We are back Maharanis! Today and thanks to the talented crew from Bowen Films, we present to you, Ayushma and Richard's absolutely heartwarming grand South Asian wedding, coming all the way from Virginia! Our enchanting Maharani's Nepalese background and taste were showing at all times. Going from her chosen wardrobe to the classy floral and decor, designed by our amazing friends from Nivanjoli, every element was just delightful. Be sure to know this wedding featured a true and loving Maharani, so no less was expected! It was a ceremony for the books, celebrated at the Lansdowne Resort at Leesburg. It had all the elements you would forecast from two beautiful souls that love each other. From Harry Potter quotes during speeches to the ravishing dance floor moves thanks to DynastyAV's sounds, this wedding truly made my day because of its tenderness. IndAroma was busy, creating the delicious treats that would make the guests rush into the dance floor and celebrate, batteries charged, the everlasting love of Ayushma and Richard. So, come and take a peak of today's daily dose of love in our featured highlight reel. Are you going to miss it?
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
We met in 2006 at the dining hall during our first semester of college, at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, VA. We were introduced by a mutual friend (the same friend served as our “Master of Vows” during the ceremony) and became good friends over the next couple of years before we started dating. I knew he was someone special since the moment I met him, but the deep friendship we formed in those early years is what became the foundation of our relationship and made our first real date perfect and effortless.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
We dated for several years before Richard proposed and life had taken us away from Charlottesville. I knew a proposal was coming, but when and how was a mystery until Richard suggested we drive to Charlottesville (and back) on a Sunday. Richard had planned a weekend trip back to Charlottesville, where it all began. He was going to propose after a walk around UVA on the day that marked our 100th month together. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances would prevent us from returning to Charlottesville on August 13, 2017, but Richard was still determined to propose that day and still make it special.
What actually happened was that we spent the day at National Harbor, enjoying many sights that ironically reminded us of our time in Charlottesville. It was a really sweet day filled with beautiful memories and plenty of laughter. We walked along the boardwalk and took a ride on the Capital Wheel where I thought Richard was going to propose. But instead, he suggested we move along to spend the rest of the afternoon in DC. We took a long walk around the DC landmarks. When we got to the Jefferson Memorial, we passed by a couple taking engagement photos, and then by another couple taking wedding photos which made for a fitting lead up to our engagement. Richard decided since he was unable to take us back to Thomas Jefferson’s University (UVA), he would propose at the Jefferson Memorial. So after walking around the monument, Richard proposed at the steps of the monument around sunset, with a Starbucks tumbler (and a ring!), on which he had sketched a series of comic panels detailing our relationship. The last panel ends with Richard asking “will you marry me?”
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.
I had found our photographers (The Regeti’s) early in our planning process by stumbling onto their online blog and I was hooked from the start. I loved their photos and knew in my heart that they would be perfect for our wedding. However, we took a very practical approach and wanted to have a date and venue set before we hired our vendors. We spent a few weekends touring different venue options until we found our venue, the Lansdowne Resort. Our dating anniversary is on the 13th and although it wasn’t a requirement when we started the planning process, we lucked out that our venue had October 13 free. After finding our venue and setting a date, we decided we wanted to hire a wedding coordinator to help us since we were quickly realizing that planning this wedding was going to require a lot of time and hard work. We hired Vicky from Event Accomplished and she was a dream to work with and very organized. We knew right away she was going to be perfect. She was really helpful throughout the entire process and made sure that our day was perfect.
We had gone to a couple vendor shows prior to hiring our planner, which is where we met Amy Regeti. After meeting Amy, it only confirmed what I already knew, that we had to have them as our photographers! It had been months since I found their blog, so we had no idea if they would be available when we met them. It was really by luck that they were still available for our wedding. They made the entire process easy and comfortable.
We also met the wonderful people from IndAroma at a wedding show and everyone we spoke with recommended them; after trying their food, we knew why! They were another vendor that we lucked out with being available on our wedding day, and they were also so easy to work with.
Vicky introduced us to the rest of the vendors and made sure to pair us with the right people. Prabha, our decorator, was so sweet and very creative. I knew I wanted “the look” to be colorful and we had so many random personal details and ideas we wanted to incorporate, which on paper probably made no sense. But Prabha and Vicky really helped us bring all our ideas together and the decor for our wedding turned out to be so beautiful and better than we imagined!
Our DJ and MC were fun and helped us create the look and atmosphere we were hoping for. And our videographers were really sweet and created a wonderful video of our day. I told Vicky I wanted a more natural look for my wedding day and she helped find the perfect hair/makeup people from Bridal Artistry who were great to work with and really took the time to listen to me. They also took into consideration my allergies to parabens! The Lansdowne coordinator helped us pick out a delicious cake through their kitchen, and she worked with Vicky to bring things together on the day-of.
Everyone we worked with was amazing and caring. They really took the time to listen to us and put in a lot of effort to make our day perfect.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I always knew I wanted to wear traditional red, like my mom. Finding the right saree and lengha was a family affair, as we coordinated with my aunts and cousins in Nepal to help find the style of the outfits I wanted for myself and our wedding party. We sent photos back and forth and communicated by phone throughout the entire process. My parents even went to Nepal with everyone’s measurements and brought back everything before the wedding. It all came together perfectly and everyone looked great!
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
We had a lot of personal details woven into our décor, so it was a lot of fun planning those out with our event planner and decorator, then seeing them come alive on the day of the wedding. We also had some DIY projects that were really fun putting together. We knew we wanted to incorporate important aspects of ourselves and our relationship, and this was a good way of making that happen.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests really enjoyed all the details, food, and experiencing the mix of cultures. For many of our friends, they had never been part of a South-Asian style wedding, so they really enjoyed seeing the beautiful decorations and appreciated our wedding program, which we worked hard on to explain each part of the ceremony to our guests. We also wanted to make sure everyone had a good time, and we really focused on guest hospitality. Our friends and family really enjoyed the break room, games, music selection, photo booth, and other activities we had for them throughout the day.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
Our first look was really special, as was the time right before we joined our guests at cocktail hour. We changed outfits before the reception so we did a second set of bride and groom photos, and that time together was really fun. Any nervousness we had before the ceremony was gone and it was nice to have a few quiet moments together before joining our guests. Our photographers also did this great thing where they had us practice our first dance during our photo shoot, which was a lot of fun! It really helped us feel more comfortable about the first dance, and we were able to laugh and just have fun while our photographers got some amazing shots of us.
Another moment that stands out, is looking out from our sweetheart table and seeing all the people we love in one place, there to celebrate us and our love. It was overwhelming in the best way and I will never forget that. We had friends and family from all over the US as well as some who traveled all the way from Nepal and Japan.
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.
During the reception, we held an Anniversary Dance where all married couples danced until only the one married the longest was left at the end of the song. It was great to see my parents up there, and Richard’s aunt and uncle actually won the dance, having been married over 43 years! We presented them with a nice bottle of wine we had been saving since it seemed like a fun idea to have a door prize. They loved it!
Since we met at UVA, we wanted our mandap to represent The Rotunda, so we requested a round-domed mandap. My favorite animal is a tiger and Richard’s is an elephant so our decorator created these beautiful floral statues of an elephant and tiger for centerpieces at the wedding party tables. We also had other elephants floating around here and there. I’m originally from California and I have fond memories of attending the poppy festival and watching my mom tend to her rose garden, so we had poppies and roses in my bouquet and throughout our mandap. We both love Harry Potter and had attended multiple midnight premiers together early in our relationship, so we had some obvious and subtle Harry Potter references like the postbox we used to collect well wishes from our guests and the floating candles on our stage. I also had a charm bracelet made of Scrabble tiles where one side showed the Harry Potter books and the other side spelled out Richard. We love playing Scrabble so this was perfect. I had this bracelet around my bouquet.
We call our anniversaries “luna” so we had several moon and star themed items, like the table numbers in different moon phases which we made ourselves, a starry night above our dancefloor, a moon gobo, and stars and moon phases on our cake. There are LOVE signs all over Virginia, and I’ve become obsessed with finding them all. So we made mini LOVE signs wrapped in paper from Nepal (and one wrapped with comic book paper for Richard). We also turned some of my mom’s old sarees into table toppers with help from a friend. We knew we wanted to incorporate fun facts throughout the reception so our planner introduced us to the idea of “fun fact napkins”, which were a big hit with our guests and we also played the “newlywed” shoe game after dinner. We added a personal touch to our photo booth by providing our own themed props from Harry Potter, UVA, and moon and stars.
We also had boxes with quotes we liked to line our aisle, and on top of the boxes, we placed 13 items, since it is a number that’s really special to us and our entire relationship. We re-used these during the reception to extend the look of the stage, and one of them to act as a memory table for those who could not be with us. To acknowledge our guests who came from near and far, we had everyone stand up and the MC announced each region our guests were from before we thanked everyone for coming.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Relax! Take it all in. Enjoy the day! No matter how much you prep and how much help you have leading up to it or on the day of, it’s still a really busy day and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Take a step back, breath, and enjoy each moment.
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