My dearest Maharanis, the last Monday of November is here, and we want to celebrate it with a romantic love story, Alekya & Praveen's. These two lovebirds have been together for over five years, and their love only knew how to grow more and more each day. They decided to promise eternal love at a beautiful venue, the one, and only Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center & Hotel. The perfect place to start a new chapter with the love of your life. Planning a wedding might get a little bit stressful! However, with the professionalism and creativity JD Eventz offers, every part of this wedding went beyond perfect! Along with them, another incredible team made sure to create the ideal ambiance; Yanni Design Studio exceeded our couple's expectations by making a sweet floral décor worth of applaud. I simply adore it! My dearest Maharanis, it is time to mention how gorgeous and chic our Alekya looked on her big day. Thanks to Hannah Elisabeth Beauty's unbelievable makeup and hairstyle, our Maharani inspired standing ovations! Her exclusive bridal gowns designed by Kanakavalli and Shriya Som combined perfectly with the stunning jewelry by DNS Jewellers. I know every time Praveen stared at her, he knew he had made the best decision of his life! Family, friends, love, and smiles were present all over the room, and let me tell you my dears, we are grateful to witness this event thanks to the magnificent photography job performed by J. Brown Photography. They captured every moment in a beautiful set of pictures that represent what love and blessings look like. A lovely gallery is waiting for you, Maharanis, so get ready to check it out and fall in love! 

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How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Praveen & I met on Valentine's Day 2014, while we didn't technically meet in person on this day we swiped right on Tinder & that's how our story began. I remember calling my Mom while she was visiting family in India & saying "Mom, you won't believe this but I swiped right on an Indian boy that too a South Indian Telugu boy!" Most of my family always said they didn't think I'd find myself a Telugu boy but little did I know that Praveen was just the man I was looking for. We met for the first time at Starbucks near UIC where I went to school, but Praveen was nearly 30 minutes late as he went to the wrong location! I remember texting a girlfriend "I think this guy ditched me", but shortly after Praveen explained where he was & when we finally met we stayed at Starbucks till closing & I even missed my night class!! Praveen's ability to share so much knowledge about so many different things in life is what caught my eye immediately. We talked on end about things from life, sports, our social lives, and even our family! As we left Starbucks I remember telling myself that this was a guy I definitely wanted to see again. About a year into us dating, I had taken a screenshot of a text message between us & saved it in my notes app as "He's the one." I knew Praveen was the perfect man for me & we were definitely the balance we both needed in each others lives!

Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
While our story may sound cliché, it was the perfect proposal for us. I had been dating Praveen for 5 years at this time & had a few false hopes thinking the proposal was going to happen earlier on in our relationship. Like any woman would I slowly stopped thinking about it & was like it'll happen when I least expect it. Well May 5, 2019 was that day & let's just say I was completely surprised by it! The night before I had gone to Arlington Heights Race Course with a bunch of friends to go watch the Kentucky Derby (an annual affair.) I called my Mom, showed her my outfit, fastener, and the whole look and the one thing she said was don't you want to get your nails done if you're already this dressed up? Most people would think I'd get suspicious, instead I let it be and thought she's got a point may as well get all dressed up and go to the event! The next day (May 5th) Praveen and I had plans to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, but he wouldn't really tell me where we were going. He said let's just have a spontaneous day & go with the flow! I got ready & met him over at his place and we had a quick drink at his place and he said let's go try Gibson's Italia by the River. I didn't realize he knew they were closed that day, but he was getting me onto the Riverwalk and while I was in my own world I heard a DJ at Beatnik on the River and said let's walk in that direction, to say the least I was walking away from where Praveen wanted me to be. So after a few moments of finally deciding which direction we were headed on the Riverwalk we started walking & I got caught up in our conversation & didn't even stop to realize Praveen was no longer standing next to me. I turned back to catch up with Praveen to find kneeling on one knee, smiling with a ring in his hand. Truth be told, I was so overcome with emotions that I don't even think I could tell you what Praveen said to me! All I remember was me crying & saying Y E S to marrying the man of my dreams! We immediately called our parents & close friends and later that evening there was a fun night out with some of our closest friends! Our proposal was perfect to us a couple: a simple affair!

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.
Our wedding planning started with us walking into Renaissance Schaumburg & saying we want to sign a contract and get married here. My family & I knew this was where I wanted to walk down the aisle & celebrate with our family and friends. Shortly after booking our venue we hired the most amazing planner Jankhana Desai (JD @ JD Eventz)! Given the chance, I'd sit here and write about JD, her sister Malvika and their amazing team. Our wedding would not have been as seamless and stress free without them! We were slated to get married July 25, 2020 but due to the pandemic we got married August 14, 2021 and without JD and her team I would have been a hot mess! JD had an extensive list of vendors that she's worked with in the past & so it was very easy to narrow down who I wanted to work with. I was very clear in my expectations of what Praveen & I wanted as a couple and when I would describe them to JD she'd narrow it down to a list of 3-4 vendors that would be the best fit for us. She also took the time to understand the vision I wanted which was to make everyone feel like they were at a family affair & not some giant wedding where they'd get lost in the crowd. I grew up very close with my family & I wanted our guests to feel that they were a part of our family too. We had a few intimate events (Mehndi and Haldi) at my parent's home, our Sangeet was at Brix on Fox, and the wedding & reception were at Renaissance Schaumburg and JD's team was amazing in helping us communicate what we wanted with each of these venues. She brought in Yanni Design as our decor team & Sylwia took my vision of simple but elegant to another level! I truly could go on & on about our vendors: Hannah Elisabeth Beauty (Hair & Makeup), Jason Brown (Photography), Aria Films (Videography), Yanni Design (Decor), Appease2You (Bridal Party Hair & Makeup), VP Impressions (Home Decor), Mantra, Cuisine of India, and so many more! JD's team helped us coordinate with each vendor in a manner that we were so happy with!

How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I always knew that I didn't want to wear a traditional color of red, yellow, or green (customary to South India) and I had been telling my Mom that since I was kid so there'd be no surprises lol. South Indians typically walk down the aisle in a Silk Sari and that's an outfit/style I'm not really used to wearing or know much about. Thank goodness for Moms am I right? We had gone to Hyderabad, India in November 2019 to have a small engagement ceremony for our grandparents and family in India along with some wedding shopping. While there my Mom & I had gone to Kanakavalli and started browsing for saris. My Mom & I both saw this beautiful champagne gold with a hot pink border and very subtle work done on it & just knew it was the one. As I mentioned I'm very close with my parents as I'm an only child, so we immediately FaceTimed my Dad and he came from our hotel to the store. It truly was a family affair and watching my parents tear up as I had this sari draped on me was the most joyous part of the outfit process.

What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests left our wedding saying they felt a part of each event & moment as if we were their own family. That to me was very important and I'm so glad we were able to make that happen! I never wanted a large Indian wedding (even thought we had nearly 300 people) I wanted people who were there for us as a couple and truly knew us. At the end of the wedding week I remember saying Praveen & I were able to interact with every guest at some point throughout the week and I think our guests appreciated that because they didn't feel like another seat at a table!

Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
I think each "first look" for every event replays in my head over & over again. Praveen & I decided that for each event we wanted to do a first look so that we could build up the excitement to see each other before we actually got absorbed into the activities. The small conversations we had with each other on how we looked and how excited we were for that days events are moments I'll cherish as I look back on our wedding week! It truly allowed us the chance to be present with each other just for a few minutes before all the fun started and it really felt like our own private moment each day!

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.
Our DJ for all our events was DJ iLLest form DoItAll Entertainment & he was absolutely amazing!!! He understood the vibe we were going for as Praveen doesn't know much Indian music and I on the other hand danced competitively in college. We had the perfect blend of both music worlds and apart from us, so many of our guests really enjoyed his music as well!

Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Enjoy the process, don't let the stress and opinions get to you! At the end of the day the wedding should be what you and your significant other want it to be. It's your moment to unite as one and start your lives together!

That is all for today! Maharanis, come back tomorrow for more.

Sangeet Venue: The BRIX on Fox | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center & Hotel | Planning & Design: JD Eventz | Floral & Decor: Yanni Design Studio | Hair & Makeup: Hannah Elisabeth Beauty | Catering: Mantra by Indian Garden | DJ / Baraat: DJ iLLest (Do It All Entertainment) | Bridal Fashions: Kanakavalli | Bridal Fashions: Shriya Som | Bridal Jewelry: DNS Jewellers | Cake & Treats: Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center & Hotel | Cake & Treats: Mantra by Indian Garden | Cinematography: Aria Films | Invitations & Wedding Stationery / Registry: Zola | Mehndi Artist: Moniza Abbasi | Tuxedos: Suit Supply | Home Decor: VP Impressions | Lunch Caterers: Dakshin | Sangeet Caterer: Cuisine of India | Garlands: Vivek Flowers | Bridal Party Hair & Makeup: Appease2You | Photography: J. Brown Photography