Just like the name of the city implies, this fusion Indian wedding was soft and sultry with hints of spicy piquancy! Naveda Couture designer Amy Devan became drunk in love after a chance encounter with her Maharaja Ben in a bar that sparked their love story. Interestingly enough, the couple had crossed paths at a wedding a few years prior to that fateful night! But, it didn’t take long for the pair to come to the same realization: They were meant to be. Even though Amy is a hard lady to surprise, Ben still managed to manifest a shocking proposal. Surrounded by their closest family and friends, he tucked away a precious wedding ring for his future to find in a box at the Escape the Room Philly; forever sealing the couple’s fate. Maharani Amy had a trifecta celebration that started with a colorful sangeet night at the Pinecrest Country Club captured on film by Nathaniel Dodson. Amy’s wedding day started off with the preparation of the bride. Jasmin Rahman created a stunning bride with glowing skin and bold, crimson lips that was an excellent complimenting look to the bride's red, lacy bridal lengha. Amy’s wedding attire was a nod to her own mother as this Maharani wanted to recreate the way her mother looked on her wedding day; classic and traditional. Planning a wedding itself is a daunting task, but, volunteering as tribute as a designer for every event (sangeet, mehndi, batna, both the Hindu and Christian ceremonies, and reception) is most certainly a victory here at Maharani Weddings! Amy owns her very own fashion line and designed all of her wedding attire alongside hand crafting her bridesmaid’s bridal wear from her fashion boutique, Naveda. Bridal jewelry from Samreen Vance was on point; the bold statement of the oversized gold choker did not miss a beat! The Hindu ceremony was held at The Merion with a floral mandap designed by Elegant Affairs that was breathtaking. We love when we get a wedding affair designed by this stellar floral and decor company; we have yet to see a mandap we don’t love! The theme of the night reflected a romantic setup on the veins of an enchanted secret garden. After the ceremony, guests dined on delectable cuisine from Moghul. Head into the gallery for a superabundance amount of images captured on camera by House of Talent Studios who also filmed the wedding and reception event. Want to know the deets yourself? Head down below for the full lowdown (in detail!) from the designer bride herself!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
We actually met at a bar -- LOL! I guess meeting someone at a bar can work sometimes, and in our case it definitely did. We both happened to be out one night (me with one of my best friends, Neha, on a little girl’s night just us two, and Ben was out celebrating his cousin's engagement). We each were out for different reasons, and meeting someone was not the plan whatsoever. It's interesting how life works actually...when the timing makes sense, the universe figures out a way to connect people. Years prior to Ben and I meeting, we both happened to be at the same wedding --- the groom was a college friend of mine and also happened to be Ben's first cousin! Though we were both at the wedding, Ben and I never met that day.
Fast forward to that night out years later, and it was just meant to be! We each noticed one another right away, but were a little nervous to approach the other. Well, leave it to my outgoing, amazing friend, Neha to play wing woman! She figured out a way to get us standing next to each other and talking....and the rest is history! Ben and I became instant friends (there was attraction of course, but we took things slow). As several months after that night passed, our friendship sort of naturally evolved into a relationship... we just fit into each other’s' lives. There was no formal transition from friendship to something more --- I suppose it was just destiny waving its magic wand or something, creating a path for us.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Ben proposed to me at Escape the Room Philly, amongst our close friends, siblings and cousins. It was perfect and full of love! It's incredibly hard to surprise me, and so the only way was to secretly set up the proposal into a fun activity so I would least expect it. Months before the proposal, he began planning the big day with our friends and family, arranging for everyone to be in town and to casually be part of our Escape the Room adventure. I had no clue! I had been wanting to go to Escape the Room (it was brand new to Philly at the time), and had been telling Ben we should go! He kept saying, "yeah, yeah, we'll go one day." And so, one weekend when our friends and family "happened to be in town," Ben suggested we go to Escape the Room...I was game for it, just thinking it would be something fun to do with everyone while they were in town.
If you're not familiar with Escape the Room, essentially you (as a group) are locked into a room where you have to collectively find clues to get out. In our case, Ben and our family/friends already knew the clues and planned it so that I would be the one to find the very last clue...that last clue led me to a lock combination for a little box. When I figured out the combination, I heard music start to play and suddenly everyone was taking steps away from me while Ben was coming closer to me....I still had no idea what was happening (I just wanted us to win the game and didn't know why everyone was getting distracted). Well, inside that little box was the ring....and right before me, was Ben on one knee. He asked me to marry him right there, in this little room filled with the people we love!
(PS: The whole lock-and-key concept from our proposal became the center for our wedding theme ....an enchanted secret garden.)
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Given what I do for a living, I designed and styled my own wedding looks...and actually that of my Mom and bridesmaids as well. All in all, I worked on 15+ looks.
For the Sangeet, I wanted to hint at the theme of the wedding (secret garden), and so I incorporated an all-over floral and vine motif into the embroidery on my 3-piece lehenga (choli, lehenga and long jacket). My team and I even worked little garden birds into the embroidery pattern. It was beautifully done and made me feel so regal. We kept the color palette in rich, earthy tones versus pastel, garden-like tones so as not to give too much away in terms of the theme of the wedding.
For our Hindu ceremony, I honestly just wanted to look like my Mom on her wedding day ....classic and elegant. I'm not a girl that loves a ton of bling, and so my wedding lehenga was a bold crimson color with all-over threadwork (no beading, no crystals). This old Bollywood-glam look was simplistic with vintage appeal.
For the Christian ceremony, I wanted to wear a gown but wanted the overall look to reflect soft-glamour, if that makes any sense. The vintage vibe was definitely carried through in this look....I kept the sleeves long, made the gown as a two-piece so I have the option to wear later styled in a different way (when paired together, the two-pieces looked like a trumpet silhouette gown). I chose not to wear all white and instead majority of the gown was in a dusty rose color with ivory micro-pearls intricately hand-beaded throughout the gown. I loved the finished product....it was just so effortlessly-elegant, and I have my extended NAVEDA team to thank for all their hard work.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
I would say working on the artistic portions of the wedding --- the fashion and of course the décor (which I worked with Elegant Affairs). Both the fashion/styling and the ambiance/décor worked hand in hand...each complimenting one another, and together creating a visual story.
My hat goes off to Elegant Affairs for working to create the perfect setting for each event, based on what I would be wearing and the overall vision I had. For the Sangeet, given what I wanted to do, Shobha Aunty from Elegant Affairs created a magical bazaar set up, complete with a boutique as the stage for where Ben and I sat. The boutique had beautifully draped silk, vintage chandeliers, beautiful rugs, hookahs, mirrors, and shelves for "merchandise." The "merchandise" was actually individually wrapped gifts for our guests...as traditionally given at a Sangeet. My bridesmaids played shop keepers and made sure every guest walked away with a gift, and managed the boutique. It really looked like an old world buzzing bazaar in royal India. It was gorgeous.
For the wedding day itself, the décor (and fashion) was all about the enchanted secret garden theme. Our venue, The Merion, has a beautiful Skylight Ballroom which was the perfect backdrop for the Hindu ceremony. Our mandap was filled with flowers literally appearing to reach the clouds. We also had rod iron gates, old fashioned lamp posts, and imported Chantilly lace draped for a vintage-garden look. It was serene and everything I could have imagined as a bride (and more).
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
I think the art and passion behind it all was so evident, that it couldn't be missed. Beyond that, and most important, was the real feeling of love throughout the wedding week....and I think (I hope) that's what our guests enjoyed most.
Though Ben and I are both Indian, our families come from two entirely different faiths, languages, traditions and culture. The wedding, and our union, was and is hopefully representative of how two seemingly very different people/families can in fact come together as one. We tried to reflect this meshing of two worlds as much as we could throughout the wedding. As an example, during the reception (just before Ben and my entrance into the reception hall), we had a pre-recorded letter from Ben and I played allowed for our family and guests. It was a letter addressed to everyone in the room, thanking them for their love and support throughout our union -- each paragraph was first read in my voice (in Hindi) and then in Ben's voice (in English). It was magical... and from what we heard later, left our guests in awe. We just wanted to show them how much we truly value each and every one of them.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Yes, so many! The one that stands out is Ben singing me down the aisle at our Christian ceremony. It was surreal! He sang "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flats as my Dad and I walked down the aisle. In that moment, I realized how very lucky I am that life chose Ben and I for each other...it was just such a breathtaking moment. I didn't cry then because in all honestly I was worried about messing up my makeup (credit goes to my amazing MUA, Jasmin Rahman), but as I type this and every single time I think of this moment, I get choked up. I'll never forget that and how it made me feel as I walked down the aisle hearing Ben's voice singing to me, I felt like time stood still and it was just us. Cheesy as that may sound, it was by far the best part of the wedding for me.
We return for the Christian Ceremony with the bride exchanging her traditional Indian lengha for a one of a kind white dress designed by Naveda Couture. See you in a bit, dolls!