Are you ready to immerse yourself in the fabulous western ceremony of Jamie and Vinny? I am! Following the Hindu union, Maharani Jamie swapped into an elegant Oleg Cassini all-lace gown, totally straight out of a fairytale! And Rajah Vinny changed into a custom three-piece navy suit that allowed him to surprise his bride a second time! The day kept moving, and the couple finally met at the altar for a seriously elegant western ceremony in the courtyard of the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge and once again, they joined their lives forever. Adding a personal and signifying touch, the father of the bride hand-painted the decorative lanterns and her mother hand made the bridal bouquet! So sweet! Finally, the big final event and our resourceful Bride wanted to preserve all the adorable peonies that embellished the ballroom and opted for all the flower arrays to be artificial so she could admire them for many many years to come! The elaborated wedding cake by Il Giardino del Dolce crowned the venue and Emcee Ruki Dole was given the honor of being the master of the turntable for the night. One thing is certain for these two, all the hard work pays off and all the elements pulling together their wedding created a beautiful celebration! Congrats to the newlyweds. Don’t forget to visit our gallery by the talented GReyes Photography for more pics!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Vinny and I met first on on a website for medical students and learned we would be living in the same apartment complex at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania. Our school had assigned seating in alphabetical order, so Vinny sat behind me in every class. We spent a good bit of our free time together, Vinny teaching me how to swim, and me teaching him how to drive (he grew up in Chicago and never really had to learn there). We always were a great team together and truly complemented each other, and I knew I couldn't live without him!
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
For full disclosure, since we were both in our residency (me for pediatrics, Vinny for neurology), we had to plan our time off from work more than a year in advance, so we had already decided on our wedding date before we were officially engaged. I'm not good with surprises, so I had expected that a proposal was coming soon! Vinny had planned a day in downtown Chicago, all I knew was that we were going out to dinner in the evening. We ended up at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park, where Vinny intended on proposing, but when we arrived, it was closed to visitors for a wedding. We went to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo, one of our favorite spots, and spent about an hour there waiting for the Lily Pool to reopen. As we entered, there was a string quartet from the wedding playing "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. This is Vinny's favorite song! He was trying to quickly usher me to a private area of the park, but I was more interested in checking out the musicians. He gained my attention and proposed overlooking the Lily Pool before the song ended! Serendipitously, a professional photographer was walking through the park with his wife a few minutes later, and snapped some shots of us, newly engaged!
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.
I have a very type-A personality and knew I had to have control of every detail of our wedding day. Vinny and I also wanted our wedding to be an expression of who we are as individuals, and as a couple. We wanted to honor both of our families and didn't feel that fusing these together would do either justice. We planned a marathon wedding day with two ceremonies, with a Hindu wedding and a western ceremony as well, separated by a brunch and followed by a reception. We had toured several venues that we thought we were going to like, and didn't. The Marriott was the last stop on our tour, and we loved it! The Marriott was perfect because they only hosted one wedding party at a time, so we had reign of the entire property for our events and also hosted my mehndi there two nights before our wedding.
Vinny and I went to the DB wedding expo in Lombard, IL with hopes to meet and choose many of our vendors- which is where we found my amazing mehndi, hair, and makeup artist, Gayatri Rathod! We also found our decorator there, as well as most of my wedding jewelry.
We wanted a bold spread of red and gold at the Hindu ceremony, and this was captured beautifully by our decorator, Indra Rami. We chose a semicircular seating arrangement around our open fabric mandap so that our guests could be immersed in our ceremony.
After brunch, I changed into an ivory lace gown, and Vinny a custom three-piece navy suit. We then had a romantic courtyard ceremony where we wrote our own vows to each other.
We wanted a vibrant spread of jewel tones, and selected fuchsia, teal, and royal blue for our cocktail hour and reception linens, and display photos from our parents' and grandparents' weddings at our escort card table.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I knew I wanted an embroidered bright red and gold wedding lengha. I was out window shopping with my (future) sister-in-law at Devon Avenue in Chicago, and unexpectedly found the perfect lengha!
Purchasing my wedding dress was a similar occasion, as I was "just looking" but ended up finding exactly what I wanted in an Oleg Cassini, v-neck trumpet style all-lace gown.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
I honestly loved every moment of planning our wedding, but one of our most favorite parts of wedding planning was cake tasting (we both have huge sweet-tooths!)-- we had a three layer cake, made of yellow cake with lemon and strawberry custard, and chocolate cake with fudge and raspberry cream filling, covered in buttercream roses and gold glitter. I could eat it every day forever.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests commented to us that they really loved how intimate and personal our wedding was, and expressed that it really brought out our personalities. Also, the food! We had a huge spread of appetizers at cocktail hour, which our friends still rave about to this day! Again, we loved our DJ, and so did they. Surprisingly, our first ceremony started at 10 am, and all of our guests were still ready to party til midnight!
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
I won't ever forget the first time I saw my husband! We did a "first look" before each of our ceremonies, and it really allowed us to experience our day on our own terms.
In the weeks leading up to our wedding, Vinny and I practiced dancing in our basement every day, and the first time we got to dance to our song "Latch" by Sam Smith, was so special!
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.
For our western ceremony and reception, my mother and father hand-painted lanterns and glasses, and my mother crafted my bouquet, corsages/boutonnieres, sweetheart table garland, and all of our floral centerpieces from a selection of cream, blush, and pink artificial roses and peonies (all from afloral.com). I love that I can still preserve her beautiful, hard work, for years to come!
Music is very important to the both of us. Our guests mingled during a cocktail hour with a string quartet in the background playing our favorite songs. We LOVED LOVED LOVED our wedding DJ/Emcee Ruki Dole, he truly kept everything running on time and is now a great friend!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Let your wedding be an expression of who you are!
Browse our following posts for more wedding inspiration, Maharanis!