The wedding of Shivani and Neal was ten years in the making, and it was definitely worth the wait! It is obvious to everyone that bubbly Shivani and chill Neal are a match made in heaven, and their epic celebration was the perfect meeting of their minds! Shadow Shine Pictures loved working with the couple, and the resultant wedding film is a spectacular showcase of all the action that went down! Shivani and Neal wanted to make sure they had an absolute blast at their wedding without worrying about behind the scenes drama, so they brought in planning extraordinaire Rajul Pillai from Blissful Weddings and Events, with floral and decor by Bellisario Florist, to ensure the proceedings ran smoothly! The festivities featured so many special touches, such as fireworks at the mehndi, five ridiculously adorable flower girls at the ceremony, and “His” and “Her” cocktails at the reception. For the reception event at the Diamond Center, Shivani chose a gold and orange lehenga by Aishwarya which couldn’t have been a better match for her exuberant personality! After weeping with emotion during the incredible reception speeches, Shivani and Neal were ready to party the night away! They refused to leave the dance floor as music by Sandeep Hans swirled around them. The energy in the room was further heightened by confetti machines and personalized glow sticks! Sweet Dreams bought the desserts and Krishna Catering provided the reception meals. Guests raved about how mouthwatering it all was! (Though poor Shivani and Neal didn’t get a chance to chow down on the deliciousness until after the reception.) The celebrations ended in style, with an after-party catered by the always reliable Taco Bell. We can’t wait to see all the photos by Ray Anthony Photography! Click play below to revel in all the loveliness and scroll below to read all the deets from Maharani Shivani herself!
Description of Day from the Bride:
The day started with celebrations with our groomsmen & bridesmaids (separately of course) while we got ready and anxiously awaited this day that had been 10 years in the making. We started with a first look before the ceremony, and spent the morning taking ample pictures before the waterworks started!
Neal went off to his baraat, where he made his entrance in a convertible with his sister to the beats of the dhol surrounded by his friends and family dancing (and we must admit, the bride’s side couldn't stay away either!) The groom was greeted by his soon to be in-laws who welcomed him with open arms and walked him down the raised, candle lit aisle scattered with rose petals to the traditional four pillared gold mandap. He was followed by 5 adorable flower girls and the wedding party to the tune of Yiruma. As the audience rose, the bride was accompanied down the aisle by two of her mama's (her mom’s brothers) to the Piano Guys version of a A Thousand Years. I wish I could explain all the feelings I had in that moment - but the best way to explain it is how full my heart felt! The wedding was performed mostly in Gujarati, but the bride's cousin added a twist by translating it to English and adding some tidbits about the bride and groom throughout the ceremony to make the ceremony more personal (and so our non-Indian friends could actually understand what was going on!)
We got ready together for the reception, as a (finally!) newly married couple! We were eagerly awaiting the celebration with all of our favorite people! We had a small photo shoot before the reception began. We also had a private cocktail hour for us and our wedding party so we could actually spend some quality time with them! Our siblings, bride's brother and groom's sister, were the emcee's for the reception, they started with some banter while the guests settled into their seats, introduced the wedding party, our parents, themselves, and finally the bride and groom! We excitedly entered the room (I don't know if anyone can explain the feeling of having a room full of ALL your favorite people) and went on to cake cutting, followed by our first dance, mother-son and daddy-daughter dances, and then the toasts (as if we hadn't already spilled enough happy tears throughout the day!).
We sat down at our sweetheart table and before even taking a bite of our food we decided we wanted to see as many of our friends/family that we could! Lets just say the first bite of food we ate was at the after party - which was delicious even after it was cold! The reception was full of personal touches - a slideshow of pictures of us from the last 10 years, canvas portraits at the entrance way, "His & Her" cocktails at the bar, our very own logo projected on the dance floor, and so much more that I didn't even see until we saw our wedding pictures/video afterwards! We danced the night away with some great music, confetti machines, and some killer glow sticks with our names on them! At one point we just sat on the stage looking at the room in awe of the colors, decor, flower arrangements, and of course the amount of love that radiated throughout!
Our amazing day was followed by an afterparty on the outdoor patio, catered of course by Taco Bell, DJ'd by our best friend, and filled with amazing conversations by the fireplace, popping bottles of champagne, and flip cup on the side. We never wanted the day to end! I don't think we could've imagined a more perfect wedding day, if only we could re-live the weekend over again - thank goodness we have our wedding trailer for that!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Neal and I conveniently lived down the hall from each other our sophomore year in the dorms at the University of Michigan (September 2006). My parents were moving me in during welcome week and my dad had just opened up the futon box and was reading the assembly instructions when we saw Neal standing at the door. Neal introduced himself, and said something along the lines of, oh I just happened to be walking by and saw that you have the same futon as us (later we found it this was his brilliant excuse to meet me). Of course my dad jumped on this opportunity and asked him to help. Neal knew he had no idea how to put together a futon (he was in business school) and his roommate (who was an engineer) had put their entire futon together. He abruptly left the room and came back a minute later with his roommate. His poor roommate put together the entire futon while Neal used it as an excuse to chat it up with my parents and I. Very quickly, Neal and I became great friends. Neal and I first held hands on our way back to the dorms from a friend's house party, and the rest was history.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
This is my favorite story to tell, for many reasons, but mostly because I was so surprised, and every time I tell it, I find one more detail in the story that should've been a clue that Neal was proposing.
One of my best friends was getting married in Phoenix, and at the time Neal and I were in a long distance relationship, and so we decided to spend a week out on the West Coast together before her wedding.
Neal LOVES planning vacations, he spends hundreds of hours researching every hotel, every restaurant, every detail. Usually by the time we reach any destination I always wonder if Neal has already been there because he's able to point out everything just on our cab ride to a hotel! We flew out to San Francisco, spent a day site-seeing, followed by a road trip down to Big Sur, and then finally we made our way up to Napa.
I remember it was a Tuesday morning (November 4, 2014). Neal told me he had scheduled our first wine tasting for 2pm. I asked if he wanted to eat something beforehand (he refused, which should've been clue #1). We parked our rental car in downtown Yountville, and Neal told me that a car service from the vineyard would be picking us up (Clue #2 should've been that the car had the name of our hotel on the side, although Neal had told me we were staying at the local Marriott so I had no idea). We got to the vineyard and it was absolutely gorgeous, but empty (clue #3), I thought maybe it was because it was a Tuesday, but it was really because Neal had rented out the entire vineyard for the proposal. We did the wine tasting, and while the sommelier was explaining different aspects of making the wine to us, she mentioned something about me being a doctor (clue #4 as I had never told my occupation, but apparently Neal had been in touch with her for months while planning this out). She took us to the barrel room and as she let us in she "got a phone call" and left us to be alone (clue #5). As we walked through, I made Neal take about 15 selfies with me until he finally asked me to sit still (clue #6). That's when he got down on one knee, and all I could think was, I must be dreaming. He said all kinds of sweet, thoughtful, and beautiful things, and then slipped an absolutely stunning ring on my finger that he designed all on his own!
I was already surprised enough, when Neal said, I know you wanted our family and friends to be here for this, but it wasn't very feasible, so instead I hired a photographer to take pictures so we can share this moment with them. We spent the next 2 hours taking fun pictures all around the vineyard and with the beautiful fall colors in downtown Napa. I thought the surprises ended there, but Neal had booked us a suite at one of the most romantic hotels in the country, where we were greeted with champagne and a private dinner on the rooftop under the stars. The next few days were followed by endless champagne, couples massages, and tons of delicious wine and food!
It’s a story that I will never get tired of sharing!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I knew that I wanted a lengha that incorporated the traditional colors - Red, White & Gold. I wanted something elegant and beautiful but I had no idea what I would find while I was in India. The moment I set eyes on this lengha, I fell in love! I found it at the very first store I went to on the very first day I started shopping - it was meant to be! It incorporated the colors that I wanted, but beyond that it included a bit of green and a velvet material that gave the dress a whole new dimension.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of planning was the amount of love that just radiated from all of our friends and family. Everyone offered their help and excitement, and the wedding would not have been possible without them! From the daily phone calls from my maid of honor to plan every details, to the pictures I would get from my parents and their friends while they were trying food/doing arts and crafts/mailing invitations, to our siblings who were constantly sending us funny stories for approval for their speeches, to my aunts and uncles who put together all our gift bags/name cards/table gifts, to our cousins who choreographed dances and skits and gave beautiful speeches, to our wedding party who planned our bachelor/bachelorette parties and helped us celebrate each and every day, ensured we ate and always had a drink in hand, and were always the first on the dance floor, to all the guests who traveled from near and far and showered us with so much love!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Your wedding weekend will fly by, it is one of the only times in your life that every single person you love is in the same room and is there for YOU! Enjoy every minute, slow down and look around so you can take in every little detail, spend a few minutes alone with your groom throughout the weekend, and make sure you try the food. :)
So sweet! We hope you have a fantastic weekend Maharanis! We'll see you all on Monday!