A romantic moment between the newlyweds. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
The soon-to-be bride and groom, Puja Verma and Gary Chapman, are doused in rose petals during the haldi ceremony. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Gary Chapman and Puja Verma share a kiss after the haldi, held in the home of the bride's parents. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Gary Chapman and Puja Verma are focalpoint of the haldi ceremony which preceded their wedding day. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
During the Mehndi ceremony, the bride's and groom's hands were decorated with henna. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Decorative henna applications are an integral part of the Indian wedding ceremony. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
The Sangeet festivities for Gary Chapman and Puja Verma took place at Asia Society Texas Center. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Puja Verma and her mother, chef Kiran Verma, traveled to India to acquire the clothing for each of the wedding festivities. This gown by Tarun Tahiliani. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
The Sangeet, held at Asia Society Texas Center, was a rollicking affair. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
A formal portrait of the groom and bride, Gary Chapman and Puja Verma, on their wedding day. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Puja Verma's wedding gown was custom made for the bride in India by couturier Manish Malhotra. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
The ceremony was held outdoors on the River Oaks Country Club terrace where Jim Hackett presided as officiate. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Floral garlands are integral to Indian wedding ceremonies. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Newlyweds Puja and Gary Chapman (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Kiran and Shiv Verma applaud as their daughter, Puja, offers her groom, Gary Chapman, a taste of wedding cake. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
The groom sheds his formal black jacket for the spirited dancing in the River Oaks Country Club ballroom. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Mr. and Mrs. Gary Chapman depart River Oaks Country Club amid a shower of rose petals. (Photo by Philip Thomas)
Amid sprays of fireworks, the newlyweds depart in a vintage Rolls Royce. (Photo by 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.
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