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Fashion / Weddings

Houston Restaurant Love Affair Blossoms Into a Magical International Wedding

From India and Manchester to River Oaks Country Club

BY // 07.25.19
photography Philip Thomas

Theirs was a four-day wedding that stretched from River Oaks Country Club to Asia Society Texas Center, a marriage that united a Brit with a Houstonian of Indian heritage. And it all began in Kiran’s restaurant, where there is clearly magic in the food.

Not long after moving to Houston from his home in Manchester, England, in 2007 Gary Chapman, vice president of global communications for Huntsman Corporation, discovered Kiran’s Indian restaurant, located at the time on Westheimer. He was regularly drawn to the sophisticated Indian menu and became casually friendly with the general manager, Puja Verma, daughter of Kiran Verma, the restaurant owner and chef.

Fast forward almost 10 years, Puja now works in finance and compliance for Zarvona Energy and Kiran’s has moved to swank new digs on Richmond. And that’s where the story heats up. Puja was occasionally hanging out at mom’s place after work and Gary was continuing his love affair with Kiran’s cuisine.

The duo chatted at the bar on several occasions. Finally, in May of 2017 he asked the chef’s daughter out to lunch. From there, the romance was sealed.

With shades of Like Water for Chocolate at play, Kiran’s son, Puneet, also met his wife through connections with the restaurant and its highly praised cuisine. But this is the story of Puja and Gary’s multi-faceted wedding.

The festivities began with English/Indian high tea at Kiran’s and included the Mehndi and Haldi ceremonies at the home of the bride’s parents (Kiran and Shiv Verma), the Sangeet celebration at Asia Society Texas Center, and the ceremony and reception at River Oaks Country Club. As is tradition, elaborate costuming is required for each of the gatherings. So the bride and her mother traveled to India to purchase clothes for the four days for all family members. And the mother-daughter duo were integral in the design of Puja’s gown and participated in the design of other wedding attire.

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Close family friend Jim Hackett officiated at the ceremony that was a combination of Hindu and Catholic traditions. The bride’s cousin, Preeti Dawra, recited several wedding chants in Hindi.

And, yes, the chef/mother of the bride was involved at some level in all food preparation for the various events including working with her dear friend Charles Carroll, River Oaks Country Club executive chef.

Wedding planner: Two Be Wed

Flowers: Flora & Eventi

The Haldi outfit: Designed by Rohit Bahl couture

The Sangeet gown: Created by designer Tarun Tahiliani couture

The wedding gown: Custom designed by famed Indian designer Manish Malhotra

Hair and make-up: Blush and Glow

Wedding cake: Cakes by Gina

Ice sculpture: DLG Ice Factory

Band: Infinite Groove

Photographer: Philip Thomas

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