Greetings, Maharanis! I've got the most magical fusion wedding event at the Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Virginia, photographed by Ann-Marie Van Tassell Photography, for you today! The beautiful bride, Shruti, got glamorously gussied up on her big day with the help of hair and makeup experts from Face and Crown, who gave her the most exquisite South Indian bridal hairstyle and painted her to picture perfection. Her amazingly mehndi'd hands and feet by Henna Harmony will take your breath away. She wed the Raja of her dreams, Joe, in an unforgettable ceremony, which was decorated in stunning, sunny floral and decor by the talented team at Shagun Weddings. There were vibrant, marigold garlands that complemented Maharani Shruti's bridal Sari (which was originally worn by her paternal grandmother) just beautifully, and the wedding stage was framed with luxurious panels of fabric that brightened the event space even more. We'll get an exclusive look at the newlyweds' memorable reception celebration next, but before we dive into all those amazing details, make sure you fill up on even more highlights from the ceremony and check out some of the happy couple's portraits in the complete gallery!
The bride, on how she met the Raja of her dreams:
"So, I met my husband, Joe, for the first time in second grade. But, he was a boy and boys were disgusting so I never actually spoke to him until fifth grade. By then, my other friends were apparently mature enough to start liking boys and one of them wanted me to go to talk Joe. Gathering all of my courage, I confronted Joe at recess and asked him why he looked so sad all the time. Before he could respond, I quickly ran away and gained glorious admiration from my friends. Fast forward to the first day of first period AP Language class in eleventh grade and I'm seated across from Joe. Not only does he make me laugh in the first 15 minutes of class AND have adorable dimples but I discover that I have a little crush on him. After sneakily putting my number in his phone and asking him for rides, I finally tell Joe that I like him and much to my surprise he liked me too.
Because Joe and I were in a long distance relationship for about 5 years, he quickly became my best friend but, I knew he was "the one" when I called him up randomly during my junior year of college to complain about something a friend of mine had done. After exhaustively ranting for about 15 minutes, I finally got around to asking Joe how his day was going. He quickly told me that everything was fine and that actually he was still in the middle of a class and needed to go. I remember at that moment thinking that if he got out of class to talk to me on the phone about a petty problem that I had, without interrupting me or getting upset that it was such a small problem, maybe he did love me as much as he said he did. Knowing that I was that important in his life absolutely blew my mind and I knew that he was definitely the guy for me."
On her wedding style:
"So, I knew that I wanted a traditional South Indian wedding. I wanted the noise, chaos, jewelry, and sanctity that comes with Indian weddings so, when I found out that Joe wasn't worried about getting married in a church or in any Christian sort of way, my family and I really ran with the traditional theme.
Knowing that I was getting married in the summer, I wanted to be surrounded by bright colors and so I thought what better than the shades of a mango to really highlight the summer Indian theme. So, my colors were yellow, orange and red, with all the shades in between.
As for a venue, I knew I wanted to get married in a winery. Living about 10 minutes from Virginia's "wine country" I fell in love with the easy, rustic beauty of vineyards. I really wanted to keep decor to a minimum to highlight the gorgeous views and simple beauty of the winery. That being said, trying to merge country rustic with traditional South Indian was a bit of a challenge but, I think the decorators did a beautiful job! I definitely did not want a very formal affair as Joe and I, and therefore all of our friends, are so young. Consequently, we decided to skip a black-tie theme and instead focus our reception around a fancy summer party with lawn games and a outdoor cocktail hour. Thankfully, the weather cooperated!"
On her special bridal sari:
"So my wedding sari is actually my paternal grandmother's sari. She passed away when my father was 21 so, I never met her in person but, I do feel connected to her as we both share the same name. My mother had received this sari from her sisters-in-law and I thought this would be a special tribute to my grandmother. It was really important for me to be surrounded by all the women in my family and so I thought this would be a great way to incorporate my father's side of the family who were not able to come from India to the wedding. The icing on the cake was the deep purple of the sari went gorgeously with my mango- color themed decorations!
Unfortunately, the sari was just a plain, everyday sari that my grandmother wore. So, to make it more "bridally" my aunt in Bangalore added all the extra designs and borders. I actually saw the finished design for both my wedding sari and my reception gown two weeks before the wedding."
On working with her makeup artist:
"My makeup artist, Connie, was a GOD SEND! She was so cheerful at 5 in the morning while the rest of us were definitely struggling. I told Connie about my obsession with matte lipstick and she only fueled that obsession with all of her suggestions. She transformed me from traditional South Indian to glam-Old Hollywood in a matter of hours and was super conscious about all the different needs between my mother, sister and me. So, for the wedding ceremony in the morning, I knew I was going to stick with a traditional look with super bright lipstick (to add a modern twist). As for the reception, I love jewelry and I knew that I wanted to wear as much as I could but still be able to move around comfortably so, Connie worked with me to find the easiest hairstyle that could accommodate jewelry pieces.
More importantly however, Connie was prepared for EVERYTHING!! My belt for the wedding ceremony broke apart and Connie was able to glue/stitch it up in no time at all. Right before the cocktail hour, one of Joe's buttons tore off of his suit and there was Connie with needle and thread. She was absolutely amazing!!"
Sit tight, dolls! There's still more to see from this incredible South Indian fusion wedding event!