We arrive at the Hyatt Regency Reston as Puja and Raveen concluded their grand reception event. After their Indian wedding ceremony, the bride transformed to party mode with Makeup by Dina helping with prep for the big night. Long locks, glowing skin, and peachy lips was the beauty look of choice! The bride chose a navy and gold outfit that was perfection for the black tie event. Guests couldn’t stop raving about this auspicious event! From the food, decor, to the dancing; every detail was executed to the nines. Kudos to the planning and design experts from Preeti Exclusive and floral and decor wizards from Da Vinci's Florist who whipped up ambiance that you have to see to believe. Golden gates intertwined with massive plumes of foliage made the space resemble a secret garden of mystique and excitement. The bride and groom burst into the room to the sounds of Dynasty AV & Entertainment, and from that moment on, the party was non-stop. Preeti Exclusive handled the planning and design of the multiple wedding celebrations admirably, and we’re impressed with each and every snap captured by Mari Harsan. We asked Puja for some planning tips, and she told us: “Planning a wedding is so overwhelming, try to start as early as you can with deciding on vendors, venues, and outfits so that nothing is rushed and most things are planned the way that you’ve envisioned. Depending on your budget and especially if it is one of the first weddings in your immediate family, I would highly recommend investing in a wedding planner. There are so many components and facets of wedding planning that we just didn't realize or anticipate even after independently planning our own engagement party. A wedding and all of the pre-wedding events is a completely different planning experience and we were so fortunate to have Preeti and her team holding our hands, walking us through the process, and keeping us organized on a timeline.” Great advice! Lovelies, we have all the magical images by Mari Harsan waiting for you in the full gallery.
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Raveen and I both went to the same undergraduate university, medical school, were a year apart at the same place and and never crossed paths until his last year of medical school, about 6 years later! It was the quintessential school romance that started in the computer lab of all places. During a span of two weeks, we exchanged short glances across the room, and endless conversations with time seeming to fly by effortlessly. We simply couldn’t sleep because reality was better than our dreams. From an initial encounter, this quickly blossomed into a romance with the idea of each other once being a stranger almost inconceivable. Raveen recites 1/6/14 as specific the date he knew I was the one. For me, I always felt comfortable with him; we clicked instantly, I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment when because he seemed to be the right one right from the start.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
It was Labor Day and I was working over at the hospital. It was pretty slow day and I knew I was going to get out early. Raveen texted me and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. Instead of our usual classic, casual date night spots he suggested Lemaire, a high end restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel. I didn’t really anticipate that there was something more to this evening aside from the fancy dinner and was essentially clueless. Later that evening as we walked towards his car to head out to the restaurant, Raveen suddenly said he forgot his wallet and ran back to his apartment. Again, this did not bring any further suspicion, given this is a usual occurrence at least every two weeks. Little did I know, while I was waiting in the car, he was decorating his apartment for the proposal! During dinner Raveen had this infectious smile, the one where his eyes squint and his half dimples show, the left one greater than the right, and he was staring at me like when we initially first met in the computer lab. He even made me his favorite paper roses out of our straw wrappers, an act he only reserves for special occasions. At the end of the dinner the waitress brought two glasses of champagne and simply stated it was on the house. I was shocked. We never get that kind of treatment. That’s when I started to feel like there was more to this night. We left the restaurant and I insisted on Raveen twirling me around like a princess in front of the nearby water fountain before we walked to the car as per my usual when I see fountains and such magical things. We drove back, and before we got to his apartment door, Raveen suddenly said he had to take this random phone call from a friend he hasn’t talked to in months and walked away back towards the elevators. So he left me alone, a little annoyed, and I opened the apartment door by myself only to find the whole apartment decorated and a ring box waiting for me. Raveen quickly came back from his staged phone call and got down on one knee and proposed. It was beautiful, simple, sweet, and such a perfect special moment that I’ll always remember.
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.
Venue: Finding a venue was probably one of the most difficult parts of the planning process. I must have visited at least 10 venues because availability for a June wedding was sparse! I finally decided on Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA because I thought it was a modern venue with plenty of small shops and boutiques for my out of town guests.
Hair and Makeup: I went very classic with my hair and makeup for the wedding ceremony because I wanted a timeless look. For reception, I decided to change things up and wanted to do something fun and bold with my hair with the fancy ponytail and a dramatic smokey eye.
Decor Theme: Romantic, Secret Garden
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Unfortunately I did not have time to go to India and shop, so to be on the safe side, I looked into Indian designers and came across this gorgeous Sabyasachi red and maroon wedding lehenga that I knew I had to have. Barkha, at the Bollywood Closet based in Georgia helped me order the lengha all through phone conversations and email. When I finally received my lengha in the mail it was everything I imagined and fit like a glove. For my reception outfit, I knew I wanted to do a gown. I fell in love with this dark blue, floral Shyamal and Bhumika gown that perfectly matched my secret garden theme. Prior to my reception, I had never worn a gown with an underlying net skirt to give that Princess ballgown feel and decided that my wedding reception would be the night! The gown was surprising comfortable and easy to dance the night away.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
Decor and deciding on a theme was probably one of the most enjoyable parts of the planning process for me because it was one of the more creative aspects.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
I think the Starlit dance floor by far. Everyone remained on the floor until the night was over.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Our first look was very special to me. We went to a Wolf Trap, a nearby outdoor performance center. It was such a beautiful morning and a private moment we had in the midst of such a busy, chaotic day.
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.
Decor: A couple of weeks after we got engaged, I became obsessed with Pinterest and Maharani weddings to find inspiration for my wedding. There are so many ideas out there that it’s hard to narrow down one definitive theme. I decided to go with the florals and secret garden theme for the wedding and reception because I wanted to bring the outdoors inside!
Petal Toss: I am obsessed with DIY projects but as the bride it’s hard to plan and carry these out properly because there are so many elements in the planning process. I decided at the last minute to do a petal toss at the conclusion of our wedding ceremony. With the help of my planner Preeti and her team, a mix of peach, pink, and white petals were placed them into organza bags the night before and tied to the aisle chivari chairs. I printed tags for the bags using Minted with a Rumi quote “ This love is the rose that blooms forever.”
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Planning a wedding is so overwhelming, try to start as early as you can with deciding on vendors, venues, and outfits so that nothing is rushed and most things are planned the way that you’ve envisioned. Depending on your budget and especially if it is one of the first weddings in your immediate family, I would highly recommend investing in a wedding planner. There are so many components and facets of wedding planning that we just didn't realize or anticipate even after independently planning our own engagement party. A wedding and all of the prewedding events is a completely different planning experience and we were so fortunate to have Preeti and her team holding our hands, walking us through the process, and keeping us organized on a timeline.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
Cake: Raveen and I picked out a special flavor combination for the top tier of our cake as pink champagne with white chocolate frosting. We arranged for the top layer to be sent to our room and definitely had a fourth meal at the end of the night in our suite!
Bridesmaids Outfits: With the help of HoliChic by Megha, a New York based company I designed a shimmery pale gold blouse with net sleeves for my bridesmaids. I wanted to give them a blouse they could easily wear again for any other future events.
So much fabulousness! :)