Good morning, ladies! We hope you are ready for a new love story because today's featured wedding is one that we cannot wait to share with you. Encompassing elements of glam, fashion flair, and luxurious venues - you won't want to miss a single minute of Rikita & Ankit's grand wedding celebration. Ankit popped the big question, Rikita said, "I do," and now it was the time to make these lovebirds' dream wedding come to life. The festivities kicked off with a joyful Sangeet celebrated at the Rasoi III. And we have to say is that this event was a cornucopia of all the Indian traditions that we love so much. For the wedding ceremony, we need to go to the imposing Hyatt Regency Princeton, where the celebration was complete with unique floral and decor, mirroring the captivating look of our gorgeous Maharani after being pampered by Beauty By Payal. Hands down, this celebration rivaled many weddings we have seen here at Maharani Weddings, and we were utterly blown away by the extensive attention to detail. For the reception, all the guests danced the night away to the beats of Dj Sunny Entertainment, who turned this celebration into a party! For more details of this fabulous wedding, head into this spectacular gallery where you can relive the special day over and over again, thanks to the visual masterpieces by Lightyear Studio. You are going to have a blast!
How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Ankit and I met in April 2017 at an engagement party. We hit it off instantly, however, our story didn't begin until January of 2019. We reconnected at a friends event in January 2019 and it was like we never skipped a beat. Ankit and I officially became my boyfriend and girlfriend on February 15, 2019.
A few weeks after we had we officially became a couple I had gotten sick and was mostly spending my days with him. He took care of me while I was sick. He made sure I ate, took meds on time, he even put vicks on me to make sure I would be able to breathe properly. I knew he was the one during that time. Nobody has ever taken care of me that way (except my mom) it was so nice to have him there to take care of me. In those few days of him taking care of me I knew he was the one. The only people that take care of you that much when you're not feeling well are either your parents or spouse and I knew one day I'd marry him.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Ankit and I knew we were made for each other fairly quickly into us dating. We had already planned our coconut ceremony otherwise known as the indian engagement (August 17th 2020). So I knew the proposal was going to happen but not as quickly as it did. He asked me to go to dinner one night in the city to my favorite restaurant and told me he wanted to check out a few spots where we could do potentially do our engagement shoot.
As we were heading to the city, he told me his best friend and his girlfriend were going to be joining us since they were in the city so I naturally didn't think anything of it. We went to Race Street Pier to check it out and see if it would be a good spot for our engagement shoot and his best friend and girlfriend were with us. (Race Street Pier is fairly close to where we first met in 2017). He took me closer to the water and started reflecting on our relationship and how far we had come as a couple in the few short months we had been together. I still didn't think he was going to propose to me because Ankit would always reflect on our relationship and tell me things about how far we've come and where he sees our future heading. Before I knew it he was on one knee asking me to marry him. All I remember from everything he said to me was that he can't imagine spending the rest of his life with anyone else and that he loves me and would I marry him. I was mostly in tears (happy tears) that the man of my dreams - better than my dreams finally asked me to marry him and I was going to be able to spend the rest of my life with him. Ankit planned it so perfectly!
He then told me we were really going to go to dinner and that his best friend would join us. We were taking an uber (anyone that knows me knows I need a GPS to get anywhere in the city even though I've lived in the city). We got out of the uber a few blocks away from the restaurant. As we were walking he said lets stop by and see Bobby really quickly. Bobby is the owner of Karma and we had already decided long ago that if and when we get married Bobby would be our caterer for the wedding. As we are walking in we are walking upstairs and it seems kind of loud so naturally I think Bobby must be super busy and I tell Ankit maybe we shouldn't bother Bobby right now. Ankit reassures me that it's totally fine and Bobby wouldn't mind us dropping in. As we walk into the room upstairs the first person I see is my brother, Ankit's brother and our friends and some family. I automatically start crying again because he once again surprised me with an after party with all of our favorite people. The entire day / night was anything but ordinary, Ankit thought of everything and all of the little details that I would notice to make this a dream proposal. I will never forget August 24, 2019. I can't believe we are coming up on 2 years of being engaged and now we are finally married! By far the best decision I ever made (outside of school and career) is dating Ankit.
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.
When Ankit and I decided this was it for us and we told our families about each other we knew we didn't want a super long engagement. We knew were having our indian engagement in August 2019 I knew the proposal would also happen at some point in 2019 as well. We decided to start looking for venues (even though we weren't engaged at this point) because getting a venue would be one of the biggest decisions we make we didn't want to waste time. We started looking July 2019. By the time we were already engaged, indian engagement and proposal we narrowed it down to the Hyatt Regency in Princeton and signed out contract with them.
Most women know what they want - at least I did when it came to our wedding. Ankit had a few requests of his own. He wanted to be the one to hand pick the DJ and catering the rest he said we could do want I want and figure it out together. So I left figuring out the music and catering to him (catering we knew would be Bobby from Karma) so that really just left the DJ. My makeup artist I knew I wanted to be Payal Patel because she makes brides look like royalty. I did reach out to a few other makeup artist to do a price comparison but when it came down to choosing I didn't want to cheap out and knew that a makeup artist was extremely important to me so it worked out since Payal was available. Payal did my makeup/hair/drapping and my mom's - we looked flawless to say the least and I felt like royalty throughout all of my events.
I also, hired Beauty by Barkha to do family/bridesmaids hair and makeup. I have been following Barkha for quite some time on social media and loved her work so this was another easy decision. My bridal party/family also deserve nothing but the best. I reached out to Barkha and she was super excited. When I finally met Barkha that Thursday before the wedding she was so sweet and kind hearted. She even put makeup on my niece who is all of 4 years old and made her feel like the princess she is. She was so kind and warm to my family and bridesmaids. She is a gem of a person!
Another makeup artist I hired for family/bridesmaids is JC. I've known JC since I was in college and she has super powers. JC is not big in the indian community but she is fantastic to work with! She has been doing my makeup/hair for years now and I of course wouldn't want anything but the best for my people. I hired JC so that my family and bridesmaids wouldn't have to get up super early the day of the wedding and this way everyone looks phenomenal and can get in some much needed beauty sleep.
Decor wise I knew Nirali Decor was best in the business I absolutely love her work so we setup a meeting with her. I wasn't necessarily too picky about what I wanted decor wise. The only concept I knew about was the mandap - I wanted a dome structure with greenery and white wisterias hanging from the structure. Nirali was able to do that the rest of the decor was easy to pick out with Nirali's help. I also, wanted my entrance during the wedding to be grand in a way with a touch of old school. I wanted to come out in a Doli other wise known as a Palki. I have dreamed of this since I was a child ever since seeing my masi (aunt) come out in one for her wedding (I was 5 when she got married) but that image is still in my head and that was in India. Nirali had a range of selection for Doli's and I picked the one that made the most sense to me and the look I was going for. Nirali was extremely responsive and made sure throughout the entire process I was happy and everything I asked for would take place. One of the easiest decisions I have ever made!
DJ Sunny Entertainment was Ankit's pick. Ankit knows music a lot better than I do and he assured me everyone would have a blast from kids to adults. They were so great to work with and super flexible!
Light Year Studios - Our Video/Photographer - I knew Nathan and Thanh were the one for us! Nathan and Tanah have done weddings for friends of mine from college and their work speaks for itself! They are fantastic at what they do! Nathan and Thanh are extremely reliable and work so well with all kinds of people. He made sure we got in all of the shots we wanted and then some. He made our events flow with ease. Easily one of the best vendors we have worked with! We didn't have to tell him to do anything really he knew exactly what needed to be done and when and he kept us on schedule!!
Rasoi III was our venue for the Vidhi and Garba - another fantastic choice! I've been to quite a few events at Rasoi III and they are always on point with everything! From communication, execution to food! One of the most important things during any event is food for an indian wedding! The people won't really remember the decor or anything else but they will remember the food and the music! Rasoi III has phenomenal food and you couldn't find anything better.
Karma Philadelphia - was our caterer for the wedding day and reception! The food tastes exactly like how it tastes during the tasting and there is really nobody better in the business! If you are allowed outside caterer I highly recommend reaching out to Bobby to get a tasting done and HIRE him and his team! They made sure everything was exactly how we wanted. Our guests are still raving about the food and what more could you want as a bride and groom!
Weddings by Nihar Makwana - Nihar is one of my best friends who also does video and photography. He did the photography for my Mendhi and Mendhi Party. Not only did he do that but he also was my event planner. He did such a great job executing everything from making sure everyone was where they needed to be to making sure we were on time for everything and so much more. He even made sure I woke up on time to get my hair and makeup done the day of the wedding.
Ice Gola (Garba) - Ankit and I are huge on dessert and no event is a event without some good dessert. if you've ever had a snow cone is this next level to that! I have always held ice gola to close to my heart because when I was younger my nana would buy me ice gola every day I spent with him in India when I went to visit him. This made me feel like my nana was with me and to top it off the guests LOVED it!
Mr. Softee (wedding) - No wedding is a wedding without some ice cream! We had the Mr. Softee truck come to our wedding for out guests to be able to cool down after the vidai and it was a HIT! Who doesn't love some soft severed ice cream on a hot summer day!!
Duck Donuts (reception) - We hired duck donuts to do a donut wall and it was a HIT with all of our guests! They even provided to go boxes for you to be able to take donuts back home / back to your room. These donuts are not like any other donuts, you could eat a dozen donuts and still not feel like you did. They are extremely savory, light weight and so, so, so good!
Sweet Eats Bakery(reception) - We got an additional 3 cakes by Sweet Eats Bakery. All of our favorite flavors. Strawberry shortcake. Chocolate chocolate fudge and chocolate chip vanilla. They were all a hit with our guests!
Cramers Bakery (reception) - They made our wedding cake and provided pastries. Another hit with the guests as well! Cramers made sure that my vision of our wedding cake came to life and it looked absolutely stunning!
321 Chillz (reception) - Like I said we are huge on dessert for of course we needed some more ice cream for the reception! Radhika and her team did a great job with the execution of the ice cream! Not only does it look great but also tastes great! Our guests thoroughly enjoyed the desserts to say the least!
Outfits - Ankit, my father in law, my brother, and my dad all had their outfits custom made by Teenagers in Anand, Gujarat. Ajay is the owner of Teenagers in Anand. We went to India to do our wedding shopping in 2020 before the pandemic and Ajay was able to bring Ankit's vision to life with all of his outfits for each of the events. We even had Ankit's groomsmen outfits custom made by them. Along with my Mendhi outfit also custom made. All of my outfits for by Teenagers along with my moms and mother in laws as well. It was a one stop shop! Such great quality and such good people to work it!
Aakya U.S. custom made my Pithi outfit, bridesmaids outfits, and flower girls and ring bearer outfits for me here in the U.S. Aashumi is the owner of Aayka and I was her first customer. She is such a great person to work with. She made my visions of all of the outfits come to life!
Damari Savile - Ankit had his reception 3 piece suit custom made by Damari Savile in downtown Philadelphia. This suit was so well put together it even incorporate Ankits name, my name and our furbaby's name Chutney in the inside of his jacket. This suit fit like a glove, Ankit looked so dashing in it - he took my breath away!
Maharaja turban - Ankit had a sword made by them with our names engraved and wedding date. Along with a hand crafted elephant and a spotted lion representing Africa (where he was born) the mask was made from steal. The entire sword was fully customized and made how he envisioned it. Maharaja Turban is located in Vancouver and the sword was made by a blacksmith in Punjab. Ankit wanted something of his own for the both of us. As many indian families have heirlooms passed down to their daughters (gold/ other jewelry etc.) but very rarely have anything to pass down to their sons. The hope we have is one day if we have a son we can pass the sword down to him to use for his wedding. If we have a son our son will be able to have his name and his spouse's name engraved with their wedding date and he can then pass on to his son and so forth.
Our wedding was originally set for July 18, 2020 however, due to the pandemic we decided it was best to postpone the wedding keeping in mind our family and friends safety. We decided to have our wedding on July 17, 2021 and we could not be happier with the decision we made. We were able to celebrate with all of our loved ones and our vendors were extremely accommodating with rescheduling all of our events.
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
When I went to India in 2020 I went to India thinking I wanted a pastel color for my wedding lengha but I also kept an open mind and nothing was set in stone. I tried on a few lengha's as I was picking out outfits for my mom just to get a feel for things. The wedding lengha I wore the day of the wedding I tried it on (velvet, maroon) and I just sat around in it, twirled around in it for what felt like hours. But in reality I sat in it for 45 minutes exactly just looking at it and envisioning myself wearing it the day of our wedding and I knew it was the one. It gave me all the bridal feels a bride to be is supposed to feel. It was perfectly stitched and not too loud just enough for me to feel comfortable and like a bride. It had floral designs in it and I absolutely LOVE floral, it was the most perfect lengha I could have ever dreamed of.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of the planning process through all the stress and having to postpone the wedding was having Ankit by my side every step of the way. I am definitely the more emotional one between Ankit and I and he kept me level headed. Though we postponed our wedding and during that time it felt like our wedding was ages away we decided to go the untraditional route and live together. I was always against a live in relationship at least before marriage (call me old school). But postponing our wedding a full year changed my mindset a bit. Moving in with Ankit made our relationship so much stronger, we were able to learn so much more about each other. The transition as most would say is difficult however, for us it was seamless and it brought us so much closer to each other. I moved in with Ankit right when COVID began so we were in complete lockdown and weren't able to go anywhere. If you are able to live with your spouse without needing a break from them during a lockdown I'd say you have a very strong relationship and you can overcome any hurdle together.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests loved the dessert bar we had. Who doesn't love an array of different options of sweets from indian to american. It was a hit with everyone including the food for all of the events! The music was another things the guests really enjoyed - I even had guests come up to me and ask what did we tell the DJ we wanted our playlist to be. Honestly speaking, we didn't give them much we just told them what we liked and what we didn't like. They were able to curate such an amazing playlist for us and lots of Drake since my husband is the biggest Drake fan I know! We loved our DJ / the team!
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There are 4 moments in my head during the wedding weekend that constantly replay in my mind.
1. When I first saw Ankit during our first look. He looked so handsome, like a King that he is. I couldn't believe it the day was finally here where I get to marry my best friend!
2. When I saw my parents for the first time that morning when I was getting ready for the wedding. My parents were so at peace, I don't think I have ever seen either one of them so calm, so at peace, they were simply just happy for me and for Ankit and for us to finally get married. We took a few pictures together and they were just so happy to be the first ones to see me and spend some quality time with each other before all the chaos began.
3. When my brother walked me down for first Vermala as the baraat approached. He told me I looked beautiful and asked me if I was ready. Then when he was front and center to pick up the Doli to bring me inside the ballroom. I felt so at peace knowing my brother was by my side throughout it.
4. When Ankit and I officially became husband and wife in the mandap. It felt surreal - finally the day we had been waiting for since 2019 was finally here and we were finally husband and wife. No better feeling than knowing I get to spend the rest of my life with him and our furbaby Chutney!
5. During the vidai I fully expected my mom to cry because she had been crying throughout the week and was so full of emotions but when my dad cried, that hit a different nerve. There were so many emotions going through me during that time. I have never seen my dad cry and for him to cry during my vidai it was so emotional for me. I still cannot find the words to express what I felt during those moments. I consoled my dad telling him "don't worry dad, I am still your daughter, I only live 7 minutes away from you. I still come over all the time and bother you" and he chuckled a little bit.
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.
Vidhi - Ankit and I had two separate ceremonies. Though, our family and friends both painted us yellow head to toe for the pithi. It was lots of fun and we wouldn't have wanted it any other way!
Garba - My cousins did such a great job with their dance performance! I am still in awe they were all in different states and still managed to pull of a great performance!
We danced the night away from garba, raas to just breaking it down on the dance floor.
Shoutout to all of my family and friends for never leaving the dance floor and making the pre party to the party a hit!
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Brides to be - my biggest advice to you is though things may not go exactly how you planned (and trust me that will happen because that's just life) take it with a grain of salt, stay calm and be at peace because the most important part of your events the week/weekend is your marrying the love of your life nothing else matters in those moments. I don't know how I managed to stay so calm, at peace and zen throughout everything and even with things not going as planned but it turned out to be the best week/weekend of my life and I owe a lot of the peace and calmness I had to my friends and mostly to Ankit. Knowing I was marrying him kept me calm.
Another big advice to you although it maybe a bit difficult HYDRATE and EAT! Have a friend that is not in the bridal party help you to make sure you eat something to make sure you drink water!!
Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
I had my jewelry custom made in Boroada, Gujarat by a shop named Vivaah Bridal Jewellery. They made my vision come to life. I got all of my jewelry hand made by them for all of my events! They were so great to work with!
I had my mendhi done by Tanvi who literally was able to incorporate everything I wanted in my mendhi. From the bride and groom figures to the radha krishna to Ankit and my furbaby Chutney. My mendhi was one of a kind!!
I went through our decorator to get the bouquet for my bridesmaids and Nirali did not fail to amaze me - she delivered!
Don't forget to join us tomorrow for the last feature of the week!