Jill Parikh & Niraj Bhalakia
September 2 - 5, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain
Jill Parikh and Niraj Bhalakia have known each other their whole lives. Their fathers went to pharmacy school together in India and have been best friends for over forty years. Yet, despite all the childhood trips and family dinners, Niraj and Jill never imagined they would get married.
“Our friendship slowly deepened over the years and finally turned into something more when I was in my final year of law school in Wisconsin, and Niraj was in his second year of radiology residency in Philadelphia,” Jill describes. “Our connection was visceral, and the 900-mile distance couldn’t keep us apart. Through train, plane and automobile, we travelled over 100,000 miles before getting engaged in February 2014 at the same spot on the High Line in NYC where we had one of our favorite dates.”
Although Niraj and Jill’s families are deeply intertwined, their relationship was a fresh twist in their decades-long friendship. “We wanted our wedding to reflect that same juxtaposition between history and modern innovation,” explains Jill. “Barcelona perfectly encapsulates this spirit, and is a picturesque midpoint between the States and India, where the majority of our friends and family live.”
To weave this narrative through their wedding events, the couple chose historical locations in Barcelona as a canvas, which they contrasted with modern details. The multi-day destination wedding would begin with the Mehndi and Sangeet, which were used to gradually immerse guests into a vibrant union of Indian, Spanish, and American culture.
Inspired by Southern Spain, the Mehndi was infused with elements of Moorish architecture and the Generalife Gardens by using lanterns, foraged greens, and an abundance of fruits for the tabletop décor. At the Sangeet, three regions were brought together through a mix of cuisine, music, art and dance, and the décor was kept clean to let the cultures be the main focus.
“Niraj and I wanted our wedding and reception to be a testament to our life together in the future, full of details that reflected our values and interests,” says the bride. “We aimed to welcome our family and friends by creating warmth through food, lighting and music.”
The ceremony was emotive and graceful, taking place upon a Lucite altar, gently draped with florals. At the reception the next day, guests leisurely strolled the expansive grounds of Cavas Codorniu as a trio of violinists covered modern songs. When the sun set, everyone transitioned indoors for speeches and a dinner with innovative, international cuisine and cocktails. The newlyweds and their loved ones then spent the night dancing under floating orchids.
“Each perfectly executed element of our wedding week was a true testament to the dedication of our families and vendors,” says Jill. “We are forever thankful for their talent and art, which elevated our ideas into an exquisite and unforgettable experience.”
>Written by: Lauren Malamala