Navpreet Mahil and Arjun Samran’s love story began in 2017, thanks to their parents’ friendship. “Our families have had a great relationship for years being in the farming community, and if it wasn’t for that connection, we would have never crossed paths and met back in 2017,” Navpreet reflects. Three years after that first encounter, Arjun took their relationship to the next level by popping the question. The couple had originally planned a photoshoot in Lone Pine, California, but Arjun ended up surprising Navpreet with a proposal. “It was a picture-perfect moment,” Navpreet reminisces.
When the couple started mapping out their big day, they knew they wanted a timeless Indian wedding with a huge guest list—500 to be exact. To bridge the gap between each festivity, the couple aimed for cohesive décor. “When I began planning for my wedding, I had a vision for the different themes I wanted to create, but I had trouble finding the pieces to make it all happen,” the bride shares. “That’s when the collecting began. I started gathering unique pieces that had a traditional-yet-modern twist, and with those pieces, I was able to create those themes that I envisioned.” For Navpreet, selecting the decorations ended up being the most enjoyable and seamless part of the wedding planning process.
For the ceremony portion of their nuptials, Navpreet knew the exact location she wanted to trade vows: Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society in her hometown of Caruthers, California. “My older siblings also had their weddings at the same temple we chose to have ours,” the bride notes. “It meant the world to my parents to see their youngest child getting married in their hometown temple.” After saying “I do” on October 15, 2021 at that worship center, Navpreet and Arjun celebrated at Valdez Hall in Fresno, California.
While getting ready for the first phase of festivities, Navpreet donned a sleek pajama set with feather trim. For the Mayian or Haldi ceremony, the bride wore her hair in a half-up, half-down hairstyle. Navpreet decided to do her own makeup, so she focused on a glowy complexion with bold eyeshadow.
The bride sported a red sari with gold embroidery for her first outfit of the weekend. “My Mayian outfit was sentimental because I wore my mother’s wedding outfit,” she shares. “I always wanted to incorporate her wedding outfit into one of my events.” Navpreet reimagined the attire with statement earrings.
I got very emotional when my parents and siblings took a turn to put the haldi on me.
As part of the Mayian Indian wedding ritual, the couple’s relatives applied turmeric paste to their body while offering blessings and cleansing them. “I got very emotional when my parents and siblings took a turn to put the haldi on me because of the sentimental folktale songs my aunts were singing in the background,” Navpreet recalls.
After the Haldi ritual, Navpreet changed into a gold sari and spent the evening dancing with her friends and family.
For the Jaggo, Navpreet chose a rich red lehenga with an embroidered dupatta, a set of pearls, and bold rings. Since the bride wasn’t wearing red to her ceremony, which is the traditional hue for Indian weddings, she decided to flaunt the color at another pre-wedding event. “I wanted a regal look for my Jaggo that was my taste, and that’s how I specified this traditional outfit for this event,” she describes. “Finding the perfect red was so difficult because every boutique carries a color book, which has a variety of different shades of red.” The bride had her hair tied back in a sophisticated ponytail, and she selected natural makeup.
They brought the party to the lush courtyard, which was scattered with wooden tables and chairs. Whimsical centerpieces with white pampas grass and dried palm leaves demanded attention, and amber glassware tied the natural look together.
In front of the pool was a chic lounge area, which included a spread of patterned rugs and plush cushions and pillows in earthy tones. A wooden armoire and couch gave the setup a homey feel, while brass vases provided a vintage flair.
During the Jaggo, the bride and groom’s maternal families gathered to celebrate the couple. During the get-together, it’s customary to take turns holding a gagger, a decorated pot lit with candles, while singing and dancing.
The bride used the Mehndi to show off her personal style. “My Mehndi outfit was so unique from my other outfits because of the style,” Navpreet explains. “The jacket told a story of India. Beaded embroidery, stamped elephants, beautiful architecture, and stones covered the entire top.” To coordinate with the bride, Navpreet had her friends and family wear pastel blue to the event.
The bride’s makeup for this portion of the weekend was another standout moment. “I wanted my makeup to be simple but the eyes to have a pop of color,” she says. So, she chose blue eyeliner for a hint of drama.
On the big day, Navpreet donned a raw silk lehenga in blush and gold with hand-embroidered detailing by Sulakshana Monga. “When you look closely at the work, you can see the love and detail worked into each panel,” she gushes.
Although the design ended up being the perfect outfit for her vow exchange, the journey to find it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Navpreet spent days trying on different lehengas in Delhi, but everything was too modern for her preferences. Then, she tried on this Sulakshana Monga number. “I felt like a royal princess,” she remembers. “The embroidery stood out to me. The shape was perfect for me. The combination of soft colors made me realize my lehenga shopping was done.”
Navpreet accessorized her glitzy lehenga with bespoke beaded earrings, a necklace, bangles, and rings that her jeweler, Patiala, designed specifically for her. “The stones in my jewelry matched my lehenga perfectly,” she notes. “Picking out the stones in person and seeing how they mix it in with real gold was so fascinating and beautiful to see how they created such a masterpiece.”
After contemplating the style of her ceremony makeup, Navpreet decided to stick with a minimalist look. She matched her glam with a simple hairstyle: an elegant updo. For a special touch, the bride added a spritz of The Noir 29 by Le Labo Fragrances, which was a gift from her best friend. “She personalized it ‘Mr. and Mrs. Samran,’” Navpreet says. “It made my day even more special, feeling all the love from everyone.”
Although Navpreet didn’t have a bridal party, her friends and family wore neutral saris with lace trim for the couple’s vow exchange.
The groom’s family joined him during his grand processional, or baraat. Arjun decided to wear a traditional sherwani with intricate embellishments for the special event. “During our wedding shopping trip to India, we were lucky to find wedding pieces that not only told a story in the embroidery work but were complementing pieces made by the same designer,” the groom points out.
Arjun decorated his ensemble with sentimental accessories. His gold ring was a gift from his grandparents, and his mala necklace was a custom piece. “I designed it myself with the intention of carrying some of the same stone colors that are on Navpreet’s wedding jewelry,” he explains.
A bohemian-inspired welcome sign, adorned with pampas grass, baby’s breath, and roses, greeted guests and set the tone for the ceremony design.
The couple had the temple converted into a light and airy locale with lots of draping and warm colors. Oversized urns with pampas grass arrangements flanked the altar.
Since Indian weddings traditionally don’t have a first look, the duo made their grand reveal during the bride’s procession. “It was a very special moment for us because I was so nervous walking down the aisle that seeing Arjun made me forget about my nerves,” Navpreet reflects. The groom felt the same way. “It wasn’t until Navpreet came in, and I saw how she looked and presented herself that I calmed down and felt our bond stronger than ever,” he reminisces.
Navpreet and Arjun followed a traditional Indian wedding ceremony before exchanging wedding rings.
After they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds snapped couple portraits while the sun set. Working with their photographer, Vinuthna Garidipuri, was a highlight for the pair. “Vinuthna is truly an artist,” Navpreet exclaims. “Her ability to capture any moment in time is blissful and enchanting. Her pictures bring you back to a special moment, allowing you to relive all of those joyous times.”
For their final outfit change, the pair went with luxe looks. Navpreet sported a long-sleeve beaded gold lehenga, while Arjun donned a velvet burgundy tuxedo jacket, which also featured beaded embroidery.
After dining on traditional Punjabi cuisine, guests noshed on red velvet and salted caramel cake from their three-tier confection, complete with a geode design. “Our cake was unique because the design reflected my outfit’s embroidery,” Navpreet remarks.
The newlyweds spent the rest of the evening dancing with their friends and family while DJ Hans kept the Punjabi music going. From the Haldi to the reception, Navpreet and Arjun threw a wedding weekend that exceeded their wildest expectations.
For other couples planning an extravagant affair, the couple stresses the importance of taking your time with every detail. “The biggest piece of advice we have to offer is being patient with decision making,” the couple advises. “Many decisions can wait a day, so don’t rush because that’s all you will be thinking about when you look back at your wonderful event.”