Hello loves! Today, AZM Cinematography brings an incredibly romantic union that will leave you daydreaming and full of inspiring ideas for your special day! After a long list of pre-wedding events, Manali & Nikesh's main vision of love took place at the wonderful outdoors of the Hilton Orlando. The long-awaited ceremony decor was looking totally fabulous, to say the least! The bright round floral mandap that our friends from Utopian Events created to host the sacred rituals was the perfect reflection of the sophistication that surrounded our newlyweds that day. But above all, what really struck me the most was the impeccable style of Maharani Manali. This enchanting bride recruited the experts of Michele Renee The Studio to help her with all her beauty needs. And what a great job they did, Manali resembled a real Indian princess! The elegant and romantic atmosphere continued during the reception. A true life-changing event livened up by the entertainment experts of M4U Events, who put everyone on their feet all night long! Check out Manali and Nikesh's big wedding celebration and get ready to be inspired!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
I was a freshman in college when I met Nikesh. I was attending a cultural dance night at the UF O’Dome where I saw him for the first time. I could tell he was looking at me too from across the arena so I hopped in the group dance line he was in to get a little closer. I ended up taking his spot and kicking him out of the line. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him afterwards. Later that night I went to a friend’s birthday party with my cousin, who was trying to “set me up” with a guy she knew. We arrived to the party and she pointed towards the guy; I was definitely not interested. As I looked around the room a smile came across my face. That cute guy I saw earlier was standing across the room. I told my cousin I thought he was much cuter than the guy she was trying to set me up with. It turned out my cousin’s boyfriend at the time knew Nikesh and wanted to introduce us at the party. I panicked and headed towards the exit. As I was approaching the door to leave I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and he was standing right in front of me. I was so nervous inside, but I had to keep it cool. They introduced us and Nikesh charmed me immediately. We ended up talking all night and exchanging numbers. I left the party thinking I might never talk to that guy again, but I hope I do because he seemed special, and man he was so cute! Within minutes of leaving the party I received a text from him, and we never stopped talking since.
When your first date is to Disney World, there is not much doubt in your mind when deciding if this guy is “the one”. His kind heart, sense of humor, and outrageously funny laugh are just a few characteristics that made it an easy decision to say yes to forever with him. I am so thankful that our paths crossed 7 years ago.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
I had been wanting to go on a trip for months. When I realized I had two ticket vouchers from a canceled flight last year, I knew we had to take advantage of the opportunity before they expired. I started planning a trip eagerly asking Nikesh where we should go. We finally decided on NYC because I had never been. I booked the flight and we were set to go. I had no idea that the first day I even mentioned flying to NYC, he began planning the most wonderful day of my life. We made an extensive list of pizza and bagel places we wanted to try (I love to eat!), as well as all the tourist spots. He asked me to find a nice dress because we were going to go to an “upscale rooftop speakeasy” and then out to a nice dinner. With our busy schedules, we rarely have time to do those types of things so I was all for it! That night I got all dressed up, excited to go to a speakeasy for the first time. I was already thinking of all the delicious drinks I was going to order. We arrived at the building and something seemed off, but I figured it was a speakeasy so it wasn’t supposed to look like a bar. We took the elevator to the 7th floor and he told the receptionist we had a reservation for Patel. The receptionist escorted us to the entrance of the rooftop. Nikesh asked me to hold his hand as he looked at me and smiled. He opened the door and my eyes filled with tears. Candles, rose petals, and strings of lights above my head surrounded me. My best friend was about to ask me to marry him. The rest of the night was filled with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite!), and a beautiful scrapbook he created of our memories over the years. It was a perfect night and the most perfect proposal.
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.
Nikesh and I are both only children, so it was imperative that our families invited all of our relatives and friends. Before I knew it, I was planning a wedding for 800 people. Regardless of the number, I had a vision and I needed help to bring it to life. Décor and music were so important to me. An abundance of fresh flowers adorning my mandap, big bright lights beaming on the dance floor during the reception while our favorite songs play in the background, and of course a garba night filled with music and dance to remind us of how we first met. With my incredible wedding team and months of hard work, all those pieces came together to give us the wedding of our dreams. Our wedding week began with a mehndi night, followed by my Vidhi ceremony the next morning and our sangeet-garba in the evening. The next day was Nikesh’s Vidhi and Varghodo, which I was fortunate enough to attend, in a party bus nonetheless.
I was not nervous until the morning of the wedding. I woke up with a light flutter in my heart and deep excitement to marry the love of my life, but I couldn’t help the nerves from kicking in. As my mother placed my wedding necklace around my neck and smiled at me with a small tear in her eye, it all became so real. All 13 bridesmaids helped to hide me under a sheet so no one would see me as we made our way down to the Fountain Plaza at the Hilton Orlando. It was the most comical and bizarre way of making my way to my groom for a first look, but it was an experience I will never forget. The DJ could tell I was nervous, so they played and upbeat song (Bola Rebola) seconds before I walked up to him. I began dancing and all the nerves went away. As I tapped Nikesh on his right shoulder, he turned around and flash the big smile I fell in love with. I was simply floating. And our photos would not have been complete without our beautiful pup, Ibiza. We took the rest of our photos and prepared for the ceremony to begin. With our similar love for dance, we naturally surprised one another with individual dance performances before the ceremony, amongst all of our guests. This was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. The rest of the wedding went by in flash, but thankfully I have many photos and videos to bring it back to life. We danced the night away during the reception and our beautiful wedding week came to an end.
We are so grateful for both of our parents for the tremendous support and love they have given us over the years and throughout the planning process. Without them, our wedding simply would not have been possible. Both of our families came together to help create an extraordinary week of fun filled events, ending in a marriage that resulted in one huge happy family.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I have known since I was 13 years old, watching endless Bollywood movies that I wanted to have the classic red, traditional lengha for my wedding day. I also wanted an outfit that was unique, comfortable, and made me feel like an Indian princess. My inner teen-self came out as scoured the big city stores in Delhi. I initially wanted to get a designer label lengha, but quickly realized that label was not as important as saving my budget for more important pieces of my wedding look, like my jewelry. After trying on only 4 or 5 lenghas, I found the perfect red dress at Frontier Raas. It did not make me like a princess, but a queen, a maharani. They were also able to customize Nikesh’s outfit to match the work on my blouse, which made our look picture perfect. We went to a family jeweler at CH Jewelers in Varodora, to customize the perfect wedding set to complete my look.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
For me, the most enjoyable part of the wedding planning process creating all the looks for the wedding. Nikesh is a very stylish guy, so he was happy to give his input on his outfits and jewelry as well. I love that the traditional Hindu wedding has multiple events, which means many outfits, multiple types of jewelry, and unique looks for each event. I was able to get all my outfits from an array of stores in Delhi and with my personal designer in Anand, Gujarat. Along with using my creativity for outfits, I truly enjoyed working my decorator Kinjal Patel, at Utopian Events to create my dream mandap and reception stage. I love flowers and greenery, so working with Kinjal was so perfect because she understood my vision. We talked for hours, which I truly appreciated, about colors, florals, water features, and how to create the perfect environment where I would marry my best friend. The best part was after hours and months of effort, I was able to see that vision come to life. It made all the effort and time totally worth it.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
My guests loved my mandap. They appreciated the real florals and bright colors that stood out as the walked out to the ceremony. Everyone also loved the food, which was a huge deal to me and my parents. The sangeet consisted of multiple stations of food with different types of cuisine that Nikesh and I loved. From tacos and quesadillas, to pasta and pani puri, the guests were able to enjoy a variety of food and live music. My reception stage was also a very unique piece of my event. M4U events created a unique stage just for me and my large guest count, which included a black and white, lit up LED dance floor.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
My favorite part of the wedding was during the bharaat. I had a surprise dance planned for Nikesh that I had choreographed with my bridesmaids. As I was getting ready to show all guests and my future husband my dance moves, the DJ made an announcement to clear the area and for the bride to keep her eyes on center of the “stage”. One of my favorite songs, Morni Banke, flooded the air and Nikesh popped out of the crowd. I knew Nikesh could dance, and he really brought out his best moves. I could not stop smiling and my heart felt so light. I was floating watching him, and then out of nowhere, two of my best friends ran over to his side (childhood friends of Nikesh’s) and joined him in the dance. My jaw dropped and I could not help but laugh with joy. It was a spectacular performance by my favorite people.
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.
Nikesh and I are known for dancing together and performing at family and friends’ wedding and events. It was much expected that we both perform throughout the events. Each event was filled with performances by myself and/or family members. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen were good friends and decided to perform a full skit of how we met during the reception. It was extraordinary, and the all the guests loved it as they watched our story come to life. A special detail I incorporated into our events was photos from a shoot Nikesh and I did in Jaipur and Jodhpur. With Utopian Events, we created stacked block letters that said “MENDHI” or “SANGEET” and a photo of us on a pedestal to match for each of our 6 events. For the reception, we created a hallway for the entrance that was lined with 6-foot tall photos of him and I in the desserts of Jodhpur and palaces of Jaipur for our guests to view as the entered. It added a true personal touch to each event.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
For any future bride, I would say simply live the moment of your wedding and wedding week. It only happens once, and the time will fly by so fast, you do not want to miss a moment of it. Things will go wrong, there might be mistakes, but nothing is as important as you and your significant other becoming one. During my wedding there were issues occurring with lunch and catering, but I had no idea until after because I was taking in each second under the mandap with Nikesh. Embracing each ritual and not worrying about anything or anyone outside of the ceremony itself, and that was perfect enough for me. I am a bride that wanted to plan every little detail of my wedding, but I could never have finished without my coordinator. I was able to plan all the details until about 2 months prior, after which my coordinator took the lead and I was relieved of many stresses. She put things in order, called my vendors, organized the day-of planning so I could simply enjoy the wedding week without any stress or worry. Also, take as many pictures as you can! It will be the only and yet the best memories of your wedding.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
I highly would recommend getting your mendhi done prior to the mehndi event so you can enjoy time with your guests.
Lovely inspiration seekers, don't forget to visit us tomorrow for more wedding stories!