Photography by
J’Adore Love


Mansi Kothari & Sushil Raja

May 27, 2017. Scarsdale, New York


When Mansi was 20 and Sushil was 21, they met briefly at a friend’s birthday dinner. Sushil attempted to introduce himself and remembers Mansi “brushing him aside” – although she doesn’t recall that moment. Fast forward four years, and the two were reintroduced in San Francisco. They ended up chatting over drinks at a speakeasy called Local Edition, and discussed everything including politics, family values, aspirations, and podcasts. For both, the conversation felt very comfortable and it was clear they were compatible romantically and as friends.
 
Mansi and Sushil’s first few dates were full of adventure and set the tone for the rest of their relationship. At home in New York for the winter holidays, outings included salsa dancing, rock climbing, museum hopping, and food tasting. It only took a few days for the couple to express their love for each other; and a few weeks later, they knew they’d be married one day.
 
From climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together, to mentoring low-income high school students every Saturday through a national organization called Minds Matter, Mansi and Sushil have brought an incredible amount of significance to their partnership. So, as a statement of their commitment to gender equality, the two decided to “co-propose” to each other. After ring shopping together and picking out matching engagement bands with each other’s name engraved on the inside, their engagement involved an elaborate scavenger hunt that recreated their first dates in NYC. At a bench in Central Park that had been dedicated to Sushil’s grandparents, they both got down on one knee and committed to spending their lives together.
 
The wedding planning process began the next day with the couple wanting the celebration to reflect three major themes – equality, joy, and uniqueness. In traditional Indian style, the wedding spanned multiple days, beginning with a Mehendi ceremony at the Kothari home. A large tent in the backyard was set up, and guests delighted in receiving henna art on their hands and wrists.
 
The next day was greeted by a cloudless sky, and the bride and groom opted for a “double-baraat,” turning tradition on its head by entering on pedicabs. A mix of Jain and Hindu inspiration reflected the cultural heritages of both families during the wedding ceremony, and the couple exchanged vows they wrote for each other. That evening, a board game night was arranged for friends, giving everyone a chance to get a little competitive while letting loose in casual attire. 
 
On the morning of the reception, friends prepared for the upcoming festivities with a “Bollywood 101” class – a refresher course that came in handy that night, when more than 15 dances were performed by the bride and groom’s family and friends. The party that ensued can only be described as “epic,” ending at 4 a.m. with several neighbors filing noise complaints.
 
The newlyweds are planning to celebrate their honeymoon in New Zealand at the end of 2018.
 
>Written by: Lauren Malamala
Planner: Touch of Elegance Events New York, NY; Floral Design: Elegant Affairs New York, NY;

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Mansi Kothari & Sushil Raja