Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
What was supposed to be a “day on the beach” turned into a proposal of a lifetime! It was a beautiful and sunny day in Clearwater Beach as Shashank and I were planning on celebrating his birthday with a nice dinner on the shore. As we walked along the sand during sunset, I thought to myself how romantic of a moment this was. When I glanced out into the distance I saw what looked like an Indian wedding taking place, with bright drapes flowing in the breeze. I turned to Shashank and said, “Wow that looks so beautiful, someone is getting married!” As we got closer, I noticed three large photos of a couple and soon realized that the couple was US! I immediately turned to Shashank and saw the look in his eyes. At that moment I knew this was no longer his birthday celebration. He took my hands and proceeded with the most beautiful speech, which pinnacled with “Richa, will you marry me?” This was the best day of my life!
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.
Planning: Over the next year, we started planning our fairytale wedding. We were incredibly fortunate to have our families and a great group of friends to help coordinate and organize all events. They helped with planning all the details for each event and made sure that the execution exceeded our expectations.
Our theme was royalty and regal embodying an Indian King and Queen. Shashank and I both wore custom royal designer clothing and designer kundan stone jewelry.
Our mandap was the largest Occasions by Shangri-La has ever created, at 40 feet wide with a 12-foot center golden medallion. Mandap had ornate carvings and cutwork and an abundance of fresh flowers. We had a raised cat-walk aisle.
We color coordinated between both sides. Richa’s bridesmaids wore pink and gold sarees. Shashank’s groomsmen wore matching pink and gold kurta pyjama with gold safaa. Shashank's female cousins wore green Anarkali dresses. The guests were given pink safaas (turbans). And all the guests had red sunglasses with “Shashank & Richa 2017” written on them.
Shashank had a traditional Indian style baraat with over 300 guests in attendance. There was a surprise “dance-off” performed by Richa’s bridesmaids and Shashank’s cousins which was led by Shashank.
Shashank was escorted by his parents and brother to the horse & carriage to start the baraat. His groomsmen and cousins lined up on both sides creating a very special aisle and welcoming.
Groomsmen and cousins were given gold safaas to wear. Additionally, all the guests were given pink safaa to wear and have as a memento of the event.
Shashank, his parents, and his brother walked down a red carpet aisle lined with his groomsmen and cousins and Richa’s bridesmaids who showered him with rose petals. We had a raised stage outside on the Fountain Plaza for the Milni ceremony.
Richa walked under a decorative red cloth which was held up by her bridesmaids to greet Shashank and place the haar on him.
Vidhai: We made our departure as newlyweds in a Vintage 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Convertible.
Décor: Starry night with a full LED-backdrop which changed colors throughout the night to set the mood. Hanging crystal chandeliers. Centerpieces: Several styles of large crystal vases with Fresh floral arrangements consisting of Magenta orchids, Purple, Plum, and Blue fresh floral and floral blossoms. We included a set of 2 48-seat elevated estate tables so that all the guests could have the same experience.
Reception Entertainment included Stilt walkers, statue people, and chair balancing act, dances by cousins and by bridesmaids
Newlywed reception entrance: This was quite the surprise grand entrance. Guests had been facing the doors as that was the way the wedding party entered so they were expecting to see us also enter from the double doors. Suddenly the 12-foot golden medallion started turning on the stage when our entrance music began and all heads turned as we were standing behind it and made our rotating grand entrance on the golden medallion! So memorable and really a WOW factor. Many guests recalled the entrance as “James Bond-esque”
First dance: Tere Sang Yara and Cheez Badi (cheez badi was a surprise remix we added at the end of our first dance to get the guests excited)
Father/Daughter Dance: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (backstory behind the song is this was one of the first stage performances I had made as a child in school and I will always remember my dad being there by my side before I got on stage to calm my nerves, cheering me on in the front row as I performed, and the first to hug me after the performance. Since that day it became our father-daughter song and at my wedding reception, I got to dance to that song with him!
Mother/Son Dance: “Meri Maa” from Yaariyan. This song characterizes the bond between Shashank and his mother. Detailing the sacrifices she had made to see her son happy as he grew into the gentleman he is on his wedding day.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
Pithi- fresh roses, flowers, and berries
Sangeet: all diamond gemstone jewelry
Wedding: all real kundan jewelry
Reception: custom-made Swarovski crystal tiara
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
All the “WOW” Moments our guests still talk about to this day:
1. Newlywed surprise rotating grand entrance on the 12-foot golden medallion at the reception
2. Baraat battle dance between Richa’s bridesmaids and Shashank’s cousins
3. Entertainment: stilt walkers and balancing chair act, interactive live singers at the Sangeet
4. Vidhai: Our departure as newlyweds in a Vintage 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Convertible.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
This was truly a magical fairytale wedding of our dreams. We are so lucky and grateful that everything went flawlessly and exceeded our vision. To have celebrated with everyone we love meant the world to us. Our family and friends have told us our wedding is one never to be forgotten! We couldn’t agree more!
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.
Events: Pithi/Mendhi: Traditional décor colors: yellow, orange. Submerged rose centerpieces. A live band provided music. Shashank and my pithi were performed side by side on the same stage so both families were able to come together and enjoy.
Grah Shanti: Mustard Yellow and Teal. Live band/music. Both families coordinated outfit colors (white, red and gold)
Sangeet: Festive and colorful Indian Musical and Dance party. Included not only a live band but also world-class singers. Shashank and Richa sat on a Rajasthani style swing in front of a colorful Ribbon wall with hanging mela décor. There were traditional Indian khatla (bench) which guests sat on. There was a wide variety of food including Chinese, American, Mexican, Indian and more. The food was beautifully displayed under colorful canopies. The event had a combination of garba, sangeet, live dance performances by parents, friends, family, and Richa. We had a colorful and life-size dhol cake which actually made dhol sounds when hitting the sides.
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
We created a personalized “SR” emblem that was located on all of our wedding materials: welcome baskets, return gifts, fruit carving during the cocktail reception.
We placed large 5-foot portraits of ourselves in various places of the hotel to direct guests to each event. All of our guests stayed at the Hilton Orlando Resort giving them a full wedding getaway weekend. The hotel had placed several life-size portraits of Shashank and Richa, along with personalized signage throughout the hotel. Guests also had access to 24-hour hospitality suites to get together and have a great time throughout the whole weekend.
Food played a large role in our wedding planning. We wanted to ensure our guests had a variety of cuisines to choose from throughout the 4-day event. This included: Gujarati, Punjabi, Thai, Italian, Mexican, South Indian, and Chinese. We also had live food stations where our guests could customize their food. We had an assortment of desserts along with a life-size dhol cake at the sangeet and a 7-tier wedding cake with 6 different flavors, during the reception.
As I told Shawna (who has been so amazing and helpful getting our video posted and now all our photos and story) we only want the vendors who truly went above and beyond for us to be showcased.