Happy first day of December, my beloved Maharanis! A new beautiful entry is about to begin. Bhavna & Siddarth is an in-love couple who decided to keep their promise to love each other forever in the presence of their beloved family and friends at an elegant venue, the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles. Maryam Shah - Embellish LLC put their excellent touch to create a heavenly setting more than perfect for the occasion! My dears, our precious Bride, Bhavna, has an innate beauty worth thousands of sighs. She knows this, and for her special day, Bridal Elegance by Suman Khosla highlighted her natural tones with exquisite makeup. She looked like the Maharani she is in every scene. The handsome Groom was astonished by our lovely Bride! Her wedding dress was designed by Bridal Elegance by Suman Khosla; I think Bhavna looked phenomenal. I adore her! Also, an essential part of this magnificent event was the Mehndi designs by Henna By Shazia. It was astonishing! We cannot leave our Groom behind; Siddarth looked incredible thanks to the exclusive designs by Ted Baker London (Tuxedo), Eton Shirts (Bowtie), Christian Louboutin (Shoes), and Tiffany & Co (Cuff Links). They all combined perfectly to make him look like the Raja he is. My dears, our lovebirds, wanted to make every guest feel the music to celebrate their love; DJ Shiv - Shivish Entertainment was the team to go to. They played the best songs to keep everyone on the dance floor! To relive the most meaningful moments of this event, Maria Fasih Studios captured a beautiful set of pictures but that's not all, they also produced a beautiful film that will melt your heart. I promise, when you click the play icon, a whole new wave of inspiration will make you fall in love!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I’d lived in New York for several years when Sid and I matched on a popular dating app - Coffee Meets Bagel. I remember our first date vividly. We met at a quaint sushi restaurant in the Upper West Side for lunch, and instead of going off to run errands afterwards as planned, we ended up spending over six hours together! We made our way through various Upper West Side bars, talking about everything under the sun. It was like we had been friends forever and I was super excited to see him again.
Given Sid had just moved to the New Jersey to start his Endodontics residency, meeting was difficult. But we met whenever we could, and we both always left our dates feeling so comfortable and at ease...usually after sharing an amazing meal together. It was clear we had built a foundation of friendship which is so important in a relationship. But a few months later, I found out some amazing news - I was moving to California for a dream job at Google! Sid was so supportive of this, but we decided it may not be the best time do pursue a relationship, especially long distance. We did, however, decide to remain friends. Our friendship continued with many phone calls and FaceTime calls, until on a whim, I invited him on a work trip to Barcelona - and he said yes! It only took about one romantic meal and a glass of wine the first night for us to realize we couldn’t fight destiny any longer. That weekend was the most special weekend of my life, because I realized I was in love with my best friend. The rest we say, is history!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Sid was wrapping up his residency and I was taking a work trip to Singapore. The timing fell right around our one year dating anniversary, so we decided to make a big celebratory trip out of it! The plan was to spend a few days in Singapore after my work event and then fly out to Langkawi, Malaysia for some beach time. We arrived late on a Saturday night so we could spend some time exploring on Sunday before work kicked off for me on Monday. I woke up Sunday extremely jet lagged and cranky, but Sid suggested we go watch the sunrise at the Singapore Orchid Gardens - a UNESCO site right outside the city. The morning was a mess. I accidentally flooded my hotel bathroom when showering (long story), Sid blew out his lower back, and I ended up realizing I needed to finish one thing for work before my event on Monday. By the time we made it out to the gardens, not only had we missed the sunrise, but it was over 90 degrees, humid, and extremely crowded. We walked around and made the best out of it, but we both surely weren't in the best of moods. It was only as we were leaving the gardens, Sid noticed a beautiful fairway full of lush green grass and suggested we sit and take everything in after a whirlwind morning. As we finally were able to relax and chat about being together for a year and how happy we were, I was staring out at the beautiful landscape. I didn't even realize Sid was getting the engagement ring out of his pocket! It was then he popped the question, and of course I said yes. Given the time difference, we were able to just enjoy the moment and celebrate 1:1 for several hours before we made our calls to our family and friends back home, which made the moment all the more special.
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 were supposed to be married in May 2020, but the universe had a different plan for us and the many other would-be 2020 brides and grooms! I am extremely detail oriented and admittedly picky, so while I did get stressed at times, I really enjoyed the process of planning out every last detail of the wedding. Thus, when we had to cancel our wedding in 2020, we really just had to think about "lifting and shifting" the majority of our plans to a rescheduled date.
Coming from Punjabi families, we knew we wanted to have all of the traditional Punjabi and Sikh wedding events, while mixing traditional and western traditions. We held two events at my parents' house: a Chunni (engagement) ceremony for the families, and a Mehendi for all of the female guests. I always knew I wanted to do some of my wedding events at my parents home and it really exceeded my expectations! It was extra special as my sisters and I did the design and decor on our own for the home events.
Our sangeet and wedding venue, the Westfields Marriott, was a dream. The #1 reason I wanted to have our wedding there was because of their beautiful terrace surrounded by lush greenery - I always wanted to have an outdoor Anand Karaj (Sikh Wedding Ceremony) and the terrace was just perfect for it. I had a really clear vision for our ceremony - a simple, clean rustic theme - and ur decorator, Maryam, absolutely nailed my vision. I loved the reception hall we chose for the. massive chandelier and the huge windows. We kept the decorations simple with a same green and white motif as the ceremony.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
When I went to India (New Delhi) for my wedding shopping, I never expected to fall in love with such a traditional dress. I was laser focused on something modern and non traditional, probably in a light pink! But the second I tried my dress on, ONLY due to the insistence of my mom and Masi (aunt), I knew this was "the one."
My wedding lehenga featured a burgundy satin velvet blouse embellished with zadozi embroidery, done with dabka, nakshi, sequence and zarkan work, in intricate goodly floral jaal and dense merging grids, paired with tonal satin velvet lehenga embroidery inspired with tradionational architectureal, floral and grid patterns, coupled with tonal embroidered net dupatta with scalloped heavy border and floral jaal all over. From @frontierraas "Regalia" collection, I felt like a real life Punjabi Queen from the Mughal Empire! My outfit featured a second dupatta in a light peach net to compliment my husband's sherwani, which featured peach dabka embroidery, and our bridal party's peach and gold outfits. It was pulled together with a matching crystal tassel belt.
My beautiful kundan chooda, from @sangini_accessories in Delhi,were paired with ruby and gold kalire.
I kept my wedding jewelry fairly simple, with an antique champagne stone and ivory pearl choker, matching earrings and tikka, and a pearl embellished naath (nose ring).
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of the wedding planning process was definitely pulling all of our looks together and doing wedding shopping in India. Given work constraints, we only had 8 days to shop for clothes and accessories for myself, Sid, Sid's brother, my mom, my two sisters, two nieces, two nephews, AND our bridal party of 15 (!), for 4 events total. Though stressful, it ended up being really fun to find the perfect pieces and we literally would be out from dawn to dusk each night. When we returned home each evening, we would do a show and tell for our family of the days finds. We got really lucky that we were able to stay with our family that lives in a great area for new and upcoming designers, Shahpur Jat, so I was able to find some really unique pieces.
Once we finalized our outfits, I really loved the process of figuring out "the look" for each event. Shout out to Suman Auntyji for helping me bring my vision for each event to life!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
After a year and half of being stuck in the house during a pandemic, I know our guests really loved the intimacy of a small Indian wedding (which is pretty rare) and the energy on the dance floor the sangeet and reception night. We would be remiss if we didn't give DJ Shiv a HUGE shout out for absolutely killing the music selection and providing the energy to keep everyone on the dance floor until the very last minute. He took it all in stride for some our guests favorite dance floor moments, including letting me steal the mic for impromptu raps and speeches, an impromptu limbo session during the reception, and many "naagin" (snake move) dance circles. The vibe was just perfect each night and really brought everyone together to let loose and have a well deserved good time.
We also are still hearing from our guests about our wedding cake, which was a three tier "Rasmalai Inspired Cake" from a local baker, Tahirah Khan, of Sultana Sweet Delights, as well as the Chole Bhature at the wedding lunch, which was made by our wedding caterer, Diya Bistro.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
The wedding ceremony itself. I didn't expect to feel so emotional, but I was just so overwhelmed with love for Sid and our family and friends, most of whom traveled from all over the country to be there, freshly vaccinated in the midst of a pandemic. During our "lavaan" (marriage rounds) three of my best friends turned brothers - Rob, Satwant, and Gurpreet- stood at each corner, as well as my cousin brothers Vikas, Amit, and Deepak. I felt so blessed and loved having them by my side during such a milestone moment. My sister, Reena, who is a beautiful singer, sang a Shabad (Sikh Hymn), accompanied by her husband, Eran, on the keyboard. After the Anand Karaj, Sid and I exchanged our own vows, which were from the heart and brought both of us to tears. It was truly a wedding representing a union of two souls, as well as two groups of friends and families.
I should note that during our ceremony, there were tons of cicadas flying around. The 17-year cicadas hide underground and only make their appearance every 17 years, like clockwork, in the northeastern quarter of the United States in order to mate and lay their eggs before going back underground. Remaining underground for so long gives the next generation a survival advantage when they eventually emerge again in 17 years. While they weirded out some of our guests for sure, in looking back, I find the symbolism of the cicadas being present at our wedding to be really beautiful. It's almost how we all had to quarantine for a year before the wedding and then emerged for a beautiful union and beginning :)
Also during my Sangeet, my parents surprised us with a “Punjabi tappe,” which was called “Kothe te aa Mayya.”
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.
It was awesome to have the chunni ceremony the day before formal events, as it served as a sort of "welcome dinner/meet and greet" for our extended families. For the Mehendi, my friends, who live all over the country, flew in and came straight to my house and kept me company while I was getting my mehendi done. For the official function, we sang traditional Punjabi wedding songs and also some American hits like Backstreet Boys, accompanied by the dholki!
On Saturday morning we had the choora ceremony while Sid (the groom) had his haldi ceremony with his family. It was so fun to see my kalire fall on the heads of ALL my single friends, which means they are all next to the wedding altar. That evening we had the Sangeet, hosted at the hotel, where our friends and family surprised us with a slew of singing performances and dances! Sid and I are both very much into music and I am a HUGE dance/Bollywood fan so I always dreamt of a performance-filled Sangeet. We had songs sung by cousins, friends, uncles, our siblings, and my parents, as well as speeches from Sid's best friend Prashant and my best friend, Courtney. For the dances, my best friend Monika, who is an TOP NOTCH choreographer, coordinated a huge dance with our friends and cousins, along with a solo performance of my favorite Punjabi folk song, "Lathe de Chadar." My sisters Reena and Navita, and best friends Gurpreet and Namita, also did amazing Bhangra dances. To top it off, my little niece, Iyla, and nephew, Evin, did their very first Bollywood dance, and we all melted! Sid and I also surprised the crowd with a couple's dance to "Morni Banke." This was probably one of the most special moments, as Sid is not a dancer, and had never performed before! Just for me, he learned this choreography so we could fulfill my dream of having a true Punjabi Sangeet -- and he killed it!!!
Sunday was the big day. We kicked off with Sid's Baraat, where he chose to ride in a white Jeep Wrangler Renegade decorated with marigolds instead of the traditional white horse. Before entering the building, we had the Milni ceremony and my bridesmaids and bridesman made sure no one would enter until the groom paid up :).
The reception was the grand finale of the weekend. Sid's brother, Sunny, and his uncle and mom made very heartfelt speeches. My sister, Navita, also made a beautiful speech. I surprised Sid with a singing performance of Etta James' "At Last," to express how much he means to me. Much to our surprise, our family, friends, and nieces and nephews had more dance performances planned, the highlight being an epic performance to "Jalebi Baby," a classical performance by my sisters to "Ghar More Pardesiya," and dances by my brother in laws, Vani and Eran. The rest of the night was followed by many drinks and non-stop dancing in true Punjabi style.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Choose vendors you connect with and trust. You end up spending a year or more with these people planning, and if you have the wrong people by your side, you should trust your gut to go with someone else. There should be nothing stressful about your wedding weekend . If you feel that will be the case during your planning process, you should act accordingly.
I'd also say make sure you get your timeline for the weekend right and go over it several times with ALL of your vendors. For example, your photographer should confirm you have enough time for photos etc., your caterer should have input on when the food should be set up, etc. That synergy is key to ensuring everything runs smoothly! I'd also say have a point of contact for both families to assist with moving things along, even if you have a planner.
My beloved Maharanis, come back tomorrow for more!