Romantic North & South Indian Ballroom Wedding

Aishwarya & Rajan

Snapshot

A South Indian Sabyasachi Bride with a Texan twist. Aishwarya and Rajan’s beautiful Houston wedding celebrations took place amidst a backdrop of a Midsummer Night’s Dream motif, combining both South and North Indian traditions. The spirit of joy and romance in each event has been captured beautifully by Spanish photographers, Veroa Fotografia, who flew in especially from Barcelona to encapsulate the wedding festivities.

We loved the elegance infused into the events with the clever use of an amorous color palette to tie in the outfits of the bride, groom and bridal party with the surrounding decor. It is very clear to see the immense love this beautiful couple hold for each other, their families and their friends. This is exemplified through numerous heartfelt moments and meaningful touches (from the choice in music, the venue and even midnight snacks for the guests!) that have been thoughtfully curated in order to create a memorable experience for everyone in attendance.

We can certainly feel the love all the way from Australia! The beautiful bride Aishwarya shares details from her Midsummer Nights Dream wedding.

About The Couple

How did we meet?

Rajan and I met through an online dating website in January of 2013. It was very unexpected. We both had never thought that we would meet the person who we would spend the rest of our lives online – but I guess you just never know!

How we are as a couple?

We are goofy, playful and very affectionate. We also love to cook together.

How he proposed?

Rajan proposed to me on Sunday, 22 June 2014. We had planned to go on a picnic with friends in Central Park. But when arrived, no one else was there. All I could see was a blanket, champagne, flowers, and petals. He immediately got down on one knee and proposed. After I said ‘yes’, our friends jumped out of the bushes nearby. We all celebrated together for the rest of the afternoon.

What marriage means to us?

It is the ability to be your real self around someone. It also means endless amounts of laughter and cuddling.

The Details

Wedding Planning

VISION: We wanted our wedding celebrations to represent our personalities, interests and our cultural heritage (I am South Indian and Rajan is Punjabi).

PLANNING: I was initially confused about how to go about planning the wedding. I ended up working with a wedding planner, Therese Cole from Electric-Karma. Therese was a total pro and kept me informed regularly about everything.

My advice for wedding planning is that you do not need a year to organize it – just know what you like (especially with regards to colors) and do not be over-influenced by Pinterest!

INVITATIONS: The wedding cards were done on Zazzle.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Veroa Fotografia from Spain. My wedding planner had sent me a portfolio of photographers from around Houston and Texas. Although they were lovely, they looked very much the same. One of Rajan’s friends had attended a wedding in Como, Italy and asked me to look at the portfolio of the photographers that had captured the wedding. I was so blown away by the emotions that they were able to capture. I arranged to speak with them on Skype right away.

It was going to be their first Indian wedding but I was confident that they would be able to capture it perfectly. Flights, accommodation, and meals were included in the rate charged. Although it was slightly more expensive but not exorbitant and definitely worth it. They absolutely lived up to expectations and worked so hard. They were there for each of the events and would have worked for at least 24 hours over 4 days and produced over 1,400 photographs to us.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Veroa Fotografia. We used the photographer’s cinematography services. They were great and blended in with all the Indian cultures. They wore Indian clothes that my family and friends had given them to wear – it was awesome.

Wedding Shopping

I started research with Google and looking at various blogs. I had a look at The Crimson Bride, Pernia’s Popup Shop and Exclusively and Harpers Bazaar Bride India for inspiration. My mother-in-law also has great taste, so I consulted her as well.

Instagram was amazing and had just the right amount of information, whereas I found Pinterest a bit overwhelming. I also found Jiva Couture in Toronto, Canada and loved them. They helped me with my Sangeet outfit. Shopping for Wedding Ceremony and Reception outfits were done in Delhi and Chennai.

Wedding Events

Our wedding celebrations were held at various locations around Houston, Texas over a few days at the end of April 2015:

1. Mehendi & Bhojan – Wednesday AM & PM, Bride’s Home, 60-70 guests.

2. Sangeet – Thursday PM, Bay Oaks Country Club, 200 guests.

3. Wedding Ceremony – Friday AM, Hilton Houston Post Oak, 340 guests.

4. Reception – Friday PM, Hilton Houston Post Oak, 320 guests.

Mehendi & Bhojan

The wedding celebrations started at home with a puja with family and friends in the morning, which then flowed into the Mehendi ceremony. We had a ‘Bhojan’ feast in the evening with some more family friends joining us.

DECOR: Mandap Creations.

OUTFIT: I wore a beige and gold saree with a dark brown blouse purchased from a boutique in Bangalore called Mysore Saree Udyog. I wanted to keep it simple and comfortable for the mehendi application.

JEWELLERY: Traditional gold jewellery to compliment the saree.

HENNA ARTIST: Sonia from The Original Henna Company.

Sangeet

The Sangeet was I wanted the event to be something low key but something that would showcase my Texan heritage. Bay Oaks Country Club was the obvious choice – I had grown up there playing tennis and celebrating family parties. We worked with the venue’s Southern charm and planned for an Indian-Texan theme with decor, music and even had Indo-Tex fusion cuisine provided by Shiv Sagar and Bay Oaks Country Club.

After dinner, the program included some of our friends put on dance performance and my sister playing the ukulele. The song that she played was Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men. It was such a touching moment and brought tears to my eyes. After this, we had an open dance floor and played mostly Indian music provided by DJ Yogi.

DECOR & UNIQUE DETAILS: Electric-Karma and Mandap Creations created an Indo-Texan theme that would celebrate my Indian-Texan heritage. We had an Indian street cart decorated with Indian dolls and material. This is where we had bangles, bindis and other small return favors for guests to take home.

Indoors, the table decor had various Texan themed centerpieces. In the corners, we used the large sunflowers and baby’s breath flowers along with hessian strings and ropes around the venue to provide a rustic Southern feel.

I also had little Bitstrip cartoons of Rajan and I tell our story. It was a surprise for Rajan. I created a few of these and blew them up to place them in various areas of the venue.

AISHWARYA’S OUTFIT: I had come across designer Anushree Reddy and her pieces really stood out to me. I fell in love with everything she had designed. Online store, Jiva Couture had some of her pieces, so I ordered the outfit for our Sangeet through them. I would highly recommend them if you don’t have the time to go to India for your wedding shopping. They went above and beyond and their attention to detail was fantastic.

JEWELLERY: I wore my Mother’s jewellery, made from uncut diamonds made in Chennai.

HAIR & MAKEUP: A Dallas-based hair and makeup artist, Makeup by Shilpa. I found her on Instagram and was blown away by her work. She did all of my hair and makeup for all three events.

RAJAN’S OUTFIT: Rajan wore a white shirt with black pants from J.Crew and a black Nehru jacket from Lagan in Chennai.

Wedding Ceremony

Held at the Hilton Houston Post Oak, we had a beautiful morning ceremony starting at 10 am with the Baraat The Hindu Wedding Ceremony was carried out by a priest from Meenakshi Temple and lasted for 1 hour and 15 minutes, a very abbreviated version of the traditional Hindu ceremony. We made sure to include both South Indian and Punjabi traditions.

Guests were served a South Indian lunch catered by Udipi Cafe. Since the venue was located in Houston’s beautiful shopping district, the guests traveling from interstate or overseas could rest, shop or look around before they came down for the Reception later that evening.

HIGHLIGHTS: I loved getting ready with my 10 bridesmaids. We are all really light-hearted and have such different personalities. If I was stressed, they were able to calm my nerves. They are so funny and all rallied together to made sure I felt amazing before going down to the ceremony. There was just no stress at all! Another moment I cherish is holding my sister’s hand whilst walking down the aisle. This meant so much to me as I care about her a lot. My most favorite moment, however, was the part of the ceremony where I sat down on the swing as part of a South Indian wedding tradition. I think it was obvious in the photos. I was so happy.

DECOR: Designed and decorated by Electric-Karma and Mandap Creations. I really wanted to incorporate colors that you do not usually see at an Indian wedding.  I was inspired by a Midsummer Night’s Dream – lace, blush pink, champagne with hints of green. This provided me with a base to work with and layer other colors on. I also knew that I wanted a lot of texture and not overly traditional red elements.

I am also a big fan of chandeliers and wanted this to be a central part of the mandap / Ceremony set. We used three chandeliers with greenery wrapped around the drop. Other decor features included white, light rose and pink colors to complement our outfits.

AISHWARYA’S OUTFIT: I wanted to wear a saree to pay ode my South Indian heritage. I went to the Sabyasachi store in Delhi and really liked his designs. I also found a multi-designer store in Chennai called Evoluzione also carried his pieces and since my family is from there, I thought it would be nice to buy it from Chennai instead. I found a saree there which was perfect and unlike anything I had seen before – it had gold and pearl beading. It was beautiful.

JEWELLERY: Gold and diamond set from Nathella in Chennai.

SHOESJimmy Choo.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Makeup by Shilpa.

RAJAN’S LOOK: We were after a slim cut and super tailored look for Rajan. After trying on a South Indian dhoti and heavy Punjabi sherwani suits – we ultimately settled on a cream Indian suit from Lagan in Chennai. Rajan wore a pink turban that complemented my saree blouse.

BRIDESMAIDS LOOK: I wanted my bridesmaids’ outfits to complement the entire atmosphere of the wedding. There is a saree shop in Chennai called Tulsi Silks where I found plain sarees with a gold border in shades of neutral colors such as pearl, cream, blush and brown for each of the bridesmaids to wear. Each saree was slightly different so it didn’t matter where they stood, it looked great against the setting and perfectly complemented my gold saree land pink blouse. The bridesmaids did their own hair and makeup.

Reception

The Reception continued later in the evening of the Wedding Ceremony at Hilton Houston Post Oak (same venue as the Ceremony). We had some pre-Reception snacks at 4 pm which consisted of egg rolls, veggie rolls, and pakoras for the guests. We came back down to the venue at 6:30 pm for the cocktail hour with all our guests.

We were very specific about music at all times and parts of the wedding events. For our cocktail hour before the reception, we had a classical Indian singer entertaining guests, followed by a music playlist which included songs by Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong – to fit in with the theme.

The guests then took a seat in the main ballroom for the formalities. We entered to Adrenalina by Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez – a very upbeat and insane song! Our first dance was to the song Play It Again by Luke Brian – we used to listen to country music all the time during the summer and we just fell in love with the song. It was a no brainer. We also had a father-daughter dance to You’ve got a Friend in Me from the movie Toy Story. The evening continued with speeches, dinner and an open dance floor with the party continuing till 3 AM! All food was catered by The Bombay Brasserie and music by DJ Yogi.

DECOR: Designed and styled by Electric-Karma and Mandap Creations. We continued the elegant theme and added a bit of glamour. The mandap decorations from the Ceremony formed part of the DJ booth with additional draping for the cupcake table. The long guest tables were decorated with tall table decor featuring flowers, foliage, glass baubles, and drops. The name cards were from Etsy. They were a Parisian postcard theme.

UNIQUE DETAILS: We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake. Instead, we had cupcakes made by Sprinkles cupcakes. We also had donuts served to everyone at midnight by Shipley Donuts. I love the idea of surprising people and also, it was also a nice little snack. For guest favors, my mother packed some goodies from Vibrant Nature.

AISHWARYA’S OUTFIT: I wore a lehenga by Indian designer, Anju Modi purchased in New Delhi. We did the typical thing and went to DLF Emporio and checked out all the designer stores there. I came across Anju Modi’s store fell in love with her pieces. They were so whimsical, yet still had an intensity to it – I was absolutely blown away by the detail.

JEWELLERY: I wore a diamond and platinum piece purchased from Tanishq purchased in Delhi.

SHOES: Gold heels by Jimmy Choo.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Makeup by Shilpa.

RAJAN’S OUTFIT: Suit by J.Crew and shoes by Allen Edmonds.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

1. Be true to yourself. Remember to think about what you care about and to follow the direction of your heart, rather than the latest trends.

2. Pick your battles. You may find yourself flustered when surrounded by a lot of people and all their opinions. Don’t try and control it, just pick your battle. If there is someone who is wanting to contribute, then let them. It will make them happy and will also be one less thing you have to worry about.

3. Enjoy dessert. Remember to ask for dessert! Ask the caterers to send it up to your room with champagne at the end of the night or to pack it up for you.

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