Hello, Maharanis! We've got all the details from Shamini and Raj's fabulous Indian wedding, held at the breathtaking BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chino Hills! The already amazing venue was transformed to perfectly fulfill our Indian bride's dreams by Deepti's Floral Designs & Mandaps, who splendidly decorated for the event. We also love how Aaroneye Photography used the venue to capture spectacular portraits of the adorable couple! Our Maharani Shamini was absolutely stunning in a custom lengha from Desi Coutures, with zardozi handwork by New Dehli-based designer Shruti Kakkar. With flawless hair and makeup by Joseph Joey Hair & Makeup and dazzling mehndi by Nisha Amin, our Indian bride couldn't have looked more beautiful! For more ceremony details, visit the full gallery!
Maharani Shamini on meeting her Raja:
"Raj and I actually met through Match.com. He was the one and only guy I went on a date with through Match.com and I knew there was something special about him. We had our first date in December 2013, ice skating at LA Live. Initially we were both a little nervous but shortly after we started getting to know each other, we felt more comfortable and realized how much we had in common. I knew Raj was 'the one' when we were planning on our first major vacation together. We had only been dating for a little over 6 months and he had asked me if I would be his date for his friends wedding in Hawaii. We spent a couple of weeks planning our trip and during that time there was a definite feeling I got that told me he was it. He has always been so loving and caring from the first day, always putting me first and being there for anything and everything. He is down to earth, can put a smile on my face and knows how to make me laugh uncontrollably all the time. He is a great listener but most of all he helps make me a better person."
On the romantic proposal:
"Raj proposed to me in the comfort of our home -- we are both pretty low-key and somewhat conservative when it comes to the public eye. He told me we had a fancy graduation dinner to go to for his best friend in Burbank. I got home from a rough day at work and wasn't in the mood to get all dressed up but he insisted we would have a great time celebrating with everyone. We arrived at Castaway Restaurant, which is a beautiful restaurant that sits on the hills of Burbank overlooking the entire city. Raj spoke to the hostess and I realized shortly after it was just going to be us -- there was no graduation dinner and he just wanted to celebrate an anniversary dinner. He made reservations for the best table outside to watch the sunset and enjoy the fireplace. I immediately started panicking thinking, 'OMG, tonight's the night! I didn't get time to get my nails done!' We had a great dinner enjoying the sunset, all the while I was waiting for him to propose in a champagne glass or inside our dessert. Nothing happened and we were ready to leave so I let my guard down. We got home, he sat down on the couch and mentioned that he had something else for me. He pulled out a white shoebox from under the coffee table and asked me to open it. Inside were 3 smaller white boxes labeled 1, 2, 3.
He said open the first one, which contained a photo collage puzzle in the shape of a heart from different memories, trips and experiences that we shared. I love puzzles so I was so excited, it didn't take long for me to finish.
Then he said, open the second one, and that contained a beautiful card with all of his thoughts. He later told me that he wrote everything down he wanted to say, in case he got nervous and forgot.
Then he asked me to open the last box, which contained a mini black light flashlight. I turned it on and started pointing it all over the living room. At that point I knew he was going to propose but wasn't sure how it all tied together. He asked me to shine the black light over the puzzle and when I did, it said 'will you marry me?' in invisible ink. I looked up and he was on one knee with the ring. I was shocked at how much thought and detail went into planning our proposal, but I couldn't be more ecstatic at how it all happened."
On her wedding style:
"I feel like my wedding style was classic chic. I knew I wanted to get married at the BAPS Swaminaryan Hindu Temple, located in Chino Hills, it was important to me because it plays such a huge role in my life. I knew planning for an outdoor wedding in November would be risky but at the end of the day, I knew it would all work out. I wanted to keep the wedding bright, full of color and vibrant to help set the mood of the event but at the same time very traditional. I wanted to keep the reception contemporary, rich and jewel toned to help set the mood for the evening. I was able to show our decorator my ideas and we were able to work together within our budget to help design exactly what I was looking for."
On her favorite part of wedding planning:
"I think my favorite part of the planning process was meeting new vendors -- being able to interact and see what they were able to offer us and how it fit into our master plan. At first, it was overwhelming but after a few initial meetings, we knew which vendors we would be working with. I especially enjoyed working with Deepti, our decorator, because she was very down to earth and honest with us. She worked with us to make sure every detail was covered from day 1 until the end of our reception."
On choosing her lenghas:
"I cannot tell you the number of lenghas I tried on! I spent hours on the internet finding options of styles and colors I liked. Then I went out to the shops and I tried on multiple styles of lenghas, some of which I thought I would love in pictures and hated in person. And others which I didn't care for in pictures and loved when I tried them on. Eventually, I ended up finding designer Shruti Kakkar out of New Delhi, to help make my wedding lengha and reception gown. I was able to pick and choose what I wanted, customize the colors, fit and style to my own liking. I couldn't have been happier with my decision -- she really made my vision come to life."
On the most special wedding moments:
"I think one of my favorite moments at our wedding was when I first arrived in the mandap and Raj & I first saw each other when my brothers dropped the sheet separating us. Although we had already done our first look, this was the first time we saw each other during the actual wedding. We both had huge smiles on our faces and said 'HI!' like it was no big deal that we were in the middle of getting married. You could tell we were both so happy in the moment, no sign of nervousness, and we were so grateful that our photographer was able to capture that exact moment for us."
We'll be back with the reception, so stick around!