Happy Thursday, Maharanis! Love, romance, and glamour come your way! So, get ready to enjoy a new entry and feel enchanted by Gayathri & Ajay's story. These lovebirds have been together for over six years now, and they have witnessed each other's success! That's what a genuine couple does. Don't you think? My dears, can you picture this couple at Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink all alone, at a magical moment where they both were on the ice, surrounded by a beautiful snowfall, while their beloved song was playing on the speaker system? I hope you say yes because that was how the gorgeous Gayathri said "Yes" to the handsome Ajay! The planning of this wedding was a bit difficult, as you know, chaos due to a pandemic has changed the world. However, Gayathri & Ajay's love was patient enough to celebrate their union with a remarkable event hosted at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort Spa & MarinaMelissa Candolfi managed the entire wedding with such elegance! She made sure of organizing the venue, vendors, timing, and even ensuring the couple ate! We all need an organizer like her! Yaadein Events created the most fantastic ambiance with two different mandaps full of stunning flowers. Every guest was dazzled by the beauty of the room! The lighting and music were in charge of Amplifire Entertainment. With their determination and professionalism, they knew how to make everyone dance! Saroj Studios recorded every glorious moment of our lovebirds' big day, as well as a fantastic set of pictures worth looking over and over again as they have a unique meaning! Our gorgeous Gayathri wore an elegant reception gown designed by  Matsya World. She looked spectacular! Her dress looked perfect with the hair and makeup design by Uzma Studios. Our lovebirds are truly lucky to have been able to celebrate their big day with everyone they love safely and happily. Maharanis, you can witness their happiness by checking out the fantastic gallery we have put together for you. Believe me; it is a visual masterpiece you don't want to miss!

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How did you meet your Groom and when did you know he was "the one"?
Our journey began as 2 strangers, navigating the world in completely different cities. Ajay was aspiring to become a lawyer in the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, while I was working towards my bachelors in the Buckeye state. As fate would have it, despite living only 15 minutes apart and attending rival high schools, we didn't meet until 2015 when our friends set us up. What started as Facebook messages, grew to text messages, and then turned into FaceTime calls lasting the entire night. I came home to Maryland for my birthday during Thanksgiving break, and Ajay and I decided to meet in person for the first time. Our first date was at Meridian Hill Park in DC. The November chill was in the air and Ajay offered me his jacket, the first of many sweet gestures to come. He gave me an infinity necklace for my birthday, and that's when I knew this was the beginning of the journey of a lifetime.

Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
Everyone who knows Ajay knows he likes to go big, and his proposal was no different. December 16, 2019 on a rainy and cold winter night in New York City, Ajay decided to pop the question. New York is my favorite city and I was so excited to be visiting during the Holiday season. Ajay took me ice skating at Rockefeller Center and to my surprise, rented out the entire rink for the proposal. The speakers played our beloved song "Humsafar" from Badrinath Ki Dulhania, and he asked me to be his forever in front of all of New York City. The moment Ajay got down on one knee, rain turned to snow, and I said yes! I honestly couldn't have imagined such a magical moment, but it's one of my favorite stories to tell, and I love Ajay for it.

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.
As a Lawyer and a Doctor, Ajay and I try to be as organized as possible. From the beginning, Ajay had set up an Excel document for each of our vendors, so that we could do our research and have all the information stored in a single place. Every time we saw a new venue, attended a food tasting, or chatted with DJs and Hair/Makeup teams, Ajay brought his iPad and took copious notes. This was really helpful for us, as our wedding was postponed from 2020 to 2021, due to Covid. Having the information readily available made it easy for us to contact our vendors, update details and dates, and keep a strong line of communication with our team.

We were very fortunate to be able to go to India for wedding shopping before Covid became a problem. I had done tons of research online, read many blogs (Thank you Maharani), and had a list of designers I wanted to check out during our trip. Ajay had researched the design of his Sherwani he wanted, and when we went to Delhi, we both went shopping - albeit separately, to pick our clothes. This was one of the best surprises on our wedding day, being able to see each other in our outfits for the first time after almost a 2-year wait.

We've both always wanted a big fat Indian wedding, and that is exactly what we got. Ajay is Punjabi, so we decided it would be so much fun if our Sangeet was a Punjabi village theme. From the snacks and food, to the decor, it felt like we were in Amritsar! Our wedding theme was Royalty, with our mandap designed to look like a Palace entrance, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay! Our reception was modern chic. Every event had a different feel and vibe, something that we really wanted to make sure our guests enjoyed over the 3-day affair!

How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
I had done a ton of research before going to Delhi for shopping. I had reached out to a few designers, read different shaadi blogs, and scrolled through hundreds of Instagram posts. I knew prior to going to India I wanted an Om Prakash Jawaharlal Lengha in the traditional red color, customized for me. I wanted to add a little color and so I had pops of green (Ajay's favorite color), peach, and pink throughout my lengha.  It took 3 months to make, and had to be shipped to the States, but it was worth it to see the look on Ajay's face as I walked down the aisle.

What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part of wedding planning was doing it with Ajay and the family. Going to see venues, talking to different vendors, food and cake tasting, it's all enjoyable when it's with the right person! While we were stressed due to Covid, and had to reschedule our wedding twice and change venues, somehow Ajay always managed to stay calm, and with every disappointment, somehow we made the best of it! We aren't the only couple that had to deal with Covid, and even now, Covid is causing tons of issues - but I promise you, it's all worth it when you see everything come together! All those stressful moments and all those concerns disappear, and you just live in the moment.

What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
Our guests really loved the variety of our events, and our venue. For most of our guests, the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa And Marina was about a 2.5hr drive, so we unintentionally had a "Destination Wedding." All of our guests stayed at the hotel, which made it feel like one big continuous party. It was the first major event for most of our guests since Covid hit, so being able to catch up with friends and family near and far is something our guests really appreciated!

Each event was carefully coordinated with a lot of thought and consideration. Our vast menu's for the weekend were completely different each meal, and we had a live tandoor for fresh naan's, and a live dosa station - paying homage to my Tamil heritage. Blending cultures and foods is something our guests really loved because there was something for everyone, and it was a new experience for most.

Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
My favorite moment was when Ajay and I were first introduced as Husband and Wife at our Reception, and we shared our first dance. For our first dance we chose the song Nehu Da Vyah. Ajay and I always bonded over our love for Bollywood music, and this was no different. We both really enjoy Neha Kakkar, and Ajay heard this song and sent it to me quite some time ago. As soon as I heard it, I knew that was the song, and Ajay agreed.

Our DJ did such a phenomenal job making that moment pure magic. From dry ice, to sparklers, and a custom white dance floor - some of my favorite pictures were taken during our dance. Ajay and I continue to listen to Nehu Da Vyah on repeat, and every time I hear it, I go back to our dance.

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.
In addition to our ceremony, we had a Guru Ka Kirtan, Sangeet, and Haldi. Ajay, his family, and I had the opportunity to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It was my first time, and it really was a serene experience. We decided that we wanted to include some of that serenity in our wedding festivities, and decided to kick things off with a Kirtan at the Gurdwara in Rockville, MD. This was a sweet event, which afterwards Ajay and I had the chance to do seva.

Our Sangeet was so much fun! The Punjabi Village theme set the stage beautifully for a night of Indian cultural immersion. We had an amazing classical dance performance by family friends, and they were breathtaking. Then, a performance by Ajay's parents, and another by Ajay's sister and jiju, all of whom I love dearly, and who really know how to throw a party! I also surprised my hubby with a dance that he had no idea about - picking his favorite songs! One of my favorite acts was a coordinated effort by all of our friends. From across the globe, our friends put together a 15-minute medley performance, learning the dance through videos and Zoom calls. Even with many different timezones, our friends made our evening so special, and it's something we watched in awe of how talented everyone is! Going along with our Punjabi Village theme, we had the University of Maryland Terrapind bhangra team perform a set at the sangeet. They brought the house down, and added such energy to our evening, everyone was yelling 'brrruuahh; by the end :) Finally, Ajay and I got to surprise our guests with our own performance, something we had been working on for months with a choreographer from India! Through spotty wifi, and hours long practices, we were so excited to finally be on the dance floor together at our own wedding.

Our Haldi was in the morning before our wedding. Our haldi was outdoors and we were so blessed with a beautiful sun shining day, a nice breeze, and blue skies. Ajay and I did our haldi together, really enjoying the playful banter and the scenery. Singing and dancing, having the dhol beat, and having the opportunity to relax with friends and family was the highlight!

We are so lucky that we were able to have all of our events exactly as we had planned, and while Covid had delayed things, we were extremely happy knowing that our guests, family, and us could enjoy all together, safely! We are truly grateful and blessed!

Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
The advice I tell all of my friends is to enjoy the process. There's no such thing as perfect, and that imperfection is really what makes the wedding planning process so beautiful. So while things can get stressful, while inevitably something will go wrong, just remember to soak it in. The wedding weekend itself flies by - and you'll be left with the fondest memories of the process! I still smile thinking about our cake tastings, where Ajay created score cards and asked everyone to rank the 20 different flavors we tried. I laugh thinking about when Ajay and I were in India and he sat at every jewelry store with me in Delhi as I picked out different sets for each outfit - even though I'm sure he'd have preferred to be watching a Cricket match, or catching a romcom in theaters. So, have fun, perfect is what you make it, and hug your loved ones who helped you put it all together. Weddings are one of the few celebrations in life that you will always remember!

Anything else you want to tell us? We'd love to hear all about your other details! (jewelry, mehndi, venue, cake, bouquets, etc.)
My mehendi took place a couple of days before our wedding. We had a small ceremony at home with family and close friends. My henna artist is actually a friend of Ajay’s family, and she treated the event as though her younger brother was getting married. She made sure I was comfortable, went through numerous design options with me, and even created a custom henna card box for the reception! Everyone sang karaoke while I was getting my mehendi done, and I even got some special treatment as Ajay fed me lunch :)

One of the most beautiful things Ajay did after our wedding was keep a bouquet of our centerpieces, and the ends of our Jai Mala's. He found a local company that dries and frames wedding flowers. As a surprise to me, Ajay had an arrangement made for us, so that we could have a small reminder of our incredible day. Ajay really thought through every little detail to make sure things were special for me!

Our cake was a custom cake that we designed from scratch. We both knew we wanted something completely unique to our personalities. We designed the cake base using gold elephant cake base stands, picked 3 different color henna pillow tiers matching colors of my lengha, and then topped it off with a cake version of Ajay's Pagri. We hadn't actually seen the entire cake drawing, because we didn't want to give anything away about our outfits! We cut that cake using a sword (a tradition in Ajay's family), and started our married life off on the sweetest touch.

We really just want to thank ALL of our vendors. We were blessed to have a team of the absolute very best - who stuck with us through Covid, changes in dates, changes in venues, and so much uncertainty. One thing we never had to worry about was whether the arrangements we made would come to fruition or finding new vendors after being left out high and dry. Every single one of our vendors was so caring, kind, understanding, and never once gave us a reason to fret. Thank you all SO MUCH - you all had a huge hand in our function being so special.

A final thank you to all of our friends and family. Without your love and support, our wedding wouldn't have been the phenomenon it turned out to be. Ajay's family really stepped up to help us in every way possible, and I'm so lucky to have joined this amazing family. My in-laws call me their DIL as a nickname - and I'm ever so grateful. My new Sister-in-Law and Jiju came all the way from Seattle twice in the span of a month to make sure we had all the support we could imagine, and we love them so much and are so happy they could be there for it every step of the way. Ajay and I will forever be grateful to everyone, and we hope that everyone remembers our wedding fondly and had a great time!

Maharanis, keep coming back for more love stories!

DJ: Amplifire Entertainment | Lighting: Amplifire Entertainment | Photography: Saroj Studios | Baraat: Amplifire Entertainment | Photo Booths: Amplifire Entertainment | Cinematography: Saroj Studios | Venue: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort Spa & Marina | Planning & Design: Melissa Candolfi | Floral & Decor: Yaadein Events | Hair & Makeup: Uzma Studios | Catering: Rangoli Indian Restaurant | Baraat: Ganeshji Dhol | Bollywood Performers & Instructors: University of Maryland Terrapind Bhangra Team | Bridal Fashions (Sangeet): Matsya World | Groom's Fashion (Sangeet): Sabyasachi | Bride Wedding Lehenga: Om Prakash | Groom Wedding Sherwani: Manyavar | Bride Reception Gown: Matsya World | Cake & Treats: Cakes by Megan | Invitations & Wedding Stationery: India Royal Cards | Mehndi Artist: Art of Hennas | Tuxedos: Custom Kinny Designer