Hello, dear Maharanis! Don't miss the lovely story of Sweta & Parag in today's Platinum Guide Blog.
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
It all started with a swipe to the right, and we never looked back!
So how did this love story begin between a Texas gal and a New York guy? Well, grab some popcorn and a drink for all the fun details! It began in January 2019 when I finally decided to get back to online dating. I had been on a hiatus for almost a year and LOVED it! I told my friends I was going to try dating again and see how it went. I started to swipe left on a couple of guys and then came across this guy who intrigued me: hmmm, witty profile, good looks. Definitely, a great dresser seems fun and had a warm, inviting smile that made me swipe right. <Matched!> That night, this intriguing guy messaged me about southern comfort food, making pasta and fried pickles! Seeing both Parag and I had a first love of various cuisines, we hit it off! Parag wanted to know more about this southern gal, so he asked me to chat on the phone. The conversation went great until the end when Parag asked me a question that I decided to answer assertively. After a couple of minutes of giving him a piece of my mind, I realized Parag wasn't saying much and asked if he was still there. “I’m here, that's fine; I will call you tomorrow then?” I responded, “I don't think so!” and we both got off the phone. I sat there and thought, “He was a good one, but that didn't go too great at the end!” I told my friends what happened and referred to this guy as “NY,” which became his nickname with my friends. Parag Parekh = NY. The next day NY called back as promised, and we both haven’t missed a day ever since!
A month into this courtship, Parag and I decided to meet in the middle of Atlanta, Georgia! As the meet-up date came closer, I thought to myself, 'This is crazy to fly and meet this guy I don't even know, BUT what an adventure this could be!' So off I went to go have a good time in Atlanta and maybe just maybe hit it off with this Mr. DilParagParekh. Once I landed, I got an Uber and became quick friends with the driver. The Uber driver started asking if I video-called Parag to make sure he looked like his profile picture. I said that would have been so smart, and of course, I didn't think to do that! The Uber driver drove around until I was ready to be dropped off; she gave me tips and told me to call her if things didn’t feel right. She said she completely understands and was here to help! I was so grateful to her! I got out of the Uber and went to meet Parag. That weekend we explored the Coca-Cola Museum, Centennial Olympic Park, and The Georgia Aquarium while eating great food and enjoying ourselves. I left thinking I wanted to know more about Parag, while Parag loved our connection and was planning the next weekend to meet up!
It is hard to say when Parag and I knew each other was “the one.” I would say that this was a gradual process with both of our values, goals and how we approach life lining up and coming together. Parag would say it was when I flew up to NYC to surprise him for his intimate birthday party at the height of Covid in December 2020, which solidified to him how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. In the end, it was all a process for both of us, which we embraced. The journey was definitely one to remember!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
It was a gorgeous fall day in New York City! I flew up to see Parag and go to an immersive haunted house Halloween cocktail party. In the prior weeks, Parag sent the Halloween cocktail party’s website to me, including the cocktail attire preference and drinks that we could get while there! I was excited, I loved all things horror!! That Friday morning, we both took a nice stroll through Queens and had our traditional Thai food lunch prior to getting ready for the event later that day! We got ready, matched our outfits per usual for fun, and off we went to Manhattan! I fell asleep on the drive, and by the time we got there, I noticed we were in Soho at a swanky hotel called NoMo Soho. I asked Parag, “Is the Halloween party in a hotel?” and he said yes and that things in New York were always nice. I thought nothing of this response and was more focused on what an immersive haunted house Halloween cocktail party would look like and that this was going to be great. We then went to the lobby; Parag got a key, and we went up the elevators. I noticed Parag was very quiet, but brushed it off, seeing I was still waking up! When we got off the elevator, I noticed there were NO Halloween decorations, so I let Parag know that we were in the wrong location. Parag said, "No, this is correct," and guided me to the corner room suite and opened the door.
I was shocked and confused to see red, pink, and white rose petals making a pathway to the balcony and a gentleman inside with a camera. I immediately grabbed Parag and said, “We have to get out of here. This is someone else’s room!!” and bolted. I was down the hall, and around the corner, Parag ran after me, leaving the cameraman concerned! Parag reassured me and brought me back to the room (holding my arm so I didn’t flee again) and started to explain each of the framed pictures he had along the path. Each picture represented a part of our lives together, and Parag explained why it was important. Then he took me out onto the balcony, got down on one knee, and asked me if I would marry him. I paused, still in shock, and said, “YesYesYes!” We were both so happy, and I whispered to Parag, asking if there was still a haunted house party, to which Parag said no! I wanted to make sure I got this right. Parag then proceeded to call his parents, who came out of a side room’s door to congratulate us! Parag then asked me to call my family, so I video-called my dad, who did not pick up! Instead, I heard my dad say, “Hey you!” coming out of the room along with my mom and two brothers! I was overwhelmed and so happy to share this special moment with my family as well. I couldn’t believe Parag was so thoughtful in arranging for a florist to decorate the suite, coordinating flying my family up to the proposed site for the big day, and finally keeping it all a secret! Parag knew how much my family meant to me, which meant they meant a lot to him. Our families went to a fabulous dinner afterward to celebrate! The whole night I kept telling Parag how shocked and happy I was and that now I had a fiancé! Parag had one last surprise for his now fiancée, me! Parag, our four siblings, and I went out for drinks after dinner, where there were over 30 of Parag’s closest friends waiting to greet us with cheers, sparklers, and hugs.
It was the best day ever.
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.
Firstly, wedding planning can be overwhelming if you don’t stay on top of it and if you don’t have both the bride and groom involved. Secondly, making timely decisions and still being light-hearted through the process helps both the bride and groom enjoy the wedding planning process!
Wedding Planner: Picking a strong wedding planner is critical. We were fortunate enough to have picked Hala Snyder from Events by Hala, who was incredible. She kept us on track and had a wonderful personality that fits ours. It was a pleasure working with her!
Venue: When picking our venue, we wanted a location that could fit 300 to 350 guests comfortably and that brought India to us so that it was unique enough for our guests to explore. We were lucky enough to find this fit in the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. This hotel had artwork from varying countries, including statues from ancient India which fit perfectly for our wedding vibe. In addition, it is a massive hotel space which gave us options to work with during the planning process.
Décor Theme: We wanted our theme to be a little India interactive street market for the Sangeet, a secret garden for the wedding, and glamour for the reception. Rao Factor helped us put these visions together! We were excited to make it into a welcoming environment for our guests with our Indian culture infused into each of the events.
Outfits: When going through our wedding planning process, we researched many outfit styles, colors, and vibes.
Haldi: We wanted our Haldi to be very relaxed yet still fashionable. Parag was dressed in a yellow kurta that matched my preset sari with a ruffle detail on the bottom.
Mehndi: The Mehndi was such a fun-filled wedding outfit experience. Mine was a pink and green combination with highlights of gold throughout. It was a whimsical mermaid make-up and hair look for me, which was such a must-have look to explore! This Mehndi outfit received 23k views on IG which was such a fun treat! Parag wore a pink and floral Nehru-styled outfit that matched my outfit perfectly, especially since we both didn’t see each other’s outfits in person until the day of being long distance!
Sangeet: The Sangeet was filled with color, music, dancing, and great food to kick off the wedding festivities for all of our guests. We wore a neutral beige color filled in with a variety of threaded colors and beaded work! These were monochromatic looks which were different for both Parag and I. Parag wore an Anarkali, which was a nice change in style. We wanted to venture out of our comfort zones, and this was it! We loved how they turned out!
Wedding: The wedding outfits were elegant and traditional in a deep dark red velvet material with heavy beaded work. Parag donned a custom sherwani outfit made to his specifications to fit the outfit that I picked and then got altered to how I wanted it to look. It was everything we wanted and more. Parag’s outfit was covered in pearls which was that little extra groom detail we loved! His wedding outfit rivaled mine for sure!
Reception: The reception outfits were both custom-made in this beautiful sky-blue color. I wanted a glitzy and glamorous reception dress with all the bling! My outfit was covered in heavy beaded work from head to toe. I picked the color, the beaded overlay design for the lengha, and how the custom blouse should look. It was fabulous. Parag’s outfit was a gray tux with a sky-blue bowtie which he had helped design. These outfits were very us and exactly how we wanted them to be for our reception!
Bridal Haldi: Ave India Design Collective
Bridal Mehndi: Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika
Bridal Sangeet, Wedding, & Reception: Nazranaa
Groom Haldi: Uvaam
Groom Mehndi: Uvaam
Groom Sangeet & Wedding: Nazranaa
Groom Reception: My.Suit
Hair & Make-Up: My hair and make-up looks were each themed and carefully crafted to look different than the look before, thanks to Ms. Painted Lady. The Haldi was a natural neutral look; the Mehndi was a mermaid-inspired look, the Sangeet was a natural pink lip look in combination with full jewelry and a braided bun look, the Wedding was natural make-up look with a deep red lip along with a big braid. The reception was a full glam look with both make-up and hair! I absolutely LOVED my make-up and hair looks; it was so fun to see it all come together!
Draping: I used BeautyByJLis by Joan Lis Kalarickal and Elegant Saree Draping by Jency Thomas for draping my mom, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and myself. They were so timely and good at what they did! My mom loved how her draping was done for the wedding, which was so nice to see!
Catering: We went on many tastings until we finally settled on a few catering options. We were lucky enough to have booked these places that delivered an amazing food experience for our guests! We had Fadi’s, Jagdish Farshan, Our Place, Bawarchi in Irving, Hilton Anatole, and Dallas Affaires Cake Co all be a part of the process of putting together a wonderful menu for our guests. We also had a large dessert spread which our guests loved!
Photography/Videography: We wanted to make sure that we connected well with our photographer/videographer. This was important so that we feel comfortable in various shots and so our photographer could guide us through the process. Peter Nguyen Studio was that for us. Peter was able to capture feelings, angles, lighting, and all the things to make our shots the best. We also did our engagement photoshoot with him as well. I would highly recommend you vet your photographer/videographer to make sure you like their work because those will be the things you have after the wedding, that and your memories!
DJ: We used DJ Riz Entertainment for all of our music needs for the Sangeet, Wedding, and Reception. We also used DJ Riz Entertainment for the baraat, which was awesome. DJ Riz Entertainment was so great to work with when trying to decide what kinds of music we wanted for our events. He was able to capture moments and engage the crowd, which is what we wanted! Parag especially loved his baraat and the music that was played for his arrival!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
When Parag and I were researching various Indian outfit designers, we loved how we could custom design aspects of the outfit at Nazranaa. When we walked in, I immediately knew the lengha hanging on the back wall was going to be my wedding dress! Initially, I wanted a colorful or patchwork wedding lengha. Still, as time went on and I saw the varieties in wedding lenghas, I wanted to go more traditional for the wedding and more modern for the reception! Since our wedding was near the holidays in November, both Parag and I went for this deeper red velvet color with heavy embroidery throughout. My bridal lengha also had hints of pinks and peaches in it to give me that unique look. The outfits we chose were perfect for us!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of the wedding planning process for Parag and me was definitely the taste tests because we are foodies, as well as trying on different outfits with our families. For the taste tests, we were lucky enough to try three different lunch/dinner caterers, three different cake vendors, and our hotel’s catering. It was all so good and such a fun, unforgettable time for both of us! Each of our five events had a different theme and purpose, so we utilized various designers that were wonderful in helping us find the right outfit! Trying on outfits and picking the right one was an experience and a memorable moment that we were able to share with our families. My family flew up from Texas to NYC to spend time with Parag’s family and try on different outfits. Parag’s family hosted my family’s visit and toured them around NYC, which was a fun experience!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Community Our guests loved how our wedding felt like a community where everyone felt included and a part of the family. Parag and I are close to the guests that were invited, whether they be strong work colleagues, close family friends, family or friends! We wanted our guests to feel completely comfortable, especially since many of our guests had never attended an Indian wedding prior to our wedding. So many of the guests said they were initially nervous about what to expect and making sure they did things right, but once the festivities started, they realized how relaxed and inclusive our wedding was and absolutely loved it all. We wanted everyone to come to eat, dance, drink, and have a fabulous time! In addition, our guests loved the décor, our colorful outfits, and the food (many different Indian regional foods from both South India (me!) and North India (Parag)! Finally, many guests raved about our 360 photobooths which Parag surprised me with at the reception! This was such an interactive, modern fun-filled activity that it took our reception to the next level. It added that little extra fun to the party!
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Yes! So many wonderful, fun moments from our wedding, but three of the most memorable were our messy Haldi, the baraat, and stealing Parag’s shoes!
Our Haldi was an amazing experience where close guests of the family came to prep Sweta and Parag for their big day. The turmeric blend was spread on both of us to cleanse us prior to the wedding festivities. It was such a happy coming together of family and friends! It was an intimate, lovely event and a moment to remember.
The second event was the baraat! Parag was looking forward to his baraat and being able to see his wife soon! He felt like it was everything he wanted and more – with confetti, dancing, and a dhol player and all!
The third special moment was during the wedding ceremony when the bridesmaids had to steal the groom’s shoes. Parag and I will forever remember Parag having a decoy pair of shoes thanks to his groomsmen and the bridesmaids figuring this out. Once the bridesmaids figured out where the real shoes were, a couple of them jumped in to steal his shoes. As this was taking place, I noticed my bridesmaids were struggling, so I jumped into a group of bodies to steal these shoes. Thanks to my lovely bridesmaids and Parag’s chivalrous groomsmen, I came out with the shoes for the win!
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.
Telugu Wedding: Parag and I were lucky enough to have an intimate Telugu ceremony prior to our big fat Indian wedding. Parag is Gujarati, and I am Telugu, so we fused both traditions to make sure both sides were represented well!
Dances: Parag and I had Raas and Garba for the Sangeet and then, of course, a variety of music for the reception! We also decided that we would love for our friends to be a part of our wedding adventure. My friends and I decided to do a spliced-together fusion mix of Indian and American songs in the Sangeet performance. In contrast, Parag and his friends performed to spliced-together Indian songs. Both teams had such a fun time, although who actually won the dance competition is still up for debate. I am pretty sure my crew showed up and brought home the win!
We had names for our signature drinks at our wedding, which were well received:
Bride’s Drink: Sweta Sour
Groom’s Drink: NYC Mezcal
Groom & Bride’s Drink: Parag & Sweta’s Whiskey Business
AVSD Productions Wedding Video Message: During a wedding, it is hard to connect with each of your guests intimately, so we arranged for a video message booth for our guests to chat with us! This was so fun to view and see later! This was different and took the place of our guestbook, which was great!
DFW 360 Photobooths with Sir: What a wonderful way to set our wedding apart! The 360 photo booth was perfect for giving us that X factor for our reception. It was a little fun surprise that our guests were able to take home!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Enjoy the moment! I was told this advice by many of my friends and colleagues, and it is so true! Don’t get too caught up in the details of what is not happening right the week of the wedding, but instead, enjoy your hubby, your guests, and the moment. Thankfully Indian weddings are a few days to take in your moments, but always just be happy for having the chance to have these moments that you will cherish forever!
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
Our wedding had two hashtags! The Haldi & Mehndi hashtag was “SwetaNY” since Parag=NY and Parag was from NY! It was a charming fit for our more intimate events.
The Sangeet, Wedding & Reception hashtag was “PSSayYes” since P=Parag and S=Sweta, and both say yes! We loved it!
Darlings, I hope you loved this story as much as I did. I'll see you for the next entry with more!