Happy Friday, lovelies! The weekend is just around the corner! But before you slide on your shades and head to the beach for some well-deserved R&R, join me for a Platinum-studded soiree that takes top-tier elegance to new heights! East West Productions is sweeping us off our feet and into a wonderland of loveliness courtesy of the planning and design divas at Envi Event Planning and the floral and decor phenoms at Sarah Khan Event Styling. Guests not only get a feast for their eyes (this is luxury at its best!), they also get to indulge in an array of delectable treats from IndAroma—delish! While Nadia D Photography captures every moment on film (if you missed the photography feature, check it out here!), Hair by Shana Dee ensures Maharani Anika is dream-come-true dazzling with sensational hair and makeup. This wedding has all the touches of a traditional event plus a ton of extra lavish contemporary details that set it apart as a truly lustrous affair! It's got to be one of my faves!
From the bride: "I knew he was the 'the one' the second time we hung out; he was able to spend an entire weekend with me and ten other girls from my team during a competition weekend. A guy who can handle that much estrogen is definitely a keeper :) He went out of his way to get to know me and my friends, and that earned him some major points!
So my finance surprised me by flying from LA to DC during the holidays and proposed to me at the W Hotel rooftop in DC. It was magical being in DC, on the rooftop where you can see the entire cityscape. He had quite a story having to hide in the employee coat closet to keep me from spotting him as I made my way up to the lounge where he’d arranged to have my friends and cousins for a ‘holiday party.’ He then planned to have my parents surprise me (again!) by showing up at the hotel and whisking us all away for a fabulous dinner. I'm still surprised he was able to pull it all off without me knowing a thing!
I think when I sat down to design the overall aesthetics, I knew I wanted to keep each event completely separate. I didn't want it to seem like my guests were showing up to the same event over and over again. So with that in mind, I made sure to select four different venues for all the events with a completely different aesthetic.
Our Sangeet was held at a country club and I wanted to create a really old-school Punjabi vibe for this event, but keeping it polished and elegant. We served traditional Punjabi cuisine that's typical along the border/frontier regions where my dad's from. We played only old-school Punjabi music, my Giddha team performed and provided traditional sweet to everyone, and we had a mendhi artist on hand.
Our next event was a very small family event that was held at Top of the Town, which has panoramic views of all of DC. Given that this was a daytime event, we kept the aesthetic really light with lots of peach/gold and vintage accents. We served a high tea menu complete with small pastries, tea sandwiches, teas/coffees.
Our wedding was held at the Gurdwara and I kept the ceremony as the focus along with florals. My event designer was able to create a gorgeous floral and shattered mirror work back group for us to place inside the prayer hall. She also created really lush, gorgeous bouquets for the bridal party. Our getaway car was a really lovely white vintage Rolls Royce.
I wanted to end all of our events on a high note with a really elegant reception. We had a saxophone player during cocktail hour and served some amazing fusion appetizers along with our signature cocktail. The aesthetic for the reception was very sleek, modern and almost minimalist. I wasn't interested in having really ornate over the top centerpieces. We instead wanted to keep the focus on the amazing chandelier our venue had and highlight it with a color wash in the hall.
I think I enjoyed hearing all about my guests' enthusiasm, my family brimming with joy and being able to bring everyone together from all over the world to celebrate with us. Being a planner myself, I kept myself very organized so that the events would run smoothly and that I could fully enjoy the moment.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Vogue Wedding show in Delhi and meet with some fabulous designers such as Abu Jani/Sandeep Kholsa, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi.
I was able to work with a designer for my reception outfit, but decided to sketch out my own design for the wedding and sangeet. Each of my outfits were custom made, so there was a lot of nervousness leading up to the wedding as to how they’d turn out. I was very fortunate to work with some great designers who were able to execute my vision!
The wedding was the one event, where from the beginning, I knew EXACTLY how I wanted myself and the groom to look. I had done a lot of research on old vintage Punjabi brides and I wanted to evoke the feeling of seeing something your Grandmother would have worn- but updated for today. I had my jewelry custom made first and then went on to select garments. I am also a big supporter of the Indian artisan and so I made sure to have all my outfits made with a different type of embroidery style. For the wedding, it was the traditional Punjabi gota-patti embroidery. For the sangeet, my outfit was made in Jaipur using a very intricate zari hand embroidery.
The reception was the event where I wanted to steer away from a traditional Indian look and give a nod to my American upbringing. It had a tone on tone look with all thread work embroidery and crystals.
There was so much love and amazing energy at all our events that I was just focused on trying to take it all in. But I do remember a point right after the wedding, during the doli where my dad hugged me and wouldn't let go of me as I tried to pull away and get into our car...I think that’s the moment where it all hit me—that, wow, I’m married now.
Another moment that was really special was at the reception. As our childhood pictures slideshow was running, a few of my husband's friends (guys!) started to tear up. Looking over at them as they teared up helped me realize what a great bond they all had growing up together.
Our first song was 'Sweetest Love' by Robin Thicke and we chose it because the lyrics most clearly echoed our feelings for each other:
Why do people smile when no one's smiling?
It's cause their thinking of someone they're loving
Keep on believing we are meant to be and
Nothing's stopping you and me from going to heaven.
I definitely had a style and look in mind and was able to work with my hair and makeup artists to execute them perfectly! The one thing I shied away from was doing anything too trendy. I didn't want to look back at my pictures and gasp saying “what was I thinking”! So I kept things really classic, simple, and elegant.
My mom was really instrumental in helping me with the décor/aesthetics and my bridal trousseau.
I also have to commend my cousins and brother for being at my beck and call the entire time. Anything I asked for, they were ready to deliver.
My husband was a part of a Bhangra team and I was on a Giddha team, so we were fortunate to have our respective team remembers choreography special dance performances just for us!
There’s so many details and I really tried to make sure I added my own personal touch to them all. I think one of the biggest hits was a cartoon we had made for our Save The Date magnets—I stumbled upon a really great vendor on Etsy who made it for me. Throughout the wedding, that was sort of our ‘logo.’ Our wedding favors we’re customized M&M’s that had the same image on them too.
We provided fresh floral gajra at the sangeet (something my mom insisted on).
We had a really elaborate dessert bar at the reception for our guests to enjoy. Our caterer really went above and beyond and really made each event stand out. Most of our guests didn’t’ even know we’d used just one caterer for all the events because he was able to make everything stand out so well, we didn’t repeat a single dish!
And I think I mentioned it earlier, but I’m a huge jewelry fan so for me, that almost took priority over my outfits. I worked with three different jewelers to design them all myself. Again, nothing was sort of picked up off the rack which made for a lot of work on my end, but I’m really happy that I did that so my personal touch is evident in it all :)"
Come back soon for another Film-y Friday feature!