As a result of blending their corresponding backgrounds, a refined Indian fusion reception was the cherry on top of these magnificent celebrations chronicled by the brilliant images by Jamie Howell Photography! As a powerful symbol of good luck, the elephants made their appearance at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center as part of the charming reception theme that Carolina Wedding Belle helped to create! The team worked to share the couple’s vision for their soiree not only by managing the romantic décor but also by planning and coordinating the whole weekend! The vivacious ambiance that reigned during the night was enlivened by the sought after DJ Opening Minds Entertainment who not only provided the music for the couple’s jubilant dances but a gorgeous bespoke elephant monogram up lightning! The cutting of the charming three-tier naked wedding cake by Ally & Eloise Bakeshop was definitely one of the big moments of the many that took place throughout the weekend which Jamie Howell Photography shared with us in our full gallery!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I met Alvin in Columbia, SC while I was working as a nurse and he was in his last year of medical school. I knew he was the one when nine months after meeting him, my grandmother became ill and passed away. This happened just as Alvin was graduating from medical school and getting ready to move to New York for residency. During this time Alvin was ALWAYS there anytime I needed him and even though my family did not know him yet he attended a traditional Indian funeral service, where he was 1 of 3 Americans (the other two were two of my bridesmaids).
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
In October 2016, Alvin had a 2-week vacation and we decided to spend the time at home in South Carolina. During this time we planned to see our families, go to the South Carolina State Fair, stay at his family's lake house, and go on a cruise to the Bahamas. I was positive he was going to propose while we spent a few days at his family's lake house. We spent a lot of time there with each other and our friends at the beginning of our relationship and we both always cherished our moments there. He didn't end of proposing so I figured it wasn't happening this trip because the last part of our trip was the cruise and I just didn't think he would do it then. I was wrong! We went to dinner on the cruise ship on October 16, 2016, and had to wait for a table so we were given a buzzer. Alvin put the buzzer in his pocket and we went to get a drink at the bar. I was starving and was worried Alvin would not feel the buzzer in his pocket so I asked him if I could just hold it. He said sure and instead of pulling the buzzer out of his pocket he had a ring box! It is so hard to surprise me, but he did it and continues to do it!
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.
Our overarching goal for our wedding was to expose our families and friends to both of our cultures and families. Alvin and I have always said we will not have an exclusively Hindu or Christian household, but instead, we wanted to share our traditions. We wanted our wedding to be the foundation for a marriage that not only celebrated our love, but was also entertaining, open, educational, and prioritized our families. I did a lot of research about fusion weddings on Maharani Weddings and Big Fat Indian Wedding. We then had extensive conversations with our parents about their wishes/concerns/expectations. We all decided together what events we wanted to have during our wedding weekend and then figured out how to have all those events in 2-3 days.
We accomplished this by including some purely Hindu and Christian traditions as well as combining some. We combined the traditional American rehearsal dinner with the Mendhi party, and both families hosted it as a casual get together with artisan pizzas and some of our favorite snacks. While I had my Grashanti, Alvin's family had a brunch for family, the wedding party, and our out of town friends. The Christian wedding ceremony was our chance to expose the Indian side of the family to a formal, classic Christian wedding ceremony in the beautiful church where Alvin's family went when he was growing up. The Garba was the evening following the Christian ceremony, and it was our way of introducing the American side of the family to the fun, exciting Indian wedding traditions. The next morning, Alvin rode a beautiful white horse for the Baraat, and both sides made it out for some early morning dancing! We tried to make sure that the Hindu priest spoke excellent English, and that he was willing to explain the ceremony so that it was very accessible to everyone involved. After the Hindu ceremony, everybody had some time to rest up before the huge reception where we tried to combine both of our traditions, families, food, and music until late into the night!
I had some difficulty picking our vendors because I really wanted to hire local vendors from North Carolina and South Carolina. I once again used Maharani Weddings and Big Fat Indian Wedding for research. I quickly found that in order to have options and stay within budget I would have to extend my search into Georgia and even Virginia. I created a list of potential vendors and then extensively googled them. I then contacted my top 2-3 vendors and requested quotes and phone meetings. I only contacted 2-3 vendors because we were living in NYC at the time and our schedules were too busy to coordinate phone calls and meetings. We sent the vendors a very detailed email that contained our estimated head counts for each event, the schedule of events, and our expectations.
The only vendors we met with in person prior to finalizing them, were the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Rahma with Carolina Wedding Belle. We felt strongly about checking our the venue in person for obvious reasons. We wanted to meet with Carolina Wedding Belle because we were considering them to do the decor/floral for the whole weekend and also do coordination. We felt like we really needed to connect with our decor person/coordinator because that was a big part of the wedding.
I still cannot believe that I picked a photographer/videographer and makeup/hair/henna artist without meeting them in person but I believe it all worked out because I did my homework and I did a lot of research on what types of questions to ask vendors.
We were so pleased with all our vendors and we attribute that to us having a clear vision and expectations for our vendors and our vendors having the same in return.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
When we got engaged, I knew we would have two wedding ceremonies (Hindu and American). I always knew I wanted a red lengha for my wedding so that was an easy choice for the Hindu ceremony. I went to India to shop for my Indian outfits and we went straight to Asopalav. We chose to start there because we knew they would have a variety and were used to dealing with short turn around times.
I thought about getting a trendy fusion white gown from India for the Christian ceremony but in the end, I decided wanted to stay traditional and I got a beautiful white dress by Augusta Jones from The White Magnolia Bridal Collection in Greenville, SC.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of the planning process was doing it with Alvin. He was a very involved groom. There were many arguments but it helped us to get to know each other more. We both learned from each other and our own strengths and weaknesses. I have heard numerous girlfriends complain about how they were so stressed about the wedding and their grooms didn't get it. I was glad that Alvin shared the stress of planning a wedding and he understood my frustrations. I think after planning our wedding we would make a good party planning duo. :)
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests loved the combination of Hindu and American traditions. Both sides embraced both cultures and it was exactly what we wanted. Alvin's family fully embraced the baraat and had a blast. A lot of my family actually joined Alvin's family during the baraat. I would say that was everyone's favorite moment. They also loved our cake which was cardamon with chocolate filling and vanilla buttercream frosting.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
My favorite moment was walking out at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and seeing Alvin for the first time since the rehearsal/mendhi the night before and seeing how packed the church was. We were expecting to have a large wedding but physical seeing the number of people who showed up to support us was just amazing.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
My number one advice would be to create a budget that takes into account unexpected expenses that will come up the last couple weeks leading up to the wedding. My brother and sister in law (whose wedding was also featured on Maharani Weddings) gave us that advice and it was the best advice we got. Alvin and I worked hard to set a REALISTIC budget and frequently check in and adjust during our 1.5 years of planning.
Remember it is YOUR wedding. EVERYONE will give their opinions on things but the only two people who matter are you and your future husband. Be sure to make sure you two will be happy with whatever decisions you make.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
I want to make sure the complete list of vendors that was hopefully submitted by our photographer gets posted. We had amazing vendors and we want them recognized. As I mentioned earlier it was hard finding vendors in NC, SC, and GA and I hope brides in these states will find my vendor list helpful.
Follow our Blog tomorrow for more stunning wedding stories!