This Couple Blended Cultures for Their Private Estate Vineyard Wedding in Calistoga, California

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Sentimental wedding venues provide an extra-special backdrop for anyone’s “I dos”—especially when the venue is family-owned. “I had decided on the venue before Antik and I were even engaged,” recalls bride Jill Lorack. “I asked my mother if we could get married at our family’s home and she agreed it could be spectacular. However, we would need to do a lot of work to turn it into a wedding venue.” One of the biggest draws of the Lorack’s California vineyard residence was its customizability. “We could personalize the wedding as much as we liked, which was crucial to combining our cultures into one long day.”

Jill and sweetheart Antik Avasthi met at a bar during the 2016 Democratic Primary debate. As Antik is Indian-American, it was crucial to the couple that their wedding blended their backgrounds harmoniously. With the flexibility of their venue, Jill and Antik could host a double-feature wedding day: a traditional Indian ceremony in the morning, followed by a Western vow exchange in the afternoon.

The morning of their big day, Jill donned a gorgeous red lehenga with intricate gold designs on the skirt and the dupatta, purchased from a small retailer in Mumbai. The groom’s kurta and pagri matched the bride’s red-and-gold palette. “We wanted to have traditional Indian and American wedding looks that matched the vibe and setting of the event,” notes Jill. Guests filled the private ceremony space—wowed by the lush mandap adorned with white marigolds. “Flowers are an essential part of Indian weddings. In the Indian ceremony, we exchanged rose garlands, and later, members of our families threw rose petals over our heads.”

The lovebirds filled each corner of the property with pops of color through various DIY projects. “I painted watercolor cityscapes for the table signs, each depicting a meaningful city to us and our relationship. The place cards were calligraphed on a watercolored background and fixed to a Champagne cork. My father even helped by creating wooden arrows made from old floorboards. However, I did bite off a bit more than I could chew since I found myself working on chalkboard signs the night before the wedding,” Jill reveals. Once the traditions were complete, the guests were served an incredible lunch filled with Indian flavors—all vegetarian—like pav bhaji and chaat.

Following their Indian ceremony, the newlyweds changed into their Western wedding attire. “I wore an Oleg Cassini A-line tulle gown with a sweep train and illusion neckline,” says the bride. “Antik chose a light tan suit with a navy tie and accessorized with his late father’s watch and custom socks with photos of our dog, Couscous.” Speaking of sentimental additions, the bride also included an incredible piece of family history in the decor: a trunk that belonged to her great-grandmother. Immigrating from the Azores region of Portugal, she packed her belongings into a chest. Later, Jill’s grandmother gifted her the piece. “I spent hours restoring it from its degraded state,” reveals the bride. “We used the trunk to display photos of family members who had passed on; it was important to Antik and me to honor our loved ones this way.”

Once evening fell, the intimate guest list dined on Mediterranean-Californian fusion fare, including pizza appetizers straight out of the Lorack’s outdoor pizza oven. Attendees enjoyed their second vegetarian meal at round tables with white linens, purple accents and low, minimalistic centerpieces handmade by the bride.

Upon reflection, the couple wants other brides and grooms to embrace the challenges of planning their nuptials. “When planning a wedding, things will inevitably go wrong or not according to plan. However, how you handle the challenge and the team you surround yourself with will make all the difference in how the day goes. We had obstacles that seemed dire at the moment, but by trusting our vendors and keeping a cool head, everything worked out smoothly.”

Bride in Red Lehenga and Ornate Jewelry Getting Makeup Done Before Ceremony
A Bride in a Red Wedding Lehenga and Gold Jewelry Smiles Before Her Ceremony
A lightly adorned mandap and an interfaith Indian wedding ceremony with drapery and strings of marigolds at a private vineyard residence in California.
Bride in Red Lehenga and a Groom in Kurta During Indian Ceremony
Bride in Red Lehenga And Groom in Kurta Have Dupatta Tied Together, Indian Ceremony
An interfaith bride and groom in traditional Indian attire: the bride in a red-and-gold lehenga and ornate gold wedding jewelry including hair pieces, earrings and a necklace; the groom in a red kurta and gold pagri.
A whimsical floral creation of sugarcane grids floating in the pool of a private vineyard residence at a couple's intimate, interfaith wedding reception.
Bride in Wedding Dress and Henna Hand With Groom in Tan Suit
Colorful White and Lavender Bridal Bouquet Held Behind Groom
Vineyard Estate Reception With Round Tables, White Linens, Umbrellas on Lawn