Hello, Maharanis! Nestled amidst the sacred ambiance of the First United Methodist Church, Swetha & Melchisedek's journey began, resonating with promises of a lifetime. With each vow, the air became thicker with emotion, a testimony to the power of their love. Swetha's ethereal beauty, accentuated by the deft touches of Beauty Marked and adorned in the finest ensemble from Debra's Bridal, left everyone in awe. But, what truly dazzled were the radiant pieces from Givenchy and Nazranaa Jewels that complemented her glowing aura. The intricate Mehndi designs by Manu's Beauty Care whispered tales of ancient traditions and the bride's journey into marital bliss. The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront transformed into splendor and romance as Swetha wore attire from Nazranaa. The magnificent decor by NJP Events & Design echoed their dreams, and the lighting set by DJ XFactor illuminated the couple's happiness, creating a celestial atmosphere. Their beats and melodies resonated joyfully, setting the stage for a night of laughter and dance. Each slice of the exquisite cake from Sweet and Chic Events tasted like heaven, while Riant Films impeccably captured the enchanting moments, immortalizing them in this beautiful film.
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Melchisedek (or Jean, as most people & I call him for short) met in 2010 at the ages of 19 & 20 at the University of South Florida. Our first few encounters were in passing at the student center, thanks to our mutual friend (& later bridesmaid) Anita. Our real story begins, however, at a student event where Jean spotted me across the USF Amphitheater & asked me to dance bachata with him. I was hesitant at first, knowing that this Sri Lankan girl had no idea how to bachata, but I decided to take a chance & learn with this tall, dark, & handsome Haitian man. By the end of the night, we'd had such a great time that we exchanged numbers & continued to text through the rest of the night. Coincidentally enough, over the next few days, we realized that we were in two of the same classes. We became study partners, passing notes in class and studying together on campus. It wasn't long before our friendship grew into something bigger. Our relationship definitely stirred things up a bit; after all, an interracial couple (specifically a South Asian woman & a black man) was not the norm back then and was often considered “taboo” in both cultures. We took the negativity in stride, & it only helped us grow closer. One of the things that attracted me most to Jean was how important culture & family are to him, as both are so important to me as well. About 2 months into dating, he met my family in order to take us to the airport as we were traveling to Sri Lanka. At the time, because our relationship was so new, I introduced him as just a "friend." Regardless, he made such an effort to get to know my parents & ask about our culture. When we returned home, I felt this newfound connection to my roots, & Jean was so eager to hear all about my first time there. That's when I knew he was the one. Over the past 13 years of being together, that hasn't changed one bit & it's one of the things I love most about him. We make an active effort to learn about each other's cultures every day, never losing touch with our own roots but always eager to incorporate other cultures into our daily lives. Not to mention, he has been my biggest motivator & supporter since day one, always pushing me to be the best version of myself & cheering me on even when he can't physically be there.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
It was nothing short of a dream come true, to say the least. On the eve of our 10-year anniversary, in the midst of the pandemic, & with the help of my family & friends, Jean pulled off a fairytale proposal - complete with twinkling lights, white clouds, balloons, & the song we first danced bachata to that fateful day playing in the background. At my childhood home, I walked in thinking I was going to a surprise party for my parents, & instead found a room filled entirely with balloons, twinkling lights, & fog. There, at the end of a pathway lined with flower petals & lanterns, stood my Prince Charming & our dog Aladdin, my Prince Ali, waiting with my dream ring. It was absolutely magical!
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 always knew we wanted to have two ceremonies, a Christian ceremony & a Hindu ceremony & make every effort to incorporate both of our cultures into our wedding. It was no easy feat, planning two ceremonies & two receptions over two days. Thankfully, my sister Shankeer had gotten married the year before in a similar fashion & was such a huge help. Having planned two ceremonies + two receptions the year prior, she had done a lot of the research on vendors, venues, outfits, etc., for me. I honestly don't know how I could have planned everything without her! With her help, I was able to book most of my vendors early on, which saved us a lot of stress later in the planning process. For example, we knew we wanted to book Photos by Rob Futrell, our amazing photographer, as I fell in love with his work during her wedding. We also booked Beauty Marked FL again, as they did such an incredible job with my sister's bridal hair & makeup. For our Hindu Ceremony and reception bridal & wedding party outfits, I just knew we had to go through Nazranaa again, as we loved how everything turned out with our custom outfits & jewelry in my sister's wedding; & our wedding looks turned out even more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed of!
About halfway through the planning process, I realized that there were still several moving parts I needed help with. I decided to hire a wedding planner, & it was the best decision I could have made! Big Guava Events made the planning process much less daunting - helping me book the rest of my vendors, organize my ideas, create timelines & keep everyone on track & events moving on time during the wedding weekend. I definitely would have been lost without them!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Going through Shia with Nazranaa again was such a seamless process. We flew up to NJ & chose all of our outfits (bridal lengha, groom's sherwani, bridesmaids' lenghas, groomsens' sherwanis, bride & groom's reception outfits, & all jewelry) in just one day! I had a few colors & designs in mind, & Nazranaa helped bring my ideas to life. Our theme centered around royalty & peacocks for the Hindu ceremony and reception, so Nazranaa made sure to incorporate them into our outfits.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
The decor! NJP Events & Design did such an amazing job taking all of my ideas & bringing them to fruition. When I walked into our reception ballroom, I actually started crying. I was so happy that everything turned out exactly how I imagined it. Our royal & peacock theme was a big hit amongst my guests, as there were so many little details incorporated into the weekend - small gold elephants adorned the head table, peacocks sitting on swings hanging from trees with crystals & lights as centerpieces, bronze peacock statues perfect for photo ops, a large peacock fixture on the arch of the entryway to the mandap, multicolored peacock light up rings & customized glow sticks handed out to guests on the dance floor, & gold, silver & rose gold trinket boxes as favors.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Expect the unexpected & have multiple backup plans! Our Hindu ceremony was to be held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront on their River Deck, with a beautiful view of the St. John's River & the Main Street Bridge. There was a large Navy ship that docked right outside of our venue, completely blocking our riverfront view. This ship was supposed to be moved several months prior, but the move kept getting postponed. We had finally come to terms with this giant ship being the backdrop of our ceremony & had even changed our ceremony setup to have it only obstruct a part of the riverfront view, only to find out two days prior to the wedding that they were a hosting an outdoor Christmas party, complete with a dressed up Santa, drinks, & loud music at the same time & day of our ceremony! I was panicking - how could we hold a religious ceremony with a loud party right next to us?! We ended up having to move everything to an indoor ballroom. Thankfully, our wedding planner, Big Guava Events & decor vendor, NJP Events & Design, were able to work with the Hyatt & create a magical scene for our ceremony; & although it wasn't exactly what I had imagined, it was still beautiful in its own way.
I hope you enjoy this feature. Until next time, stay in love and keep celebrating every heartbeat.