In this post, we’ll be taking you into Megha and Akshay’s chic reception at the Hempstead House, which served as a mansion for the Guggenheim family in the past. The opulent venue consists of over 40 rooms and is a treasure trove of artwork and furnishings. Elite Events Management and Elegant Affairs did a fabulous job in creating summery decor concepts for the reception event, including oodles of white tulips, fairy lights, and candles. And we wish we could reach into the screen and grab a slice of the couple’s delectable looking cake by The Sweet Peace, which featured four tiers, white frosting, and rainbow sprinkles. Yum! Fashionista Megha’s lehenga was a stunning blend of green and marigold and perfectly matched the tone of the airy celebration. As the sun set, the couple’s nearest and dearest put on a sentimental reception program, followed by a feast catered by Tandoor & Co. - Vinnie Kumar. To cap off the night, DJ Suhel set up shop and brought the house down with his Bollywood jams. The dance floor was rocking all night long as guests celebrated Megha and Akshay’s new journey as husband and wife! Hurry over to the complete gallery for chic and breezy photos by Caroline Petters with Katie Osgood Photography. For more fabulous deets, scroll below for our interview with Maharani Megha!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Akshay and I met in the typical modern way: online through the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. I knew he was the one about a month into dating. I was working another late night at the office, having to miss a dear friend's birthday dinner and frustrated with the lack of progress with my ongoing job search. He told me the story of his favorite book. Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", and encouraged me to have faith in myself and in the future. I felt completely at ease after that talk. Even now, his ability to calm me down when I feel anxious and stressed out is one of the qualities I value most in him.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
My sister planned a fabulous girls day for us - lunch at Untitled, followed by a visit to the new Whitney Museum in Chelsea. We worked our way up through five floors of American art. When we reached the top floor, I was surprised to see Akshay waiting for us, wearing his navy blue suit. He took my hand and proposed on one of the Whitney's beautiful balconies.
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.
I have always been inspired by all things traditional when it comes to my Indian heritage. I wanted to incorporate the traditional details of weddings in India: lots of marigolds, jasmine, hues of reds, oranges and pinks, classical Indian music and of course, a palatial setting. Since I wasn't going to find a Rajasthani palace anywhere close by, I settled for the next best thing: the Hempstead House, an old mansion on the North shore of Long Island, overlooking the Long Island Sound. The house had at one time served as the summer home for the Guggenheim family. The interior of the house had many architectural details which reminded me of palaces in India, and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful venue.
My desire to stick close to Indian tradition inspired almost every decision for the wedding ceremony. The mandap was adorned with thousands of fresh marigolds and burlap hand-painted by an artist in India. Guests were served peda, a traditional Indian sweet, as they entered. Classical shehnai music played throughout the ceremony.
For the reception, we went for a modern look. To contrast with the bright colors from the morning's ceremony, the reception decor was all white. The reception took place in a tent in the garden behind the house, overlooking the water. We used string lights, candles, white Moroccan lanterns and of course, a ton of fresh white flowers - roses, tulips, lilies and more - for the centerpieces.
For hair and makeup, like many brides, I wanted it to be simple and not over the top. My hair and make-up artist, Sonia C, helped to create a distinct look for each event - a bold lip for the garba, a soft and natural look for the wedding ceremony, and dramatic smoky eyes for the reception. She did a great job of listening to what I wanted, while also pushing me to try out new looks that were out of my comfort zone.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
My wedding outfit was one area where I veered from tradition. Instead of red, I wore a white lengha inspired by the work of Sabyasachi Mukherjee, my favorite Indian designer. Instead of a bouquet, I draped strings of jasmine around my arm.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The BEST part of the planning process was working with family and friends, near and far, who all chipped in to make sure the event was as fabulous as we had envisioned. Indian weddings are not really about the couple, but about two families coming together - and we were very lucky to have the help and support of so many great friends and family.
The EASIEST part of the wedding planning was by far the cake tasting! We opted for a modern confetti cake with vanilla frosting.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Guests definitely appreciated the beauty and uniqueness of the venue. I think they also appreciated the intimate size of the events. We had about 230 guests (which is relatively small for Indian weddings!), so guests felt they could mingle with one another without feeling overcrowded. They also loved the music at the reception and danced until we were kicked out! Music is very important to us, and Akshay and I worked closely with DJ Suhel to come up with the perfect playlist for the cocktail hour and reception. Guests also loved the cake. People went back for seconds and thirds, and were raving about it even weeks after.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Everyone says this, but you spend a year planning your wedding, and it all goes by so quickly! I tried as hard as I could to soak in every moment. The whole weekend was just such a blast, but also a blur! I do remember the moment I was walking down the aisle about to enter the mandap. I was taken back by how beautiful the room looked. But even more than the decor, it was such an awesome feeling to look around and see almost everyone that is near and dear to our hearts, from different stages of our lives, all in one room to share in our joy. It was the most perfect way to start our life as a married couple.
For events other than your ceremony, please tell us as much as you would like about the decor, style, dances, and all the special details.
For the garba, we stuck to Gujarati tradition for the decor. My mom is very crafty, and she (with some help from her friends) created huge panels meant to look like traditional clay walls you would find in typical Gujarati villages. We all love garba in my family, so it was important that guests actually danced, and we encouraged all of our guests, even the non-desis, to partake in a round or two. We had several dance performances during the garba - one from Akshay's side, one from my side, one with our friends, and then a surprise dance performance by my mom! Her dance was so amazing because not only did she ROCK IT, but I just couldn't believe she managed to pull it off on top of all the other wedding craziness.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
We were definitely on a budget, as I assume most brides are. While I had many ideas for how I wanted every detail of our wedding to be, my most important concern was that we stick to our budget. My biggest piece of advice is to pick a few areas that are important to you - whether it be your outfits, decor, photography, whatever - and spend money there. Make cuts in the areas that are less important. Also, planning an Indian wedding is really about the families, not just the bride and groom. This is a great thing, but can also lead to a lot of friction during the planning process, as everyone has their own idea of how things should go. Pick things that are important to you as a couple, stick to your guns on those items, and let the other stuff go.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
Jewelry was another detail that was very important to me. But for most of the events, instead of buying new jewelry, I opted to wear family heirlooms. In this way, I felt that an important part of my family history was incorporated with every look. For the pithi, I wore a gold hair pin that was owned by my grandmother. For the garba and wedding ceremony, I wore my mom's jewelry that she had collected or inherited over the years. Even Akshay wore a ring during the ceremony that was given to my dad by my grandfather. To me, this was a very special way to honor the memory of my dad and grandparents.
As most Indian couples know, the wedding is really all about what the bride wants - but there is one area that is the domain of the groom: the baraat. Akshay has always loved classic American cars. He knew that's what he wanted for his baraat. After searching near and far, Akshay found a classic car collector who let us use his 1957 Ford Thunderbird for the occasion. It was the perfect touch.
Thanks Megha! Have a wonderful evening Maharanis.