It all started in a Punta Cana discotheque for Manali Yavatkar and Dr. Anthony Wiggins. They were both on Spring Breakand despite attending different universities—Anthony, Harvard; Manali, Columbia—stayed at the same resort. Manali remembers it well, “After a fun night of dancing followed by a few carefree days surrounded by friends, sunshine, and endless mojitos, it became clear that our serendipitous spring break meeting could be much more.”
Four years later on Manali’s birthday trip to Florence, Anthony proposed at Piazzale Michelangelo in 2017. It was an easy yes. What wasn’t as easy, however, was the wedding planning process that followed. They original set a date for a 2020 wedding at the Fairmont in San Francisco, but the pandemic thwarted those plans. The couple decided to postpone their nuptials to 2023.
With the luxury of time now, Anthony and Manali began to consider a completely new venue option. “Prior to the pandemic, my mom and sister visited Lake Como where my mom fell in love with the idyllic scenery and recommended it as the ideal wedding location,” Manali recalls. “I am not sure how many couples need convincing to get married on Lake Como, but we certainly were not one of them.” They visited in October 2021 and immediately found everything they could have wanted in Villa Pliniana, including lakefront views and a natural waterfall backdrop. They enlisted Shannon Leahy Events to plan and Larissa Cleveland to photograph the event.
With Anthony’s mother and Manali’s mother in tow, the couple planned a trip to to Mumbai to find their wedding looks. “I knew I wanted to wear an ivory lehenga to represent both Indian and Western cultures, but other than that, we went into the experience with open minds,” she notes. The first stop was of course the legendary Sabyasachi. Anthony actually spotted a stunning light pink lehenga off of the rack. The Delhi showroom sent an ivory version via courier, and Manali was able to try it on right away. There was no doubt that it was “the one.” She completed her look with traditional polki pearl and jade jewelry and pearl-embellished Jimmy Choo shoes.
From there, they found a Sabyasachi sherwani with light blue embroidery and Sabyaschi’s signature tiger buttons for Anthony to complement Manali’s bridal lehenga. He paired the outfit with Bottega Venetta loafers.
As for the Sangeet, they wanted to veer away from bridal whites and go for a bright, loud, and dramatic color palette. “I first saw our sangeet outfits on the Manish Malhotra instagram page in September of 2022 and had never seen any Indian clothes like them,” Manali says. “The pattern, the colors, the boldness, the modern flair, it was perfect!” Anthony accessorized his blazer with a gold chain borrowed from his father, Giorgio Armani tuxedo pants, and black velvet Gucci loafers. Manali styled her lehenga with pink Prada block heels and Red Dot Jewels. Her bridesmaids all donned custom Lashkaraa lehengas in a dusty pink shade.
Indian wedding lehengas are notoriously heavy, so Manali knew she needed another much lighter outfit change. Why not make this her “white dress moment?” At Kinsley James in Walnut Creek, California, she found a Galia Lahav dress with head-to-toe embellishments that was more “party” than “bridal.” Anthony sourced his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo in Milan during one of their wedding planning trips and paired it with Louboutin loafers.
The ceremony began with a traditional baraat, but instead of a horse or elephant, Anthony chose to arrive by helicopter. He danced his way from the helipad to the ceremony with family and friends and “Beware” by Jay-Z and Punjabi MC playing in the background.
On June 3, 2023, the abridged Hindu ceremony—traditional ones are four hours long—followed under a beautifully decorated mandap with a view of Lake Como behind the couple. “We ended up having to move our ceremony location to the loggia due to potential rain, and it was better than we could have imagined!” Manali notes.
The bride and groom danced into the reception to the tune of an Alicia Keyes and Usher “My Boo” remix. Dinner commenced on the lawn of Villa Pliniana with seats arranged on either side of one long dramatic banquet style table. The exceptional menu was curated by Raffaele Lenzi, who currently helms the Michelin-starred Ristorante Il Sereno Al Lago.
The newlyweds shared their first dance to “Promise” by Jagged Edge, which was the first romantic song Anthony ever sent Manali. Then, the bride and her father danced to a Bollywood song, choreographed by Manpreet Komal of Rang de Bollywood. Anthony and his mother danced to “To Zion” by Lauren Hill, which was incredibly special and had everyone tearing up, and then they busted out in a choreographed dance to “Before I Let Go” by Beyoncé.
With the dance floor in full swing, Anthony and Manali stepped aside for their outfit changes. Upon their return, they gathered their guests for a joint speech, where Anthony dazzled his new Indian family by speaking in their native language, Marathi. The speech ended with a firework display coordinated to the “Bella Ciao” Steve Aoki remix. The couple immediately returned to the dance floor with a choreographed dance to “Mood” by Wizkid.