Happy Friday, Maharanis! Can you believe how fast this week ended? In a blink of an eye, we went from Monday to Friday. The good thing is that we were always in the company of lovely stories full of inspiring ideas! And today's featured wedding is no exception! So, get ready to join us on a trip at the paradisiacal lands of Turks and Caicos Islands to join Rittika & Dhruva at their wedding festivities! We are kicking off today's story by taking a look at a romantic outdoor photoshoot carried out by Lin & Jirsa Photography. It is impressive how they took advantage of the natural setting to create memorable pieces of memories in the form of pictures that we cannot stop seeing. Beauty and romance at its best! And talking about beauty, take a look at our lovely Rittika! She looked ravishing dressed in her hot pink lengha after being pampered by Appease Inc., who took care of her beauty needs! And if that wasn't enough, she crowned this fantastic look with an artistic Mehndi design she got from Wild Style Design Company. If you want to take a closer look at all the beauty surrounding this intimate and romantic moment, head into our gallery for more! It is an absolute visual delight!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
His family has a beach house in Dana Point that was our absolute favorite place to be. It was peaceful, calming, and just amazing place with great memories. So he told me we had dinner plans down in Laguna Beach so we'd stay the night at the beach house and get ready there too. I was brought up to plan for time accordingly because it's not nice to be late for anything. So I ask Dhruva what time dinner was and he said it was at 7:30 pm. So I google mapped from dana point to Laguna Beach and got ready to account for traffic. I was ready by 6:30 pm to start heading downstairs so we could leave by 6:45 pm, or so I thought.
Dhruva held me hostage in that room because apparently the photographers wanted him to propose at sunset, and wanted us downstairs at 7/7:30. I found it odd that he was essentially holding me hostage in a room and got a little suspicious. Because my suspicion grew, he finally had to cave and call an audible and go down sooner than was planned. And the next thing that I found odd was he said "let's take the elevator down" which we never did, but i thought "ok maybe because we have a suitcase and I'm in heels so why not."
As soon as the elevator doors opened he had a runway of candles set leading to the back patio which was essentially the beach. He spoke to me the whole way down the path and got down on one knee in the sand and asked me to marry him. There were a bunch of people who started cheering from the house next door, whom I initially thought was our families, but it was actually a random family who was airbnbing the house next door and it made it feel even more like a surreal fun experience.
After that we drove up to a country club where our family and friends were waiting for us to celebrate. It was the perfect proposal because we both enjoy quality over quantity, and sharing special moments with those closest to us.
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.
We knew for the most part that we wanted to do a destination wedding. Again since we enjoy keeping the number of people lower in order to share every moment with the people closest to us. We looked within the U.S. and all over the world. We also were thinking of maybe doing one of the places we have already been to share with our family. And a big driver was my experience at one of my cousin's weddings in India where they rented out almost a whole location, so it was all of us waking up together and spending every moment of every experience together in one location. I was driven by wanting to find a place that would make it feel like a huge family vacation where we can all spend the whole time together without any worries.
I had a huge excel file with multiple venues, made all the calls, organized what they had to offer, the different prices (full buyout, rentals, room rates, etc). I needed all the facts to pitch the idea of the destination and sell it to my dad. And this is how we landed on Beaches Turks & Caicos: I would be able to do all of our functions, it was all-inclusive, kid friendly (many of my cousins have young children), had U.S. certified nannies and medical aide on site, and was affiliated with Sandals which is a renowned company, it was far enough away to be an awesome destination but close enough for those who are closest to us to be able to afford, and Turks was on our bucket list of places to go since we are both Scuba certified.
Beaches was extremely helpful, they give you a pre-wedding coordinator and a on-site wedding coordinator. Due to many of my intricate requests, my pre-wedding coordinator put up our wedding as a recommendation to be feature in Sandal's wedding magazine which was awesome! I then had the corporate wedding planners helping me out who went above and beyond to make all my visions come true.
For Hair and Makeup, I wanted someone who knew how to help me get ready for all the Indian events and worked well with Indian bridal make up. So I found an amazing makeup artist in Chicago named Carrie her company is called Appease. I was able to do a trial with her here in Chicago (which is where my husband and I have been for school), and she had a package to do mine as well as some of my bridal party's hair & makeup, and mehndi at our sangeet too! Her company had the whole package.
For outfits, I am a bride that prefers comfort over being too showy, especially since we were going to be in the Caribbean. The one outfit I knew, and this was LOOONNNGG before it became a new "thing" to do, was that I want a Sabyasachi outfit for my wedding day because being a Bengali myself, I have loved him as a Bengali designer from long before the trend. His original store and home are right around the corner from my mom's family's home in Kolkata. And I knew I wanted it in red because thats the color my parents wanted since it is the traditional Bengali color for wedding.
For decor and theme, I am not a Bride that has been planning my wedding since childhood with ideas in my head from before, so I just started going with ideas as they came to me. I wanted to make full use of all that Beaches had to offer with all the diversity it had. So I made the Sangeet a more ethnic Indian theme with lots of colors and flowers and even a beer pong/flip cup table, for the Ceremony I saw an inspiration photo for a stage and huge photo frame backdrop that was all white and looked gorgeous against the Caribbean blue so I started with that and went from there. I wanted everything to be mainly white base with just small pops of colors so that all the vibrant Indian outfits would pop against the gorgeous Caribbean blue ocean backdrop. And the Reception I just wanted to be beach elegant with shades of blue which was decided after I picked my Reception outfit.
The main thing was having alcohol and awesome music always available, my family and friends love having a good time.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
Working with the Sandal's corporate team and the Beaches wedding team. They were all so much fun and I still keep in touch with some of them. I am more of a laid back bride where it takes a lot to stress me out. I also enjoyed finding new ways to add personal touches and items I knew would make my guests happy and make their time enjoyable. I was brought up in a family where we always think of our guests and plan events with them in mind, not to do things for show, but to do things that will be enjoyable for them. A wedding is meant to be fun for everyone in attendance.
I also enjoyed shopping for my outfits because we went shopping with our friends in Mumbai, no parents so not too many opinions and it was just a lot of fun because our friends aren't as stressed out as parents can be during wedding planning so it was just a lot of joking around, eating great food, going out at nights and a fun visit. This trip we also got to go to Kolkata to my parent's family's homes and that was a lot of fun too since I come for a big family there was always just a lot of people around showering us with love.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
From what I've heard everyone loved that it was about 70 people and in the Caribbean. Everyone enjoyed being able to get to know everyone that was there, spend downtime together around the resort and have a fun family vacation feel enjoying all the amenities and events. Nothing felt too formal like attending an event, it felt like a more "oh ok we gotta chug this drink, get out of the pool, and change for a party celebrating two people we love". Everyone got along and had a blast.
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.
We had a welcome dinner on Thursday night. For the youngsters, it was at a restaurant by the beach, and for the adults, it was at a rooftop overlooking the ocean. It was just a fun night to have everyone get to know each other and make it feel like the weekend of festivities had officially begun.
Friday morning we had our Haldi at a Gazebo area outside of one of the resort's small bars with small bites and juices available. My family has alcohol at all events, but in case anyone goes offended from the other side I strategically picked this location so anyone who wanted a beverage could go into the bar and grab one. The decor was all orange and yellow-based, very beautiful with lots of flowers and fabric. We did a joint Haldi which was a lot of fun. And then all of us young folk ran to dance practices
Friday night we had our Sangeet. It was at an outdoor restaurant with an Indian Buffet and Indian decor and we had all the performances this night too. The decor involved a lot of colors, i had a greenery bar to go with the greenery photo wall, and tons and tons of flowers and multi-colored fabric, mehndi lounge area, and a beer pong/ flip cup table. My mom did a beautiful performance for me despite having broken her toe right before the flight on the way to the airport! She played it off as "bruise" because she wanted to be able to help with everything and perform. We also had a friend's dance that had my childhood family friends, our close friends, myself and Dhruva as a part of it. And my cousins did a huge family dance that was awesome especially because NO ONE lives in the same city, state, or country even. We all had fun doing rehearsals and teaching dances on the resort as well. There was a flash rainstorm that delayed the sangeet, but it just gave everyone more time in the pool and swim-up bar (again why i loved this concept of smaller with everyone on a resort). And yes they stayed in the pool through the rainstorm. And my coordinators told me that my awesome parents were the first to run to the location to see how they could help with anything because of the rain. The rain passed and we partied the night away.
This next event has tons of special details. Saturday night was our reception by the water, we had a huge fabric divider to separate the cocktail hour from the actual reception. My coordinators surprised me with a "champagne bar" as the bar for the cocktail hour. Cocktail hour was during sunset so was beautiful. For the reception, our entrance song was Unforgettable by French Montana, and our first dance song was Wanted by Hunter Hayes. We had just a few speeches and then opened the dance floor. Our dinner menu was around the world. We had dishes from all the places we traveled to, so we had Thai, Fijian, Belizean, and Caribbean food. My reception outfit was a love story lehnga. The entire bottom had scenes stitched onto it from photos I sent: our proposal, my dog, us on an elephant in Thailand, and us scuba diving. And the entire bottom border was made up of the Chicago Skyline because Chicago is where we spent our entire engagement and a majority of our relationship. After the reception, all the guests moved over to the beach and we had a huge bonfire with s'mores and more drinks, and we had all our guests release lanterns into the sky.
On Sunday we had an amazing boat party on a Catamaran with all of our friends that ended up staying until Monday with an open bar and food. We took the boat to an island and browsed the island and came back and continued the party at the swim-up bar.
And then the following Saturday, we had a reception back in LA which was just as beautiful. We picked the Millennium Biltmore because I love Beauty and the Beast and their ballroom reminded me of the ballroom scene from that movie. And it also had just such a beautiful regal elegance to it that did not need to be touched just enhanced. We wanted a winter wedding, but that wasn't possible so we had projection mapping done thanks to the amazing Amit from 3D sounds to make it look like it was snowing outside through the windows and have winter images. And we got white carpeting done and had white and gold as the theme to go with it by the amazing Nicole from Shawna Yamamoto who made my dreams come true. and I wore an oxblood sequined gown. This was just a fun party to celebrate our wedding with extended friends and family from back home. We had a dance from our friends with just a few speeches, and our highlight video from the island played.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Be open-minded and hire planners/decorators based on past work so you can trust their abilities. It's good to have ideas to help narrow down options and have direction, but there will be things that may not go exactly the way you wanted, or there may be hiccups. With an open mind, and trust that your planners/decorators will come up with the best solutions, there is no need to fall into the stereotype of a "Bridezilla", and you can enjoy every moment so much more with less stress.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
My mehndi!! I loved loved loved it. I had a portrait of my dog and my two grandmas on my mehndi since they could not be with us (my dog was back in California, and my grandmas have passed). It was a definite highlight.
For the ceremony I had a vendor build me my own Palki that I was carried in on by all my brothers. And we did our vidaai on a decorated boat after which guests went to enjoy a private lunch.
I also made hangover kits as a welcome bag for all the guests with a note from me.
For our wedding cake on the island, the chef was amazing enough to make it out of a cake I had tried at one of their restaurants when we went for a preview visit. It was made from this delicious flourless chocolate cake that everyone loved.
This fairy tale has just begun, so stay close if you don't want to miss any detail!