Why Priyanka Chopra's Mom Walked Her Down the Aisle to Wed Nick Jonas
“I could not hold it in. I think I was nervous and scared,” Priyanka Chopra tells PEOPLE
On Dec. 1, surrounded by floral arrangements of peonies, orchids, hydrangeas and roses on the palace’s lawn, friends and family gathered for the first of the couple’s two weddings — a Western ceremony incorporating Jonas’ Christian upbringing — at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in India.
As a string quartet played, Chopra — wearing a Ralph Lauren gown, beaded and embroidered by hand, with a stunning 75-ft.-long veil — was escorted down the aisle by her mom, Madhu. Chopra’s father, Ashok, died of cancer in 2013.
“It was all tears. All tears,” the actress — who carried a bouquet of tuberoses, her favorite flower, designed by Jenya Flowers (N.Y.C.) — tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.
“I could not hold it in. I think I was nervous and scared. But as soon as the curtains opened and I saw his face, it was just like everything settled, and I knew I was making the best decision of my life,” Chopra, 36, says of tying the knot with the man of her dreams.
Flanked by 12 brides maids and groomsmen, the bride and groom, who wore a Ralph Lauren double-breasted black tuxedo, were married by another important family member: singer/actor Jonas’ father, Paul Kevin Jonas Sr.
After they exchanged rings, designed by famed jewelry house Chopard, they sealed their union with a kiss that “was magical,” says a guest. “It was as if time had stopped.”
On Sunday, they did it all over again, exchanging vows for the second time with a lavish Hindu ceremony at the palace to honor Chopra’s heritage.
The actress, who is also a successful film producer in India, wore a custom red lehenga (a traditional full ankle-length skirt) by designer Sabyasachi as she awaited Jonas’ arrival. He entered surrounded by his family in a rambunctious procession of drums and dancing called the Baraat, after which he was welcomed by the bride’s family.
For more exclusive details and photos from Jonas and Chopra’s epic wedding weekend, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.
Married under a covered structure called a mandap, the bride and groom then took part in a ritual called the Saptapadi: “The priest performed the wedding rites as the couple walked seven sacred rounds around the ceremonial fire, exchanging vows of lifetime commitment,” explains a guest.
Jonas also applied a red-orange powder called sindoor to Chopra to symbolize that she is married — and with that, another one of her childhood wishes came true.
“When he put sindoor on my forehead, it was something that I dreamed about since I was a little girl,” she says.
After the ceremony, guests were seated for a traditional Indian dinner and reception. It all created a series of memories that still had Chopra’s head spinning hours later.
“The chanting when I walked out, the look on his face when he first saw me, the look on my face when I first saw him in his Indian finery,” the actress says, listing her favorite moments. “And when I heard him read his vows, it was over.”