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Real Wedding: Reena & Ameer

Ameer Shah met Reena Desai in September 2003 when, as Tufts students, they joined a team competing in garba, a lively West Indian dance form. Friends first, the two began dating in the spring of 2006. Nearly five years later, Ameer took Reena back to the Tufts stage where they used to practice garba and surprised her with a sign that spelled out “Will You Marry Me” in raisins—her favorite snack. In the culminating event of a four-day extravaganza, Reena, now 29 and a chemical engineer, wed Ameer, 27 and a medical student, amongst 300 friends and family members.
—By Christine Pasalo

real wedding: Reena & Amber




A San Diego native, Reena wanted her Bostonian groom and his East Coast family and friends to get a feel for Southern California. Festivities included a bonfire at La Jolla Shores, a Mehndi/henna party at her parents’ home in Scripps Ranch, and a sunset garba at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines overlooking the golf course.


Reena had always dreamed of a beach wedding. At La Jolla Shores, her mandap (altar) was nonstandard. “I didn’t want too many flowers to take away from the view. We wrapped the poles with bark to mimic the palm trees.”

Horse Powered

It’s an Indian tradition for the groom to arrive on a white horse. Ameer’s spin? Rolling up in a white Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

Something Borrowed

On the morning of the nuptials, Reena’s wedding bracelets were nowhere to be found. Fortunately, enough friends and family were nearby to lend their wrist wear, enabling Reena to reconstruct a complete set of bangles.


Wedding Wardrobe

The bride’s vibrant maroon, gold and green sari complimented the groom’s gold turban and red-beaded scarf. Reena, in turn, had her odani (veil) trimmed in teal to play off of Ameer’s wedding suit.

In Homage

The ceremony included religious elements from the couple’s families. A priest from Shri Mandir Temple in Mira Mesa performed a traditional ceremony in Sanskrit to represent Reena’s Hindu upbringing. Ameer’s uncle recited a Muslim prayer to honor Ameer’s maternal family and Ameer’s mother offered a Jain prayer in remembrance of Ameer’s father.

Wicked Cool Party

The couple wanted their guests to dance! White lounge furniture flanked the white dance floor on which the couple’s “RA” logo was projected.

First Dance

Reena first heard Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” while at a bar on one of their first dates. “Ameer sang along, kind of jokingly, kind of to me,” she shares. “It’s been our song ever since.”

Cake Toppers

Bobblehead versions of the newlyweds presided over the tiered confection.



[box title=”Scripps Seaside Forum & Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, Photography by Erin Shimazu Photography”][nggallery id=333][/box] [box title=”Get Their Style”] [/box]

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