Happy Tuesday Maharanis! Today’s love tale celebrates Meera and Hitesh, who honored their Indian heritage in one seriously gorgeous wedding. This sweet duo’s festivities were incredibly intimate, and it was clear just how much these two love each other and their families. One incredibly touching part of the celebrations was honoring a beloved groomsman who had passed away. Hitesh involved his friend's hat throughout the events to make sure that he was an important part of their big day. Helming the floral and decor duties was the supreme team from Weddings Instyle, while Clair Gore (of Gaylord Opryland) was in charge of wedding coordination. It is imperative that the perfect dream team comes together to help spearhead your big day, and this duo definitely knew how to pull together a cohesive lineup of vendors. Meera was a breathtaking vision as Katie Russo Beauty waved their magical brushes to bequeath the bride with a modern yet traditional bridal look. Meera donned an ornate, raw silk lehenga complete with all the sparkling trimmings. As soon as she was done getting dolled up, it was time for the first look! Hitesh couldn’t stop his tears when he caught a glimpse of his stunning Maharani. Banga Studios captured some heartwarming shots that are brimming in the full gallery. And make sure to scroll below to read up on all the behind the scenes scoop from Meera herself!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I met Hitesh when his best friend brought him over to our apartment one day. This was during my senior year of college. After chatting and texting for a couple of weeks, he asked me to dinner one night. That night, we talked for hours and hours and this led to more incredible dates. On March 22, 2009, he finally mustered up the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend.
I knew that he was the one for me soon after that when I was applying to different schools all over the US. I was worried about where I would end up especially so early on in our relationship. He told me not to worry because distance wouldn't break us and that I should go where I want to because he would support me the whole way. In that moment, I loved him so much and I knew that we would make it through anything. He was right! We only grew stronger after that. Since then, the past 8 years have been incredible!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
On Halloween day of 2015, Hitesh had tricked me into going to a "work" Halloween Party. Luckily it was last minute so I did not wear a costume. So we were on our way to this "party" and he goes through our favorite park (Forest Park) in St. Louis. He says he has to make a quick stop because his friend wanted to meet us there and ride with us. So we get out and start walking to the Jewel Box (a beautiful part of the park) while we are waiting since this friend is taking forever to get there. So finally, we go inside to kill time and while we are standing in front one of the palm trees, he gets down on one knee. He's proposing! He asks "Do you trust me, Princess" (he knows Aladdin is one of my favorite movies). I say I DO I DO! I don't think he actually ever got to the part of asking me to marry him because I was so excited and in tears! He had even hired a photographer to capture that beautiful moment! After all that excitement, we went home and we were greeted by our families who had surprised us!
Then when I thought it couldn't get any better, the following weekend he secretly planned another surprise! He got all of my closest friends and family to fly in and they all surprised me at my apartment. I was in shock! He knew how much my friends and family meant to me and how hard it was being away from everyone. In that moment, my heart was so full and I knew how blessed I was to have amazing people in my life.
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 started planning in a step by step fashion by prioritizing what was the most important to what I could push off until later. This was really important for me to do since I was planning my wedding in Nashville, while living in St. Louis without many weekends to go back to plan and meet vendors. I had my venue booked about a year and half before the wedding since this was a huge part of starting the planning process.
Venue: I could not have been more happy with the venue and our coordinators that were provided through them. It was my dad's dream to have my wedding at the Gaylord. When we first looked at the venue I was worried because I wasn't sure if things would fall on time because of how big it was and how Indian standard time is a real thing. My coordinator, Claire Gore, was incredible. She literally helped me plan out the timing exactly and not a single event was late! The large size of the venue actually worked out well because our guests loved spending the time between our events to experience the Opryland! The Opryland was the first part of creating our magical weekend.
Decor ( Weddings Instyle): I knew Ragini Patel with Weddings Instyle was who I wanted to do our decor after our family and friends strongly recommended her. She was great and easy to communicate with and I was able to send her photos of what I wanted. She went above and beyond and turned it all into a reality. Even for the mandap, I really wanted a coral/peachy color and it turned out to be exactly what I wanted and more.
Photography (Banga Studios): This was an easy decision. I knew I wanted Banga Studios from the beginning. Actually, I first heard of them on Maharani Weddings and I absolutely loved their style. So that was the second thing I booked after my venue! Words can't express how happy we were with our engagement and wedding photos. They were so great to work with!
Videography (Full Frame Cinema): When I was looking for videographers, I didn't know where to start. I came across Full Frame while googling wedding videographers in Nashville. When I saw Jeffrey Holland's work I fell in love with it! He created a highlight video, teaser, and all the raw footage for us and we were in tears of joy when we watched it. He's incredibly talented and so easy to work with!
Food (Tandoor Catering NY): So at every wedding, having great food is so important which is why we chose Tandoor. We asked my best friend who they used because they had the best food at her wedding and it was Tandoor. I wasn't able to make it out for food tasting, but my parents and aunts went to NY for that. Vinnie Kumar even flew out to Nashville several days before the wedding to ensure set up and everything was ready. We had so many compliments on our food!
Hair and Make Up (Katie Russo Beauty): So when I was booking my MUA, I didn't have time to come back for a makeup trial before booking them. I had seen photos and loved their work, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Kristain Miller with KRB did my hair and makeup for the sangeet, wedding, and reception and they had other artists get our bridesmaids and family ready. She made me feel so beautiful and I felt like a true princess that weekend.
DJ (DJ Jaz): I met Jasmeet Singh at a bridal show in Atlanta and he was so great to work with. He really helped us organize our music and performances and gave us recommendations which we really appreciated. Each event was so hype from the baraat to the sangeet and reception! The dance floor was always packed!
Outfits: This was the last big part of the planning process. I knew that I didn't have time to create an outfit because of where I lived, so my parents and I booked our trip to India for two weeks and that completed the rest of it. We did all of our shopping in Ahmedabad. At Aso Palav we found our wedding day and sangeet outfits, and at Aishwarya I found my reception outfit! For my sangeet outfit, I wanted zardozi work and Aso Palav had the perfect outfit for me! For my reception I knew that I wanted an outfit that wasn't heavy and simple so I could dance and party at my reception! They were able to size my outfits and finish it all in the 2 weeks that I was in India!
The week of the wedding was all handled beautifully by my parents and my family that camped at our house the week before. They helped with the last minute details such as seating arrangements, last minute meetings with the venue, and the rest of it.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to go to India to do all of the shopping. We started in Ahmedabad at Aso Palav. I had in my mind that I wanted a traditional red outfit. Before we even started shopping, I was thinking my lengha would be dark maroon or wine colored. So as I was trying on multiple different dresses, some burgundy, red, and green, I put on this dress that felt like it weighed 20 pounds. I was about to take it right off because it was just too heavy. But then my dad wanted to see it. When I showed him, he had tears of happiness in his eyes. So I turned around and looked in the mirror. When I saw myself, I knew that lengha was made for me!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
Going to India! I hadn't visited in so many years. We went for two weeks and the best part was that the shopping only took 2 days to get all of ours and our bridal party outfits! So I was able to spend the rest of the time with my grandma and my family. It was so much fun finally getting to see everyone after so many years!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our friends and family loved the whole atmosphere. Our friends told us that our families had welcomed them and made them feel like they were a part of our family! Everyone could feel the happiness that we felt that weekend and it showed at every event! No one wanted any of the events to end!
It was also great to see our guests enjoy the venue between our events. I loved that there was some time for that to happen because the Opryland is such a neat place.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
The most special moment that I keep replaying is our first look. It was one the few moments that it was just us two and scenery was beautiful. He was in front of this small waterfall and he had his back turned to me and I came up to him. When he turned around and saw me, he was first in awe and then he started crying. It was beautiful. I knew how lucky I was to marry this incredible person.
This was followed by my dad walking me down the aisle. It was a dream of mine since I was a little girl. When the door opened and I walked out with him, I couldn't contain the tears of happiness. It was exhilarating taking my first steps with him to my happy ever after.
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.
Mendhi: For our mendhi, we kept this at the convention center in my home town (Hopkinsville, KY). It was very laid back which I had really wanted. We had delicious mexican food catered. I had brought colorful sparklers and we went out to an open field to light them! Before the event, we went to this beautiful field (in the middle of nowhere) and took photos. It was so much fun!
Sangeet: I wanted a colorful theme with lanterns and Weddings Instyle created exactly what I wanted. The night started off with Garba followed by speeches and performances, in which Hitesh had a surprise act in one of the performances. After the garba, we danced the night away! The food was set up in different stations and it was delicious. My favorite was probably the kabob station!
Reception: This was the most fun event of the weekend! The night started with cocktail hour followed by our family and bridal party entrances. We had so much fun with our special entrance followed by our first dance. About a minute into our first dance, we asked all the couples to joined us. It was so nice to see our friends and family jump up to join us and celebrate our love with us. We continued with speeches and the rest of our family and friends' performances. One of the special moments was when my dad gave his speech and during it he sang me a song. I couldn't help but cry! Soon after the speeches the dance floor opened up and it was packed. I remember looking at it and thinking wow this is the best party of my life! We had fun glow in the dark necklaces and foam sticks. It literally looked like a rave at one point. It was so much fun! Even the food was so delicious, we made sure we had time to stuff our faces with the lamb chops!
After the party we had an after party and the highlight of that part was when my friend had 80 burritos delivered from Taco Bell! Let's just say they were gone in about 10 minutes.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Don't stress out the week of your wedding! It's okay to go nuts and plan a wedding to every little detail, but the week before the wedding, let go of it all. At the end of the day, no one will remember the small details that you stress yourself over about, but stressing about the little things before the wedding takes away from the entire experience and enjoying the most memorable and special day of your life.
The other piece of advice I have is to remind yourselves that this is your guys' day. You will get pressure from everyone to do certain things, but really it's your decision and it's okay to do what you want because its your wedding. You can't make everyone happy, but you can make yourself happy!
I am so glad someone told me this before my wedding because it's so true.
Hurry back lovelies! Ceremony and reception deets coming up, with banging entertainment by DJ Jaz.