Shivana and Spencer come from two different cultural backgrounds and wanted to join their hearts forever in a big sweet fusion wedding that will steal your heart! As part of their fusion nuptials, the happy couple first married in a festive and colorful Hindu wedding ceremony that took place at the grand Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace. The place was overflowing with love and beautiful floral arrangements thanks to Imperial Decor whose team decorated the stunning draped mandap where these lovebirds started their happily ever after! Shivani had a royal entry in an amazing open doli and finally met her charming groom Spencer who waited for his queen and paid respects to his new culture dressed up like a true Raja in soft gold sherwani! Cheers to the lovely couple and specially the bride, who paired her great outfit with an intricate mehndi design created especially for her big day by Bhavna’s Henna and Arts. This couple's wedding photos during their ceremony are the most precious scenes thanks to the skillful eye of Akbar Sayed Photography who managed to capture the true essence of the love these two profess to each other. Check out all the love and candid scenes in our full gallery!
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.
Last year, 2017, was a yearlong commitment dedicated to solely wedding planning. I had the most epic year in that I learned a great deal about the wedding industry and the process/effort it takes to pull off a magnificent affair. It was one of the best years of my life and I truly discovered my passion for event planning.
Planning began in full effect on January 1st, 2017. Spencer proposed on New Year’s Eve and I was in love with my diamond, but more importantly, my fairytale dream wedding. Pinterest helped spark my creative juices that guided in décor and dress options and conducting lots of research online for venues and pricing were the foremost steps.
We had a great time visiting various venues and deciding what packages were provided. It was a family affair in that my parents were involved the entire way and shared in our excitement equally. Overall, we navigated through the process like most do, but things seemed to come naturally to me. I almost knew what the sequential steps were and had some assistance along the way, but mostly did everything myself. Our affair was so detail-oriented that I created a timeline to help with keeping things on track. Although no event is perfect, trying to avoid as many miscommunications and mishaps as you can, is a great start to have a successful day!
It was a wonderful experience and all of the vendors we spoke to were absolutely great and friendly. Everyone went above and beyond to ensure that our questions were addressed and we would not change anything about our day!
Equally important, Akbar Sayed (our wedding photographer) was one of the best decisions we made. He had the ability to be personal and connect with us and our wedding guests and captured beautiful moments from our engagement to wedding day that we will cherish forever.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The best part of our planning process was the initial planning stage during the selection of vendors. It was stressful at times, but overall, exciting visiting the different venues and cake tastings. The Dream Shaadi Expo was a great networking event for us to locate vendors. Overall, I enjoyed doing the research that accompanied finding South Asian vendors locally and laying out our options. You are still high off of life after being newly engaged and you only get to do this once! Part of me wishes I had the chance to go back and take a bit longer to scope out more options! J
Additionally, we were fortunate to have been selected for the Cooking Channel Show “Cake Hunters”, which resulted in a lifetime experience that my husband and I will be forever grateful for. It was so much fun filming and being the superstars! And, not to mention, our wedding cake was decadent and stunning!
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
The baraat! J My husband is not of South Asian heritage, so riding in on an embellished horse was an upbeat cultural experience for his family/friends and the bystanders watching intently on one of the busiest streets in Baltimore City: Pratt Street. My family and friends joined in on the festivities as well by dancing to the Bhangra Music that swept the street. Although I was not able to attend, I later saw the footage and knew it was undeniably one of the best parts of our wedding.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
I think the moments from our wedding that I cherish the most are seeing the happiness that my parents exuded while giving their speech at the reception; particularly, because my dad wrote the speech and my mom said the entire speech. The irony of it! Additionally, seeing the acceptance of my culture from Spencer without a doubt of hesitation and him being in awe with all the cultural elements. South Asian weddings are enticing and beautiful. I remember Spencer whispering to me “Indian weddings are the best” on the day of our wedding and it made my heart melt. I knew in that moment that all the hard work of planning had paid off and a great sense of accomplishment overcame me. Some of my guests still tell me to this day, my wedding was one of the best they have ever been to. It makes you feel great knowing everyone had a fantastic time!
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.
Here are some brief highlights (outside of our Hindu Ceremony) from our wedding festivities:
· May 2017 – Bachelorette Cruise; The absolute best to start off any wedding celebration!
· September 24, 2017 – My bridal shower was a Breakfast at Tiffany’s Themed Brunch that took place at Montgomery Country Club located in Laytonsville, MD. The room had panoramic ceiling to floor windows that overlooked the golf course on an exceptionally beautiful day. My aunt surprised me with a pianist as I made my entrance into the space playing “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. It was magical and I felt so loved that day.
· The Wedding Week! November 24 & 25, 2017 were the big wedding celebration days.
o 11/24 was an intimate Christian Ceremony overlooking the Baltimore Harbor at night. My dress was a lace, long sleeve, and off-white gown with buttons lining down the back. Absolutely classic and breathtaking. The one mishap this evening was Spencer forgot to check his wardrobe thoroughly and discovered, 20 minutes to start of the ceremony, that his shirt was missing, so (I had no clue what was going on) he ran across to the mall and bought one to fit under his suit. Talk about panic!
o 1/25 – Hindu Ceremony & Reception. It was an awesome day! My makeup and bridal lengha were exquisite. (FYI- I had gone shopping not wanting a red lengha and ended up falling in love with red!) We began by taking photos at Federal Hill Park overlooking the skyline of Baltimore and then bridal party photos. I remember the nervousness Spencer felt before getting on the horse, which turned out to be great! Our décor was unique and personal, as I didn’t want to fall into the traditional track. Our cake was astonishing with details that directly tied back to our love story: We met in DC and had our first date in Baltimore. It was awfully romantic and as we walked into the Reception, University of Maryland’s bhangra team was dancing behind us with our dhol player. We had a total of four awesome performances from family and friends, along with meaningful speeches that made us shed tears. In sum, it was great!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Plenty of words of wisdom:
1) Always keep your guests in mind! Having long wait times is no fun for anyone.
2) Food, booze, and music are what make any party great
3) Shop around for vendors, do not settle until you are fully satisfied and within your budget
4) It is one day, so completely let all the stress go and have a great time! If something does not go smoothly or how you “planned” it to be, do not let it ruin your big day!
5) To add to that: Maintain emotional intelligence and do not be a “Bridezilla” because you still want to have friends after the event is over
The western ceremony and reception images are on their way, so don’t go anywhere!