Pankaj Malani Marries Avnie Patel
By Jawahar Malhotra
HOUSTON: Although the wedding is now just over two months old, people still stop and tell the married couple and their families what a spectacular event it was. Even though it was a destination wedding in Las Vegas, the bride and groom’s families left no stones unturned to make it feel like a traditional Indian family-style wedding with lots of the colors, fabrics, music and rituals that accompanied it. Three planeloads of guests descended on the Bellagio Hotel for a three-day long affair, which featured the groom coming on a decked out elephant with his barat.
And, although it was covered thoroughly by accompanying reporters and the Las Vegas press, including the local TV stations, Jugal Malani, the groom’s father was only now finally able to finish off the lingering wedding affairs to speak to us for a minute regarding the second grand wedding he had to handle in less than twelve months, the first being of his daughter Nikita to Atman Shukla last New Year’s Eve (see IAN dated January 11, 2013).
Pankaj Malani, 33, has worked in his dad’s business, Unique Industrial Products in Sugar Land, for several years now. He graduated from the University of Texas, Austin with a Bachelor’s in Advertising and moved to New York to work with a start-up. After moving back to Houston, he got his Teacher’s Certification and taught 4th through 8th grade students in Houston area schools. He even did a brief stint teaching English in Argentina before coming back to join the family business.
Avnie, 29, received her Bachelor’s in Biology, also from UT Austin, and then got a Master’s Physician Assistant degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California and works as a physician’s assistant in Houston. Her parents Sulochana and Shanker Patel have been in the Houston area for many years.
The couple met through mutual friends in October 2011 and had their first date at Uptown Sushi, which has become their favorite restaurant, and later became inseparable. After traveling together on several overseas trips, Pankaj popped the question on November 3, 2012 in a sleek Rolls Royce prepped and parked outside Uptown Sushi. They both decided on a destination wedding which would be as large as the ones for their siblings (Avnie’s sister Kinnary and Pankaj’s sister Nikita).
After the wedding the couple honeymooned in Maui before returning to Houston, which will be their home.