We absolutely love sunny SoCal weddings, and knew we were in for a treat when we received Ankita and Varun’s wedding film created by Aaroneye Photography. This cinematic masterpiece was positively bursting with pizzazz, and we were so impressed with the beauty present in every frame. Gorgeous Maharani Ankita was a vision in her gold and cream sari, and we adored her perfect updo and dreamy makeup created by Beauty by Lishma. The energy from the couple’s baraat was infectious, with Maharaja Varun dancing to his heart’s delight to wild dhol beats by 3D Sounds. Did we mention Varun’s mode of transportation? He made his grand baraat entrance in a Jurassic Park jeep. So cool! As guests made their way inside the Marriott Anaheim venue, a romantic red mandap by Sheer Romance greeted them. Ankita made her dazzling ceremony entrance where she was greeting by a beaming Varun. After the gorgeous ceremony, the couple were whisked away to prepare for their reception soiree. For the reception, Sheer Romance decked out the space in shades of white and midnight blue, creating a sophisticated ambiance. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the newlyweds performed their first dance. The mood shifted to one of utter ecstasy when 3D Sounds took center stage, and the couple and their guests took over the dance floor to perform their flashiest Bollywood moves! Maharanis, hit play to watch this action packed wedding clip! And read all the behind the scenes deets in our interview with Maharani Ankita below.
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
My very first recollection of my now husband, Varun, is from our first year in college at UC Irvine. I was walking to my dorm coming from class and from way across the parking lot, I remember seeing a guy. That is probably the furthest possible memory I have of actually seeing him. We usually only crossed paths during the UCI culture show time and I knew him as “the-really-good-dancer-who genuinely-appreciates-classical-Indian-dance." I also definitely remember he had a mohawk at some point and I was secretly impressed (but don’t tell Varun). Towards the end of college we started hanging around together as some of our mutual friends were crossing paths. Varun was (and still is) a guy with a lot of positive energy and someone I could truly bond with over our passions for dance, music, and all kinds of random topics.
Over time Varun and I discovered how closely our paths had crossed throughout our lives. It turns out that Varun and I performed at the same culture show back in high school, but (again) never met! Not only had we unknowingly crossed paths multiple times, but we found that we share so many common interests. We love all things 90s from TV shows to video games to movies. We share a huge love for music, so we went to just about every possible concert we could attend together, and we also absolutely love anything Disney. However, the biggest thing we share is our connection to our family and to our heritage. When I met his family for the first time and when he met my family for the first time, that’s when I really knew I was in love.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Towards the end of 2015 I had this inkling that he may propose to me - just maybe pop that question. I tried not to investigate too much, but my curiosity got the best of me. A weekend came up where Varun said we were going to a nice dinner at Disneyland that we had been planning for some time as our annual passes were to expire soon. The only caveat was he was super stuck on going to Newport Beach first. I had ZERO desire to go to the beach because the weather at the time was horrendous (in terms of California weather of course) and I just really wanted to go to this dinner! I lived with my brother and sister-in-law at the time and they were both saying they wanted to meet us and some out of town friends in Newport to hang out, but were kind of being fishy. I was picking up on some cues from my family and started playing devil’s advocate asking what everyone’s plans were. No one spilled any beans, but as soon as Varun picked me up to go to dinner, I just knew. But I had no idea about the beautiful and thoughtful ring he and my sister-in-law designed for me. I had no idea how gorgeous the Newport Beach pier would look that day. I had no idea that both our families were waiting at the restaurant where Varun and I had our first date together. And I also had no idea that all our close friends were waiting at another restaurant nearby to surprise me. It was a truly surreal and special day to share with all the people closest to us and for Varun and I to start our journey together.
Tell us how you went about planning your wedding, and your overall experience with the Venues, Hair & Makeup, Outfits, Decor Theme, and all of the other important details.
Varun and I had a really fun time planning our wedding! It was the first big thing we ever worked on together with ourselves and with our family. Apart from the morning wedding and evening reception, we also decided on having a mehndi night and a brunch-time Sangeet. Varun and I both knew we wanted to make the events leading up to the wedding day and the wedding day itself feel as personal to our guests as possible. We saw from weddings we had attended that the bride and groom often don't get to spend a lot of one on one personal time with each of their guests, so we added little quirks throughout the wedding events wherever we could to make sure we were still a part of everything. One of my favorite details is Varun's baraat entrance ride: a Jurassic Park jeep! We also added some personal touches at our reception with custom coasters asking guests to 'Dance with us!' or telling them 'We love you!' and gave each table a unique name of things both Varun and I love such as Star Wars, Taco Bell, and Rush Hour to name a few. We were so happy with the vendors we chose because they felt just like family to us. All our vendors were an absolute pleasure to work with - helping us along the way, answering any of our thousands of questions, and just being plain awesome!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I never thought heavily about my wedding before I was engaged because I always wanted to save all that excitement for when it actually happened and plan it hand in hand with my fiance. But I did always have a thought in my mind that I wanted to be married in a traditional Assamese bridal mekhela chador. A mekhela chador is the traditional outfit from Assam that looks similar to a sari, but has 2 separate pieces of cloth instead of the 1 long piece of cloth that is the sari. A bridal mekhela chador is usually a silk ivory-beige color with heavy woven gold thread work in a 'king khap' design, which is a traditional Assamese emblem patterned design. My mom and I picked out my bridal mekhela chador in Assam and brought it down to Chennai where Varun and his mom were searching for his groom outfit. Varun thought similarly to me and had wanted to be married in a traditional Tamil groom outfit of a silk panchakacham (a Tamil Brahmin style dhoti). The groom outfit Varun picked had a gold hued base color with a red border and gold work which he matched with a red silk shirt. When we put the outfits next to each other, we felt like something was missing to tie the two traditional outfits together. So my mother-in-law, mom, and I decided to add some hand-work to my bridal mekhela chador by adding gold zari, red stones, and red thread to the king khap patterns of the outfit. We all had no idea how it would turn out, but the mekhla chador ended up being absolutely gorgeous and totally one of a kind!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The best part of planning our wedding together was learning about our two cultures. I am from the northeast Indian state of Assam and Varun is from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, so we are from the extreme north and south ends of India! We both wanted to have traditional elements from both our cultures during the wedding so we can truly blend ourselves together. That's actually where our hashtag stemmed from; we blended what people from Chennai are called (Madrassi) with what people from Assam are called (Assamese) to create MadrAssamese! The next best thing was working on our individual surprises we had for each other and executing on those surprises. Both of us secretly created a dance to surprise the other with at our Sangeet. With the help of my classical Kathak dance girls we choreographed a Kathak piece to the tune of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, which happens to be Varun's favorite artist. Varun was definitely thrilled, but his surprise for me was the best. He created a compilation of all our favorite songs from Bollywood to Disney and danced out a full on freestyle solo! It was super fun to surprise each other through our forms of dance and have our closest friends and family share in that surprise as well.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our split in guests of our wedding was pretty 50/50 when it came to Varun's side and my side, which meant half the people at our wedding hadn't experienced many Assamese traditions and the other half hadn't experienced many Tamil traditions. There is also the percentage of folks who hadn't experienced any type of Indian wedding, which was all the more exciting for them! Our guests definitely got the best of both Assamese and Tamil worlds through our wedding. From the Assamese Juroon ceremony for the bride (where the groom's mother and ladies of his family welcome the bride to their family) to the very special moment during the wedding ceremony of tying the traditional Tamil thirumangalyam (mangalsutra) on the bride, our guests were able to experience a lot of new culture. One of the best ways we were able to display our two states was through our bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits. We wanted our 10 bridesmaids in traditional Assamese silk mekhela chadors and our 10 groomsmen in silk shirts and veshtis (Tamil dhotis). It seemed like an impossible task as it is so difficult to find 10 of the same colored silk mekhela chadors in Assam and then match it back to another type of silk from Chennai! After some super shopping by Varun, myself and our moms, we ended up with exactly what we were looking for and our bridesmaids and groomsmen looked totally awesome. Varun and I felt so much love from all our guests during our wedding that we hope our guests felt the same, if not more, love from us as well!
Thank you Ankita! Have a wonderful Monday Maharanis. We'll see you bright and early tomorrow with another gorg wedding film.