Happy Filmy Friday, Maharanis! Today's first wedding film is from the Windy City and has all the sweetness you'll need to start your day right! This cinematic gem comes to us from HWu Studios and features great highlights from the baraat, ceremony and reception, plus some great floral and decor details by Poonam Creations. Check it out now!

The bride on how she met her Raja:

"Kav and I met in a physical chemistry course at Loyola University Chicago back in our pre-med days (over eight years ago!). I was an over-eager front-row student and he was definitely the opposite. On the first day of this notoriously difficult course, I was running late and ended up taking the seat next to the quiet Indian boy in the back row. Kav is the soft-spoken, studious type so it took some time to get to know the person sitting next to me that semester. We started out as study buddies and eventually became the best of friends before deciding to make our relationship official in December of 2006! It has truly been an amazing adventure ever since. Although we were long-distance while we both completed medical school in different states, we grew closer with each passing year."

On her wedding style:

"When we started discussing our wedding, Kav and I agreed that we would have a fairly traditional ceremony as it was important to us to honor our parents and our heritage. However, I also wanted to infuse our own character into the wedding reception to give it a more personal feel. Because we knew most of our budget would be going towards the venue and catering for the large South Asian wedding we were having, Kav and I were our own (amateur) wedding planners. It was quite the task for a 4th year medical student and 1st year resident with extremely busy schedules, but we were very pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out (thanks, in large part, to our amazing friends and family members, as well as our decorator!).

As we planned for the big day, I made it a point to focus on the details that would allow us to share our story with our guests without breaking the bank. I was going for elegant and modern with a touch of whimsy and, above all else, personal. We chose a deep purple and gold color palette with pops of red and maroon to blend our modern vision with the traditional Indian wedding colors. This was executed beautifully by our decorator, Poonam, who worked with us to design a stunning mandap that was ethereal and just perfect for the tented Lakeside Pavilion where our ceremony was held. Because we maintained the same color scheme for both the ceremony and reception, we were successfully able to reuse the beautiful floral arrangements from the ceremony as our centerpieces for the guest and sweetheart tables at the reception. To set a romantic tone for the evening, we had candlelight and rose petals on every table as well as a gold arch-shaped backdrop with hanging votive candles behind the sweetheart and cake tables. It was truly breathtaking.

In the spirit of infusing our love and our story into the details of the day, each of our table numbers included a memory, story, or a fact associated with the number of the table. For example, "Table 6: The number of hours it would take to drive from K's family's village in India to A's family's village in India (Buhari to Unjha)." This was a fun way to reminisce about old memories and also share new things with all of our guests. For our cake, we asked the pastry chef to decorate each tier with memorable words that Kav and I came up with. These words ranged from our favorite restaurant to the place that we met, and everything in between. Not only was this a great opportunity for Kav and I to reflect on our relationship, the final result was beautiful, unique, and of course, delicious (it was a yellow and chocolate cake with a raspberry filling served a la mode with coconut gelato ... yum!). We also included a "Rx for Happy Married Life" guestbook and "Just What the Doctors Ordered" signature cocktails to tie in our careers in medicine. Finally, because Kav and I both come from large extended families with many children, we created a wedding activity book for our younger guests. This was a lot of fun to put together and, to this day, we continue to receive positive comments about the activity books from our guests. I truly feel that the personal touches that we injected into the day were some of the most memorable features of the wedding."

On selecting her lengha:

"I am absolutely in love with my wedding ceremony lengha! It is actually a combination of two different lenghas that I discovered while shopping at the Indian bridal boutiques in Chicago. All I really knew when starting to browse for bridal wear was that I wanted a deeper red color with primarily gold and champagne tones as opposed to bright red and white. My sister was the one who noticed the original lengha in the store while pre-shopping with my parents while I was focused on medical school graduation and residency. She put it on a list of top contenders and, after shopping for what felt like a million hours and trying on what felt like 50+ lenghas, I went right back to her pick. The final product was custom-made in India and came out perfectly!"

On her most memorable wedding day moment:

"I have so many favorite moments from our wedding day and for that I am truly blessed! One of these moments was our first dance as husband and wife. We danced to a live, acoustic version of "The Best Thing" performed by my bridesmaid Jessie and Kav's groomsman, Chris. Jessie actually introduced me to the song in college, saying that it reminded her of me and Kav. The original is a fast-paced rock song by Relient K, but Jessie's amazing vocals and Chris at the guitar made it the soft and sweet first dance song I had always imagined. It was amazing to be able to incorporate our friends into the wedding in such an incredible way and we are so honored that they were both willing to perform in front of over 400 people for us!

Another one of my favorite moments was leading up to the wedding-- I was always on the lookout for an opportunity to wear a white wedding dress but I knew I would not be able to for the official Indian wedding festivities since we wanted to maintain the traditional colors and dresses for those events. I decided to surprise Kav by purchasing a really fun tea-length wedding dress to wear to our marriage license signing at the local courthouse. Our photographer, Suzy, graciously offered to document that milestone for us and my sister and two of my closest friends were also present, making it all the more special."

Check back soon for more wedding film fun!

Cinematography: HWu Studios | Venue/Cakes & Treats: The Stonegate | Catering: India HouseDJs & Entertainment: DJ Prashant Shah | Baraat: Maharaja Farm |