Happy Monday Maharanis! We hope your weekend was full of fun and if you were an Indian bride who celebrated your very own big day, we hope you are getting much needed rest beach side on your honeymoon! Today we head to Cinnaminson, (can you say that three times fast?) New Jersey for Maharani Monali & Shivam’s Indian bash. As I perused the wedding images, I could just feel the love that Monali has for her new beau; the union between the two just shined from the screen! The baraat ceremony commenced early on a Sunday morning led by a majestic, white horse by Seaton Carriages  to The Merion. The regal nature of these gentle creatures as they are paraded through a bustling group of dancing and singing is awe-inspiring; I love a grand baraat entrance. Monali was in the crowd as well! Looking absolutely stunning in a royal gold and red net lehengha choli with intricate embroidery work, this bride was show stopping indeed. Searching for Pinterest for ideas on bridal looks is always a great idea, and this Maharani called upon Laura from Cinderella Bridez to recreate her favorite bridal looks. If there is one thing a bride loves to see the most when walking down the aisle (other than her groom, of course!) is her mandap. Creative event designer Rangoli Weddings originated a custom designed pink and white floral mandap surrounded by stone white pillars that was pure elegance. The wedding ended with a bang! As Monali and Shivam slipped away to take photos in The Merion's lavish courtyard, guests prepared for the wedding reception that was to occur later that evening. Manish and Sung Photography has yet again brought us another Indian wedding event with the images you can find in the gallery! Special treat - the bride spills all the details on her wedding below! 

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 How did you meet your Raja and when did you know he was "the one"?

Shivam and I met in Undergraduate at Rutgers University. I guess it was meant to be. Shivam moved from India to Chicago around the same time when I moved from India to Canada. We had plans to continue careers at perspective places and had never imagined that we will both end up in New Jersey. However, life had something else planned for us. Shivam started Undergraduate at Rutgers two years before I transferred to Rutgers during my sophomore year. During my first semester at Rutgers, we had many classes together coincidentally. We became friends and then became best friends. Again life had other plans for us. Friendship turned in to long time of partner ship and today we are husband and wife.

Do you have a super romantic proposal story or engagement memory?

Shivam had everything planned out for the proposal six months in advance. The thought of engagement had not even crossed my mind yet. He picked out my ring and had it custom made to the style he wanted in July. I tried so many times to take him to jewelry store few months after, to show him what I like. He tried avoiding visits to stores as much as he could. I finally managed to take him to a store. Shivam was very nervous entering the store with the fear: what if I end up picking a different ring. To his surprise, I ended up picking exact same ring that he had picked out for me. He was very happy. This was only the beginning of romantic proposal that Shivam had planned. 

Shivam and I went on a vacation to Arizona where his brother and sister in law lives. He asked me if I would be willing to go to San Diego with him for his childhood friend's engagement party. I love traveling and SanDiego was on my bucket list, so I agreed immediately. We went on a long romantic drive from Scottsdale to San Diego. We stayed at beautiful Grand DelMar. Everything about this place was romantic. I was getting ready to go to a "friend's engagement party." Shivam took me on a tour of the resort. We came across this beautiful gazebo. In Shivam's exact words: "Mona, let's take a selfie by this gazebo." He stood there for few seconds and graciously took out ring from his pocket. This selfie became THE SELFIE OF OUR LIFE. After he proposed, he took me on romantic walk by La Jolla water front. He told me all about the proposal plan at a romantic dinner date at Authentic Mexican Restaurant (my favorite cuisine). And I was very happy to know that person I am about to marry knows me so well and cares about my happiness so much.

Tell us about your wedding style. When you sat down to really figure out how your dream wedding would look, did you start with one central color, a palette of colors, or a theme that served as your inspiration?

We both wanted an outdoor wedding. We started checking out venues. We visited many venues that had outdoor options but all these options were limited due to guest capacity. Of course, like every other Indian wedding, we were expecting a big guest count. I came across Merion on Maharani Weddings. We went to see the place and immediately fell in love with the place. The interior decor is absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. The Skylight room fulfilled our desire of having the feel of outdoor wedding and was able to hold number of guests we were expecting. Merion's staff was friendly and welcoming.It had everything we wanted in our venue and we went ahead and signed our contract.

We went for our final visit with the venue where Sue (our wedding coordinator) told us about Merion's ongoing project of brand new outdoor venue. To our surprise, the venue was scheduled to be ready beginning of May. We were given option to move our wedding outdoor and it was a very happy moment for both of us. Finally we were actually having our "dream outdoor wedding" at this gorgeous place. 

Furthermore, I wanted our wedding to be a long musical. The entire wedding and reception was full of music and dance performances starting with my entry. I entered with my bridesmaids with a dance performance. Overall, we got many compliments about the venue, decoration and the way the entire wedding was planned.

How did you choose your lengha or lenghas? Did you work with a certain designer? Did you spend hours on the internet first?

We went to India for all our shopping. Asopalav has always been my favorite boutique for many years. I went to few other designers when I was in India. But yet again, I fell in love with the outfits at Asopalav. 

We spent days at Asopalav to pick out our outfits. Their staff is very friendly, welcoming and makes you feel like you are at home. They worked hard helping us find the outfits we absolutely loved.

Looking back, was there a really special moment that you remember from your wedding that stands out as the most magical?

Going on photoshoots with Manish and Sung. They took us on a whole different world. It felt very magical and romantic.

How about hair and makeup? Did you already have a style in mind or did you work with a specialist to find your perfect look?

I went on many make up trials and was not truly happy with the looks initially. Finally a friend of mine suggested Cinderella Bridez. I met with Bhargavi and Laura. They were very friendly, professional and easy to work with. Their first priority was bride since the day I met them.  Every time I had some free time, I went on Pinterest to look for make up and hairstyles. I started collecting pictures and shared them with Bhargavi and Laura. We remained in touch throughout the year. Laura was fabulous at recreating the looks I had in mind, in fact she went above and beyond to create even better look than what I had showed her especially the eye make up. Her only priority was my satisfaction. Very friendly staff and stood by me throughout the Garba celebration, wedding and reception and made sure I was happy with the way I looked.

Did family or friends help out with certain special details that really added to the event?

Our parents, my brother and Shivam's brother and sister-in law supported us in every step to make our vision reality. Without their help and support, our wedding would not have been this special.

Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets,etc.)

Cake was provided by Merion. Kimberly and I discussed the details of our cake. She gave us her suggestions. I explained her how I wanted our cake to look and without any doubt with her expertise, she created a cake that looked exactly like what I had imagined. 

We received many phone calls and compliments from our guests praising cake and food (from Rasoi), decoration, my make up/hair and of course the venue. Guests truly had amazing time at our wedding and this would not have been possible without help and support from our family and vendors.


Take a breather and return back for the wedding reception party!

Photography: Manish and Sung Photography | Baraat: Seaton Carriages | Bridal Fashion: Asopalav | Cakes & Treats: The Merion (Kimberly) | Catering: Catering by Rasoi | Dj & Entertainment: DJ Suhel | Hair & Makeup: Cinderella Bridez | Venue: The Merion