Chetna Purohit & Nirav Joshi
May 18, 2013 in Dana Point, California
Location: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Dana Point, CA
Eventually, every eligible woman is waylaid by friends or family murmuring, “Have I got a nice young man for you.” And so it was for TV journalist Chetna Purohit. She was skeptical at first, but when introduced to Nirav Joshi she had a feeling unlike any she’d had before.
“We seemed to click, and I gave him my phone number, which I never do,” she says. At home, Chetna told her mother that she had met the man she was going to marry.
Nirav, a doctor in the process of interviewing for fellowships, finally called Chetna weeks later. “Our first dinner date made up for the wait,” says Chetna. “He was charming and smart and wonderful.”
With thriving careers in different cities, the relationship had its share of challenges. One night, when the two had been separated for months, Chetna headed to a surprise party for a friend. Instead of a party, she found Nirav sitting at a table with wine and flowers. “I was so excited to see him that I didn’t even question why he was there,” says Chetna.
After they ate, the couple took a sunset gondola ride in Newport Beach. The gondolier noticed something floating in the water and Nirav uncharacteristically reached for it. He pulled out a bottle with a note in it and handed the slip of paper to Chetna. What she read was his “sweet” story of their relationship. As she looked up, Nirav was on one knee asking her to marry him. “I was crying because I was so happy,” says Chetna. “It took a moment to answer, but there was no question that it was ‘Yes.’”
The traditional Hindu wedding started with a week of celebration, including prayers to Ganesha, symbolized by an elephant, to remove obstacles and bless their event. A Haldi ceremony painted the bride and groom with turmeric paste for luck and beauty. Friday finished up with the Sangeet—instead of a rehearsal dinner—featuring music, dancing and henna painting on hands and feet.
Colorful, heavily embroidered wedding attire was custom-ordered from Bombay for both the bride and groom. The nearly three hour-long ceremony began with the Baraat, or groom’s procession with Nirav entering on an elephant. Chetna, who was not presented until nearly forty-five minutes later, says, “It was almost an out-of-body experience, and I kept reminding myself to be ‘present.’” Further rituals included Mangal Phera, the walk around the fire, representing four goals in life, and Saptapadi, seven steps together, signifying the start of their lifelong journey with each other.
After the ceremony, cocktails were served alfresco while the sun set over the water, followed by an indoor reception. Dinner, dancing and entertainment by Bollywood style dancers kept the room hopping. “The florist did an amazing job,” says Chetna. “He took our vague directions and made them into something special.”
Two days later, Chetna and Nirav traveled to the Four Seasons Maui to relax and catch up on sleep. The couple plans an extended trip to South Africa when they have a longer break.
> Written by Francine Kaplan