Welcome back, Maharanis! It is time to get inside the halls of the luxurious Palmer House Hilton to join Shefali & Aman at their wedding ceremony! Chic Events by Sonia designed and executed this event beautifully, while Yanni Design Studio transformed the halls of this exclusive venue into a magical setting for these lovebirds to tie the knot. Shefali burst into the room dressed in a traditional bridal Lengha from Ushnak Mal and rocked a trendy makeup and classy hairstyle, both done by Dollhouse Beauty. The smokey eyes and the dark matte lipstick praised this Maharani's natural beauty and made her look like a princess. I Alam Photography, snapped fantastic shots from every angle to portray the beauty of this event, and the photos are so good that we almost feel like if we were there. If you don't want to miss any detail of this lovely ceremony, make sure to check the gallery that we have for you today! It is filled with amazing shots that will take your breath away!

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How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
It was the fall of 2015. Aman (my now husband) was returning to Duke to finish his final year of his MBA, and I had just moved to Durham to start my Master’s at Duke a few months before. By chance, we ended up at the same Back to School party at the beginning of the year. Across the way, he spotted me. Shortly after we were introduced to each other. We hit it off immediately and began what neither of us knew would be a lifetime of adventures together. Aman grew up in India and I grew up across the US, so to think of how our paths crossed and how we immediately became attached to one another, is a story I could have only imagined about finding love. There are some people who are meant to be in our lives, even if they start off a world apart, they find a way to each other.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
We jetted off to LA for my birthday and Aman had a surprise in store for how to celebrate, little did I know there was a ring waiting at the end of it. I impatiently sat through well renowned LA traffic, bugging Aman about where we were going the entire time. Then the guessing began, as we approached metal fences and large runways built for airplanes, I knew I was in for something special. Aman had planned this beautiful experience of taking a helicopter ride over LA. We stopped during our helicopter travels atop a California mountain, where a picnic with roses and champagne were setup. While appreciating the view, Aman said I have to ask you something, and I turned to him to say ok go ahead. Little did I know I was giving him the go ahead to ask me to marry him. It was the perfect way to agree to start our lives together atop a mountain overlooking the ocean.
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.
As a business person, all great undertakings start with an excel. I made a list of all the vendors that I would like to incorporate into my wedding separated by each event and an estimated budget. After that I started filling in the gaps by reaching out to various vendors starting with venue, mehndi, photographer, videographer and decor. Since we had 8 months to plan a wedding, it was important to act fast, so I set a goal to finalize each vendor within 3 weeks from beginning research to final contracts. Instagram and internet wedding inspiration really helped to come up with a lot of the ideas we implemented for the entire wedding. From how to find jewelry and outfits while going to Delhi all the way to decor inspiration, collecting pictures and being prepared for each discussion with vendors was key to moving forward and having productive conversations. There's so much creativity that goes into planning a wedding, but I also set a timeline that for every new idea it would take 3 weeks to execute so no new ideas 3 weeks before the wedding. This worked out great, because we had time to be organized, enjoy spa days before the wedding and spend time with family and friends that were traveling into town for the wedding. Trust me, even then, there's no shortage of items to do for the big day!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
There was no question in my mind that my wedding lengha had to be RED. I wanted an updated traditional look. I had a vision of how I wanted to look on my wedding day and started breaking it down from there. I spent some time in India exploring wedding lenghas at stores throughout Delhi and then it just happened. I saw it, slept on it overnight, went back the next day & the rest started to fall into place from there.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The best part part about planning a wedding is how everyone you love comes together to make this one day of your life absolutely incredible. It was amazing to see how friends were offering advice, family was making everything happen across the ocean, my Mom was the creative mind and project manager of it all. From our siblings never leaving our side during wedding week, our parents being our pillars of strength and our friends/family making it the best wedding celebration. Can't forget our amazing vendors from Canada, Chicago, California and India that filled our wedding with professionalism, happiness and went above and beyond their call of duty. In my perspective we had set up our very own supply chain of ideas and resources to create our dream wedding in Chicago.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
They loved the intimate feel of all the events throughout the week of the wedding and that the schedule on the day of the wedding allowed for socializing with plenty of food during the quieter moments and plenty of moments to stay entertained throughout the day. Our goal was to make sure that everyone who came for our wedding was having a great time also. Not only did I want it to be a memorable day for me and Aman, but I wanted each one our guests to enjoy the day and be involved in helping us join our two lives together.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
The entrance for our wedding reception was a really special moment. Both of us were nervous about performing our dance, and when we walked in there was such a great energy filled with so much positivity that it completely transformed ours. Surrounded by our family and friends, the night started off with a lot of dancing and celebrating right away.
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.
I really wanted to have an outdoor event, and there was no better place than in our lawn at our home.  I wanted bright colors, lots of flowers/garlands and while the rituals of haldi, chura and mehndi were happening to be surrounded by all of our loved ones. Having everyone there from the beginning of the wedding events to hosting a brunch after the wedding, it was a great wedding weekend!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
During the wedding planning process, have an activity or a skill you are building that has the ability to take your mind away from wedding planning for a little while. This helps in three ways: one, you are building a skill that you can use in the future, two, you have a reason other than work to do something for yourself and three, you can come back to the wedding planning with a refreshed mind and outlook. It's really easy to think about your wedding around the clock (literally! so many late night phone calls to India) until it happens, so it's good to have a fun hobby you're doing alongside.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
After dinner at the reception, we had a performance from a bhangra team to get everybody dancing again. This was so much fun and was an amazing performance! Mehndi was extremely important to me, it was the first thing I booked! I loved doing Haldi with Aman, doing it together made it really fun and makes for great pictures! Then he disappeared, while I had my chura ceremony. All of these rituals and events leading up to the wedding day are some of the best parts of our Indian weddings. Lastly, since we had so many family and friends coming from out of town, it was important to me to choose a venue where they would have access to Chicago so they could use their down time to sightsee and enjoy the city.

Get ready for the reception party!
Photography: I Alam Photography | Planning & Design: Chic Events by Sonia | Event Designer: Chic Events by Sonia | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Palmer House Hilton | Floral & Decor: Yanni Design Studio | Maaz Henna Creations: Mehndi Artist | Hair & Makeup: Dollhouse Beauty | DJ: Decibel Entertainment | Baraat: Maharaja Farm | Bollywood Performers & Instructors: Northwestern Bhangra | Bridal Fashions: Ushnak Mal | Bridal Jewelry: Purab Paschim by Ankit Khullar | Cinematography: Aria Films | Turban: Singh Me Up | Dance Choreographer: Shilpa from Raunak Dance Co