In July 2018, Dr. Vaibhav Bajaj, a dentist from Boston, approached the microphone towards the end of a City Council meeting. Bajaj asked council member Dimple Ajmera to be his wife — and the “motion” unanimously passed.
Bajaj and Ajmera met online in 2017 when he was embarking on a dental career in Boston and she was in the middle of her campaign for a full-term seat on the Charlotte City Council. As their relationship deepened, Bajaj made the decision to relocate to Charlotte. Their wedding was November 4, 2018, in Founders Hall and included a nontraditional take on the traditional Baraat parade and Jain ceremony.
Bajaj and Ajmera, both environmentalists, approached their wedding planning process with a focus on tradition, but with an emphasis on sustainability. Traditionally, animals such as elephants and horses are used during the Baraat celebration. To honor both tradition and their views and to keep things lighthearted, they opted to instead place elephant sculptures at the entrance of the ceremony in Founders Hall.
The Baraat, or groom’s parade, began at the rear of the Bank of America Financial Center. Bajaj used a pedicab for his entrance instead of a horse. With a focus on celebrating diverse cultures, music and dance was incorporated throughout the parade. Irish performers and African drummers welcomed the passing parade. Passersby stopped to listen to the music and a few even danced in the streets. As the groom approached the entrance of Founders Hall, Indian music began playing and the bride and bridesmaids surprised the groom with a welcome dance.
Once everyone was inside Founders Hall, Ajmera was brought in on a custom-made Doli. The tradition of the bride being carried to the ceremony on the Doli is meant to symbolize the bride leaving her family and embarking on a new life with her husband.
Bajaj’s father performed the ceremony. Throughout the ceremony, many Indian traditions were observed.
After the ceremony, the guests were treated to a traditional Indian lunch, but that wasn’t the end to the festivities. Later that evening, a civil ceremony was officiated by Judge Tracy Hewitt.
There were three events during the course of their wedding celebrations and all three featured unique costumes for the bride, groom, family, and wedding party custom-made by internationally-known designer Premal Badiani, an Indian-American haute couture and celebrity fashion designer.
Bajaj and Ajmera hired wedding planner, Taayna Sarma of Taayna Sarma International Productions to make their wedding a reality. Known for her sustainable approach, Sarma embraced their traditional/untraditional concept. One of the ways Sarma incorporated this theme was by not having any flowers at the wedding. Instead, the wedding invitation was embedded with wildflowers for guests to plant.
In lieu of gifts, the couple opted to have guests contribute to either a honeymoon and/or a charity fund. The charities they supported were SEE International, which provides sustainable medical, surgical, and educational services through volunteer ophthalmic surgeons with the objectives of restoring sight and preventing blindness to disadvantaged individuals worldwide, and the Tansen Ajmera Scholarship Fund in honor of Ajmera’s father, who passed away in 2013. The Tansen Ajmera Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to underprivileged students at various educational institutions, along with the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund (CHASF).