Good morning, Maharanis! I hope you are ready to start this Tuesday on the right foot because Ashna & Kais' wedding celebration will brighten your day and melt your heart with tenderness and joy. Having an interfaith, Hindu/Muslim, and interracial, Tunisian/Indian wedding was not easy. However, such a level of perfection and beauty is no casualty. To make this dreamy celebration come to life, our lovebirds had a fantastic lineup of wedding vendors working tirelessly to design a wedding beyond spectacular. Marigold Wedding Planners worked their magic to execute this event flawlessly. They also crafted breathtaking backdrops that set the mood for the different ceremonies and wedding events hosted at the striking SVBF North. Their passion is to simplify the wedding planning process for our couples. And oh boy, how they succeed! For the reception at Meadow Brook Hall, everyone celebrated this life milestone by dancing to the beats of the incredible Sky Films and Productions. They were able to keep the crowd on their feet the entire night. The mixture of Hindi, Arabic, and English songs was perfectly spaced out and allowed everyone to participate and enjoy the night. Although we've talked about all the beauty, amazingness, and elegance surrounding this wedding celebration, we haven't forgotten about the star of the night: our gorgeous Ashna! She nailed the ultimate bridal look thanks to Megha + Jigar's outfits and Krishna Salon & Spa hair and makeup. And let's not forget about the superb Mehndi by Radhe Henna, which added an extra touch of traditional flair. When a video and photos are captured right, they can describe your special day without you saying a word, which is what Sky Films and Productions did for this couple. The pictures from all four events were impeccable! Don't miss the jaw-dropping gallery that we have prepared.
How did you meet your Groom, and when did you know he was "the one"?
Kais had recently moved from Washington D.C. in the Summer of 2010. Walking around the hallways of our high school at the start of the school year, we ran into each other multiple times. We would always see each other at lunch, sitting at two different tables, glancing and smiling. I never really made any small talk. Months passed, and we reached October 2010. My brother was having a birthday party. Bored out of her mind, I was sitting/talking to the boys while enjoying pizza and cake. In comes Kais, ready to pick up his brother, who coincidently was at the party. In true Indian fashion, my mom asked, “Offer him some food.” Our first words to one another ended up being, “Would you like some pizza or cake?”. This brief encounter led to more talking at school and a blossoming friendship.
Our friendship grew over the years, and we became a part of each other’s constant friend group. From celebrating proms, graduations, birthdays, and so much more, we became inseparable. In October 2013, coincidentally, at another one of my brother's birthday parties (which happened to be on my actual 20th birthday), things changed forever. I received a call around 12:30 pm from Kais asking if I wanted to study. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a countdown to my birthday from the very beginning of the month EVERY YEAR. I answered the call and yelled, “I DON’T STUDY ON MY BIRTHDAY”; and hung up. Kais called back, pretending as if we didn’t just have that conversation, saying, “Happy 20th Birthday”. After talking for a bit, I went back to enjoying the birthday party and celebrating my birthday later that day at home. To my surprise, the doorbell rang around 6:30 pm that night. It was Kais, with a Grande Mocha Frappuccino in hand, waiting to wish me happy birthday. He came inside and ate some of my birthday cake while watching some tv. During the conversation (randomly), the question was asked, “Will you be my girlfriend?” I think we all know the response!
Our relationship, which was a majority long-distance, flourished throughout the years. Kais went away to college at MSU for 4 years, while Ashna stayed at home attending Wayne State University. At least 1 weekend a month, Ashna would drive up to East Lansing to visit Kais and spend the weekend with all of their friends. The special weekends would always include their signature college date night food; a large pizza and a 2 Liter pop. Kais would then come home for a weekend, allowing both to see each other almost every other week. The relationship grew as the years passed, making memories that would last a lifetime. Times got a lot tougher when Kais took an amazing opportunity to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School in 2018. As hard as the distance would be, we knew that it was best for his career and that the relationship was strong enough to make it through. Daily phone calls, text messages, video calls, etc., got us through some of the hardest times. Date nights still included having some pizza virtually while watching tv shows or movies. Every time we would meet in person, whether in Alabama or Michigan; for a day or weeks, we made the most of the time we got. Our relationship got stronger during this time. We began to understand that if we could do this and still be happy and in love, we could conquer anything.
Share the scoop on your Proposal Story!
During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kais was able to come home and spend some quality time with family and friends. Everyone who knows anything about medical school knows that during 3rd year, having a little bit of time off is almost unheard of. We decided to make the most of it and spend A LOT of time with one another, making each other and our families part of our “pod.” We would drive around for dates without getting out of the car and have picnics in secluded areas where people could not be seen for miles. Every year, Kais and I had a tradition of going ice skating at Campus Martius Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Detroit. Anyone who knows Kais is aware of how much he hates anything to do with the cold. However, this is one thing he would do for me (Ashna) every year. On February 28, 2021, Kais and I decided to go around on one of our drive-around date days. We drove to Downtown Detroit and saw people skating at the ice rink. Due to COVID, we had not been this year, and I did not know that it was even open to skate. Masks were being enforced at the rink, so in true Ashna fashion, I asked Kais to go. He surprisingly agreed. We walked to the rink, where there was a sign posted that tickets were all sold out for the evening due to limited capacity requirements. Bummed, I began to walk away, upset that we couldn’t go as it was the last day they were open for the year. Kais followed me, yelling, “Where are you going? We have tickets.” I was shocked and super excited as I realized he had planned this out prior to us getting to the rink. We got our skates and began skating around. Kais, not being the best skater, was actually doing a pretty good job keeping himself up; I was impressed. Shortly after taking a couple of rounds, we decided to take a break on the side of the ring. I stopped fully and was looking at the Christmas lights still displayed around the ring while Kais skated up. The next thing I heard was a “thump.” I thought to myself, “Great, here we go again. He fell”. I turned around to help him up, and to my surprise, he was down on one knee ©©© Surprised was an understatement. Time was standing still. Everyone at the ice-skating ring had stopped and was clapping. I turned around, and a group of our friends had gathered, along with our siblings and a bunch more friends present on Facetime from around the country, all there to celebrate our special day. I could not have asked for a more romantic proposal <3
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.
Venues: In terms of finding venues, we wanted something more intimate for the pre-wedding and wedding events versus larger and unique for the reception.
--SVBF Temple (Wedding): We went with the temple setting for the intimate Hindu wedding ceremony as it fits all the criteria we wanted. We wanted a temple that was beautiful for photos and had a more modern aesthetic. They were able to provide the services we requested and were able to make proper accommodations for our wedding. We were also able to try the delicious food prior to and come up with a customized vegetarian menu for the wedding lunch.
--Meadow Brook Hall (Reception): When searching for a reception venue, we wanted to pick a place more unique than just a hotel banquet hall. We needed something that would allow for 200-250 people and be able to serve/provide food from both cultures (whether through them or catering). The most important was a place that had a personality and history of its own. Meadowbrook Hall fit all our criteria and was absolutely beautiful. We were able to go for an initial tour and tasting prior to the big day. They had their own catering service, which was able to provide stations of food for dinner accommodating both our Indian and Arabic cultures, along with Italian dishes, various salads, appetizers, and phenomenal plated desserts. Meadowbrook Hall also provided us with a day of coordinator who was in constant contact with our wedding planner throughout the planning process. We were able to schedule many meetings with the staff in order to have every detail of our reception made perfect.
Planning and Decor
--Marigold Wedding Planners / Decor: When it came to picking a wedding planner/decorator, we needed someone who was able to see our vision, stick to our budget and provide the wedding and reception of our dreams. Marigold Wedding Planners was able to do all this and so much more. They beautifully executed the decor to match but not clash with outfits worn by not just us but also our immediate family. They were just a phone call a way when it came to any wedding/reception-related matters. They did onsite visits with us for both the wedding/reception venues. As well as taking care of all our vendors, creating timelines, and sending them out in order to coordinate day of events. They were prompt to let us know of any changes. However, they were mindful not to stress out the bride. From planning to decor to floral, I could not have asked for a more flawless experience than Tina and Marigold Wedding Planners.
Hair & Makeup
--Krishna Salon & Spa: For hair/makeup services, I went with Krishna Salon and Spa in Farmington Hills, MI. I chose them as I have known Krishna for a large portion of my life, and she has been serving my family for many years. I trusted her to do my hair/makeup as she is not only good at what she does, she knows what I like and what would look good on me at a more personal level. She was able to take my more minimalistic makeup approach and make it wedding glam. She was able to highlight my natural features without muting it behind loads of makeup. During the hair/makeup trial, she took her time trying out multiple hairstyles and makeup combinations to make sure I was happy with the final product. The overall wedding and reception look turned out to be exactly what I had envisioned.
--Sky Films and Productions: For photography, videography, and DJ purposes, Sky Films and Productions was an easy choice to make. We wanted someone who was offering a bundle deal and was able to provide enough coverage for all 3 days of our wedding event. Gagan with Sky Films and Productions was prompt in answering my initial inquiry, and a written-out brochure with packages was sent right away. It was very simple to book them for our wedding weekend, and we were also lucky enough to be able to use them for our engagement photoshoot. We were so pleased with how our engagement photoshoot worked out that we could not wait to see how our wedding went. They did not disappoint. Our pictures from all 4 events, as well as the videography, were impeccable. The drone footage they took gave us beautiful views of our entire wedding and reception venues. Gagan and the team also provided DJ services for our wedding and reception. They were able to keep the crowd on their feet the entire night. The mixture of Hindi, Arabic, and English songs was perfectly spaced out and allowed everyone to participate and enjoy the night.
Outfits: With the COVID Pandemic being in full swing during our wedding planning process, all our wedding-related outfits were bought online. We were able to contact small shops through larger corporates like Etsy, as well as to contact larger designers in order to custom make outfits for the bride, groom, family, and bridal party. Negotiations were mostly done over the phone through Whatsapp.
-Bridal Lehenga: "KalaNiketan"; Mumbai, India
-Reception Lehenga: "Megha and Jigar" custom-made lehenga India
-Grooms Tuxedo: "ISAIA" custom-made tuxedo
How did you select your bridal lengha or wedding dress? Did you have a favorite color in mind?
For my bridal lehenga, I wanted something more traditional. Being a Gujarati wedding, traditionally you would wear something red. I began my search on various websites and landed on the store 'Kalaniketan", which had many traditional lehengas available. When running it by my mom, she told me that she and my grandma had both previously shopped at the store, for other occasions, including some of their wedding outfits. I thought it would be nice to buy my bridal lehenga from there and keep the tradition within the family. I found a lehenga that I loved, which was red and pink with gold embroidery work and accents. It was absolutely stunning and completely hand stitched. It was the dress I always pictured myself wearing. Felt like a princess on my wedding day.
What was the most enjoyable part of the planning process, and why?
The most enjoyable part for me of the planning process was seeing everything coming together. Growing up watching Bollywood movies, you always kind of have a standard to which you want your wedding to be held. In my case, I had a rough idea of what I wanted and needed to implement that the best I could with a set budget. Marigold Planners, along with my mother and sister, really helped in making this process much easier. They were there for the support and ideas, as well as to help make conscious decisions whenever needed. Individually deciding on decor, flowers, lighting, etc., was hard when you didn't have the final picture. Planning outfits for us, as well as our family and friends that doesn't clash with the decor; was a milestone in itself. However, when it all came together, the final product was the dream I had envisioned. Everything was to a tee and looked like it was all supposed to be put together the way it was presented. Seeing this made every fight, disagreement, and shed tear worth it.
What did your guests particularly love about your Wedding?
FOOD! We had a total of 4 events (haldi, sangeet/mehndi, wedding, and reception. For my family, food is the most important thing when it comes to an event. We always want our guests to be able to enjoy good food, no matter what the occasion. In this case, it was important for us to have a variety of different food at each event but not repeat the type of food or specific entree more than once. We decided on food themes for each event that correlated with the type of event as well as the people attending.
For our intimate Haldi ceremony we stuck to a catered traditional Gujarati food menu, including different curries, rice, roti, etc., as well as more Gujarati staples of khandvi, dhokla, and undhiyu.
For our Sangeet/Mehendi night, we wanted to cater more to the demographic. So more people who were not Indian and who ate meat. We decided to go with a full Indian catered menu comprising more traditionally known dishes. These included chicken tikka masala, chili chicken, gobi manchurian, chili paneer, various vegetable curries, dals, rice, naans, etc.
The Wedding Ceremony was held at the temple, meaning all the food had to be vegetarian. The food was all-encompassed with the temple and was cooked by volunteer chefs in the kitchen. the spread consisted of both North and South Indian food and definitely had the homemade touch.
The Reception was the largest event that we had, with over 200 people in attendance. We needed to make sure to include dishes from both India and Tunisia, as well as making sure not to step over cultural and religious boundaries. With that being said, we had no red meat and no alcohol at our reception. For our signature drink, we went with a mocktail mojito. For appetizers, we had Thai curry samosa, spinach with lemon-zest and feta in phyllo, tandoori chicken satay with raita, and horn island gulf shrimp. For dinner, we decided on a station-style setting where everyone could go station-to-station and get the food type they would like to eat. We had 4 stations comprising a salad station ( 4 different types of salad), an Indian station, an Arabic station, and an Italian pasta station. People enjoyed this so much as they were able to go and choose from over 20 different dishes from all over the world. They were able to go at there own pace and were able to try things they may have never thought to try before. Plated dessert was then given at each seat comprising of wedding cake, chocolate torte, crème brûlée, and NY cheesecake.
By the end of the wedding celebrations and till this day, people come up to us and admire the food and how much they ate at our wedding. People enjoyed themselves to the fullest, which was our main goal when it came to the food and arrangements.
Was there a really special moment in your wedding that constantly replays in your mind?
There were many special moments that replay in my mind from our wedding. Starting from the first dance, daddy-daughter dance, various family/friend speeches, dances, etc. All these moments, as well as just having all our loved ones around, really did make this week extra special for both of us. However, in terms of my most special moment from the wedding week, it would definitely be Our First Look. I had not seen Kais's sherwani prior to the wedding day, so when we arrived for our first look and I opened my eyes, I was stunned. He looked like a real MAHARAJA. Everything from the sherwani, jewelry, shoes, and the turban was just mind-blowing. Walking up to him, I could not keep thinking about how much we had overcome throughout our relationship and how we finally made it to this day. The tears in our eyes summed up exactly how we felt at that moment.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Brides-To-Be?
Relax, and don't lash out at your loved ones. It may not always seem like it, but they are on your side.
Our magical journey is over today, but don't forget to be back for more inspirational stories here!