Sunita J.

I chose Ethnic Essence as wedding planners for my son’s wedding events at Monarch  Beach  and Montage resorts in Laguna Beach two weeks ago. Smita Mohindra and her team was just awesome. They did the entire package with great decor, flowers etc for each of our events. We are located in Northern California  Bay Area  we could do everything by emails and phone calls. We did not have to make any trips to Southern California. Her team was very efficient in sending us the details of all the decor , centerpieces, each event set ups, all the time lines and details a and  giving us lots of options to choose from . They work very closely with us for four months to achieve the most fantastic wedding one can imagine . During the wedding events they took care of every detail, managing the guests , managing all the vendors kept the proper timeline and her team was there . from the start of the event till the very end helping us making sure everything went well. I did not have to worry about anything and focused  on enjoying myself with my family and friends. My son was very pleased with all the arrangements, details and our 260 guests complimented us on a fantastic wedding . We could not have done this without the help from Ethnic Essence / Smita and her team. I highly recommend them for wedding planning and decor. There were absolutely no flaws in implementation of all our events , Sangeet, Wedding Ceremony , Cocktails and Reception!!


My husband and I got married in July and Ethnic Essence helped to create the most perfect and most beautiful day for us! We had a Hindu/Christian fusion wedding all in one day. Ethnic Essence was able to create wedding ceremonies and a reception that honored both mine and my husbands cultures. We also planned our wedding from across the country. Smita and Mary were always available to talk with us even through the time change and hectic schedules. They listened to us and designed exactly what we wanted. The day went perfectly! Everything was so well organized and on schedule. Our family and friends are still complimenting us on how wonderful the day was! We HIGHLY recommend EE for your wedding or festivity needs!


I instantly loved Smita Aunty the minute I spoke to her for the first time. She immediately makes you feel like family. Out of all the vendors we spoke with, she was the one who made me feel the most comfortable, calm and confident, and what more can you ask for on the day of your wedding? She held my hand with wedding planning for a good 6 months and the day of the wedding, her team’s execution was perfection. Her team did an amazing job executing our vision and made the day better than I could have ever imagined. The fact that she has a team running around to make sure the bride and groom are HAPPY says a lot about the pride she takes in her work. We are so happy that we went with Ethnic Essence and so thankful that Smita Aunty and team were a part of our day.

Yeshma Hinduja

Smita & her team did an excellent job and far exceeded our expectations. We had multiple ceremonies for my daughter’s wedding & each one had amazing decor. Smita & her team took care of meticulous details & someone was always there when we had a question or needed help. I would recommend her very highly. Great job Smita – God Bless you – keep up the great work.


We were so blown away by the thought, attention to detail, and amount of hard work Ethnic Essence brought to make our wedding day exactly what we wanted! They listened to us and truly worked together with us to create the wedding of our dreams while ensuring they would do everything they could to stick to our budget. As soon as we started describing what we envisioned for our wedding day, they starting developing centerpieces, aisles, mandaps etc to our liking, and their attention to detail was unmatched! We are so grateful to Smita, Mary, Vanessa and everyone at Ethnic Essence for all the effort they put into the biggest day of our lives!


The team and Smita were awesome! They were very professional, helpful, and great to work with. Smita was great at coming up with very creative ideas that were out of the box, different, and simply beautiful. She did her due diligence to make our dreams and ideas come to life.


My husband and I could not be happier with Ethnic Essence! From our first contact with Smita and her team to the end of our 3-day Indian-American fusion wedding celebration, they were responsive, enthusiastic, prompt, professional, and most importantly very skilled in their craft. Ethnic Essence provided us both planning and decor services and we couldn’t have been happier on both fronts! Smita and her team are incredibly well organized, and their attention to detail for each of our events was no small feat – we had a Sangeet, Baraat, Hindu ceremony, Christian ceremony, and a reception after each ceremony. Early in the process Smita provided us crucial help in introducing us to some of our most important vendors, including our photographer and videographer. With regard to decor, Smita’s vision is impressive in scope and each event had a distinct look, yet all events seamlessly tied into one unified theme. This was very important to my husband and me, given we were fusing two cultures together. During the events, the on-site coordination team was fantastic. By the end of the third day, my family members mentioned that her staff started feeling like part of the family! Smita, my husband and I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done to plan our events these past 12 months. Our wedding is something we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives and that’s in large part due to you and your incredible team. Thank you again, Smita and the Ethnic Essence team!

Monica Salgaonkar

We had wedding a little over 3 months ago, and would not hesitate to recommend Ethnic Essence, for decorations, to other newly engaged couples!

From the moment we started comparing vendors for decor and floral, Smita and her team clearly peaked out interested with her innovative design and attention to detail. Smita did a wonderful job, and really brought the space to life – it was more beautiful then we could of imagined! We still get compliments from our guests on how minimalistic and elegant every event looked. Ethnic Essence designed our Sangeet, Wedding Ceremony, and Reception. We do not live in Southern California, so we frequently had conference calls and met in person when we happened to be in town.

We gave their team all the creative license, and simply gave them the budget, and our wish for less flowers, a simple elegant design, and a different look for each event. I appreciated the consciousness she gave towards our budget, and provided both the low and high options for any particular line item. I felt so comfortable talking with Smita if I felt that something was too extravagant for what we were looking for, and respected her when she included things that ought to be included to feel like a wedding! Smita’s Associate Event Planner, Vanessa & Mary, were simply amazing as well – both were always very prompt in their communication with us.

I very much enjoyed working with the Ethnic Essence team, and would happily work with them again in the future! All the newly engaged brides should definitely consider them for their wedding!

Payal Sud

Working with Smita and her entire team at Ethnic Essence was the best decision Akhil and I made from the very beginning of planning our wedding. A year out from our wedding day, Smita took an entire day of her time on her day off (literally, she spent over 5 hours with us at our initial meeting) sketching out and getting a feel for the type of wedding we wanted – from decor, coordination, budget, color scheme, vendor recommendations (she’s got a lot of connections, so it was nice knowing you’d get the best deal if she connected you), etc.

In terms of decor, Smita’s vision is what really reeled us in. You could tell she goes the extra mile to make sure the vision she has is 1) authentic to the bride and groom; and 2) unique and different as she thinks outside the box of what anyone has done before. She was able to bring our ideas of a succulent and rustic- themed dream wedding come to life. She also designed THE MOST incredible succulent bouquet that I always dreamed of having. It was truly a *succulent girl’s* dream bouquet! Smita spent the time sketching all the details from the altar, centerpieces, backdrops, linens, layout, etc. for each of our 4 events, and put together an extremely helpful “creative board” for each event as inspiration for us until we were completely happy and satisfied. She also took the time and energy designing our wedding around our budget, which was really important to us. We had a beautiful Punjabi/Gujarati wedding which was a blend both traditional rituals and cultures. It was nice knowing that Ethnic Essence has done so many of these types of weddings that required the blending two different cultures, and they were able to mix both cultures as one flawlessly. You could really feel the love and happiness throughout the entire weekend, and we really owe that to Smita because of her understanding of both cultures, each of our families needs, and most importantly, making sure Akhil and I were happy.

With regards to organization and execution, Smita and her entire team blew me away. They had shared google spreadsheets months prior leading up to the wedding from checklists, timelines, seating charts, responsibilities, etc which was so helpful and important for execution during our wedding weekend. We got so many compliments on how organized, beautiful, and ON TIME each event was, which is rare in Indian culture (well, since generally everything usually runs late). The team at Ethnic Essence was on top of their game throughout the entire weekend to make sure everything was on time. Even during wardrobe malfunctions, horse malfunctions (during the baraat), Smita and her team were right there to diffuse any situation such that nobody ever knew that anything happened to begin with!

Planning a wedding is super stressful. Everyone’s emotions are amplified x 100, so having a wedding planner and coordinator to alleviate alot of that stress is extremely important. We were so happy to have Ethnic Essence alleviate a lot of the nitty gritty details  and coordination we didn’t have to worry about on our wedding weekend because we knew they were trained to execute our vision in a way we would not be able to on our own! We can’t thank Smita, Vanessa, Mary, and EVERYONE at Ethnic Essence for doing a phenomenal job working our wedding and making it the most memorable weekend of our lives.

Manisha R.

My wedding is in a month, and I’m using Ethnic Essence to help me plan the big day.  So far, things have gone better than I can imagine. Smita Mohindra (aka Smita Auntie) has been a godsend!  We signed EE on 3 months before the wedding. We only had 4 months in total to prepare, and I was understandably panicked about the truncated timeline. Smita Auntie and her team have helped allay my concerns.

I can not say enough nice things about her! She’s excruciatingly detailed and very well connected, which is exactly what you need in a wedding planner. After spending the day with me conducting site visits of my venues, she listened to me and got a sense of exactly what I was looking for. She then described and drew out her vision (even used colored pencils!) to help a non-creative person like me picture what my day will look like. And she also knows EVERYONE in the industry — she connected me to some great people, who have also been incredibly easy to work with.

My parents live in Dallas, and I know they were initially nervous about having their *only daughter’s wedding* so far away because they couldn’t manage every detail. With Smita Auntie on board, none of us are worried anymore. My dad and I are crazy perfectionists, and I’m sure together we’ve bombarded her with calls and emails as the day is quickly approaching. She is quick and professional in her responses and immediately puts us at ease.

S P.

My husband and I absolutely LOVE Smita!  We can not get over how wonderful she is.  As the decorator to my wedding she did an amazing job.  She took so much time and effort into making my dream wedding a reality.

Looking back, I would have used her for the coordination as well.  The decoration was on time and perfect in everyway.

She takes the time to draw out your vision, and what she draws is what you get.  I like how she always tried to save us money during our wedding.  In fact, she is the ONLY person to say if you do it this way you can save some money, or please use an outside vendor, we will be to much for your budget otherwise.   When Smita told me that, that was the moment I knew she should have been not only my decorator but my planner as well.

Thank you Smita and team for a beautiful wedding.  My husband and I will never forget the amazing work you did and most importantly how much you made our special day amazing.

Jason V.

Smita and her team are top notch! There are many “wedding planners” out there who do this as a side business and simply do not have the experience nor the education that Smita brings to the table. Smita has several degrees in design and she truly knows how to bring your ideas to life!

To say Ethnic Essence is accommodating would be an understatement!  They truly go above and beyond. Every detail is accounted for and then some!  Her portfolio speaks for itself, but after one meeting with Smita and you just know you are in great hands.

Anyone looking for a wedding planner would be doing themselves a disservice without talking to Ethnic Essence first!

Smita and Ethnic Essence, thank you again!!

Neda k.

Smita and her team (special shout-out to Iris who helped with all of the organization along the way) did an amazing job for our wedding last month!  The floral centerpieces, bouquets, rentals, etc. were all out-of-this world-AMAZING!  I only had a few pinterest pins and verbal descriptions to give them about how I imagined my wedding to be, and the entire team just nailed it!  I added a picture of the floral centerpieces, but the chivari chairs, gold chargers, blush napkins and the uplighting were also provided by Ethnic Essence.  The flowers were fresh and perfectly arranged… they lasted us for quite some time!  I highly recommend Smita and her team for any floral arrangements and rentals you need!

Sangeeta Patel

Having worked with other Event Planners before and been disappointed,I was looking for someone great for my daughters wedding !
I used Ethnic Essence and since then have never looked back !! Being a perfectionist, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them without reservation!
Not only is their decor mind blowing so are the services !! Smita the owner always goes above and beyond and has turned out  many great events for us !
Her team  also is awesome , courteous and  very professional!! They take the stress  away and we are free to enjoy !! She also has great recommendations for other  related services as well !!
Every event is so smooth , very well coordinated and classy !!

Rushina Jain-Ubhayakar

Ethnic Essence did a phenomenal job at our wedding this past April! They did all the decorating for our wedding ceremony and also for our reception. I can’t say enough nice things about Smita and her team! It was hard to not pick them after meeting Smita… she’s very sweet and, more importantly, she’s very organized and efficient. You’ll see that when you visit her office and see how properly everything is arranged. For me this was very important because we didn’t have a wedding coordinator and so I really needed someone that would be 100% reliable. I honestly couldn’t have made a better choice! Everything the day of ran smoothly and the work they did was GORGEOUS… these guys don’t skimp on quality. Even small things like the rose petals that were given to guests to shower us with were the nice and thick kind and deep red in color. Ultimately, all the small details added up to making our wedding a real dream come true! I would HIGHLY recommend Smita and her team to anyone looking for a wedding decorator that’s reasonably priced, reliable, and truly professional in every aspect of their work.

Her team  also is awesome , courteous and  very professional!! They take the stress  away and we are free to enjoy !! She also has great recommendations for other  related services as well !!

Every event is so smooth , very well coordinated and classy !!

Thiri Spivey-Barot

Smita is an exceptionally gifted talent. Her passion and devotion to each client goes above and beyond. She completely allayed any of our anxieties by commanding the immense work and orchestration of our wedding planning with precision and grace; because of her and the amazing Ethnic Essence team we were able to fully enjoy our magical day. We felt such a wonderful connection with her from the very beginning. The channel of open communication established was excellent. She truly understood our desired concept and realized the design to perfection. The breathtaking details she infused into all elements of our special day brought tears of joy to my eyes. The décor and floral arrangements were absolutely gorgeous. Our venue was a historic site with numerous restrictions, yet she managed to coordinate such a seamless, smooth event no one would ever imagine the many obstacles she worked around to manifest our dream. The wedding memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives will always be imbued with deep gratitude to Smita and her entire team at Ethnic Essence. Our hearts are filled with absolute love and appreciation to them!

Meghana K.

To say that wedding planning is stressful is an understatement – but Smita absolutely knocked it out of the park in terms of professionalism and grace. I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s a gem to work with, particularly in terms of keeping events running smoothly. Just a lovely human being and a pleasure. We got multiple compliments about her work, even months later.

Julie A.

Smita and her team are a joy to work with. They are extremely professional and respectful while working with our Hotel staff during the events.They are timely, detail oriented and very pleasant. I really enjoyed working with them on a variety of events and look forward to working with them again in the future. I am always impressed with the designs Smita creates and they come together beautifully. My clients have been very happy working with her team.

Bindi Patel-Thakrar

Smita and her team at Ethnic Essence COMPLETELY blew away all of our 400 guests at our wedding in Chicago a few weeks ago. For over a year, my family and I worked with her to plan our wedding. Even though we were in chicago, and her in California, she made enough time to discuss any and all ideas and thoughts we had. We knew we wanted something unique, and gave her some thoughts on colors, and ideas for the themes for the wedding and the reception. She took those ideas and expanded on them to literally take them to an entirely different level. She has amazing visions that are beyond her time. i say that because what she created was a masterpiece. Every guest i have talked to since the wedding has said that they have never seen a wedding like this, (many have been to 50+ indian weddings) and they are extremely impressed. She and her team are extremely creative, artistic, and have ideas that are unlike any other event planners i have come across. If you are looking to host an exceptional event, this is the team you want to work with ! Thank you SO much Smita, i wish we could relive it all again already !! 🙂

Serena Patel-Bhatt

Smita Mohindra and her team were amazing to work with and the final result of the decor for all our wedding events was better than we could have even imagined! First of all, I really appreciated how Smita sketched out the decor ideas during our first meeting. Her ideas were creative and the sketches showed she could bring my vision alive. After that first meeting, I was convinced that she was the designer I wanted to work with for my wedding. We hired Smita and her team to decorate our sangeet, wedding, and reception. The sangeet’s colorful draping, table decorations, and lounge furniture made for a very fun and festive atmosphere that all of our guests enjoyed. For the wedding, the ceremony site looked absolutely beautiful and Smita and her team truly made my vision come alive for the mandap. The flowers and greenery were the perfect “flowy” design I was looking for and the gradient rose petal path down the aisle was very pretty. The reception centerpieces were also beautiful and looked as though they were suspended on the plexiglass fixtures. Moreover, the stage and backdrop stuck to my gold and burgundy theme and were very elegant, even more beautiful than I had expected. I loved the details, such as the suspended burgundy lilies in tall glass vases, that Smita and her team had added. Overall, all the decorations were beautiful and elegant, and Smita and her team were a pleasure to work with, both creative and professional. I would recommend Ethnic Essence to anyone and would love to work with them again in the future!

Amreeta Gill-Rad

My husband and I had a Persian/Indian fusion wedding at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott this past July and Smita and the wonderful team at Ethnic Essence did such an amazing job!!!!

This team is so fantastic and they truly were with us from the beginning to end! From the day we began planning, they were curious and inquisitive, asking us great questions, I mean things that we never had even thought about! They captured our vision and adapted to our changes so easily, and patiently. They were delicate in balancing two cultures and figuring out how to make things work for us. Most importantly, they politely kept us on schedule for planning and the day of the events. We had a marathon of a day and it was so important to keep the wedding on track and the team kept it right on time! As a bride, I honestly had no stress in terms of planning and they didn’t let me worry about a single thing. We had a few hiccups here and there as with any event, but the team came up with quick solutions and fixed things like it was nothing. They were kind with our guests and worked so well together! Our decor was what we imagined and more! I was in tears when I saw the finished product and our guests gushed about the flower arrangements for weeks! I honestly can’t recommend them enough! They are professionals but they are also so personable! I am so grateful for all they did for us and can’t thank them enough!

Dr. Bader Iqbal

Smita is first an artiste and then a business woman.  This is the essence of her organization.  If it doesn’t satisfy her artistic taste, the vision keeps getting tweaked till we reach that point of “Aahh that looks good….” As most others have commented, she is a wonderful human being first and then a wedding planner.  She takes the stress out of planning huge events and breaks them down for the client into manageable chunks.  We just finished a 600 person wedding reception with a Modern theme and every guest raved about how transformed the Four Seasons in Westlake was, including the hotel personnel.  Her team and the subs she works with are utmost professionals and will go to any length to make sure that the client is satisfied and happy.  She is a delight to work with and ever ready to offer a shoulder for resting when you feel overwhelmed and out of control.  Making a client feel comfortable working within your budget and not feel embarrassed is an art and Smita has mastered that art well.  Her creativity, vision and design background along with her resources in every aspect of the wedding planning field make her an invaluable ally in this stressful but fun game.

Best of Luck Smita, Shilpa and everyone that makes Ethnic Essence a joy to work with.

Hima Duggirala-Aderhold

Smita Mohindra and her team did a phenomenal job executing the décor details for our wedding and reception! I was utterly impressed with how her vision from a rendered drawing flawlessly emerged into a elegant and artfully crafted vision.

Our budget was limited and she really worked with understanding my ideas, concerns and vision first. Then her iteration process was very detailed, organized, transparent and included multiple preferences.

This is something I found to be very helpful. I knew I wanted to work with Smita from the beginning. We once had a past working relationship, so I knew her style and panache with details. When my time came around finally, I was pretty lucky she was available for my wedding date.

Smita provided several options from the same vision and helped with the budget planning, giving me the flexibility to mix and match until I got to the desired look and stayed within budget. You know exactly what you are getting with no last-minute surprises!

Brides often get carried away with the latest Pinterest ideas, but Smita is able to take the practicality and functionality aspect and work wonders within your budget to get the dream look. These are key skills to look for when hiring the right decorator and planner.

When our Hotel mentioned high costs to rig up a centerpiece from the ceiling, Smita instantly offered alternative solutions and negotiated with the Hotel on my behalf.

Guidelines like this are invaluable, and I’m grateful for her initiative and resolving our challenges without incurring additional costs.

More so, she has a dependable reputation in the industry and a positive rapport with our Hotel for years already. The Hotel was equally excited to work with her again and again. Given I had such a short period of time to plan a wedding, (less than 4 months), this made my mind much more at ease and confident that I have left the final details in her hands.

The wedding Mandap and Reception décor revealed our personal details – the red, orange, yellow & lavender/purple floral and orchids embodied my love for the tropical-hued sunsets in the Maldives, a favorite memory of where my husband and I first met.

The reception continued to take on a tropical beat, this time transporting us to the Caribbean islands. Our new home right after the Wedding. Smita transformed a smaller ballroom into a hip and cool tropical ambiance. It was fresh, clean and classic white and green with tropical florals pulled in from the Mandap and large Palm-tree like centerpieces to give the awe-inspiring dramatic effects. Some guests touched the centerpieces as they couldn’t believe it was all real!

Our dancefloor was gorgeous and yet truly unique. It included lush leaf borders, giving the feeling that you are on a fantasy island.
The Monstera leafs for charger plates and the band stage were my favorite details.

We had a live band, so our focal point was a stage for the Saxophone Quartet and Latin Jazz Band. Smita hung large floral moss rings with cascading tropical flora along with these over-the-top bamboo lanterns.

Her suggestion of pipe and drape was spot on, and completed the look cohesively. Its extra cost, but it does make a difference especially when the ballrooms are lackluster.

The added bonus was the day-of-coordination, I was pleased we were able to stay on track in a timely manner. Given our wedding incorporated two distinct cultures, Smita’s team, notably Shilpa’s and Darsha’s calmness, positivity and sense of humor made it all happen, as we merged several memorable details wonderfully.

Amrita Ray-Mehndiratta

My mom and I did much of the wedding planning, since we are type A personalities. However we realized we needed someone who had experience in weddings and found Smita two months before the wedding. After our initial 15min chat turned into 2 hours, my mom and I hung up instantly telling each other, SHES THE ONE!! She gave us honest advice, even before we were finalized with her, and took the time to draw out ideas and sketches that were spot on with the vision that I could barely articulate.

Even through we literally had only spoken on the phone, my mom and I both felt so comfortable, at home with Smita- she understood both mine and Kabir’s culture and family dynamics perfectly. She knew what I wanted, and understood the balance between not enough and too over the top, something which I had struggled with in this wedding planning process. She was literally always a call or text away; in fact , before we had even finalized our paperwork, she was there to help mitigate an emergency venue change and the overwhelming anxiety that comes with major wedding mishaps; to say I am grateful to her would be an understatement.

Although my mom had met with (and fully approved/loved) Smita in multiple pre-wedding meetings, I finally got a chance to meet her on the day of the Mendhi! Although she and her staff were incredibly professional, to me, Smita was more than my planner. She immediately put both my fiancé and me at complete ease! We had multiple back to back events (5 events in 3 days), and every single event was seamless- every vendor spot on, perfectly on point, and even modified by Smita to be what we needed them to be. I couldn’t have asked for a better few days to spend with my loved ones, and even we are still in awe by how perfect every single aspect of the wedding turned out.

Anuja Bhagat

The moment we decided our wedding date, I knew that there were some vendors I absolutely HAD to have. Ethnic Essence was one of them; I booked them the day after our date was decided. Our initial consultation turned into a 2 hour conversation where we went back and forth on ideas and brainstormed different aspects of the wedding and pre-wedding decor! She understood that I had a specific feeling I wanted to portray with the decor and came up with so many ideas to bring it to life. Her background in design enables her to draw out and color what you come up with. I was actually really content with the drawing but Smita Aunty BLEW ME AWAY on the wedding day when I saw everything in person. I knew that I had a specific theme and vibe I wanted for each of my events and I am so grateful to the entire team: Smita Aunty, Iris, Darsha and the rest, for making everything we wanted and then some to happen during the wedding week. I found out weeks after the wedding, but Smita Aunty graciously added some more decor on the Garba day to complete the rajasthan vibe due to some changes we had to make. Iris and the other decor assistants were SO excited to decorate Sangeet night. It’s these little things that really sets Ethnic Essence apart from the crowd and turns a client-vendor relationship into something more.

For logistics and coordination the team went above and beyond in everything we needed to make our day perfect for us. Darsha was with me the moment I started getting ready during the wedding day and I was able to meet with her logistics coordinator a few weeks before the wedding at our venue. All of the vendors were on the same page at all times.