Featured in Fall/Winter 2016 Issue
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Renu Jivrajka and Ajay Patel met on a blind date in Beverly Hills and in spite of Renu’s initial frustration with Ajay’s choice of dates (he tried to convince her to join him at a medical lecture for that first date), they both knew that this was something special.
“I quickly learned that he just knew nothing about the restaurant scene in L.A.,” Renu says. “After de-mystifying the restaurant reservation process, I showed him that the key to my heart was through delicious and adventurous dining.”
One year and many restaurants later, Ajay orchestrated a romantic helicopter ride to the Santa Monica mountains, where he asked her to be his wife.
“It was one of those take-my-breath-away, can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me moments. Afterwards I just wanted to do it over again so I could enjoy every detail once the shock of the surprise had settled,” Renu says.
And the surprises didn’t stop there—the next day Ajay took Renu to brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where, unbeknownst to her, both of their families were waiting to celebrate their engagement. With everyone present, plans for the wedding started immediately.
They decided to hold the ceremony and reception near Renu’s childhood home in Palos Verdes—in part because it had a beautiful oceanside location, but also because it’s one of the few places in southern California that could accommodate their robust 700-person guest list.
The weeklong festivities included a mehndi ceremony, Sangeet (a big party thrown the night before the wedding), traditional Indian wedding ceremony, and reception. Each event was unique and more incredible than the last. As should come as no surprise with this food-loving couple, each event’s menu was special and elaborate; they even flew in their favorite NYC chef to consult and design the plating for each menu. “The culinary experience for the wedding was like never before!” Renu says.
For the Sangeet, they wanted a raging dance party, and that’s exactly what they got thanks to the famous Punjabi artist Sukbhir, who flew in from Dubai to perform. Renu also got the traditional Indian ceremony she’d always dreamed of, with Ajay riding in on a white horse and the couple reciting their vows in Sanskrit with their parents by their sides. Everything took place under a breathtaking tent adorned with hanging kaliras (umbrella-shaped ornaments) and a jaw-dropping floral mandap (a covered structure under which Hindu weddings often take place).
“To get married in such a beautiful setting, feeling like a princess in my traditional red lengha and custom-made necklace, I couldn’t have been happier to be standing next to my lifelong partner in front of everyone we know,” Renu says.
After taking so much time off from their busy medical practices for the wedding, the couple did a quick mini-moon in St. Barts. They enjoyed secluded beaches, a gorgeous suite at the Hotel Taiwana, and naturally, the amazing French food.
“I don’t think I’ve had chocolate soufflé as many days in a row as I did while on our honeymoon,” Renu says. “It was the perfect getaway for us and we hope to go back for another visit in the near future.”
> Written by Allyson Reedy