A heavenly ceremony set up in the white sands of the private shores of the fabulous Hilton Clearwater Beach awaited for Debarati and Niraj! The planning firm behind the celebrations, Apsara Events, executed a fantastic job as they helped to create, side by side with the lovely soulmates, a perfect stress-free ceremony featuring stunning views and exquisite details! Raja, Niraj had a stylish joyride thanks to Cycle Springs Powersports who provided one of their three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot for the lucky groom while Maharani Debarati stole the limelight and arrived illuminated by the sunlight crowned by her traditional tiara Mukut! Maharani Designs delighted the newlyweds and their guests with an airy mandap in white that blended with the whiteness of the sand! I adore the wood aisle runner and how the color had a minimal collaboration in this ethereal design as it only included discreet sprinkles of charming blush pink to add the right amount of color grace to the lush florals! Check the sweet seaside photos by the talented L'Atelier Lumière International Photographie in our complete gallery!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I met Neal through the Coffee Meets Bagel app! We both work in NYC, so we would meet up after work and go on dinner dates. I knew he was "the one" on one of our early dates when he spent half the night making a picnic for us from scratch! He had been paying attention to my favorite foods and made a very thoughtful and personal meal and even brought me my favorite ice cream!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
I was one of those kids who grew up dreaming of being an astronaut, and Neal has spent a lot of time with me in space museums. So it was perfect that Neal proposed to me in a planetarium under the stars! He asked the planetarium to play my favorite song and had the words "Will You Marry Me" projected into the stars! He also had all of our close friends hiding in the audience and it was such a treat to have them there.
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.
Neal and I knew that we wanted our wedding to incorporate a lot of things that were near and dear to us. We had our dream venue, but we needed help getting the rest of the details in place. My wedding planner, Sokha from Apsara Events, was instrumental in helping me connect with vendors and making sense out of my decor ideas. I found my makeup artist (Sumaiya Waheed) through another Florida wedding on Maharani Weddings, and my mendhi artist (Amrita Henna) through Instagram! Our photographers (Latelier Lumiere) and videographers (Riant Films) had such delightful personalities that it was super easy to work with them and have fun with our photoshoots! Our guests are still talking about our DJ (DJ Pavan) because he had such an upbeat vibe!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Although I was a Bengali bride, I knew I didn't want to wear a sari. I did, however, want to wear a traditional red outfit. I worked with the team at Nazranaa in New Jersey, and picked out a beautiful red lengha with antique gold floral detail. I really loved my wedding outfit, and felt extremely comfortable in it on my wedding day! The team at Nazranaa also helped me design an amazing reception outfit!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of the planning process was getting to spend a lot of time with my brother! He lived near our venue, so his house was our home base for a lot of our planning process. It was also very enjoyable to get to spend some time with our planner and photographers outside of our usual wedding chores!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our wedding weekend timeline was pretty relaxed, so our guests had the opportunity to go to the hotel spa, relax on the beach or in one of the Hilton's swim up bar pools, and do morning yoga on the beach - and they took advantage of it all! We loved that people were able to have a little vacation while also celebrating with us!
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There was a moment before our formal "Mr and Mrs" introduction when we were waiting and were very nervous about performing our choreographed first dance. The attendant at the gift shop saw us practicing in the hallway and told us about her and her husband's love story and gave us the confidence to get through that dance!
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 our sangeet, we went with a non-traditional theme of "A Night Under the Stars" (which matched our invitations!). We had our dance floor on the beach with star string lights overhead, and fairy lights as our table centerpieces. The style was beach casual (we served tacos!) mixed with a touch of elegance. For our reception, we went with a very romantic vibe. There was a lot of light and touches of gold, blush, and greenery. Our decorator (Maharani Designs) brought my visions to life and I was speechless when I walked into each event!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Firstly, take care of yourself! Being a bride is like having a second job, so don't forget to take time to relax. Also, go out of your comfort zone and talk to guests other than your close friends. Many of them may be your parents friends, but this is the perfect opportunity to get to know them, and for them to get to know a little about you! Plus it'll make your parents happy!
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
My husband and I picked our venue because of our previous vacations at Clearwater Beach. My brother lives in Tampa and we always had a great time in the area, so we knew our guests would as well. The Hilton Clearwater Beach was actually my favorite venue before I even met Neal! Being on Clearwater Beach just elicits a sense of calm and happiness from me and I wanted our close friends and family to be able to share that feeling!
Make sure to join me in our following feature and check all the marvelous details of the reception.