Good morning, Maharanis! We hope you are ready to start the week with us because we are dying to share a new romantic and exciting story with you. So let's get started. Right off the bat, we have to say that Puja & Shirin's wedding festivities, celebrated at the Hanover Marriott, will make your heart melt with tenderness and joy! For this long-awaited day, our gorgeous Maharani looked ravishing, donning a red lengha with golden embroidery after being glamorized by Singhar by Ayesha. No wonder why Raja Shirin couldn't take his eyes off of her! The ceremony was romantic and enchanting, thanks to the fabulous decor crafted by Nirali Decor. The soft-colored floral arrangements, the white Mandap, and all the ornaments around it created a beautiful scenery that we can't stop admiring! After the ceremony, there was an intimate reception party enlivened by Premier DJ USA. And oh boy, it was amazing! Everyone danced the night away, only stopping to taste the delicious food prepared by Catering by Raosi. Hands down, this was a night to remember! Luckily for us, Lightyear Studio was there to capture every moment of this lovely celebration so we can enjoy it. If you want to take a closer look at this dreamy wedding, head into this jaw-dropping gallery for more. We are sure you are going to love it because it is an absolute visual delight. So, go check it out!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Shirin and I met through OkCupid. The cards fell into place for both of us in the fall of 2016. He drove to Philadelphia, with a few choices of red wine and a reservation to a nearby Thai restaurant. The night evolved from only having dinner to going to a rooftop bar and then opening another bottle of red at my apartment spending the night talking.
I think the ease of our first date and the dates that came after gave me the indication that he was the one!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
He mimicked our first date, but in reverse! It was a friend's 30th birthday (or so I thought that's when it was being celebrating) and we were meeting up for drinks at the same rooftop that Shirin and I went to on our first date.
It was a normal day for me, I woke up, went to a workout class, he and I had brunch, I called my friends to let them know we would be late because I was too full and had to have a quick lay on the couch (which in hindsight messed up the timing of the proposal slightly).
My friend told me that it was a surprise for her husband and that the location, Assembly Rooftop Lounge, had allowed them to open up so that we can spend time there before the crowd rushed in. At the time, I believed it because Assembly is one of the nicest rooftop lounges in Philly (there aren't many to begin with). Shirin and I made our way upstairs and as we walked into the lounge, I turned the corner and saw the elaborate set up and immediately started crying.
He led me through the lounge, recalling memories with photos that he had set out and led me outside to then ask me to marry him!
We then went to the Thai restaurant where we had our first dinner and the rest is history!
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.
The beginning of the process always starts with the venue. We knew that we would be getting married in New Jersey but there are so many venues! We weren't tied to a specific kind of venue (hotel, banquet hall, etc.) but wanted to find the best one for the budget. We selected Hanover Marriott, the venue is one we are familiar with, we could transform the room into whatever we want to given the height of the ceilings and size of the room, and the sales team (specifically Amy Nasse) were great.
Shirin and I didn't go to India for our wedding shopping, our parents went for their clothes, the wedding invitations and other necessary items for the wedding. I spent quite some time at Nazraana and Sajda by Suman for my outfits; I purchased my wedding outfit from Sajda and my outfits for my Grah Shanti and reception from Nazraana.
In terms of hair & makeup, decor, photographer, catering, DJ and day of coordinator - those decisions were much easier.
Ayesha Khan, Singhar by Ayesha was my hair and makeup artist for the day of (she was my sister's makeup artist and I trusted her).
Nirali Decor was my decorator which was by suggestion from a family friend that was using her for her wedding. I had a specific vision for the morning and then I trust Nirali to do the rest for the evening any our pre-wedding events; her work is great, highly recommended!
Lightyear Studio was our photographer/videographer; we know Nathan and Thanh from many of our friends' weddings and they have always done a great job! We knew we could trust them with all of our events.
Rasoi was our caterer; he was my sister's caterer so we have a long standing relationship. Apart from the great food, Rinku is a great person to work with.
Our DJ was Amit Seth through Premier Entertainment. Amit has a fun personality and it shows on the dancefloor!
The Little Things by Arpita was our day of coordinator, recommended by my sister and she was so easy to work with and did a great job on the day of. Highly recommend!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I went back and forth between Nazraana and Sajda by Suman many times and I would drag everyone with me thinking that was the day I would find "the one". I am a visual learner, I need to see it to understand the concept but I have to also be the least girly person so putting the vision together was difficult for me. My sister was a big help in visualizing and articulating the thought behind the lengha. She knows my skin tone in all situations and weddings call for a lot of tears (where I turn red like a tomato) so she wanted to make sure my wedding outfit color would work well in the event that my face turned a different color.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
I feel like we planned our wedding 3 times over due to the pandemic and the date changes. I will be honest, I don't know many people that enjoy planning their wedding but the little wins were the most enjoyable. Booking our vendors, sending our save the dates and later our invitations, tying out the loose ends and of course, leading up to our wedding date (when it finally happened).
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
I think they were happy to finally attend an event!
Shirin and I were supposed to be married May 9, 2020, then July 3, 2020 and finally October 30, 2020. He and I were going to get married on October 30th no matter what and we were going to do it no matter how many people were in attendance.
Of course, safety was of utmost importance to us so we provided masks, hand sanitizer bottles - basically a COVID-19 kit. Our chairs were socially distant, our seating arrangements were as safe as we could have made them, dancing on the dancefloor was prohibited (could only dance in your little bubble), masks were required, etc.
I think our guests appreciated attending an event during unprecedented times. They were able to see family and friends, dress up, take pictures and have a memory outside of the pandemic.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There are a few moments that are special. It was raining the morning of our wedding (nature rubbing more salt in the wound) and Shirin's baraat was indoors. I know he was bummed before it started that his baraat would be indoors, he couldn't get on his horse, he couldn't light up his color bombs, so on. I asked the coordinators to show me videos during his baraat and I was beaming seeing that he was really enjoying himself.
Another is our first look. As cliché as that may be, Shirin and I got engaged January 26, 2019 and waited almost two years to be married. When I walked down the aisle to see him for the first time on our wedding day, it felt all too surreal. We were finally getting married!
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.
Shirin, his groomsmen and family performed a surprise dance at his baraat for me. The song was Lal Ghagra and it was such a surprise! I actually teared up when they were dancing out of excitement and happiness.
Above all, our families and friends went through the journey of planning a pandemic wedding with us. They were supportive, helpful and there for us when we needed them. There was nothing better than sharing our day with our family and friends after 21 months of planning!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Don't stress out! Easier said than done but everything will be done by the time of the wedding week. Someway, somehow, it all comes together.
On the day of the wedding, be free and let be. That day is about you and your husband-to-be with all your loved ones there to witness the bond that both of you share. You want to enjoy it and don't want to look back thinking that you couldn't live through each moment of the day.
We hope you've enjoyed this wedding as much as we did! Don't forget to join us tomorrow for more!