Welcome back to the enchanting wedding of Sunaina & Hemanth. The Sangeet night, a vivid prelude to the main ceremony, was set alight with joy and dance on a bespoke floor wrapped by Dance Floor Designs. As Sunaina made her grand entrance, all eyes were captivated by her stunning transformation, courtesy of Glam by NB's artistry and Hair by Shak's magical touch. Marriott San Mateo hosted the ceremony, where every aspect flowed seamlessly under the expert coordination of An Elegant Standard. Dazzling Streaks Decor decorated the space, creating a fairytale setting. Sunaina looked stunning with flawless hair and makeup by Beauty Innovations. The ambiance transformed into a beautiful celebration of love as the evening transitioned to the Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club. The newlyweds' heartbeats resonated with DJ Tanveer's rhythm. Lux Wedding Studios, the maestros of cinematography, transformed their wedding into an everlasting cinematic masterpiece. With a keen eye for detail and an artistic flair, their cameras didn't just capture moments; they encapsulated emotions, weaving a visual narrative that spoke volumes of their love.
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Hemanth and I met through a quirky combination of fate, family, and food. We initially met because our moms started volunteering together and became friends. Our families both live in the Bay Area and often meet at family friend parties. We mostly ignored each other’s presence at these parties as we were in our high school years and interested in totally different things. We both attended UC Davis but at different times (he's a couple of years older than me). So, as he graduated from college and I went through my Freshman and Sophomore years, we started to talk more at these family friend gatherings over our new common topic of UC Davis. This is how we found out about a crazy coincidence (and the fate part of this story): Hemanth and his friends had lived in the exact same apartment as me 3 years before. It was Apartment 85 at the Fountain Circle apartments. We started sharing funny college stories about our experiences living in the same (slightly rundown) apartment, and that's how our real friendship started. A couple of weeks after this conversation, he reached out to me, saying that his group of friends was going to drive to Davis to attend the annual school party called Picnic Day. My mom got wind of this and (being the Indian mom she is) decided to send a huge food package with him to deliver to me. Upon delivery of the food package, I decided to invite his friends to my apartment's house parties for the weekend! That weekend, all of our friends became friends, and we ended up hanging out as a group for a couple of years, even after that weekend and after we all graduated!
I guess there’s one more “f” to add to this story, which is the funny part. After we got serious, Hemanth and I found out that our grandparents live so close to each other in India that it’s even closer than our family’s lived to each other in the Bay Area. We found out that we had many common family friends in India, too! Our joke is that maybe if we hadn’t found each other, the arranged marriage gods would have put us together anyway.
So that's the "how we met part," but how did I know he was "the one"? Well, as you can imagine, going from friends to dating was another story. I had graduated and moved back to the Bay, and we continued hanging out as a group. But one day, Hemanth had reached out to me and asked if we could get dinner just the two of us. I confided my confusion about the situation to my mom, and apparently neither of us could believe a guy like him could be into me...so we concluded that he must have reached out because "he was bored and needed new friends". It then took him a whole 4 months to convince me that he was seriously trying to date me! In hindsight, I feel bad for the guy that he had to plan date after date and wait for me to finally get the idea.
I feel so blessed that he asked me out and decided to make our friendship into a relationship! I always knew I wanted a relationship to feel effortless and like I was hanging out with my best friend. The fact that we started out as friends really helped our foundation, and to this day, he remains my best friend. I knew he was "the one" when I caught myself helplessly using all of his made-up lingo, feeding his pizza obsession, and always wanting to share every story and detail of my life with him!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Hemanth made our proposal happen in my favorite city, Chicago, with an amazing day of details planned. For someone who doesn’t usually like to make reservations or be particular about the details, he blew me away with all of his plans! I was living in Chicago for graduate school, and he was visiting me that weekend. I had an inkling that it was going to happen since we had gone ring shopping together, but he was still able to really surprise me. It was February, and it was cold, so we planned a day at The Art Institute of Chicago. We were walking around the museum, and he kept asking me to come to view this one painting by the staircase. Once I walked over there, he insisted that we ask this stranger to take a picture of us. Before I knew it, he was on one knee, had pulled out the ring, and the “stranger” was actually an arranged photographer who pulled out her professional camera! I was so surprised, but I didn’t even give him a chance to give his speech, and I immediately said yes. We spent the next hour doing a beautiful photoshoot all around Millenium Park. That photo shoot is something I will truly cherish for the rest of my life- it captures the most special moment of my life with my favorite person and my favorite city as the background.
But the surprises did not end there! He had planned a series of reservations at beautiful restaurants around the city. The first was a champagne bar to celebrate the occasion; the second was a riverside restaurant to enjoy appetizers; the third was a popular Chinese spot because that’s one of my favorite cuisines, and finally, at dinner, he surprised me with a chocolate cake (one of my favorite desserts) that had “Soon to be Mr. and Mrs.” written on it! The day was pure magic for us both, and props to him for making such an amazing, thoughtful proposal happen!
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
My outfit-shopping experience was a unique one for an Indian bride! I had three major events to shop for: the sangeet, the wedding, and the reception. I knew I wanted to do a lehenga for the sangeet and potentially a sari for the wedding, but the reception was a big unknown for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a lehenga or execute my vision of a fusion white dress look. I had the pleasure of planning a trip to India and shopping there. I shopped in Hyderabad, and it was definitely hard to pick between all the different designers and their beautiful designs! I tried to stay within a certain budget and not get too carried away and landed upon an Aisha Rao design for my sangeet lehenga. Their studio treated me with amazing customer service, making the lehenga to my exact measurements and getting the whole outfit together in less than a couple of weeks! I absolutely loved the embroidery work and animal/floral motifs that describe her design style. I loved the colors and motifs of my outfit so much that I even designed our sangeet dance floor wrap around my outfit!
My reception outfit was a story of extreme luck! I hadn’t really fallen in love with any lehengas for my reception while I was in India, and I had about 3-4 months left to look for a reception outfit. Panic set in, and I pivoted to executing my vision of a fusion-style wedding dress inspired by both Eastern and Western styles. I started to research Middle Eastern brides because I loved the elements of the embroidery in their gowns that connected the Eastern and Western styles a bit more. I found Turkish designer Tarik Ediz and fell in love with his designs! I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of mermaid-style gown with a train, and they had exactly what I was looking for. I got extremely lucky that a popular gown shop in the Bay Area (BChic) had a similar size for me to try on, and their customer service was excellent. They ordered a new gown to my size and had it rush shipped within weeks. They worked with me to add lining to the bodice and customize details that made the train easy to hold and dance with. I was absolutely obsessed with how it all turned out! Hemanth wore a cream tux to tie it all together, and our pictures just speak for themselves!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
The things that stood out about our wedding to our guests were how well-planned and organized it was, how much we took care of our guests, and how good the food was! What was funny to us was that we really had no clue what was going to resonate with our guests as we planned our details out, and sometimes, it’s just the smallest things that they notice! I believe the details really do matter. Things as simple as providing breakfast for my bridesmaids for their early call times, providing guests with food takeaway boxes after the events, handing out hotel room gift bags upon check-in, or handing out sweet boxes from India as take-home gifts really did resonate with our guests.
We were lucky to have such fun and lively guests as well! Our crowd’s energy really made all of our events that much more enjoyable. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen and close family kept the group chat of around 30 people going for months after our wedding. Everyone was in great spirits and just there to have a great time! They brought the fun, the energy, the laughter, and especially the dance moves. I believe this also truly made our wedding so enjoyable for everyone!
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.
Our sangeet decor was Jaipur and palace-inspired decor. I absolutely loved the elements of all the colored lamps, the beautiful customized dance floor wrap, and the decor matching with our outfit theme! Major props to our decorator and event coordinators for making it all happen.
Our reception was at a different venue than all of our other events. We decided to do this to add variety for our guests! We held our reception at the beautiful Palo Alto Golf and Country Club. It was a stunning venue with a view of San Francisco in the distance. Our cocktail hour was held overlooking the sprawling golf course and during the sunset hour! Our guests absolutely loved this and we got to take beautiful outdoor pictures before our event.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Pick your battles and if that means all of the battles are your battles, then so be it! It's your and your fiance's day, and you guys deserve to have everything you want! Don't let too many people give you advice because the process is already so stressful. Keep your peace and focus on the happiness of you two as a couple!
As a bride and groom, sometimes you forget this detail - plan ahead how you guys are going to get around to your events! You don't want to get caught scrambling before your scheduled pictures, etc. This is a detail you can work out with your event planner.
For the bride- make sure you do a makeup trial! Knowing exactly what you're going to look like is really important. I do not regret paying extra to get my trail done, and I regret not organizing trials with all of my artists.
Thanks for being with us today, and don't forget to be back for our daily and lovely updates here!