DEVIKA CHOPRA & AMIL GUPTA
August 13, 2016. Santa Barbara, California
As best friends through college, graduation and early careers in separate cities, Devika Chopra and Amil Gupta kept in touch regularly, sharing and caring. Then, after notseeing each other for several years, they met again. Amil confessed that he would like their relationship to become more romantic.
“We always had feelings for each other, and decided to give it a go,” says Devika. The deeper long-distance relationship continued for three years until Devika moved and joined Amil in Los Angeles
The bride-to-be expressed expectations for a storybook proposal, and the groom-tobe aimed to please. “We drove to the Montage in Laguna Beach for what I thought was a family dinner,” says the unsuspecting Devika. As they strolled toward the restaurant, she noticed a beautifully set table for two on a bluff with gorgeous views. Swinging by for a closer look, she spied her name on the custom menu and immediately burst into tears. Amil attempted to calm her down long enough to actually propose.
Traditional Hindu rituals on Thursday and Friday leading up to the Saturday wedding includedthe mehndi, where the bride’s handsand feet are intricately painted with henna,and the haldi, a blessing of the bride and groom with turmeric. The sangeet, a joyousparty, featured RDB, a top Indian band.
Desiring an island getaway ambiance, the summer and beach-loving couple chose the oceanside Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara for their wedding. “It was like a staycation for our friends and family,” says Amil. “No one had to shuttle around to events and they could easily visit at other times.”
On their wedding day, Amil entered on horseback in a rousing processional or baarrat. The ceremony, set in the round creating clear sightlines for all guests, was framed by the deep blues of the Pacific Ocean. As her father escorted Devika down the aisle, Amil was hidden from her. “The moment my brothers dropped the embellished fabric screening him, I was filled with emotion,” she says. Instead of the usual brightly colored Hindu wedding garb, Devika and Amil wore peach and cream while making seven circles around a holy fire, sanctifying their vows for a strong marriageLater that evening, as they approached the reception by golf cart, the newlyweds sighted a shooting star. “It was an incredibly auspicious moment,” says Amil. “That shooting star signified that this was meant to be.”
The ballroom, accented in cream and gold with French influences, was exactly what the bride envisioned. “I felt like I was in Versailles,” says Devika. “It was breathtaking.” Five-hundred guests felt like “one big, happy family” as they dined, listened to speeches and danced until four in the morning. Indian pop star Neeti Mohan, professional ballroom dancers and an opera singer provided additional entertainment.“What a way to kick off your life together,” says Devika. “Our wedding was a dream come true.”
A week later the couple flew to Italy for a three-week honeymoon. “We decompressed in Positano, gazing at dramatic landscapes while eating great food and drinking great wine,” says Amil. Then, they toured the country by car, and on the final week spent time in Milan with friends. “It was the perfect balance of relaxation and activity to start our life as husband and wife,” says Amil.
> Written by Francine Kaplan