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SPRING/SUMMER 2016 print/digital THE ANNUAL ISSUE 2019 print/digital

BE DARING GLAM IT up!

THE DIFFERENT BIG ANNUAL EDITION BE


We Do / Unlimited Possibilities Orange County’s hottest Sangeet destination. Synonymous with technology, [AV] is located just blocks from the Irvine Spectrum Center and encompasses over 25,000 square feet of customizable space on two floors.

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e d i t o r

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I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all those who contribute to help create South Asian Bride Magazine. The brilliant event coordinators, designers, decorators, florists, lighting specialists and of course the photographers. Thank you to all the brides and grooms who support us, share their memories with us and use SAB as their guide in their wedding planning process. We strive to live up to your expectations each and every time. -- Sadaf H. Kherani, Publisher | Editor in Chief Credit: RAGartistry, | www.ragartistry.com, Make-up: Nalani Bott, Location: Biltmore Ballrooms

photography + ar t direction // U shna K han P hotography @U shna K han P hotography styling // B ridelan I ndia @B ridelanindia planning + coordination // E venti G aia W eddings @ eventigaia _ weddingplanner bridal wardrobe // A namika K hanna @ anamikakhannabridal groom wardrobe // A dvani L ondon @ advanilondon bridal jewelry // J ust J ewellery I ndia @ justjewelleryindia makeup + hair // C herie S pisso @ cherispisso in collaboration with M ary A ldo C oppola @ aldocoppolabymary florist // D eep F lowers M ilano @ deepflowers invitations + stationary // B erkshire N orth S tudio @ berkshirenorthstudio rental company //  P reludio N oleggi  @ preludiodivisionenoleggio venue //  V illa M onsoglio , I taly @ villa _ monsoglio

SOUTH ASIAN BRIDE MAGAZINE, INC. info@southasianbridemagazine.com

ADVERTISING: 404.591.4142 | 888.956.6661 Copyright South Asian Magazine, Inc. No material herein or portions thereof may be reprinted without the consent of the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. Views/Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the paper and no liability is assumed by the publisher thereof. Advertising copy and artwork are the sole responsibility of individual advertisers.

SHOP AT: www.southasianbridemagazine.com


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KYNAH

designer // K ynah // @ shopkynah photography// M aria B okhari hair, makeup // J ulie H irji

w w w. s h o p k y n a h . c o m

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FOREVER

D E S E RVE S A

WO RT H Y

DE S T I N AT I O N.

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate offers the perfect venue for your fairytale Florida wedding. Whether you wish to wed within one of three elegant ballrooms or exchange vows on a lush lawn, you’ll find the ideal setting to fit your unique style — paired with Omni’s signature service and culinary expertise. Our stunning new venue, the Grand Salon and outdoor event space is the first of its kind at an Orlando resort. A charming terrace and event lawn with a picturesque waterfall is the ideal setting, designed especially for weddings.

OmniHotels.com/OrlandoWeddings

OSCEOLA BALLROOM • 1500 MASTERS BOULEVARD CHAMPIONSGATE, FL 33896 • 407-238-6547


Regal Palette Studio AWARD WINNING

Winners of Two 2019 Wedisson International Awards, which comprises of the most elite photographers around the world.

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WHEN REALITY FEELS LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE. YOU ARE GOLDEN.

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at any participating destination when you book your special day with us. Book your California wedding by December 31, 2019 and enjoy extra perks for your dream wedding plus let us take care of your honeymoon at some of the most romantic resorts. Learn more by calling (855) 848-4333 or visit meritagecollection.com/sab southasianbridemagazine.com 29


Destination wedding BRING YOUR DESI

T O

T H E

T R O P I C S

When you say, “I DO!” at El Dorado Spa Resorts, Azul Beach Resorts or Generations Riviera Maya, you are in expert hands. Our team of specially trained wedding designers are well versed with the needs of South Asian weddings; working hand in hand with you to ensure your wedding dreams, become a reality. Your destination wedding at our resorts will be a celebration of pure joy, sure to set the tone for a long and happy life together.

Lian Alston ® Consultant Vacation Inclusive Gourmet Diamond 4

(770) 744-1537 info@GenerationalTravel.com


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n o i t a n i t Des ollections C g n i d d e W this is weddings by Palladium, South Asian Style

Beautiful landscapes frame the most awaited moments. Our multi-day wedding collection includes four deluxe events: Goddess Mehndi Party, Sangeet, Beautiful Byaah: The Wedding Ceremony, and Private Vivah Reception. Each event includes everything you need, from authentic traditional cuisine to chic flowers and décor. Exclusively designed by renowned wedding planner Karen Bussen and set against your choice of spectacular settings. It’s all fabulously flexible. A luxury experience with your own wedding coordinator so you can focus on loving every minute of this sweet journey. For more information, please contact your travel professional, visit

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SPAIN ǀ ITALY ǀ MEXICO ǀ DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ǀ JAMAICA ǀ BRAZIL

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f a s h i o n

LAVISHLYromantic photography // S achi A nand P hotography makeup, hair // F lawless beauty by P auline boutique // i do ... i do ... designers // J ustin A lexander ' s S ignature C ollection , C alla B lanche , & M artina L iana models // G opi R ohat & K iren M odi

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A whole new world. Transform your wedding into a South-Asian haven with Pramukh Mandapam, the SoutheastĘźs finest team of wedding decorators. Let us design your wedding atmosphere. Call now!

pramukhmandapam.com

Tel: (914) 907-3920


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B3E Building Beautiful + Brilliant Events

Design Your Day B3 is an event design house that offers customized event planning and wedding decor services.

b3event.com

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CUSTOM BRIDAL WEAR men + women 407-288-3304 letrendboutiquefl@gmail.com

Peter Nguyen Photograp

Peter Nguyen Photography


r e a l w e d d i n g

Your Vision, Our Passion info@myardecor.com 404-268-7342

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Your Vision, Your Reality

Willow Heights Mansion | The Granada Theatre | Sycamore Creek Vineyards Leal Vineyards | The Barn | Hacienda de Leal | The Granada Hotel (COMING SOON) PREMIER CALIFORNIA DESTINATION LOCATIONS www.liveloveleal.com / 408-778-1978

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Love in Color photography // P hotography by A zra decor // C reative T ouch D esign makeup // S tudio 9 fx jewelry // G ems by A bi wardrobe // D ulhan by M ischief models // @ manvirdhaliwall @ khyatii _ t venue // T he C ountry C lub GC

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FRENCH CHAMPAGNE

&

CASTLES IN THE SKY

This editorial celebrates modern Indian "Made in Heaven" bridal vibes, channeling exquisite luxury and contemporary romance. Shimmering kundan and semi-precious stones with muted champagne gold and the elegance of french tulle and lace, against a towering medieval castle give us all the fairytale feels!

photography // P ooja R udra (@ dharpooja ) jewelry // ReeMat Designs (@reematdesigns_) boutique // T erra I nde (@ terra _ inde ) makeup // J asmin R ahman (@ jasmin __ rahman ) outfit // T he L it tle B lack B ow (@ thelit tleblackbowofficial )  models //  M egha P atel (@ chocolateandcheeseplease ) and D iti G oradia (@ diti . goradia )

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WE

DO

WEDDINGS

We do different. When you say, “I do”, you don’t want the same old venue. You want memorable. Engaging. Unique. We do different. The Chase Center’s friendly, knowledgeable planners work with you to personalize your ceremony or reception, down to the last detail. Everything from special menus, enchanting spaces, florals and decor to music, hotel accommodations at the Westin Wilmington (connected to the Chase Center) and much more. Whether you prefer a traditional, ethnic or truly extraordinary wedding celebration, we do different. 302.425.3929, option 1 | centerontheriverfront.com, Special Event Inquiry Form

Walk to restaurants and entertainment

Easy access by air, rail or interstate

Historical attractions

Master chef on site

World class hotels

Wilmington, Delaware

Turnkey planning Tax-free shopping southasianbridemagazine.com 63


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LEAH + SAM BEVERLY HILLS, CA // ANDRENA PHOTOGRAPHY + CELIO’S DESIGN + ALIANA EVENTS Leah and Sam met while they were both in residency. Though they came from two very different religions and backgrounds, they quickly realized that they had incredibly similar beliefs. They were both focused on family. They both had strong values and good morals. And they both had a keen appreciation from their respective cultures. As Leah and Sam were incredibly committed to their professions and eventually chose to go through fellowship programs, the couple dated for six or seven years before Sam popped the question. Though he always knew he had found his life partner, Sam also wanted the timing to be just right. Leah remembers that his proposal was simple, sweet and perfect, and that she happily answered yes. Leah and Sam knew that they wanted their fusion wedding to combine elements of their respective cultures and faiths. But they also wanted the location to be special, so they decided to do a custom build on a vacant property owned by Sam’s family. In this way, they felt they could create a space exactly how they wanted it and use it for as long as they liked. As the property itself was vacant, they graded the land so they could create their ceremony and reception exactly as they envisioned. After meeting with multiple event planners, Leah chose Aliana Events to design and plan her wedding. “I just loved her style,” Leah remembered. “It was so chic and pretty. Plus, she really listened to all my ideas and knew how to bring them to life. It really helped me to have a planner. My schedule is incredibly busy, so having someone to help me through the process of selecting vendors was very helpful. I was also so grateful for how supportive my family was. They helped me with all the things a planner usually doesn’t, like choosing my dresses and accessories.” Aliana recommended Celio’s Design as the florist, and once he showed his incredible style to Leah and Sam, they knew that he would be a perfect fit. “My favorite colors are lilac, pink and lavender,” recalled Leah, “so we used these colors in the floral design and for the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses.” On the day of the wedding, two horse-drawn carriages brought guests from the parking area to the ceremony garden. The carriages added a sense of pageantry to this lavish yet heartfelt wedding. During their dual-ceremony wedding, Leah and Sam planted a tree to commemorate the occasion. The stunning reception was set in a custom tent with champagne draping and chandeliers throughout to add a touch of elegance. “We wanted an elegant secret garden with a magical feel,” Leah shared. “We made sure to bring in beautiful trees to ensure that our guests would feel like they were in a garden, and we also had performances by butterfly dancers that absolutely thrilled our guests.” Leah and Sam are now planning to build a home on the same property where they were married. southasianbridemagazine.com 65


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photographer // D in a D ouglass , A ndren a P hotography second shooter // G lob al P hotography , Y ogi P atel planner // A lian a E vents florist // C elio ’ s D esign rentals // R evelry E vent D esigners linens // L a T avola F ine L inen lighting + djs // C osmos S ound cake // S weet N ovelet te signature mocktails // T he G rand B evy hair // F arah with the G ood H air makeup // S habn am N omair

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CHARISHMA + BHARAT DALLAS, TX // IVY WEDDINGS + KI WEDDINGS + PRASHE DECOR Living all the way in New York, it was tough planning a big Indian wedding across the country in Dallas. It also didn’t help that I am very particular and knew exactly how I wanted our wedding to look like, down to the color of the seat cushions for the ceremony! However, we were incredibly lucky to have picked some really incredible vendors to help make my vision come to life. The attention to detail they were able to put into each part of my wedding really made all the difference in making our wedding unique to us! One of the key elements of the wedding, and something I personally enjoyed doing, was actually something that was conceptualized well before the actual wedding! It was the wedding invitations! I love when traditional Indian elements are blended with a modern aesthetic, whether it’s with the clothes I wear or what I’m eating at the latest Indian restaurant, and that is the exact theme I wanted conveyed throughout all of our different wedding events. So to set that tone from the beginning, I knew I had to start with the wedding invitations. While I was doing wedding shopping in Bangalore, India, I met with Ayesha, our family friend who runs Kolor Kode, a company that creates wedding cards. She was able to bring my vision of incorporating Indian palaces and the Raja/Rani theme and mixed them with modern classy florals into my invites. I also wanted to incorporate pastel colors wherever I could to change up the usual bright and jewel-toned colors typically seen at Indian weddings. Kolor Kode worked with me to design the most beautiful wedding invites, and even created matching ceremony cards, hotel key sleeves and welcome bags to match! Outfit shopping was of course one of my favorite parts of wedding planning! After flying to Bombay and Delhi to shop, I started panicking that I hadn’t even found one of the five main dresses I needed. It was then that I realized that having such a specific vision wasn’t going in my favor and was causing a lot of stress for everyone involved. That’s when I decided to just design my own dresses! For the Sangeet, I felt like I could create a really fun and playful outfit, so I decided to make a parrot green lehenga embellished with gota work all over to shine and standout as the bride and sparkle every time I moved! I asked my incredibly talented makeup artist, JTorry, to create a glamorous green smoky eye and instead of doing the usual braid, I asked for a Mohawk braid! The entire look ended up being one of my favorites! For the ceremony, again I wanted to balance the centuries-old rituals with a new-age backdrop so I had my wedding decorators, Prashe, create a custom mirrored mandap adorned with only white florals and included a metallic floral graphic wall! The muted colors provided for a perfect canvas for Bharat and I to stand out and will prove to be timeless as the years pass and we look back at our photos. For my outfit, I came out in a soft pink lehenga with intricate embroidery work that I designed, and halfway through the ceremony, I changed into a rich orange hued sari that my in-laws bought for me. I was very keen on having one look that was very traditionally South Indian, as both Bharat and I come from South Indian backgrounds. Orange is one of my favorite colors, so I knew my wedding sari just had to be orange and it would only be fitting and complete the look if I wore the whole jewelry set which includes the upper arm cuff, the daab (belt), layered necklaces, bangles, rings, anklets and the tikka (headpiece jewelry). I probably weighed an extra 10 lbs from all of the jewelry and heavy fabric, but definitely felt so proud to represent my Kannada heritage! If you ask Bharat, the reception was his favorite part of the wedding. When I teased him that I couldn’t believe the partying, drinking and dancing was his most cherished part, he sweetly replied/saved himself by saying it was because at that point I was his wife! Truly though, we felt more relaxed and eager to let loose at the reception! The one and only designer dress I bought ended up being made by Zara Umrigar. Red is Bharat’s favorite color, so I wanted to surprise him by wearing it for our reception! When I saw the delicately hand-embroidered red crystals and beading work with a low cut back in the Bangalore showroom, it literally embodied the exact dress I had envisioned and was relieved to have found such a dress without having to go through the extra trouble of designing it myself. Bharat decided to match his custom tux with my dress by getting the lining custom printed with red roses and even had my name stitched on the inside lining! My heart still melts thinking about how he wanted to represent me being close to his heart! We could not have felt more loved that day, being surrounded by all our friends and family. We were able to have our dream wedding and more importantly, we were able to celebrate our love with the support of our loved ones around. It’s easy to get caught up with all the bells and whistles and stress that come along with a wedding, but being reminded of Bharat’s and my love for each other and how we had worked so hard to get to that point in our lives, helped us realize what was really important to us. It truly was the best weekend of our lives and we’re so thankful to look back fondly and relive our wedding memories! southasianbridemagazine.com 71


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photographer // I vy W eddings planner // K.I. W eddings decor + design // P rashe hair, makeup // JT orry M akeup henna // H enn a by Z ohra video // M emories F ilms  sound + lighting // DJ S unny E ntertainment catering // P eacock E lite , and S affron H ouse  cake // D elicious C akes venue // H ilton A n atole 

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RAABIA + SAMEER NEWPORT COAST, CA // WARRIOR & THE GYPSY + KISMET EVENTS Being the baby of a family of five sisters, I’ve always wanted a true princess, fairytale wedding - regal, intimate and romantic. And being the sister of Saadia Kibriya, the creative director and owner of Kismet Events, I learned the finest of details were not going to be overlooked. I always wanted to get married in the Spring because the air is cool, nature is full of life, and florals are at their peak! After looking at numerous locations throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, there was no other place I could imagine myself getting married to marry the love of my life than The Resort at Pelican Hill. My heart was set on it the moment my sister and I drove up to the location. The villa style, ethereal aesthetic made me feel like I was transported to Italy, and the rolling green hills alongside the Pacific Ocean was picturesque and unlike any other backdrop imaginable. On the morning of the wedding, my sisters and I arrived bright and early to the beautiful Bridal Suite at Pelican Hill. The room is fit for a queen with wall-to-wall mirrors, soft lighting and all the amenities needed to start the day. Guests arrived a little before noon and were greeted with Indian lime sodas, appetizers and a live sitar player, Ronobir Lahiri. Followed by cocktail hour, the first part of my wedding was the religious ceremony (Nikah) which took place outside under the Gazebo on the lawn overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I was so grateful the weather was ideal at a crisp 72 degrees and sunny (but not hot)! Having a Muslim wedding during the day is a bit untraditional but I wanted to capitalize on the beautiful views of Newport Coast. Kismet Events covered the ceremony area in Cherry Blossoms (a true representation that Spring has arrived). Ronobir Lahiri, the talented sitar player, provided the live music for the ceremony, and performed “All of Me” by John Legend as I walked down the aisle (my bridal party entered in on “Halo” by Beyonce and the groom and his family entered in on “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce). My four sisters walked down the aisle in gorgeous custom couture dresses designed by Archna from Manshaa Obsession, each wearing a soft shade which complemented the next sister. Archna also designed my wedding dress and was able to embody my desire to have a fusion (East meets West) wedding dress with wings in soft tea pink, sequins and embroidery. My designer added white pearls to my dupatta and added a long dramatic train which I loved. Being that my father had passed almost 11 years ago, my 7 nephews and nieces came down the aisle one by one saying a poem in honor of my father to my groom, Sameer. It was an emotional moment but ended on a lighter note with my 2-month-old nephew Yaseen (asleep) driving in on a remote controlled Maserati! One surprise element I knew I wanted for the ceremony was to have a white dove release after we said “I do”. Once we were announced as Husband and Wife, forty doves were released and the crowd cheered as the doves flew and danced in formation circling above us. It was such an emotional moment for all of us! After the ceremony concluded, 225 guests were ushered into the Mar Vista ballroom where the reception took place. The ballroom was fully draped in blush pink which created a sense that we went from a daytime to evening event. The glowy lighting and candles filled the room with romance. After the guests were seated, Sameer and I entered into the ballroom with the rumbling sounds of live drumming. The Arab tablah rhythms were so uplifting and fitting for welcoming the newly wedded bride and groom. The reception began with speeches from both the bride and groom’s families. One special speech came from the Sameer’s best friend who traveled from his hometown of Montreal and rapped for 7 minutes about Sameer’s life, which was such great entertainment. Following the bouquet toss, the bride and groom proceeded with the Rukhsati, where both families escort the bride and groom from the venue and into wedded bliss. We hopped into a white Porsche and headed to the beach as we waved goodbye to our families. It was truly the best day of my life! southasianbridemagazine.com 77


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photographer // W arrior & the G ypsy video // W hite R ose P roductions decor + florals + creative design // K ismet E vent D esign rentals // R evelry E vent D esign chandeliers // A mber E vent P roductions dj // DJ I nsomnia bridal wear // M anshaa O bsession sound + lighting // A mbiance AV hair // F arah with the G ood H air makeup ar tist // J honn a G. henna // H enn a D il S e sitar // R onobir LA invitations // M inted venue // P elican H ills R esort 82 southasianbridemagazine.com


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SHAIVI + OSCAR NEW YORK, NY // IVASH PHOTOGRAPHY + OVANDO + ELECTRIC KARMA EAST COAST It's difficult to say exactly when our story began, because when I reflect on how all of the pieces fit so perfectly, I can't help but think it was determined in another lifetime. Oscar and I met years ago - he was working at my family's Indian food business, Sukhadia's, where I spent a bulk of my time helping out after school and on weekends. We discovered a mutual love for adventures, the culinary arts, and action-thriller Netflix films! Though we were from separate backgrounds and had our cultural differences; our values, personalities, and priorities brought us together. After doing long distance for almost 6 years, Oscar went on to get his culinary degree at International Culinary Center in NYC and I went onto NYU Stern to do my MBA. We quickly became best friends and salsa’d our way into each other’s hearts! Fast forward to 2018, on a brisk night in January when we were on our way to Central Park to attend a gala for his culinary school… or so I thought. Oscar led me through Central Park via a carriage ride, directly to the foot of Bow Bridge. As we got there, I saw hundreds of candles scattered throughout the bridge and in the middle a giant rose petal heart that read “Marry Me.” My jaw dropped instantly, and a small Mariachi band walked onto the bridge as he got down on one knee. Before we knew it, all of our friends were shouting #ShaiviWonAnOscar ! The following year and a half we planned our wedding - a feat I was so excited to take on being a big planner and events enthusiast myself! We chose The Pierre for our wedding due to its Central Park location, timeless history in New York City and sheer elegance. The hotel is owned by Taj Hotel Group which my Father was especially proud of. Chef Ashfer & Chef Manjit took care of all our culinary dreams and more. Being in the industry ourselves, food was the most important thing for us and they delivered 110% by providing the guests with a fully vegetarian spread including fusion cocktail eats and a delicious Indian plated meal. We knew we wanted the décor to be more along the lines of floral artistry and something completely unique, so Ovando in New York City was the perfect choice for us. The floor to ceiling, carved-out cherry blossom wall they made for our ceremony was the best mandap our guests and vendors had ever seen before! For the entertainment, we knew we wanted a live band and chose the amazing Marcus Reid band part of Hank Lane Productions. Along with them, we hired NYC’s best DJ & MC, DJ Suhel, who delivered an unforgettable baraat and wedding reception. DJ Suhel even got us live shennai and table artists for our Hindu ceremony which added a whole different aura to the room on our wedding day. Our entire family could not have looked and felt as beautiful as we did without the services of Style by Susmita and Suraj Patel. Susmita is a true artist and it was our honor to have her by our side for our big day. Our wedding was nothing short of incredible! It was a dream come true- not only because of our union and a long time coming :) but because of the beautiful fusion of both of our cultures and seeing so much happiness and love in our parents and all of our family members' eyes! Our wedding extravaganza lasted 4 days with 7 events among 5 venues and over 30+ vendors. We had traditional Indian festivities where we started the pre-wedding ceremony from my home, had a colorful and bright henna night, and a beautiful, luxurious Indian wedding & reception at The Pierre, with a Central Park baraat as the highlight! We also celebrated Mexican style with a timeless Catholic Ceremony in Oscar's hometown church, a fiesta-filled Mexican Sangeet, a live mariachi band, a 16-piece Mexican Banda, home-made Authentic Oaxacan food by Oscar himself, and custom favors designed and hand-woven by Oscar's family back in Mexico! The wedding concept and vision was planned by myself and along with the help of Urvashi Mishra, our wedding coordinator of Electric Karma East Coast, we were able to execute flawlessly. All of our friends, family and vendors worked so hard to make our wedding an absolute dream come true and we couldn't be more grateful to each and every one of them. southasianbridemagazine.com 85


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photographer // I vash P hotography event concept + design // S haivi S ukhadia (B ride ) planner // U r vashi M ishra , E lectric K arma E ast C o ast decor + design // O vando styling // S tyle by S usmita bridal designer // S abyasachi , T ar un T ahiliani , P ronovias video // J oseph M in asi S tudios dj // DJ S uhel venue // T he P ierre , A T aj H otel sangeet venue // T he P ark V illa

band // H ank L ane P roductions sound + lighting // F rost P roductions cake // R on B en I srael wraps + vinyl // G o T o S hout sangeet caterer // S ukhadias chef // C hef A shfer B iju , T he P ierre H otel stationar y // P archment by D ami henna // H enn a for A ll NY sangeet enter tainment // M edley E ntertainment southasianbridemagazine.com 89


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S TRENDIEST SOUTH ASIAN PROGRESSIVE DESSERTS & CATERING

MAKE YOUR EVENT THE MOST CREATIVE ONE YET! Each wedding deserves that unique touch to make that special day, the most creative one yet. Through our various experiences we have seen what “wows'“ guests and will keep them talking about your event for years to come!

F"ll'Service Dessert Tales Dessert is the center of any event. We customize your table to fit your needs no matter the number of guests. We have a huge variety of desserts that we make and present in the most creative way. Let us design the dessert table of your dreams!

Gift Boxes. Welcome Bags Wedding Favors Consult with us and have us design and make the most delicious and memorable gift boxes, engagement boxes, welcome bags, and wedding favors. It's all about the details!

Catering % A la carte Desserts Want to give your event the most unique flavor ever? At SoCal Creative Kitchen & Co. we specialize in multi-cultural, multi-faceted vegetarian cuisines, bringing only the most creative dishes to the table. Our fusion dishes will wow your guest's eyes and palette!

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ISLAND BRIDE photography // J ose R uiz P hotography decor, florals & creative design // E milio O labarrieta E vent A telier planning + creative consultant // S onal J. S hah E vent C onsultants , LLC video // R ay R oman F ilms hair, makeup, styling // C inderella B ridez wardrobe // S ajda by S uman jewelry // R ee M at D esigns menu cards // C eci N ew Y ork catering // C hef G aurav A nand fireworks // P uerto  R ico F ireworks dj // DJ S uhel venue // D orado B each , a R itz -C arlton R eserve property

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photography + ar t direction // U shna K han P hotography @U shna K han P hotography styling // B ridelan I ndia @B ridelanindia planning + coordination // E venti G aia W eddings @ eventigaia _ weddingplanner bridal wardrobe // A namika K hanna @ anamikakhannabridal groom wardrobe // A dvani L ondon @ advanilondon bridal jewelry // J ust J ewellery I ndia @ justjewelleryindia makeup + hair // C herie S pisso @ cheriespisso in collaboration with M ary A ldo C oppola @ aldocoppolabymary florist // D eep F lowers M ilano @ deepflowers invitations + stationary // B erkshire N orth S tudio @ berkshirenorthstudio rental company //  P reludio N oleggi  @ preludiodivisionenoleggio venue //  V illa M onsoglio , I taly @ villa _ monsoglio


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SUJATA + RAJ PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO // BRAJA MANDALA + CANTEIR O WEDDINGS + TOUCH OF ELEGANCE “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows We were introduced by friends of Sujata's parents, and our initial hesitancy quickly gave way to a seven-hour Wednesday night date that lasted until the wee hours of the morning, sipping water, thrilled by conversation. It felt like a spark of magic flickering tentatively amidst hectic travel schedules on opposite sides of the world: impractical magic, if you would. But the little spark thrived. Mutual respect provided a base, WhatsApp served ample kindling, and the joy of discovering a true partner was its oxygen. A few years later, Raj offered the greatest commemoration with a nod to one of Sujata's favorites and proposed to her at Harry Potter World right in front of Hogwart's Castle.  For the wedding, we wanted to keep the magic alive while blending in our mutual Indian Sindhi heritage and a Caribbean touch from Sujata's mother's Jamaican upbringing. Mexico provided stunning venues with resplendent natural beauty, a comfortable yet elegant atmosphere, and a respite from the New York cold that we both love to hate. We felt strongly about honoring our Indian heritage yet wanted to acknowledge and respect the local Mayan culture, to blend them creatively through decor and food. To welcome everyone to Mexico, we hosted the first night on the beach at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen with water and fire drummers from Drums in Paradise. DJ Shilpa presided over the occasion from her perch on top of a lifeguard stand. The tone for the weekend was set early when everyone kicked off their shoes to join in on the dance floor with games of beer pong in full swing on the sand. The food featured Mexican street food favorites and the décor was bright and colorful.   The next day, Raj's family hosted a non-traditional baraat to herald the groom's arrival to the sangeet, featuring tequila shots in true Mexican fashion. Not to be outshined, Sujata's family and friends welcomed Raj with a surprise flash mob dance like a true Bollywood wedding. The unity and goodwill were expansive and so contagious.  We held the wedding in the courtyard of a traditional Mexican hacienda. Canteiro Weddings creatively blended the mandap with the surrounding foliage and featured a Ganesh crafted entirely out of greenery. Pandit Nilesh Pandya allowed the audience to connect with the ceremony by having us say our vows in English, so the two of us, our family, and our friends could all follow along. He also asked all the guests to raise their hands in ashirvaad at the end of the ceremony and bless the couple, which was a truly powerful moment that we will never forget.   Following the ceremony, Moghul Caterers kept guests in good spirits at cocktail hour with a delicious and unique array of Indian food with a fresh Mexican spin: Mexican bhel, beetroot tikki chaat, idli fries, and a pomegranate pulse salad were some highlights.   southasianbridemagazine.com 107


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SEEMA + AKSHAY NEWPORT BEACH, CA // GREYCARD PHOTOGRAPHY + SHAWNA YAMAMOTO + AJITA CHOPRA EVENTS Our story began in the summer of 2014 in Cancun, Mexico at a friends’ wedding. I was the maid of honor and Akshay the best man and we were paired together to give a speech at the couple’s reception dinner. Akshay was coming straight to Mexico from a business trip and so he asked me to take the lead on planning the speech. When I suggested we do a rap instead of a traditional speech, he immediately pushed back saying he had a terrible voice and didn’t even sing in the shower. It didn’t take much to convince him to do the rap anyway! The plan was to decide on the lyrics over text, practice independently and then block out time in Cancun to practice together. Instead of rehearsing our lines in Cancun, we spent our time getting to know each other much to the detriment of our rap performance. It wasn’t long into our “rehearsals” that we realized that there was undeniable chemistry between us. I decided to make the first move by texting Akshay asking him if he was interested in going to the club that was at the resort we were staying in. He said yes and the rest is history Akshay and I come from different backgrounds - I was born in England and raised in California and Akshay was born and raised in Nigeria but also spent time in India. Despite growing up in different parts of the world we found each other’s personalities extremely compatible. No matter what, Akshay knows what kind of day I am having. Good or bad - he can make me smile - his goofy personality always makes that happen. And to quote Akshay - “Seema is the nicest person I have ever met. She is always positive, finds the good in everything and has made me a better person.” Our meeting in Mexico was followed by a lot of Facetime and Delta miles for the next couple of years. I was studying to become a dietitian in San Francisco and Akshay was working in Seattle. My first trip to visit Akshay in Seattle was on his birthday weekend and I baked his favorite chocolate cake and spent the weekend celebrating together with his friends. Our most memorable experience yet was spending our first New Year’s Eve together on Copacabana beach (Rio, Brazil) under the spectacular fireworks with 1 million plus other revelers. This was the start of many travels for us including Jamaica, Cabo, my first time to India, France and Poland where my brother was getting married. Akshay flew across the Atlantic to attend the wedding meeting my parents for the first time as well as our whole extended family! This gesture was incredibly sweet and an unforgettable bonding experience between my family and Akshay. We both have a passion for exploring new places and doing it together has made it even more fulfilling. Music and sports are a huge part of our lives and we have already built so many memorable moments attending music festivals, concerts and sporting events. Our common interests and strong friendship turned to love along the way. After I graduated from my dietitian program, I moved up to Seattle and within months Akshay proposed. He surprised me with a trip to our favorite city, Las Vegas where Akshay got on his knee in a gondola, with the gondolier singing and a beautiful sunset in the background. I could tell Akshay was up to something that weekend but that didn’t stop my tears of joy when he proposed. After our engagement, we bought our first home together and got a court marriage in Seattle a few months later. That weekend was especially memorable for us because it was also the first time our families met in person. None of this would have been possible without the unconditional love and support of our families. After months and months of planning, we were married on June 9, 2018 amongst our family and closest friends. It has been an unbelievably fast 4 years. We continue to grow and experience life together and we can’t think of doing it with anyone else but each other. southasianbridemagazine.com 113


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photographer // G reycard P hotography planner // A jita  C hopra E vents (A.C.E) decor + design // S hawn a Y amamoto E vent D esign stationar y // I nvite I nk   video // A vec L umiere P roductions dj+lighting // 3D S ounds hair+mua // D olled U p B y L ul u henna // H in al ' s B eauty S tudio catering // J ay B harat , BAPS S hayon a , M onsoon G roup cake // S weet T raders live entertainment // R onobir L ahiri , K armagraphy photobooth // OC E vent P hotobooth desserts // T asty T emptations venue // N ewport B each M arriot t H otel & S pa southasianbridemagazine.com 117


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ANISHA & SARTHAK CLEARWATER, FL // ASAAD IMAGES + RB EVENT DESIGN + WEDDING DESIGN Anisha & Sarthak’s journey is one that revolves around coincidences, chance, and timing. Despite going to different universities, in different states, they had known of one another but simply exchanged pleasantries. Fast forwarding to September 2012, the stars aligned, and they crossed paths yet again, in a city (NYC) populating 8.3 million people which became the beginning of their forever. During our 7 years of dating, we have learned from each other, grown together, supported each other professionally, traveled the world, and fell in love. Since the moment I met Sarthak I felt this instant attraction towards him. It was the combination of his chivalry, sense of humor, kind heart, and handsome good looks. With characteristics like that any girl would have fallen for him and I felt lucky enough that he chose me. I can still remember the day Sarthak proposed to me like it was yesterday. Under the pretense of attending a friend’s birthday brunch, we were walking on the High Line (one of my favorite parts of Manhattan) soaking in the beautiful autumn season with trees full of colored leaves lining our pathway. Then, I stopped in my tracks as I saw a heart outlined in rose petals on the floor surround by numerous candles. At first, I didn’t think it was for me and my initial reaction was to move to the side to ensure we didn’t ruin someone’s special moment. Little did I know that it was going to be my special moment. Sarthak slowly walked me into the center of the heart, got down on one knee and with a violinist playing our favorite love songs in the background, asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. On 11/11/17, my wish came true. When trying to determine the most ideal location for our engagement shoot, I wanted a place that resembled our love- “infinite”. Immediately, I thought of the desert, specifically the largest in the world. The Sahara Desert encompasses endless boundaries which depicts how we feel for one another. Through the culture and sand dunes of Morocco, we found the perfect backdrop to add even more color into our love story. We were so excited to bring those elements into our wedding week to share with our families and friends. Our wedding could not have been anything more than perfect to us. The week kicked off with several events joining our families- filled with music, dancing, and joy. From Sarthak and his entourage making a surprise appearance at my Mendhi party when he eagerly tried to find his name in my henna, to our Moroccan inspired Sangeet, to having my own bride’s baraat with a Cinderella carriage during my Mosalu/Pithi- the days leading up to the wedding were nothing short of excitement and celebration. Finally came the day that the little girl inside me has been waiting for her whole life. I had the true fairytale wedding- marrying my Prince Charming in a castle under the most extravagant blush pink floral mandap. As I entered, I walked on a bed of colored floating rose petals, bringing the allure of springtime to every aspect of our big day. After officially becoming husband and wife, we were eager to start our reception, unwind, and dance the night away. Our venue, The Legacy Castle, provided us with the elegance and grandeur ambience we desired for our events. We celebrated this union with our wonderful family and friends on a packed dance floor, thanks to DJ USA (DJ Sharad and MC Marco), while enjoying delicious food from Bukhara Grill. Every moment was so beautifully captured by our talented photographer (Asaad Images) and cinematographer (Joseph Minasi Studios), as well as the unique decor of each event, stunningly crafted by our design team (Wedding Design). Finally, the full princess glam was all thanks to my amazing hair and makeup artist (Flawless by Pauline) who made me look and feel so beautiful as I dressed in some of the most gorgeous outfits I’ve ever seen, designed by Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, and Sajda by Suman. This weekend was more than anything I could have ever imagined. We are so thankful to our loved ones and incredible vendors for making the first day of our happily ever after unforgettable. southasianbridemagazine.com 119


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photographer + video // A saad I mages coordination // RB E vent D esign decor // W edding D esign hair + mua // F lawless B y P auline henna // H enn a F or A ll catering // B ukhara G rill , F ive C hefs dj // DJ USA (DJ S harad ) video // J oseph M in asi S tudios bridal wardrobe // S abyasachi . M anish M alhotra , S ajda venue // L egacy C astle , P ompton P lains NJ

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HARVEEN + RAJ SAN FRANCISCO, CA // VERUS WEDDINGS + ANAIS EVENTS Raj and I met in 2016 and after our first date, I knew we were going to get married. It is hard to explain without coming across cheesy, but it was easy to talk and be with Raj -it felt like we had always known each other and were supposed to be together. When it came time to wedding planning, I had a clear vision of the type of feelings/themes that I wanted for the different events but was not particular about specific details. Raj and I also wanted to make sure that our styles were reflected in the décor but that we also honored the traditional elements of a Sikh wedding. My parents, Kash and Neena Gill, and Amrit, with Anais Events, were instrumental in putting together beautiful events that reflected mine and Raj’s styles. We had three main events: the ladies sangeet, the wedding, and the reception. For the ladies sangeet, I wanted colorful, kitschy decor with a focus on celebrating our family and tradition. Amrit did a wonderful job with the décor. Everything was bright, colorful, and fun. I refashioned my mom’s wedding lehenga and wore it to this event. The Indian kitsch art at the bar and the guest photo backdrop was memorable. In fact, the guest photo backdrop included a photo of my dog, Maxximus, wearing a kalgi (Sikh groom’s turban ornament). I appreciate that Amrit made sure to include personal touches. My mom put together family photos to use as decorations, favors for the guests, and coordinated family performances. My great aunt recited a poem that she wrote, my uncle sang, and my family performed a dance. My friends from law school even choreographed a dance for the occasion! It was such a fun event and highlighted the love and enthusiasm our friends and family had for me and Raj. The wedding took place in the same temple that my parents married. Since we had a late spring wedding, we wanted the colors to reflect the season and opted for pastels. The décor gave a soft, romantic feel to the wedding. My favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony because of our minister, Baltej Dhillon. Baltej conducted the ceremony in English and explained each part of the ceremony and its significance. This was the first time that many of the attendees had experienced a Sikh wedding with detailed explanations in English. Baltej personalized the ceremony by speaking of Raj and I as a couple. Additionally, he and his daughter are amazing singers and their voices were so serene and beautiful. It was a very peaceful and loving ceremony. The reception took place the following day. Given that we had a traditional and religious ceremony, Raj and I wanted a modern, formal reception. I told Amrit that I liked marble, gold accents, and green and white flower arrangements. From this, Amrit designed the reception of our dreams. Everything was so beautiful. The reception included an assigned, seated, family-style dinner that gave me and Raj the opportunity to visit guests at the various tables and personally thank them for celebrating with us. Following dinner, our DJ did an amazing job of keeping everyone on the dance floor. We decided to skip the traditional wedding cake but instead incorporated a surprise cake cutting for my sister in honor of her birthday!  The wedding week was so beautiful and fun. Raj and I are thankful to our vendors, who did an amazing job, and our friends and family for their enthusiasm and fun. We are especially thankful to my lovely parents who spent a lot of time and effort in bringing mine and Raj’s wedding visions to life. southasianbridemagazine.com 125


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NISHA + BEN CHAT TANOOGA, TN // GACIEL SANTANA PHOTOGRAPHY + UTOPIAN EVENTS + ENVI EVENT PLANNING Ben and I almost missed meeting each other during our time at Indiana University. About a month before he graduated, we were set up for a fraternity formal and spent the last few weeks he had at school together non-stop. This led to our first two years of dating being long distance with many weekend trips to see each other. After I graduated from school, I moved to Chicago where Ben was already living. Our relationship continued to blossom as we explored life in the city together through restaurants, shows, and trips to the aquarium. One of favorite rituals became walks in the nearby park and to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. A rainy day in May we made a trip there after lunch with one of Ben’s cousins. As we walked into the Lily Pool, Ben started to talk about our most recent trip to Bloomington and his times of driving down to visit me while I was still in school. He then led me down a little path right by the pond where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. After he put the beautiful ring he had gotten on my finger, he led me down the path more where we met a guitarist playing one of our favorite songs, “First Day of My Life.” And the first day of our next chapter began.   That next chapter consisted of many trips back to my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee where the wedding was held and Ben’s first trip to India filled with lots of shopping. The wedding was centered around Chattanooga’s highlights. The mendhi event was held at the Creative Discovery Museum, which is the children’s museum that I grew up with including attending camps and volunteering as a teenager. The evening including not only mendhi but also casino games, a karaoke room, and a Nisha and Ben themed escape room. The food showcased some of our favorites including bao buns, Chicago hot dogs, and chicken and waffles.   The festivities continued with a traditional garba and sangeet on Friday held at the Chattanooga Convention Center. The beautiful decor included a unique floral chandelier, peacock accents, and food booths surrounding the room. It was a night full of fresh jalebis, garba dancing, and family performances. We even had both sides participate in a 51-person Bollywood dance performance to Bole Chuydian.   The next morning began with a traditional Marathi wedding ceremony held at the historic Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga. A fun-filled Bharat proceeded the ceremony with a horse and full dancing in closed-down street. We wanted a wedding that reflected my parents, Dane and Sheila’s, Hindu ceremony that took place 35 years prior. Our ceremony was held under a striking hanging, fresh flower mandap that was exactly as I had dreamed. Following the ceremony, guests were bussed to our surprise lunch location at the Walnut Street Bridge that is one of the longest walking bridges in the United States over the Tennessee River. Each guest was given a tiffin filled with traditional Marathi food for lunch and as a gift. The 87 tables stretched almost the entire length of the bridge, and we all enjoyed the food and lovely view.   After a brief break in the action, our guests enjoyed our cocktail hour in a room centered around a jaw dropping candle lit scroll on the floor with over 1000 candles. Following the themed drinks and 27 unique food items, we all entered our reception room that was decked out in white and gold for a seated dinner. The evening continued with speeches and lots of dancing. Just as some people were retiring for the night, our friends boarded a bus to our after party at a local Taco Bell that was closed down just for us. It was the perfect ending to an already dream come true weekend! southasianbridemagazine.com 131


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photographer // A nn a K otlova P hotography makeup + hair // M ichele R enee T he S tudio wardrobe // S ushma P atel , L e T rend B outique models // S uniti P atel and M onical S hah

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photo // Visuals by Arpit @visualsbyarpit designer // Manshaa Studio @manshaaobsession producer // Tara Bre @itsmetarabre  beauty // BreLuxe Beauty @breluxe henna // Unrivaled Henna @unrivaledhenna floral // Los Angeles Floral Couture @losangelesfloralcouture models // @itzsheena @sec_love @theanthonyagonzalez  men's grooming // Wedding Dapper Bar @weddingdapperbar  video // Asport Films @asportfilms


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RYAN + ROSHNI BR OOKLYN BRIDGE PARK // SACHI ANAND PHOTOGRAPHY Growing up, my parents had very strict expectations of my siblings and I when it came to marriage. They always wanted someone from the same caste, educated, and from a nice family. All I wanted was a nice man who respected me, loved me, and made me comfortable. Ryan and I met in a modern way, on Instagram. Ryan told our mutual friend that he thought I was pretty but never made the first move so I slid into his DMs on Instagram and little did we know that was the beginning of the rest of our lives. I was 22, had recently graduated college, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia and he was 18, had graduated high school, and lived in West Springfield, Massachusetts so we weren’t sure of how serious things could end up. Regardless, we still continued to text and talk on the phone every day and every night. As the months passed, we grew very close. Ryan and I are both Leuva Patel’s and from neighboring villages in Gujarat so after seven months of long distance, we finally saw each other for the first time at the Leuva Patidar Samaj Convention in Orlando, Florida. At the time, only our siblings and my mom knew of our relationship but by the end of the weekend my dad ended up finding out and Ryan told his parents about us also. Our parents knew of each other and through Ryan’s Mama and Mami, who are also good family friends of my parents, they helped facilitate the relationship. My dad was supportive but wanted more accomplishments from Ryan. I had moved back home to St. Augustine, Florida so Ryan came down from Massachusetts for our one year anniversary. We, then, drove down to Orlando and had our first date. I planned the first half of our date where we flew planes and went to the shooting range. Ryan planned the second half of our date where we went horseback riding and had a nice dinner. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy but we had no idea that it would be several years before we saw each other again. As our second anniversary passed, my dad’s worries about Ryan’s accomplishments were very much still there and he asked us to move on. It was, by far, one of the hardest things we had to do. A few months passed and Ryan and I found ourselves back in each other’s lives. Over the next four years, we continued our relationship without our families knowledge. Even though we didn’t see each other or meet up, Ryan and I became each other’s best friends and confidants. We went through many highs and lows together and became inseparable. My parents continued arranging matches and pressuring me to find someone. But finally when Ryan’s career was something my dad would be proud of, we decided to tell our parents about our relationship, once again. They were supportive and proud. A year and a half later, Ryan proposed. I am in love with New York City and have always wanted to do a photoshoot with Sachi Anand Photography so we flew up one, very cold weekend in March. Ryan and I loved the architecture of the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Bridge, the breathtaking views at the Top of the Rock, and Central Park covered in snow so we decided to do our shoot at these locations. I was hoping Ryan would propose to me in NYC but as we went from location to location, and as the weather got colder and colder, he had yet to get on his knee. We ended up at the Brooklyn Bridge around sunset, where we took a few pictures. Still, no ring! Then, Sachi led us to Pebble Beach where, to my complete surprise, candles and red roses were set-up. Ryan got down on one knee as it started snowing and proposed with all of NYC behind him. Four months later, on July 12, 2019, we had an intimate, traditional wedding ceremony in St. Augustine, Florida. "It's not this fairytale life that never knows pain, but it's two souls facing it together and diminishing it with unconditional love." -One Tree Hill photographer // Sachi Anand Photography assistants // Abhi Sarkar, Sonal Patel hair + makeup // Payal MUA white dress // bhldn red dress // Bloomingdales, Faviana Couture ring // Diamonds Direct, Jacksonville, Florida jewelry // Freida Rothman proposal coordination // The Heart Bandits locations // Top of the Rock, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pebble Beach

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FARAH + LORENA TEXAS // BIYANI PHOTOGRAPHY

Lorena gifted me (Farah) a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado for Valentine's Day 2019. Little did I know, Lorena had something bigger planned during the trip. The trip was from April 11-14. We did a lot of cool things like Dog sledding in the open ice fields and different tours. But on the day of the engagement, we went snowmobiling in the mountains early that morning, and then started to get ready for dinner at 4. Lorena was starting to act a little different, a little nervous for something- which I didn’t understand because she is usually well kept together. I was told dinner was in Denver so there would be a longer drive. I hadn’t put my finishing touches yet, so the long drive would have been perfect for me to finish up.   When we pulled up to the ”dinner site”, 20 mins later, I was so confused. Also, we were pulling up to a mountain. So here I am thinking, I starved all day for a mountain? Where’s the restaurant? No where in site. Then she proceeded to ask my frantically “what’s wrong?!!!” Assuming I saw something. I’m still confused why she was acting so weird. As I finished my lipgloss, Lorena opens my door and tells me I have two options. Either I’m blindfolded, or close my eyes going up this mountain. I stopped her right there because I had lashes on and couldn’t squish them. Ha’  I looked up this mountain and it was covered in ice, and I was wearing high heel boots. I laughed and said I couldn’t walk up this hill with ice, with my eyes closed, and wearing a white dress at that. But she assured me I was in safe hands. And in that moment, that was the most secured I felt. Almost when Jack asks Rose in Titanic.  Somehow I had a feeling I was about to walk Into a moment that was towards the rest of my life. On the other hand I was thinking we were walking into a hot air balloon ride with a dinner. (The day before, we saw they did Balloon tours around the same mountain we were at.)  As she’s holding my hand, I have my eyes mostly shut, walking up the hill, and I see her hand signaling someone. So I’m thinking to myself, omg people are probably staring thinking why is this girl dressed up on a mountain with fur on?!! I told her “get me to that restaurant quickly people are probably staring!” She said, “almost there.” I started to hear music, and I knew I was closer and closer to that restaurant. Then I hear a camera clicking away. Then I thought, “OK she got the restaurant photographer to come and take pictures of us, how genius?” The more we walked, louder the music got. Then she told me I had to have my eyes completely shut for this and it’s a straight shot. I was relieved because I wasn’t going to 148 southasianbridemagazine.com slip anymore. I loosened my grip on her hand and gracefully started walking. 


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photographer + video // Biyani Photography planner // The Storybook Event florals + rental + decor // Mandap Creations hair + makeup // The Waxing Boutique by Farah wardrobe // Panache by Sharmeen venue // Madera Estates

She stopped me, and I heard papers shuffling for some reason, (it was her taking her layers of jackets off so her tiny frame wouldn’t look like she was swallowed by it.) The rest was all really in slow motion. She said, “open your eyes.” My heart stopped for a second, the wind blew in the exact direction my anxiety was flowing in, I almost knew what was coming- maybe because I had been hoping for it for so long. I opened my eyes, and there she was, exactly how I imagined. I glanced at my ring and lost my breath. It was more than what I wanted. All I heard from her mouth was “Farah” and blacked out the memory. I wish I wasn’t in such shock because I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while now and here I didn’t remember. Then I heard “will you marry me?” “YES” (hysterically sobbing of course). Before she kissed me she said “you have the ugliest Kim Kardashian crying face ever.” When I got myself together, I looked around, there was the photographer, the proposal planner, the violinist, the dessert bar prepped on the table, elaborate spread wine, cheese and crackers with champagne. After we sat I smiled and asked her “there’s no food is there?” (Oops I was just so hungry that day) she told me there’s food being prepped and I settled for the amazing cheese and crackers spread that had been laid out on the table. We toasted, and I mentioned I wanted to FaceTime my twin brother. She asked me if I could wait, but with a silly side smile like she has something up her sleeve beside hand warmers. But I didn’t get the hint.  After Jennie did our photoshoot, I ran up the hill to grab more cheese and crackers. Lorena came from beHind and said she had another surprise but I had to close my eyes. I was shocked because I had just shoved food up my mouth. I quickly washed it down with champagne. I was thinking what else could it be?? A flash mob? (Worst nightmare)  Here I was with my eyes closed maybe for 30 seconds, and I felt an energy. So I said “You better not bust out with the flash mob.” She asked me, “are you ready for your flash mob?” Instantly I smelled my sister-in-laws fragrance. Then I knew my twin was with me. I opened my eyes and my heart was complete. My older brother, twin brother, his wife, my cousin and her boyfriend were all there.  THE BEST WAY I COULD HAVE EVER BEEN PROPOSED TO. I couldn’t wait to be Mrs. Artani-Olivas.

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an ethereal affair photographer // Josh Thomas clothing // Harleen Kaur agency // Genesis Level makeup // Studio Nour & Shalin Jewelry // Forty Clarendon models // Vee Thang, Clare Frances, Izzy Marshall


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SHAMA + CHIRAG NEW YORK, NY // JASHIM JALAL STUDIOS + KM EVENTS MANAGEMENT + ELEGANT AFFAIR s Your Wedding Day will come and go in the blink of an eye, so it is critical to enjoy and soak up every fleeting moment. The fact of the matter is that you spend many months, if not a year or longer, planning an event that lasts a single day. Chirag and I embraced this irony, as we began planning the best weekend of our lives, one that would be full of energy and excitement. We wanted to set this upbeat mood throughout each event during the day, as well as in our pre-Wedding festivities (e.g., Garba / Sangeet). The horseback Baraat kicked off in the morning with several dhol players accompanied by a live DJ. I encouraged my bridesmaids to join midway, pumping up the crowd. To further liven up the atmosphere, Chirag ended the Baraat with a choreographed groomsmen dance, where he was thrown into the air before being greeted by my family. Dance performances took place periodically during the day to invigorate the guests. These included a bridal party dance within the aisle, as each groomsmen was paired with a bridesmaid, as well as several intricate performances by family and friends during the Reception. Every girl dreams of getting married and in my dreams the wedding unfolded in a fairytale-like fashion. I have always been a proponent of details that derived sophistication and class through simplicity and elegance. Usually this coincided with a royal theme, which was reinforced by my love for movies like Jodha Akbar and Bajirao Mastani. We chose our venue(s) through this lens. Our Garba / Sangeet venue, the Hilton Pearl River, is known for its castle-like outdoor appearance. Our wedding venue, the Rockleigh Country Club is known for its lavish ballrooms, illuminating chandeliers, majestic marble staircases and flowing outdoor fountains. Subtle tones of white and gold prevailed in every room through our décor. We incorporated white orchids, white hydrangeas and white roses in our aisle and mandap arch during the Wedding and within the Reception centerpieces and stage backdrop, alongside hanging crystal orbs. Gold vases, curtains and accents complimented the white. Moreover, the Garba / Sangeet stage was set with a large gold swing for Chirag and I, as well as tall golden Moroccan lanterns. The wedding outfits were primarily gold and white, maintaining our emphasis on a royal look. Lastly, our names, Chirag and Shama, both mean “light”. We thought it would be fitting that we use candles wherever possible to exemplify the brightness of our love. The Reception even featured classical fire dancers, as guests found their seats. An indoor fireworks display put the finishing touch on our first dance, as well. The wedding planning process is never easy, but Chirag and I focused on proactively tackling challenges as they arose. One of the most difficult parts for us was making sure our families had their visions executed simultaneously with our own. Marriage in our culture is seen as a union between two people, as much as it is a union between two families. Making sure that Chirag’s and my vision would come to life also meant tweaking ideas here and there, so both sets of parents were not only happy, but respective traditions were accommodated. Our Wedding ultimately implemented clothing styles, cuisines and ceremonies that were aligned with both sides’ values and beliefs. One piece of advice we have for future couples is that you should never forget that planning for a marriage is more important than planning for a wedding. It becomes very easy to get caught up in the details and stress of making this day perfect, but finding the right person and understanding each other more through the various wedding decision making processes is a part of achieving “perfection”. Secondly, when working with vendors, it is extremely helpful to have saved pictures over time from social media outlets. This makes it more efficient for all parties involved (e.g., makeup artist, décor company, entertainment) to execute your vision effectively. A picture honestly does speak a thousand words. The most joyful part of the planning process was working as a team with the person I care about most. I was very lucky to have Chirag help me in each stage of planning, as we both tend to be creatively inclined. We learned a lot about each other’s personality and preferences from planning our Wedding. This knowledge will prove very useful as we grow together. Seeing our vision executed flawlessly by our amazing vendors, family and friends made us genuinely happier beyond belief. In the end, we were glad that we made this weekend as special for our guests as it was for us. southasianbridemagazine.com 159  


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photographer // J ashim J alal S tudios design+decor // E legant A ffairs planning // KM E vents M an agement    videography // P acific P ictures  dj+lighting // DJ S unny E ntertainment hair + mua // S tyle B y S usmita    cake // A L it tle C ake catering // M oghul C atering  venue // H ilton P earl R iver , T he R ockleigh     southasianbridemagazine.com 163


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ROSE + CHRIS ORLANDO, FL // PETER NGUYEN STUDIO + TOWN CENTER FLORIST

Rosanna Barsati (Rose) and Christopher Fontana (Chris) got married in less than an year after they met, and no, this was not a shotgun wedding situation for those who are wondering. Rosanna is Indian and Chris is Italian. They are both attorney's practicing in the State of Florida. When they met, Chris was a Personal Injury Attorney who has his own firm and Rose was a Divorce Lawyer at another firm seeking employment elsewhere. They also have side jobs; Rosanna is a professional belly dancer and Christopher is a licensed car dealer and he likes sometimes likes to work in a restaurant kitchen helping his friend who is the head chef at Cedars Restaurant.  Rosanna and Chris met one night when Rosanna was performing at Cedars. After seeing her performance and learning from the restaurant owner that "the belly-dancer is also an attorney," Chris approaches Rosanna during her break, leans in and whispers, "One lawyer is washing dishes in the kitchen, and another lawyer is dancing on the dining room floor. Attorney's don't make money, do we?". Rosanna blushed at the site of the handsome man with light brown hair and hazel green eyes who just spoke to her. He then asked her to speak with him after her show to talk about the possibility of working together. As the evening went by and the two conversed, Chris offered Rose an interview opportunity to work for his firm, which she took. A week later the two met up for a lunch interview. Rosanna was prepared to answer questions and enter a discussion regarding her qualifications as an attorney, however, the interview took a different course.    Most employers would talk about the necessities and expectations for the operation of their business, however Chris and Rose conversation topics focused personal topics such as their interests and hobbies, their families cultures,  and their love for adventures. When Chris started to talk about his interests of getting married and having kids one day, Rosanna became confused as to whether she was being interviewed for a position at his firm or a for position as his wife. After a few hours of talking, Chris mentioned he had jet skis that he wanted to take out on the water and asked Rosanna to go with him that same afternoon. Without hesitation Rosanna said yes.  What was started off as a job interview between Chris and Rose quickly turned into a date that lead to an adventure with the two jet skiing together on a lake into the sunset. Their was no deny that there was a strong attraction and chemistry between the two who shared a love and excitement for adventure, which led to them falling hard and fast in love with each other. One month later, Rose introduced Chris to her parents and Chris brought Rose to his hometown in Rochester to meet his parents. Three months later, Chris took Rose to Italy to retrace Chris's family history.  The two where standing on the top of Mount Etna, the worlds most active volcano, when Chris asked Rose to marry him and she said yes. Some months later, Rosanna and Chris had a fusion, nondenominational western style wedding. Rosanna decided to wear a white wedding dress what was custom made by an indian designer and one of her closest friends, Le Trend Boutique. Peter Nguyen Studio was her wedding photographer and  Michelle Rene the Studio styled her bridal look; they are also are very good friends of hers.  Rosanna and Chris tied the knot in front of their family and friends during an intimate ceremony at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando which was followed by a small reception at Cedars Restaurant, the place where their story their story began.    Many would ask, "why rush?" or "why are they moving so fast?", however, there was no feelings of being rushed or moving fast for the two. The course of their relationship leading into marriage felt very organic and natural. For Rose and Chris, it was about the quality of time they've spent with each other, not the quantity.  southasianbridemagazine.com 165


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photographer // P eter N guyen S tudio hair + mua // M ichelle R enee the S tudio florals // T own C enter F lorist dress + jewelr y // L e T rend B outique dj + entertainment // K rish E ntertainment cake // V alhalla B akery venues // H arry P. L eu G ardens , C edar ’ s R estaurant

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ABI + NIV HONOLULU, HI // MEEWMEEW STUDIOS + MIRA SAVARA EVENTS

It's maybe a very millennial thing to happen, but we met in a Uber Pool ride on an average workday in Chicago. Abi was on her way to a conference and Niv was on his way into the office. Niv was picked up by the car first and the second stop was Abi, two blocks away. As soon as Abi stepped into the car on that cool and cloudy November morning, it felt to Niv as if the sun had suddenly broken through and brightened up the day. Abi was excited about the conference ahead and wondered who this chatty guy was next to her. Niv knew he only had about ten minutes to make an impression. The ride was over before either of us knew it, and in the stumble of reaching our destinations, numbers were exchanged… for a coffee at some point.   The first coffee happened that same week. Then to desserts and strolls around Chicago as winter gave way to summer. We were soon meeting each other's friends. By Fall, Abi's parents visited Chicago. It wasn't long after that for Niv to have a clandestine call with Abi's parents in Bangalore to ask for their blessing. The night of the proposal started as if it was a normal lets-cook-at-homeand-watch-something night. After dinner, we were going to settle into some dessert. The front door suddenly burst open and Abi's friends stormed in. Niv got down on one knee with a ring in his hand. And there was a cake saying "will you marry me?" She said yes.   Being from different parts of the world and having family and friends spread all over the planet, we knew that anywhere we chose to have our wedding would be a destination wedding. We wanted to prioritize our friends and family being able to enjoy themselves, having a holiday, and of course having a great wedding experience that would not be super stressful. This is why we chose Hawaii after considering options from Europe to Bali. When we mentioned it to friends, they said it was on their bucket-lists. Being passionate about travel and bucket-lists ourselves, we decided it would be a great choice. This idea was confirmed when we spoke to our planner Mira Savara who talked us through the islands to choose from. Mira understood our focus on the guest experience and offered her advice and suggestions to give our younger friends as well as elder Aunties and Uncles a great time. This is how we came to choose the island of Oahu and Waikiki as our location. The spectacular view of the beach and Diamond Head from Waikiki became a stunning backdrop for our special day and reflected our love of the ocean and mountains.   With that decision made the wheel of wedding planning began to spin in earnest,  Abi  started the process of looking for wedding dresses and lehengas with her mother in Bangalore. We knew that there would be at least three outfits needed for the events we had planned - Sangeet/Luau, traditional ceremony, and the reception. Abi chose the colors and designs of her outfits first and this then became the signature color/design of the events. The Sangeet lehenga, with bright and cheerful floral yellow, allowed us to create a fusion event for the Sangeet which incorporated some Hawaiian cultural elements to make it feel like a luau. This resulted in a great way to welcome our guests with leis and mixed in well with the casual fun and dancing of a Sangeet. For the ceremony, we wanted to honor our cultural traditions as both Abi and Niv have South Indian heritage. We aimed to keep this event more traditional and consulted with our parents on the "must have" components. This included the Muhurtham sari. After reviewing multiple saris from different designers, one stood out which incorporated the pink hues of our venue, The Royal Hawaiian, and the greens of the tropics and the sea. This then set the tone for the bridal party and groomsmen attire.   Finally, we knew that the reception would be a more formal affair. Abi's lehenga was custom designed to be a showstopper with hand embroidery and a deep reddish-pink that evoked the tropical flowers like fuchsia and hibiscus. We designed the events based on the venues, outfits and the experience that we wanted our guests to have. Mira's experience, creativity, and attention to detail played a huge role in making our wedding a dream-come-true event. In Hawaiian, Oahu means "the gathering place." This was a perfect setting to bring our disparate and globally spread groups of friends and family together in celebration of our love and commitment to each other. We’re glad Hawaii chose us and can’t wait for a return visit. southasianbridemagazine.com 171


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RAJNEEL + STEPHEN TANNERSVILLE, PA // JSK PHOTOGRAPHY + MCR DESIGN GROUP

Rajneel and I met in Albany, NY at pharmacy school and it was definitely love at first sight for me (might have been love at third or fourth sight for her). It was my birthday and I was so excited to get to go out with my new roommates. One of the guys mentioned he was dating Rajneel’s best friend and I practically begged him to ask her to bring Rajneel along. She did and at the end of a fun night, we exchanged phone numbers at a pizzeria as I headed to Buffalo for the weekend to see some friends and she headed home. I called the number 3 times on the way to Buffalo in an attempt to ask her out to dinner for the following week but had no luck. I thought 3 times was enough and maybe she didn’t like me (who wants to feel like a stalker right?). When I returned back to Albany and logged into Facebook I had 5 messages from her saying that I never called her. So let’s just say she gave me a fake number the night we met and I have never let her forget ever since. I finally got my dinner date and we completely hit it off from the start. After college, we remained long-distance and became experts on how to travel and time the New York City traffic. The first time she visited me on Long Island I took her to get bagels (a known Long Island specialty) and she ate two full ones back-to-back. That’s when I knew we were met to be! And so our adventure began! After 5 years of dating and being long distance I decided it was definitely time to ask Rajneel to marry me. For Christmas every year her family gets together in one location for 2 weeks. They usually get professional photos taken of them to look back on as the years pass. I reached out to both of her sisters to ask for their blessing and for help arranging the proposal (and goodness knows I needed every bit of help they provided!). So the morning finally came and I couldn’t have been more nervous. We were also celebrating her nephew’s first birthday so I had her sisters force her to get the cake and that would give us a 20-minute window to set up the foyer. I decorated it with a heart of daisy’s and roses, photos of us throughout the years, and giant balloons that simply said MARRY ME! Fortunately, she said yes, in front of her family, exactly like we planned it! Next came the wedding planning and I have to say Rajneel did pretty much all of it and I was there for mostly moral support along the way. She picked out some of the most amazing vendors I have ever worked with, and Camelback Resort was such a beautiful and accommodating venue to have our special day!  Our day was filled with touches of the both of us, a little Irish from me, and a little Indian from her. It was an absolute honor to be able to celebrate her culture and religion! The outfits and décor were breathtaking and the ceremony and other cultural events completely changed my life. The best part of the whole event was our first look. Seeing her in her dress completely blew me away and brought me immediately to tears (real manly, I know). I just couldn’t believe how happy and perfect she looked, and how lucky I was. After our honeymoon in Paris (and way too many baguettes) we look forward to beginning our lives together (in one city)!  

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photographer // JSK P hotography decor + floral // MCR D esign G roup henna // S harmin S amantha S haili hair + mua // S ubrin a M ustafa dj + lighting // R aj G andhi caterer // C amelb ack L odge C atering and A mber I ndian R estaurant cake // A udra M artin video // M aiyan S tudios venue // C amelb ack L odge

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time to

SHINE

photographer + video // J adore L ove event planning + design + coordination // E vents B y K hadej ah decor + floral // S tylish E vents  hair + mua // B eauty B y T amann a henna // H enn a F or A ll  wardrobe // A ain aa jewelr y // K irni D esigns linens, chair sashes, napkins, chargers:  // T he F inishing T ouch  fur niture // J ump A round P arty R entals  cake // T he S weet P eace  enter tainment // DJ USA flatware & silverware: // C elebrations P arty R entals  model // T arn K M inhas  venue // L eon ard ' s palazzo


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AD

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EAST meets WEST

photography // Peter Nguyen Studio stylist // LAMOI Store wardrobe // Yellow Indian outfit by LAMOI Store wardrobe // Blue & Purple Indian outfits by DEVAM wardrobe // Western outfits by LAMOI Store jewelry // DEVAM (@houseofdevam) model // Katelyn & Anthony Perez


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SHELLEY + MAYUR ONTARIO, CANADA // Z MOLU PHOTOGRAPHY + DREAM PARTY DECOR + FABOCCASIONS

Mayur: Our story began in 2013 when I moved to Toronto for additional educational training. I was born and raised in the coolest (literally) city in Canada...Regina, Saskatchewan. My career has taken me to many different places around the world however, regardless of all my accomplishments, there was still one thing missing...LOVE! Who knew I was about to find the one who would finally keep me constantly intrigued, motivated, curious, challenged and finally grounded! Shelley: We met at a mutual friend’s Sangeet party. Walking into the room, I knew I had to get this handsome man’s attention. I stood next to him casually until he finally made a move. Our first date was at the Toronto Raptors game, naturally, given Mayur is a huge sports fan. We had a great time, conversing, laughing about how little I knew about basketball at the time, and cheering for the home team. Although the Raptors didn’t win that night we had changed the course of our lives. Meeting once a week, turned to two then to three until we were eventually inseparable. Mayur: I had a blast that night and remember how remarkable it was that this woman could keep up with me as we went out on the town. Her party skills, charm, wit, and laughter kept me coming back for more. It was a bonus that she was beautiful and smart. I truly believe that fate brought us together and that becoming best friends was a choice but falling in love was beyond our control. Shelley: When I met Mayur I knew early on, he was the one. I had never felt this way about another man. I also had never introduced a boy to my parents…Within the first 6 months, I had showed him off to all my friends and family. The most frequently asked question was… “when’s the big day?” Mayur: Shelley is so passionate about everything she does, loving and positive about life it was so easy to fall in love. I had a feeling early on that this was the real thing and it was reaffirmed as we got to know each other better. I wanted to wait for the right moment to propose….After four years of dating, getting to know each other and many trips/adventures around the world…it was time! Shelley & Mayur: After the proposal we spent a year planning and looking for the perfect venues and the right combination of vendors since they were going to be surrounding us on the most important milestone of our relationship. Our wedding was everything we ever imagined and so much more. We were surrounded by all the people who we love and touched our hearts. The most memorable moment was watching Mayur watch me as I walked down the aisle. The build up of the week and the look he had in his eyes, I knew that I had waited all my life for this moment. Great Gatsby inspired Sangeet: We wanted a fun theme for our Sangeet, however we wanted it to be us. A night that was fun and glamorous, where everyone could participate. The Great Gatsby inspired event was a 1920s decadent lifestyle inspired party with flapper dresses, a ritzy venue and LOTS of champagne. The Big Day: We wanted a fresh and colorful yet rustic look for the morning when we would officially tie the knot. We chose an outdoor venue with historic architecture, had a custom built mandap with the four pillars of life as per the Hindu Vedas and the runway for an epic baraat. The Grand Finale: Wedding Reception: The reception was the grand finale to our 5-day wedding celebration. Our guests started the evening with appetizers and cocktails in a tent and then move into elegant and sleek hall which was filled with the smell of fresh flowers, big impact centerpieces and a classic white wow factor structure for the bride and groom at the centre of the room. southasianbridemagazine.com 195


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photographer // Z M ol u P hotography decor + florals// D ream P arty D ecor , F loral D esigns C an ada , E vent G raffiti planning // F ab O ccasions makeup + hair // C anvas M akeup & H air henna // T ouch of D imple dj + lighting + entertainment // E mpire E ntertainment - DJ J iten , B and B aaj a B arat , RS D ivas , W ellington M usic , B roken D ance cake // R oli P oli I ce C ream bridal wardrobe // F laire D esigner C lothing , G arrisons B espoke transportation // F airy T ale H orse & C arriage invitations // S tephita wedding venue // C hateau L e J ardin , G uild I nn , C hateau L e P arc southasianbridemagazine.com 199


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NADIA + NAVEEN NEW YORK, NY // PROJECT 8 MEDIA + WEDDING DESIGN & DECOR + CHANDAI EVENTS

In a big place like New York City, finding what you’re looking for can either be really difficult or right in front of you. For Naveen and I it happened when we least expected...and just a few months before he moved back to his hometown of Chicago. You hear from friends that long-distance is work. It’s true, but this, this was worth it. For two years we enjoyed travels and experiences together, introduced family and friends and used FaceTime to fill in the gaps. Our most memorable trip was July 4th weekend in Portland, Maine where Naveen proposed on a boat at sunset, just the two of us, rosé and ring in hand. Tears of joy blurred my vision but I managed not to fall overboard into the New England waters. We wanted to infuse our wedding with both Sindhi and Guyanese traditions, reflect our Chicago and East Coast upbringings and celebrate our families who made us who we are today. We did so by giving a nod to our favorite neighborhoods, choosing dishes we’ve enjoyed together and with family and having my family Pandit officiate the wedding. We decided on Brooklyn, NY as our location as it was where we made our first home together and in clear view of the city where we met. Growing up in the area and thanks to Instagram, we had great vendors to choose from to bring our modern but classic vision together to share with family and friends from all walks of our lives. Our event was styled by Wedding Design & Decor, a hidden gem tucked away in central New Jersey, who helped us create unique looks for both events. We opted for a traditional Indian dinner catered by Bukhara Grill for our ceremony and a four-course sit down dinner for the reception orchestrated by the head chef of the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge to give our diverse guest list a taste of our all our favorites. For my bridal looks, I kept it local. Lotus Bazaar in Queens, NY took my ideas and created a customized lehenga and jewelry. RK Bridal located in Manhattan worked meticulously on my reception dress. I choose to work with Beauty by Tamanna for the ceremony and Maryam Asim for the reception simple because I admired their portfolios and couldn’t choose. Promy Bari created my henna design which I still miss! Naveen’s Indian attire and accessories were custom designed and made in India. His reception tuxedo was handled by Suit Supply. For entertainment, DJ Amlan kept the crowd dancing in the streets for our Brooklyn baraat and on the dance floor in the grand ballroom. Local New York City Acapella Soul, a group I discovered on the subway when I first moved to Manhattan, created a magical first dance we will never forget. Our moments were captured by Dreamlife New York who connect us with Project 8 Media and Rouss films. They went above and beyond including getting our wish list shot on the Brooklyn Bridge among the crowds right before an evening thunderstorm. With all the personalized touches complete and major decisions made, Chandai Events came in to get us organized and put the bow on our memorable weekend. We know this is something we’ll remember forever and are grateful for the planning-free time we now have to make memories as Mr. and Mrs. Gidwani. southasianbridemagazine.com 201


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photographer // P roject 8 M edia production // D reamlife N ew Y ork planner // C handai E vents hair, makeup // B eauty by T amann a , M aryam A sim B eauty henna // P romy B ari decor // W edding D esign & D ecor entertainment // A capella S oul , M ichael the P annist dj + lighting // DJ A mlan video // R ouss F ilms catering // B ukhara G rill invitations // R aniti bridal wardrobe // L otus B azaar , E ssence of A ustralia , RK B ridal venue // M arriot t at the B rooklyn B ridge

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AMBIKA + ANSHU ORLANDO, FL // CASTALDO STUDIOS + OCCASIONS BY SHANGRI-LA + EVENTRICS WEDDINGS "You will never have to force anything that's truly meant to be"... It all started on October 23rd, 2017 when Anshu and I matched on Dil Mil and stroke up a conversation. He generically messaged me to break the ice and I replied back without realizing it would lead to hours of messaging. The next few days, our conversations would last until the wee hours of the next morning; both of us addicted to our phones and unable to stop talking. We knew early on that with all the similarities we shared, we had found someone worth pursuing. Anshu tried to meet up early in our conversations, however, I kept avoiding it unsure of how safe online dating really was since he was the first guy I had met on Dil Mil. After a week of messaging on Dil Mil and texting, we couldn't resist any longer and decided to have our first Facetime call. I remember the feeling of butterflies so vividly and then seeing his face pop up on the screen made all my nerves go away in an instant! He was perfect! Just like our long hours of messaging, our first Facetime followed suit lasting over 3 hours! Even virtually our chemistry was incredible and hanging up that night I knew I had to meet him! December 3rd, 2017 I flew to DC to meet the man who had already begun to capture my heart. We had an incredible weekend together going out to dinners, walking along the harbor-front, and watching a comedy show. We already decided to meet up next in NYC before I left him that weekend. NYC in January 2018 was the turning point for us where we both knew we had fallen in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Over the next few months we met each other's families, followed by the greatest day of our lives-May 20th, 2018 where he surprised me by taking me to Laguna Beach, California and asking me to be his forever partner in crime! Here we are planning our wedding for next year and it can't come soon enough!  We are huge fooies so the food tasting was fun and it allowed us to actually eat the food since we barely got time during the wedding . We loved the decorations, the timing and how flawless the events flowed thanks to Eventrics! Our guests raved about how each event was different from the previous one and that was exactly what we wanted. We also loved our Dholi-Jupji Singh who knew how to get the crowd going and keep everyone on the dance floor.  Having photo shoots before the wedding was stress free and enjoyable Shopping in India for our outfits was a lot of fun too! My ceremony lehenga was by Shymal Bhumika and so was Anshu’s. My reception outfit was Gaurav Gupta and I even got to meet him in Delhi.  Having the conference calls with Brittany and other vendors was key so that everyone was on the same page and able to visualize what we had in mind for each event. It was super important to us that our guests experienced something completely different for each event. Our sangeet was Bollywood theme, ceremony was garden theme and reception was gold and reds theme with focus on roses and romance since we wanted it to be intimate.  I think it’s super important to give yourself enough time if you have specific things you want. It takes time to research and figure out what will fit your budget but also make your event come to life. If you are meticulous and specific about how you want your wedding to go then it’s imperative that you take that time to sit with your vendors and ensure they can envision the same concepts. This allows for seamless planning and lets you enjoy more on the day of. The Indian wedding market is huge today so research is key! At the end of the day this is about you and your husband and you should be able to look back saying it was the best night of your life and we can thankfully do that!  southasianbridemagazine.com 207


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photographer // C astaldo S tudios planning // E ventrics W eddingss design, lighting + production // O ccasions by S hangri -L a hair, makeup, henna // G lamour D olls S tudios d + sound + dholj // D j S unny E ntertainment , R e D efine W eddings , D hol B eat I ntern ation al printed materialsl // D ogwood B lossom ja mala garlands // F loral C reations fireworks // F ireworks by S antore catering // A ashir wad , T abla venue // H ilton B onnet C reek southasianbridemagazine.com 211


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PALLAVI + ZUBIN NEW YORK, NY // SALWA PHOTOGRPHY + ELEGANT AFFAIRS/ VIKRAM PANICKER + SONAL J. SHAH EVENTS

Pallavi and Zubin met like so many people do these days in Manhattan...through Hinge, a dating app! Pallavi was actually in the process of deleting her dating apps after a particularly brutal stretch of bad dates, and one of her co-workers convinced her to meet her last few matches before saying goodbye to apps forever – Zubin happened to be one of those final matches. The couple both enjoy speakeasies, and so they decided to meet over a drink at Raines Law Room in midtown. Zubin found Pallavi gorgeous, gregarious and intoxicating, whereas Pallavi found Zubin standoffish and aloof, and even though she was annoyed he didn’t stand up to greet her, she decided to give him a second date...and the rest is history. After dating for a year, the couple decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Florence as Zubin had never been to Italy and it is Pallavi’s favorite European country. After the couple’s usual arguing over packing (Zubin wanted only carry-on luggage and Pallavi wanted to pay for extra luggage capacity), the couple headed to the pasta capital of the world. Zubin’s plan was to pop the question right at the end of the trip, just as the New Year was ringing in. After almost exposing the ring several times, Zubin made it to the big day with the surprise intact. He had originally planned to propose at dinner, but the restaurant was packed and another couple next to them was breaking up – so that killed the mood. Plan B was to propose over one of the many secluded bridges found in the famous city, but the weather was much colder than normal and Zubin hadn’t realized how rowdy the crowds would be on New Year’s Eve. After the couple passed yet another person puking over a bridge, Zubin decided to pull the plug on a bridge proposal. As the couple got closer and closer to their hotel, and Pallavi’s patience become shorter and shorter with a long walk in the December cold, panic began to set in. Zubin noticed they were passing the St. Regis Hotel and suggested a quick nightcap. The host mentioned there was a private event, but took pity on the couple and mentioned there was a room upstairs he could offer them. To Zubin’s amazement, the host led them past the upstairs bar and into the hotel’s famous Russian tea ballroom – within there was a 30-foot Christmas tree, glowing decorations and 50-foot mural painted ceilings. It was a typical Zubin project, zero planning but a perfect ending, and he convinced Pallavi for many months that he had rented out the entire ballroom for the proposal. Regarding the couple’s wedding, Pallavi had an exact vision that she wanted to come to life, with the details ingrained in her mind for a long time – Zubin was just the final piece she needed. Pallavi grew up in Staten Island and knew she wanted a couple of events held there. Manhattan also held a special place in her heart and she had fallen in love with the Plaza Hotel and Central Park from a young age, so she also wanted to celebrate there. The couple chose the Richmond County Country Club for the Zoroastrian wedding ceremony and Sangeet, the Plaza Hotel for the Hindu wedding ceremony and Cipriani’s Wall Street for the dinner reception. The wedding weekend was an elaborate affair and came out better than the couple could have ever imagined. The wedding timings flowed perfectly with no delays, there were zero issues with the vendors, food was amazing and the décor aesthetics were visually stunning. The Zoroastrian wedding was traditional, with red and white colors dominating the ceremony. The Sangeet was punctuated with vibrant floral colors and modern aesthetics. The Plaza theme was traditional and included a baraat and a full South Indian Hindu ceremony. The color scheme was classic gold and red, with an emphasis on red roses and golden tree leaves. The Cipriani reception theme was elegant and refined, with an emphasis on white and gold cream floral décor. The couple wanted to keep all the events classic, with the rich and vibrant reds for the weddings and the classic white theme for the reception. The couple celebrated their honeymoon in Greece and Pallavi has promised Zubin that there will be no large elaborate affairs for at least the next year. southasianbridemagazine.com 213


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photographer // S alwa P hotogrphy planning // S on al J. S hah E vents design + decor // E legant A ffairs / V ikram P anicker rentals // L uxe E vent R entals hair, makeup // S tyle B y S usmita video // P acific P ictures caterer // B ukhara G rill wardrobe // S abyasachi , T om F ord venue // T he P laza H otel , C ipriani W all S t .

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boho chic wedding photographer // T heresa S tory , A llison M ayer planning // P uj a E vents floral + venue // JP P arker tablescapes // U ncommonly S tyled hair, makeup // B ella S tudios jewelr y // B ridal A rtistry henna // J o - hann a D esigns wardrobe // C rossoverbollywoodseindy cake // C lassic C akes C armel placecard + stationar y // T he B rocade B lackbird mandap // B l ue L lama E vents


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photo // Aurora Photography - @auroraphotoatl planner // E & P Events - @eandp_events decor + florals // Myar DĂŠcor - @myarDecor henna // Horizon Henna - @horizon_henna hair // Salon Vogue Atlanta - @salonvogueatl mua // Make Up by Jemeila - @makeupbyjemelia wardrobe // Le Trend Boutique - @letrendboutique venue // The Whitley Hotel - @thewhitleyhotel model // Azeizeh Uhnavy - @ohazeiza

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NIRVI + NEIL LOS ANGELES, CA // GARY COELHO PHOTOGRAPHY + SYNX EVENTS + BEST DREAM WEDDINGS

Neil and I met five years ago at another family member’s wedding. Living coast to coast, we didn’t know if long distance would work, but our friendship grew into love quickly. Since both of us are in same medical field, we had so much in common from the start. We lived in New York City and then visited each other in various cities with our accumulated travel credit card points. We now reside in Los Angeles, still tackling new memories and challenges. When it came to planning a unique 600 guest Indian Wedding, we knew we had it cut out for us. Personal touches, thoughtful gifts and forward fashion are all things Neil and I love. Since Neil is from New York City and I am from Los Angeles, we decided to bring these two cities’ cultures and history together when we envisioned our wedding. You’ll see touches of street signs as table décor, bridal mehndi and reception uplights displaying both city skylines and a reception LED video wall highlighting our favorite spots. I knew I wanted to focus on a “modern, chic bride” look, so we took our pastel pallet and ran with it! I felt like a real life Jasmine Princess! Thank you for allowing us to share a piece of our story and thank you to all of our vendors, families and friends for making our day perfect! southasianbridemagazine.com 227


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photographer // G ary C oelho P hotography decor + design + mandap // SYNX E vents planner + desser t bar //  B est D ream W eddings (V anessa D omenech ) makeup+hair // D olled U p by L ul u (L ul u N gyuen ) henna // M ehndi by M asu (M asoomi P atel ) sound + lighting // 3D S ounds cake // T he C ake K orner video // R eel I nitiative  caterers // BAPS, M antra C uisine venues // H yat t R egency O range C ounty

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NEHA + DEEPUM ATLANTA, GA// RAG ARTISTRY + ENVI EVENT PLANNING + WEDDINGS INSTYLE BY RAGINI PATEL

Fate led Deepum and I to each other one crisp fall evening in 2015, when we randomly met at a music festival in Georgia. My best friend and I flew into Atlanta, GA from Erie, PA (where I was living at the time). Anticipating an exciting weekend with close friends, I had no expectations of meeting the love of my life. The sun started to set and it was time for us to make our way to the main performance stage. Light rain drops began to fall as we watched elaborately dressed festival goers dance joyfully to the beats. As the rain blended with the pulsating strobe lights, we basked in what seemed like a shower of glitter sprinkling down from the sky. Seconds after my friend and I settled into our ideal spot to enjoy the music, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and heard “hey, I like your outfit.” I turned around to respond, but my words were caught in my throat when I met his eyes. This stranger (Deepum), was a handsome guy with a kind smile to which I was drawn. I was at a loss for words as I walked away with a blushed face. I immediately turned to my friend and said “that guy was so cute!” My friend encouraged me to talk to him. I made my way through the crowd and tapped on Deepum's shoulder to say “hey, I like your hat!” I never would have imagined for this interaction to lead to an unforgettable weekend. Over the next two days, the universe repeatedly brought us together through crowds of tens of thousands and no cell phone reception. It was fate. When it was time for me to get back to reality in Erie, PA, Deepum and I decided to give long distance a try. He claims that he knew I was "the one" after three days; I knew he was "the one" after 6 months. Thanks to direct flights, FaceTime and iMessage, we pushed through the long distance for a year and a half when finally, I decided to move to Atlanta for good! This move must have been enough of a sign that I was all-in because one month later, Deepum popped the question. En route to Iceland at 30,000 feet up in the air, I hear on the plane speaker "If there is a Dr. Chakravarti on board, please come to the front of the plane." I turn to Deepum (who was pretending to be asleep) thinking "what could they possibly need from me? I'm a dentist." The airline host explains to me that there is a passenger on board complaining of chest pain, and they are in need of medical assistance. My heart was racing while thinking I'm helping a person in need. Deepum’s heart was racing for a different reason as he prepares to propose to me with our song playing on a portable speaker. He taps me on the shoulder, gets on one knee and asks me if I would grow old with him. I can't tell you what followed because I blacked out from excitement, but of course I said “yes!”. I later found out that he had been working with Delta for weeks to plan this special proposal and they staged the medical emergency. Everyone on board was in on it, but me! When it came time to planning the wedding, we wanted our weekend celebration of love to be a memorable experience for all our loved ones. While weddings traditionally take place in the bride’s hometown (New Jersey), we both loved the idea of it taking place where we now call home (Atlanta). With our parents support, we secured three unique venues within Midtown, Atlanta that offered us opportunities to express our creativity. It was important for us to create an experience that combined loved ones from both sides of our family and our lives into one, as weddings are a rare opportunity to bring so many together. To do this, we glued bits of the traditional with the personal into what we called "A Celebration of Love" weekend. We incorporated aspects from our respective Indian cultures: Deepum’s Gujurati background and my Tamilian/South Indian background. We brought in pieces of our lives, such as yoga, environmental consciousness, and typical millennial entertainment. Though Deepum and I were pretty hands-on with the planning, we could not have done any of it without our amazing and talented wedding planner, Nadira Merali -Envi Event Planning. Nadira and her team brought our vision to reality and ensured everything came together seamlessly. For our Garba/Sangeet at The Fairmont in West Midtown, we mimicked an Indian carnival/street fair with plenty of color. Our Wedding Reception, held at modern Whiskey distillery called The Stave Room, displayed a rustic, earthy and lux theme. Ragini and her creative Weddings Instyle team nailed both events going above and beyond anything we imagined. The main event, our wedding ceremony, started with a Baraat down the iconic Peachtree St, ending at the majestic Fox Theater. The Egyptian Ballroom was the perfect setting for a traditional ceremony with gold, green and red decor. Thanks to Jayshri Aunty and her entourage at 5th Season along with Sid Flowers, our dream wedding ceremony came to life. Whether it was designing our eco-friendly burlap wedding invites with Marigold Invites, mixing our first-dance song and visuals with Indaglow Productions, filling up our bellies at food tastings with Thali and Madras Mantra, sifting through color and fabric swatches with Image Boutique Shop or getting bitten by bugs in order the capture the perfect golden hour shot with Rag Artistry and Walk on Water productions, every moment spent with our vendors was special and unforgettable. A special shout out to our parents, siblings, extended family and friends who supported us every step of the way. We love you and can’t thank you enough! southasianbridemagazine.com 233


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photographer // RAG A rtistry planner // E nvi E vent P lanning garba + reception decor // W eddings I nstyle by R agini P atel ceremony decor // 5 th S eason W edding D esign S tudio dj // I ndaglow P roductions florist // S id F lowers hair + mua // V igilante C osmetics video // W alk on W ater P roductions caterers // T hali , M adras M antra wardrobe // I mage B outique S hop invitations // M arigold I nvites venue // F ox T heater , T he F airmont , T he S tave R oom southasianbridemagazine.com 237


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TINA + VIVEK TORONTO, CANADA // L'ATELIER LUMIERE INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIE + BIJI PLANNERS + GPS DECORS

In a digital age, Vivek and I met the old fashioned way. We were setup through mutual friends. Our friends threw a Halloween house party at their place and invited us both, the only two single people they knew. There was obvious hints being dropped all night but whenever we did interact with each other, we actually found ourselves being drawn to each other. On our first date, at a dessert place there was an insanely long line, which proved fortuitous as we spent the time talking and found similarities in our love to travel, food, and family. After two years of dating, Vivek wanted the proposal to be special. He decided to involve the book, Anne of Green Gables in some regard as it’s always been Tina’s dream to be proposed to on a bridge like in the movie. Vivek made it his mission to find the actual bridge featured in the movie, searching as far as Prince Edward Island and then finding the original bridge in Stouffville, which was closed due to disrepair. Ultimately, he found a perfect setting on Toronto Island, and proposed one early Saturday morning. Vivek wanted the proposal to be a complete surprise. He mentioned that his company was throwing a Thanksgiving brunch at a restaurant on the Toronto Islands. Upon arriving at the islands, Tina was surprised to learn that there was no company brunch but a bridge decorated with flowers and a picnic set up by their friends. Vivek then proposed on this bridge with the Toronto Skyline as a back drop. Both of us feel that while a marriage is for a couple, a wedding is for the friends and family. Each of us have lived/worked abroad for significant periods of our lives, so our guest list had a significant amount of out of towners. Although we’ve lived all over the place, we love Toronto and ultimately wanted to showcase the city. We wanted to keep some of the more traditional elements of Indian weddings that make them fun, but blended with our more modern tastes. We knew immediately we were going to need a wedding planner to help us and felt that Simmi at Biji Planners, really got our vision Our venues were all thoughtfully chosen to reflect both our tastes and the city. As some of the last of our friends to get married, we really wanted to pick some unique venues. We had chosen venues that mostly required the help of outside vendors and so having Simmi co-ordinate was key. We had 4 events over 4 days- kept our guest busy! As per tradition, the mother of the bride hosted a mehndi at her house, inviting all the close women in in the bride’s life. We kept it simple and has some really nice touches- flower jewelry which is traditional for Sindhi brides, a photo wall with pictures of all my friends and family on their wedding/mehndi days as fun reminder of what I was getting myself into! Most special to me was my outfit, which was made from my mom’s own wedding reception sari. For our Sangeet, we really wanted to keep it fun and given the venue, The Design Exchange, was a nod to Vivek’s finance background, we decided to keep it going and pay homage to his upbringing in India with a Bombay street party, a vision that was executed amazingly by Kulprit at GPS decor. Full of bright colours, Indian posters, a mix of ad’s and Bollywood lined the walls and carom boards, graffiti art and cart style food really gave the event the vibe we were looking for. Vivek and I made our entrance and immediately started the dance party with a performance of our own, choreographed by Chase at Broken Dance. Our wedding day was again a mix of traditional and modern. We incorporated a reading by our friends and our own vows into a traditional Hindu ceremony. Given the botanical setting, we opted for non- traditional flowers- instead of bouquets, I had a long wrist garland and my bridesmaids carried flower umbrellas. After the ceremony, our guests stuffed themselves on chole batura and fresh dosa’s in a north meets south Indian lunch, by Peter and Paul’s catering. Our reception at the ROM was one of the most magical nights. The setting was more beautiful than we could have imagined, thanks to Rachel Clingen and her talented team. Our friends, Monica and Sunil who were responsible for our set up, put on a skit about our first meeting. Everything from the ribbon wand entrance to Vivek surprising me with our first dance song, Ed Sheeran’s Kiss Me, also the first song we danced to, the whole night was perfect. southasianbridemagazine.com 239


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photographer // L'A telier L umiere I ntern ation al P hotographie planner + stylist // B iji P lanners ceremony decor + design // GPS D ecors reception floral + design // R achel A C lingen W edding & E vent D esign video // E leve S tudios wedding hair + mua // T he B eauty C oncept dj + av // E mpire E ntertainment enter tainment // T ino P op rentals // C hairs & T hrones cake // F ine C akes B y Z ehra catering // P eter & P aul ' s C atering and L'E at venues // T oronto B otanical G ardens , ROM southasianbridemagazine.com 243


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ROSHANI + AMAN ATLANTA, GA // REICHMAN PHOTOGRAPHY + JADE LEE EVENTS + EDGE DESIGN GROUP Our story started with a shout. At the time, we were 14-years-old, and imagined ourselves far more relevant, invincible and attractive than we actually were. We met the weekend before high school officially started and like any dutiful overachiever, we crossed paths at the pre-debate camp interest meeting. In some ways, I felt like I already knew him. He was the son of the new couple who had moved into the subdivision, and that August our whole neighborhood buzzed with curiosity. I had imagined that he would be smart and silent and utterly uninteresting. I was wrong. When I saw him, the last dregs of summer burned away any self-respecting restraint. He was cute. He was across the sidewalk. The sun shone. The wind picked up my hair. I wanted to get his attention, and I had watched too many Bollywood movies. And so, I yelled out: “HEY, YOU! I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!” This was a mistake. After many carpool rides that involved me waving over-enthusiastically and him cringing and putting in his iPod headphones, he relented…and he asked me to “go out with him.” What did that mean? I still don’t know. At the time, the only place we went to was the nearby pizza parlor that had a mango chicken roll that wouldn’t give you food poisoning. Either way, we’ve been together ever since. Nearly twelve years after that terrible shout, Aman took me to a castle in Sintra, Portugal, beside a magical labyrinth with grassy statues and infinity wells, and carvings of fairytale creatures. It was a hard trek up the castle side, but no more difficult than the walks we’d covered in our time together. We’d weathered illnesses and distance, grasped for dreams that turned out to be nightmares and hacked out career paths with nothing more than stubbornness and will. In Portugal, he asked me a question that I’d known the answer to since I was fifteen. Yes. Yes to magic and quests and castles. Yes to the start of a whole new chapter. We knew from the beginning that we wanted that fairytale enchantment for our wedding, and that led us on a hunt for venues with meaning and vendors who shared our vision. Growing up in Atlanta, we both have strong, emotional ties to the city. We attended Emory University in Atlanta; Atlanta has inspired settings in my novels and Atlanta will be our home for the next five years as Aman starts residency in orthopaedic surgery.  With the help of our brilliant wedding planner, Jade Lee at Jade Lee Events, we decided on two historically significant Atlanta landmarks: the Southern Exchange Ballrooms and the Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theatre. Aman and I knew from the beginning that we wanted a blend of modern and traditional. I grew up in a mixed-race household, with an Indian father and Filipina mother, and it was important to both of us that we celebrate those two cultures. At our sangeet the night before the wedding, the bhangra dance crew, KARMA, performed from Emory University; and rondalla and tinikling performers from the University of Georgia showcased traditional Filipino dance. Our decorator, Weddings InStyle, created a beautiful light display and used burnished bronze and golden vases to warm up the room. For our wedding ceremony, we incorporated both Hindu, Catholic and traditional Filipino elements. We wanted to celebrate the naturally beautiful setting of the Southern Exchange Ballrooms and to make use of the tall, ivory pillars and dramatic chandeliers without overwhelming them. Our decorator, Edge Design Group, crafted a mandap that seemed to grow out of the chandelier itself, blooming with huge clusters of roses, peonies and hydrangeas the color of snow. The aisle looked ethereal with lucite vases and clouded tufts of blossoms, and overhead the chandeliers appeared like strung up constellations. Our reception was held in the Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theatre, a setting both grand and magical, which spoke a lot to the fairytales and myths that inspire by books. (Plus, it made me feel like Indiana Jones if he’d broken into an ancient Egyptian crypt and found a crazy party waiting for him). Edge Design, Jade Lee Events and IndaGlow productions designed the perfect backdrop. Guests entered through an arching floral arcade brimming with white flowers. Our dancefloor looked like a slice of emerald agate. Sparkling crystal and eerie black candles glowed, and our stage featured a huge, floral tree inspired by a scene from my first novel.  For our outfits, Aman and I wore Sabyasachi for our ceremony and a bespoke tuxedo and gown for the reception. Aman’s emerald velvet tuxedo custom made by Brimble and Clark featured the Tree of Andry on the interior, the traditional symbol of orthopaedic surgeons. The tuxedo was made from 12-gauge hunter mohair velvet that was specially imported from Scotland employing a featherweight Spalla Camicia Napolitano Legere construction and fully canvased with a floating horse-hair.  My gown, custom made by Kirsten Regalado, was also emerald green, featured Swarovski crystals, extensive floral beadwork and embroidery evocative of the La Belle Epoque era inspired by the cover of my most recent novel, The Gilded Wolves. What made our wedding a true fairytale, however, was the genuine love of our extraordinary families, lively guests, dedicated vendors, and wedding planners who became extensions of family. It took nearly a year and a half to plan and execute everything to perfection, and even though the day passed by in a feverish blur of joy…we’ll never forget the people who suffused an event that was supposed to be festive, and turned it downright phenomenal.   southasianbridemagazine.com 245


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photographer // R eichman P hotography planner // J ade L ee E vents floral + decor // E dge D esign G roup sangeet decor // W eddings I nstyle video // I ris F ilms hair + mua // E rica B ogart B eauty henna // B eauty by M anisha dj + av // I ndaglow P roductions invitations // P aper D aisies cake // S weet D etails ATL catering // B hoj anic , A ffairs to R emember C aterers venues // S outhern E xchange B allrooms , F ox T heater

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photographer // H iram T rillo planner // M eant to be E vents hair // B l ushb ar , M egan G autier makeup // B l ushb ar , A manda H ern andez floral // A vant G arden F loral jewelr y // M aheen J ewels models // A n am N oor , B reann a E spin bridalwear // M u M u M andarin , R epublic W omen ’ s W ear white dress // B ridal B outique of L ewisville venue // T he O lan a


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Aladdin's photo + video + lighting // NSPGÂ @ nspgmedia planner // I n S tyle E vents @ instyle _ events decor // D reams to R eality @ dreamstorealityflorida hair + makeup // D estiny & L ight @ destinyandlightsalon andspa cake // R ose -H ill C akes @ rosehillcakes designer // A lisha ' s C reations @ alishascreationsboutique models // DJ K ris @ officialkrish & T ai

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Dazzle photographer // JSK P hotography , @ jskphotos decor // SV D esign , @ svdesignrentals hair + makeup // H & M by H arpreet , @ hmbyharpreet ) video // K sway _F ilms , @ ksway _ films models // A yla S imone (@D j aylasimone ), A nn ais (@ ann ais _ beauty )Â bridalwear // N eetu S F ashion , A mani C ollection , @N eetu _ sfashion


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AMIT + MARTIN NEW YORK, NY // CLANE GESSEL PHOTOGRAPHY + SJS EVENTS + DESIGN HOUSE DECOR Martin: 31 years old I was born and grew up in Upstate NY, went to Michigan for college and graduated with a BS in Biology & Chemistry. I recently graduated from Metropolitan College of New York with my MBA in General Management and International Business (currently job hunting).  We met through a mutual friend on Facebook almost 8 years ago.  We began talking and messaging each other on December 18, 2010 and made arrangements to meet in March 2011.  I was living in Michigan at that point still and we were communicating via Skype and Facebook everyday.  We met in person for the very first time in March 2011 at Laguardia Airport when I flew in to see him for five days.  Amit ran up behind me and gave me the biggest bear hug and I knew that was it.  Our views on politics, religion, family, money, our futures and children aligned perfectly.  At the end of the five days together, I was flying back to Michigan and was already in love.  We continued long distance when I lived in Michigan and still when I moved back to Upstate New York to finish college in the summer of 2011.  We were long distance (with Amit living in Jersey City) from 2010 until 2015 when I officially moved down to Jersey City.  I used to make the 320 mile drive (one way) every single weekend just to see him.  Amit was busy finishing up fellowship and starting his private Oncology/Hematology practice here in Jersey City, so he couldn't travel too much.  I would drive down Friday afternoon after my last class ended and drive back Upstate Sunday afternoon in order to be ready for classes on Monday morning. My family loved Amit from the very start, he was the first and only person I ever brought home to meet my family.  My parents, sister and young niece and nephew fell in love with him instantly just as I had.  My niece, Julia who is 11 and my nephew, Maxwell who is 7 love their Uncle Amit and are very excited for our wedding.  Julia is my Junior Maid of Honor and Maxwell is my Junior Best Man.  Both of my grandmothers loved Amit and his entire family from the beginning as well.  Amit's nieces will be his junior bridesmaids as well: Riya 17 and Esha 11.  We have a total wedding party of 28 people split up between the two of us and split up between the two ceremonies. The Sangeet/Garba/Henna night taking place at Current at Pier 60 on October 19th.  This will be an evening of traditional folk dancing from Amit's village in Gujurat, India.  This traditional dance will be followed by more dancing, bhangra and other Bollywood favorites.  This night will be very colorful with lots of food, drinks and dancing.  We will also have a henna artist available to give our guests custom henna of their choice. Our wedding will be large by Christian standards but small by Indian.  We are expecting about 300 people at Cipriani Wall Street on October 20th.  Our decorators, Design House Decor and our wedding planner, Sonal J. Shah have been doing an incredible job of keeping our vision alive and seeing it to fruition.  Our colors are dark purple, hot pink, dark blue and some lighter pinks; very sexy, moody, romantic with a hint of modern.  We are having both a Hindu and a Christian ceremony.  The Hindu ceremony will be performed by one of Amit's mother's cousins and the Christian ceremony will be performed by my Great Aunt Kit.  My parents will be singing one of my late grandfather's favorite hymns "In the Garden" during the Christian ceremony. Most of all, it took us 8 years to get to this point and we just want a celebration of our love, equality and two families coming together and becoming one.  We can't wait for our day. Amit: 40 years old I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Houston, TX.   I went to medical school at St. George's University School of Medicine and completed my internal medicine training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ in Newark, NJ where I also served as Chief Medical Resident.  I completed my Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Columbia St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.  Currently, I am an attending physician and partner at Hudson Hematology Oncology, LLC and am Chief of Hematology/Oncology at RWJ Barnabas Health Jersey City Medical Center.   Martin and I began our journey together almost eight years in a way that most people believe would be difficult to maintain a relationship.  We met on the internet through Facebook and lived in different states.  We have a 9 year age difference between us and I was not out to my family when we met. We began messaging, texting and calling each other which evolved into daily Skype dates for 4 months.   We met in March 2011 and fate took over.   Our love story began and we have never looked back.   When I picked Martin up at LaGuardia on that day in March, I gave him a big hug - surprising him.  That hug changed my life forever.  I knew I had found true love and I felt that I had finally found myself.    We began a long distance relationship for 4 1/2 years.  Martin moved back to upstate NY and finished his undergraduate degree.  I completed my Hematology/Oncology fellowship and opened up my private practice (with two other partners).  Martin worked full time, was a full time student and made the 6 hour (one way) drive every weekend so we could spend time together.  In that time, I was able to work (almost every weekend and without a vacation) for 2 1/2 years and build the practice.   Martin and I were finally able to live and be together in 2015 after he graduated.  These next step in our relationship could be planned — getting married — and coming out to my family.   My parents immigrated from India in the late 70s and have always (to this day) remained very traditional in their Indian roots.  Meeting Martin and finding my soulmate finally gave me the courage to be true to myself and my family.  What I had anticipated to be the worst day of my life became one of the most fulfilling and rewarding.  Martin and I flew to Texas (where my family lives) and he waited at our friends’ home while I told my parents, with my brother at my side.   My parents opened up their minds and hearts and accepted me, as well as Martin, without condition or prejudice.  The next day, my brother and sister in law had a celebration at their home.  I was there with Martin.  Together.  Free of anxiety, fear or doubt.  It has been a nonstop celebration since that time - with the most recent being a Diwali celebration at my parents home (October 2017).  My family as well as Martin’s family attended and they met for the first time.  My mom was finally able to fulfill her wish of having our Hindu engagement ceremony in their home.   I’ll end this long narrative with one last story - the one of our engagement - another fulfilling and amazing day our lives.  Martin’s parents had moved abroad to teach at an embassy school in Azerbaijan.  I remember meeting our jeweler to start the design and planning process for his ring.  I knew exactly what I had in mind and I wanted to make sure the ring would represent our relationship and Martin - not only gorgeous but unique, timeless, and one of a kind.  I messaged his mother, father and sister and asked for their permission to propose to Martin.  I spoke and sought the advice of my brother as well.  The proposal was planned on a day where his parents would be visiting.  I hired a photographer to capture the moment as I surprised Martin on Bow Bridge in Manhattan (one of the first places we visited as a couple together).


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photographer // C lane G essel P hotography planning // SJS E vents decor // D esign H ouse D ecor wardrobe // T ar un T ahiliani , R eemat D esigns , T om F ord , C hristian L ouboutin , C artier henna // R aj H enn a NYC video // U rmil D alal S tudios catering // C hef G aurav A n and dj // DJ S harad of DJ USA/44 M an agement henna // R aj H enn a NYC venue // C urrent at P ier 59, C ipriani W all S treet

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photographer // K aity B ody P hotography planning // B enish K han design // E sha D hat t - DD by E sha mua // B enish K han - G low hair // M use M akeup by S uman henna // M ub ashra A men K han florals + accessories // S atn am ’ s F loral D esign stylist // M use O f R omaicia model // A nisse G uzzardi , D an a M artel production assistant // J asmine D haliwal venue // G olden A cre H ome & G arden southasianbridemagazine.com 271


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MODERN goddesses photography // P eter N guyen S tudio creative director + production // P ree E vents makeup + hair // B eauty by L ishma Indian Bridal Attire and Jewelr y // M anshaa O bsessions Wester n Styling, Fashion Attire + Accessories // B o R oses Decor + Prop Rentals // S ynx E vents florals // 3 P rincess F lowers sitar// R onobir L ahiri lux car // R oyal E xotic C ar R ental talent // G een a S ingh venue // S treet shoot and R ooftop - DTLA


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Rajputana Royals photography // A lfaaz P hotography decor // S tarzz D ecor and D esign planning // SAWC P lanners hair + mua // L esonne B ridals wardrobe // Z ardozi C outure  video // I nfinite F ilms  venue // G rand V ictorian C onvention C entre

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photography // JSK P hotography @ jskphotos designer + jewelr y // B•ANU designs by A nu B atra @ b anudesigns planning // S onica @ sonicaaaaa hair + mua // G litz A nd G lamour S tudio @ glitz _ and _ glamour _ studio henna // N eeta /M ehndi D esigner @ mehndidesigner video // M aiyan S tudios @ maiyan _ studios models // S onica @ sonicaaaaa , A nisha @ anishakula , M anpreet @ toor . manpreet

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Profile for South Asian Bride Magazine

The Annual Edition 2019