­ple’s ta­ble cards held in brightly colored origami cranes,” Akina ex­plains.

When guests ar­rived to the wa­ter­front cer­e­mony, they were greeted with a mag­nif­i­cent sight. Not only did the wa­ter and New York skyline make for a stun­ning back­drop, but the vi­brant dé­cor was truly marvelous. “Ni­rav and I love na­ture, and we wanted lots of brightly colored flow­ers and green­ery,” the bride shares. “Of course, red and or­ange are aus­pi­cious col­ors for an In­dian wedding, so we wanted those, along with other com­ple­men­tary col­ors, too.” Pink and yellow blos­soms framed the mod­ern aisle run­ner with a large flo­ral print and led to the strik­ing man­dap. Even the seats were colorful, with Chameleon Chair Collection pro­vid­ing rows of chairs with pink, or­ange, and yellow cush­ions.

The re­cep­tion that evening in­cor­po­rated the same vi­brant hues through­out. Roses in sun­set shades were en­cased in the Lucite sweet­heart ta­ble, while ver­ti­cal and cir­cu­lar flo­ral ar­range­ments ac­cented with green­ery dec­o­rated round ta­bles and bright can­dles in sim­i­lar col­ors adorned the rec­tan­gu­lar va­ri­eties. “I wish I had counted the num­ber of roses!” says the groom. In ad­di­tion to the dé­cor, a lot of thought was put into the eye-catch­ing confection. Four of the tiers were mod­eled af­ter In­dian-style cush­ion seats and the fi­nal tier was a cube with the Ja­panese flag on each side. The top­per was an elephant and the whole cake was be­decked with el­e­gant sugar flow­ers.

“I wish I had counted the num­ber of roses!”

“This be­ing a huge In­dian wedding, we knew we needed all of Ni­rav’s fam­ily to do a big dance, in­clud­ing plenty of tra­di­tional Bol­ly­wood songs,” re­veals the bride. “They even found a Bol­ly­wood movie set in Japan, and used the main song, ‘Love in Tokyo,’ as the grand fi­nale!” The new­ly­weds also danced their way into the re­cep­tion for their en­trance, hav­ing changed into cor­re­spond­ing navy en­sem­bles. In ad­di­tion to In­dian mu­sic, rev­el­ers danced the night away to hip-hop from the ‘90s and early 2000s, evok­ing nos­tal­gia for the groom and his peers. Among the at­ten­dees was the mayor of New York City, Bill de Bla­sio, who even spoke at the re­cep­tion. “[It] was a real honor,” af­firms Akina.

For those pre­par­ing for their own nup­tials, the bride ad­vises cou­ples to be clear about what they want, with­out get­ting too caught up in the de­tails. She as­serts, “You’ll be the shining star of your day no mat­ter what!”

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