Welcome back, darlings! We're so excited to dive into all the fabulous details of Ankita & Sunny's twinkling reception gala hosted inside the halls of the Hilton Clearwater Beach! For her reception, the bride knew that she wanted to go ultra-sleek and sophisticated. So, she chose a gorgeous soft-lavender attire with silver embroidery, from Seema Gujral and trusted her beauty needs to Michele Renee The Studio. And she ended up looking ravishing! Such a unique and stunning mix of Eastern and Western fashions! And Suuny did not stay behind, wearing a black tux with a buttoned-down white shirt that made him look handsome! After a mouthwatering dinner prepared by Janardhan and a delicious sweet cake baked by A Piece of Cake, guests were ready to set the shiny dance floor on fire to the energizing tunes of Volcanik Entertainment, who enlivened every moment of this gala! Hands down, this was the best way to bring the wedding festivities to an end, and needless to say that this couple, along with all their guests, will remember this magical night forever! If, after seeing all the enchanting moments of this incredible wedding celebration, you still can't get enough, make sure to visit the full gallery that we have prepared for today! It packs all the stellar shots captured by none other than the talented team from Kimberly Photography. We are sure you are going to love it!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
The first time I met Sunny was actually on Twitter. He was doing a global health rotation in rural India, and came across an article I wrote when I was reporting in India (I'm a journalist, he's a doctor). But that tweet didn't go anywhere. About a year later, a mutual friend introduced us when Sunny was visiting New York. Shortly after we started spending time together I knew!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
During one of our first hangouts Sunny and I happened to stop by Jane's Carousel in Dumbo, Brooklyn, which is this beautiful labor of love perched right on the water and overlooking the New York skyline. For the proposal he surprised me by flying down to New York from Boston, where he lived at the time, and making up an elaborate excuse with our mutual friend to go down to Dumbo one evening. It was freezing so I didn't know why he wanted to walk by the water, but he eventually led us up to the carousel. The people working there informed us it was closed, so I thought all hope was lost, but then they agreed to let us take a spin. Once we climbed on our respective horses, however, I realized that this was all planned well in advance because our song (Frank Ocean's Moon River) started playing. As it all hit me he walked me off the carousel, which he had rented out for us, and proposed with a Neruda poem we both love, and a pretty amazing speech.
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.
Planning our wedding was a wild ride, but it happened because we have a lot of good friends with unique talents and businesses. We chose the Hilton on Clearwater Beach because it's the beach in my hometown, where I have a lot of great memories and Courtney, our coordinator was probably the person I spoke to the most that whole year outside of family.
For our decorator, we spoke to a few people but chose a close family friend, Lakshmi Sastry, who owns Rtti Couture and was able to provide the intricate details and personal touch that we wanted. I also commissioned art from my friend Kamardip Singh (@kakikasi on Instagram) that was a crowd favor. Kam and Lakshmi Auntie also helped formulate the theme colors for all of our events (mehendi, sangeet/garba, ceremony and reception) and we used those color palettes for everything which was very helpful in narrowing down the options. My design aesthetic, if you can even call it that, was just to have the whole weekend feel vibrant, fun, playful, beachy and personal.
We chose our good family friend Janardhan Uncle as our caterer, and he made a completely different menu to fit the tone of each event and to reflect both the Marathi and Gujarati traditions.
For outfits, we went with a mix of things we bought in India and things we found online/custom made. For my wedding sari I went with designer Ayush Kejriwal, who is kind of funky and indie. For my reception I choose a Seema Gujral design in person while visiting India. And for my garba/sangeet outfit a college friend Swetha Gautham custom made both our outfits (hyphenite.com). For hair and makeup, after a disastrous trial with someone else, I went with Michelle Renee for my entire bridal party, who runs a well known team in Tampa. And we chose Volcanik Entertainment for our DJs because they were incredibly fun and flexible. Castaldo did our video, and Kimberly Photography did our photo.
We had a lot of hiccups throughout the wedding planning process. Florida and a beach wedding can prove difficult at times, and there's lots of elements you have to account for. But luckily Sunny was incredibly involved and supportive and has solid negotiation skills, so he and I figured things out step by step with the help of our parents, family and friends (should out to my friend Swati, my ad hoc wedding planner). It also helped that we hired Sokha at Apsara Events about six weeks out for wedding coordination. She helped us make a minute-to-minute schedule, and account for all the elements we had to track. A life saver.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I had originally bought my wedding sari on a trip to Hyderabad, where my Mom's family is from. It was a whirlwind day with my mom and cousin, who had set aside a bunch of red saris at different shops based on a photo I had sent them. I bought one, a rich kanchivaram sari. But for whatever reason, when I got home, I changed my mind. I'm not a super fashionable person, but it just felt too heavy and gold. After some Instagramming I came across Ayush Kejriwal, who runs a label out of the UK. He was approachable and helpful and he showed me a sari via WhatsApp that I bought on the spot, on my phone, while sitting in a taxi in the Dominican Republic. It turned out perfectly for what I wanted, which was classic and bright. Sunny is Gujarati and I'm marathi so I wore a sari to honor my family's tradition, and red to honor his.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The best part of the planning process was been enveloped by the support and love of my family and friends at every turn. I really capitalized on all my friends' talents, from Kam's art, to my friend Rohit's writing skills for our newspaper, to my friend Madhvi's dance choreography skills. I had all my musically talented friends created a song that we sang to Sunny at the reception. It's the one time you can be a little more demanding than usual.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
The absolute best compliment I've gotten is that our wedding was well planned and the events were pretty seamless. Our guests loved all of our personal details (art, newspapers, program etc.) and the fact that they were on a beach for three days, which I also think helps cover up for any little mistakes we made! Everyone had a lot of fun, and I think my friends thought they were on spring break again.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
This would have to be the ceremony. I was expecting the ceremony to be emotional and meaningful, but I didn't realize it would be so fun. From dancing during our pheras, to Sunny's hilarious and touching vows, I just remember looking out at the crowd every now and then, seeing a face of someone I loved, and feeling so grateful and humbled.
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.
My sister planned my mehendi, and with the help of our neighbor and friends made it this bright and colorful affair in the backyard of the house where I grew up. It was the perfect start to the weekend.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Make your guest list before you do anything else, and stick to it as closely as possible. It's really hard to draw the line sometimes, but it helps with everything that comes after.
Keep the people you know keep you calm and centered around you during the wedding week. Stress is inevitable, but if you're lucky, all of that will subside when it's actually time to celebrate.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
I got my bridal set at a traditional Hyderabadi jeweler. For the rest of my jewelryand smaller decor details I relied on Etsy. Our cake was from Piece of Cake Florida.
What a great way to start this fabulous week, isn't it ladies? If you want more, make sure to join us tomorrow! Until then, have a great one!