Riana & Alec's fusion wedding is now live in our Platinum Guide Blog. It will take your breath away!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Alec and I met through our best friends, Karen and Anthony. They tried to set us up for over a year before we actually met, but we always made excuses for one reason or another. Alec is in the Air Force based at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, and I was living in Jersey City at the time, very career driven and enjoying life in NYC. We felt too opposite and didn’t think we’d have much in common. Then one night we randomly met at Karen and Anthony’s home. As cliche as it sounds, I walked in, we locked eyes and that was it. We had our first date the very next day and by the end of it, I knew he was “the one”. While we are opposites in many ways, at our core, we share the same values and share a deep love and respect for one another. He’s my person in every way and I thank God every day for bringing him in to my life.
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 started wedding planning right at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020. It’s so crazy to think now that we planned every aspect of our wedding virtually. Given that we couldn’t do site visits, we initially relied on internet reviews to find a venue near water that fit our aesthetic and vibe. Thankfully, I knew of the perfect venue in my hometown, the Boathouse at Mercer Lake, that checked all of our boxes and we felt very comfortable selecting without seeing in person. Once the venue was locked in, we worked with our wedding planner, Priya from Xquisit Events, to find a decorator, photographer, and hair/makeup. Priya recommended the awesome mother/daughter duo from Partyland Sajawat for wedding decor and we knew from our first phone call that we were in great hands. I didn’t have a decor theme in mind, but rather found some inspo on Pinterest that I guess qualifies as “classic modern”: blush/neutral tones, with foliage and lots of bling. On the day of our wedding, I was blown away at how perfectly they captured what I wanted, but didn’t know how to describe. Next up was our photographer/videographer, Tina from Studio KSD. I really appreciated Tina’s process and the thoughtful questions she asked in our first few phone calls. I felt as though she took to the time to know us as individuals and as a couple so she could capture our essence in the photos and video. (For the record, she and her team nailed it!) And I I must give all the credit to my sister, Reeshelle, for introducing me to our last two main vendors. It was an honor and pleasure to work with Cinderella Bridez again on my big day and of course, DJ Shilpa, who we knew would keep a mixed/ethnically diverse crowed hyped and happy throughout the day. Wedding planning during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart, but I must admit it was made a little less stressful because of how flexible our vendors were. We were lucky enough that all of the dates we selected happened to work with everyone involved and on our final date, everyone was excited to go through with the day as planned.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
As I mentioned previously, almost every aspect of our wedding was planned virtually, including my bridal lengha. I worked with an amazing studio based in Chicago, StudioEast6 to create a custom Falguni Shane Peacock bridal lengha. I loved one of the designs I saw on their website, but had a blush pink color in mind vs. traditional red or white/silver. The StudioEast6 team made the process so easy from color selection, to various modifications of the skirt, blouse, & dupatta to measurements. They sent pictures and videos pre and post production, but I must admit, it was still nerve wrecking to make such an important purchase without ever having seen it in person. When the lengha arrived, I remember feeling extremely nervous, almost sick to my stomach. But once it was on and I saw my family’s reaction, I felt so much better. It was an extremely unique outfit and one that I felt fit my aesthetic of classic, yet modern.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
After 2 rescheduled dates, we were finally able to have our wedding in mid April 2021. Restrictions were beginning to lift slowly, and vaccinations started rolling out. Our wedding was the first gathering most of our guests attended in over a year, so it was a really joyous and momentous occasion. Alec is white, raised Christian, and I’m Trinidadian, raised Hindu and we opted for a semi-traditional Hindu ceremony. We wanted to keep the ceremony to an hour or less and wanted to make sure that our guests understood and appreciated the significance of certain mantras and steps during the puja. Our priests, Pundit Ravi and Acharya Bankim Gossai, did an excellent job navigating the ceremony and we had so many of our guests comment that they’d never been to a Hindu wedding before and loved how touching and sentimental it was. We didn’t opt for a traditional baraat, but instead started with the milni ceremony where the two families meet. It was special for Alec and his family to experience this part of the ceremony, and our guests to witness, since our families were not able to meet prior to our wedding week due to the pandemic. Beyond the two cultures joining, Alec’s military family was also meeting my friends & family for the first time, too. It was just really special to see all these worlds come together with us, and for us.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
The moment that constantly replays in my mind is the moment the doors opened and the bridal entrance song began to play (Arziyaan by Devangi Chopra). The lyrics of that song always choke me up, and in that moment, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the faces in the crowd - people I hadn’t seen in over a year, who traveled from near and far (still in a pandemic!) to support us on our wedding day. In that moment, I was overcome with a deep sense of gratitude for our loved ones and it honestly took my breath away. Once I turned the corner and locked eyes with Alec, I felt calm again and so blissfully happy that we were finally able to have our dream wedding. This day was a long time coming and it was truly a relief that we made it through all of the ups and downs of wedding planning and we’d finally get to have our day.