Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?
My inspiration overall was elegant traditional with a modern twist. My husband and I were both born and raised in the United States but our parents are Indian and so we wanted to truly fuse both our Indian heritage with Western touches. For the décor I really wanted to play up the fall colors, with lots of greenery and pops of burgundy and blush. I wanted the florals and décor to feel like a secret garden that the guests had stumbled upon. We didn’t want anything too symmetrical but rather to feel organic and as though it was this overgrown garden that was still beautiful. Our ceremony was a traditional Hindu ceremony with traditional Tamil wedding live music (the musicians came from Toronto!) but we had many personal touches including writing our own vows and having our grandparents speak to say a few words at the end.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?
We had a mandap built by our decorator which is the wedding pavilion made of gold pillars and asymmetrical draping with plenty of greenery, florals and candles. For the reception we turned the mandap into a stage for the bride and groom ( and later a stage for dancing on when the reception got wild!). They added a beautiful candle backdrop that had hundreds of real tealights. It added such a romantic touch which I really wanted. We didn’t do too many DIY but the two main ones were our cardbox which my friend did lettering on with our names and the escort card wall which was 8 feet tall and built by Mahesh and I. We really loved the idea of having a unique way to display the escort cards but buying or renting was way out of our budget so we found plans for building it online and somehow made it work! It was decorated with the words “our favorite people” and paper flowers from Pottery Barn Kids.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
I really wanted a mixture of greenery and florals. My theme was an elegant secret garden and so I wanted everything to feel very organic and natural. The mandap, bridal bouquet and centerpieces all incorporated florals and greenery and I think really added to the romantic garden vibe.
Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
I surprised Mahesh with the Orioles bird at the Baraat! This was a huge hit because he really hyped up the crowd and danced with everyone. As our venue was right in front of Camden Yards I knew this would be a perfect Baltimore twist. I have been a dancer my whole life and knew I wanted to do a huge dance performance at my wedding reception with my bridal party and friends from the dance team that I was on at Brown University called Brown Badmaash. With the help of several friends we choreographed and remotely taught people a group Bollywood dance number and performed it at the reception. It was such a blast dancing with so many of my friends and Mahesh, who doesn’t have any formal dance experience but was such a good sport. The most impressive part was that we had only ever practiced in person the night before the wedding. I had friends from California to NY who learned this for us.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
For my ceremony look I knew I wanted more traditional attire. The typical Tamil bride wears a red silk saree and mine was from one of the most traditional saree stores in the south of India, RMKV. I also wore gold jewelry which is very traditional. I decided to mix things up a bit with my hair which was more modern (low, textured bun) accented with a white and green floral hairpiece. Overall I loved how I was able to combine both the Indian and American aesthetic into one look, which is who I am as a first generation Indian-American. Mahesh wore a gold Sherwani which is a more typical look for a groom from Maharashtra, which is where his family is from. I loved how the gold was accented with red accessories like his scarf and headpiece which complimented my saree well. For the evening I wanted us to switch gears and have a more modern look. I wore a lehenga, which is traditional Indian garb, but had it designed in an Ivory color as a nod to the more traditional American bride. I wanted lots of sparkle and the dress, which was made in India was covered in gold and pearl beads, all done by hand. This time, I wore my hair down in big curls, for a more glam look for the evening. Mahesh debated between a tux and suit but decided on a black suit which is more his style. However, he added a vest and a bow tie to stand out from the rest of his groomsmen. It was a very classic and timeless look. I loved that the vest had a deep red accent on the back which showed when he took off his jacket for our big dance number.
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
We met in French class in high school when we were 15. Our last names start with an S so we sat near each other and we became fast friends. He asked me to junior prom, and we went as dates. I still have the cute notes he would put in my locker back then! After graduation we went to college in different states but stayed in touch, reconnected and even did the long-distance thing for a while. We finally both ended up back in Maryland when I started medical school and the rest is history. It was the day after Thanksgiving and we had plans to hang out that afternoon. He suggested we go for a walk around Fort McHenry which is a short drive away, to burn off all the food we had eaten at Thanksgiving. It was unfortunately, the coldest day of the year so far! I knew something was up when he told me I should probably change into something else (I was wearing sweatpants). We first drove to a favorite local coffee shop to grab warm drinks. On our way to the park, I noticed he was driving fast, and hitting all the potholes which was causing me to spill coffee everywhere. I didn’t realize we were late for something! We started walking around the park, he told me later I was walking really fast (because I was so cold!). Eventually when we were in front of the Chesapeake Bay he pulled me over onto the grass and dropped to one knee. He said many lovely things and pulled out the ring. Meanwhile his 2 best friends were hiding and taking photos of the whole thing! They even had some hot chocolate and a blanket waiting for us. The cherry on the cake was a surprise party he arranged with both our families and close friends at a local restaurant. I was actually so surprised and it was wonderful celebrating with everyone immediately afterwards!
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
Walking down the aisle with both my parents was such a special moment. We had a huge aisle that was elevated like a runway and it honestly made the moment even more dramatic. I remember seeing Mahesh’s face and seeing tears in his eyes. He is NOT someone who cries easily so this was a special moment.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
Spend your time on what is important to you. I knew that dancing was something that I loved and wanted it to be a part of my wedding. I probably spent more time choreographing and practicing our group dance than I did doing other things for the wedding, but it is also a moment that I will remember forever! Also, take ballroom dance lessons with our partner. Both of us loved this because it gave us an activity to do together that was fun and not making spreadsheets or seating charts. It was a built-in date night to what may otherwise be a time in your life that is consumed by wedding tasks. We are talking about continuing some classes now even though the wedding is done! Finally, if you can have a casual event the night before your wedding, do it! We invited all of our friends to a local brewery for dinner and drinks the night before and it was nice to actually have a few minutes to talk to people and catch up before the craziness of the wedding day. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support. I am so thankful that our family and friends traveled all the way across the world to celebrate with us. For us, planning the wedding was so worth it to bring all of the people from every part of our life together for one night.