Fairytales do come true and ours did too!
Hello all! Myself Akshaya and my husband Raghav are both Chennaites and we come from the same family tree. Raghav is my aunt’s son. So, now you guys would have guessed how we met right?!! Well, the story is a little different from the usual!
Raghav was brought up by his aunt & uncle and hence we hardly met. He was working in TCS and I was doing my engineering when we actually met and until then I just knew he existed. We got to know each other well when we met in a family occasion in 2012 and we continued to be in touch later. Since Raghav was not a complete stranger to me, he was very comfortable to talk to and share anything & everything. The more we chatted, the more we realized that we had very similar interests in almost everything. Well, dreams and ambitions come first, don’t they? We pursued our ambition to do our Masters in the USA and along the way blossomed our love. You know what comes next! We told our parents and they were super happy to get us married.
A dream guy and the perfect wedding is always a girl’s thing, isn’t? I was no exception. I love planning surprise parties, birthday gifts and everything that involves keeping everyone together. And when it came to my wedding, I didn’t want to miss any detail and wanted to do everything I have ever dreamt of.
Since both of us were in the US, we had Visa related issues that kept us from travelling to India for our engagement on August 29th, 2016. Although we missed the ceremony in India that happened between our families, we had the most fun-filled pre-wedding bash with our close buddies in the US on the very same day. And yes, our planning started right then. Myself, Raghav and my close friend Dyuthi planned the engagement in a western style, complete opposite to how our wedding would be! Raghav and myself always love being around friends and we have a bunch of them here in U.S, who made it a very memorable day for us.
Our wedding date and engagement dates were fixed in February 2016 and so we had about 5 months to plan our engagement party and 1 year to plan our wedding, the wedding date being February 6th 2017.
We planned the entire wedding over a year’s time and my mom gave us the full support from India in handling all the phone calls and talking to the vendors. If not for her, it would have been impossible. Shopzters helped us with selecting most of our vendors. I read every single blog to see the latest trends, top vendors and what not? And then, I started with my super loooong to-do list.
Ours was a very traditional Tam-Brahm wedding starting from Vratham to Nalungu. I had never been that happy in my entire life when I realized everything was falling in place and I was all prepped to start planning. Raghav knew what was coming with all my research but much to my surprise, he was super excited to plan our wedding than me!
We started off with booking the mandap and photographer as we knew exactly what we wanted. When it comes to wedding planning, do make sure to book mandapam, photographer & make -up artist as soon as possible since their dates are almost always full for muhurtam days.
Wedding Hall – Sri Krishnaswamy Kalyana mandapam, T.Nagar (Feb 5 & 6)
I knew I wanted to get married here since it was one place I had been to a lot of times when I was in school and you know the times when you always dream about standing there with your perfect guy? It was very close to my heart and I knew how exactly it looked just from memory. KKM is very spacious and had good facilities. With all the extra AC rooms there now, my parents were super satisfied too.
Photographers & Videographers – AshokArsh Photography
We did extensive research when it came to photography. We both love clicking pictures as well posing for them. Facebook and Shopzters were the source in the search, and of all the photos we saw, we loved Ashok’s style and rendering. Ashok’s pictures were brilliant, colourful and eye-catching.
A big shout out to Ashok and his team, they were brilliant! Outdoor shoot was a big hit. The entire team was with us on all the days waking up before us and sleeping after we did. A very patient, flexible and hard working team. Not only did Ashok capture all the lovely moments, he helped us with excellent recommendations for rest of our wedding planning. All our friends & family were super impressed with his work and I am sure he is super busy now. ;) It was fun working with his entire team!
I love mehendi and we both love dancing. So we had also planned for Sangeeth & Mehendi as a fun quotient before the wedding!
Sangeeth Hall - L Balasubramanian Hall Aiobeu Swasthika, Mylapore (Feb 4th)
My dad works for IOB and this wedding hall is owned by them. Based on my dad’s suggestions, we felt this hall would be perfect for our Sangeeth as it only involved close friends and families.
Mehendi Hall - Novelty Tea House Mini Party Hall, Mylapore (Feb 3rd)
We hadn’t decided on the venue until we both reached Chennai, few weeks before our wedding. We had been there to the restaurant one fine evening and we both loved their food.
It was a small occasion with just few close friends and family mainly practising for the Sangeeth the next day. Haha!
Caterers - ASR (Bombay Rajashekar) Catering
Catering was completely taken care by my parents. Mouth-watering, delicious and authentic Tam-Brahm food for the 2 wedding days and North Indian buffet for Sangeeth. Absolutely brilliant food as quoted by everyone who came to the wedding. Not only food, but they also helped us with all the other arrangements needed for the wedding events.
Wedding Hall Decoration - Internal decorators of krishnaswamy mandap
Every single thing that the decorators did for us were beyond what we expected.
Sangeeth Event Planner - Divya, Red Thread Eventz
Divya did an amazing job. She took that extra effort to understand what exactly we wanted and made sure it’s perfect until the end. She did us a custom photo booth, mehendi stall & a scintillating backdrop. She had also arranged DJ Aarvon Babu & host Kuraishi, who did an exceptional job in pulling the crowd to dance & play fun games. Divya also did our mehendi backdrop and decorations the previous day. In short, talk to her and you'll have one less thing to worry about while planning for your big day.
We were too nervous about Sangeeth since we were not too sure how many elders would really participate but we were shocked to see everyone dancing for the beats. Our cousins and friends had well choreographed dances and songs too. We had way too much fun on our Sangeet night that geared us up for the next 2 days!
Makeup Artist - Akriti Sachdev, Mesmereyes Makeup
She is well known for her youtube tutorials and her workshops. She did a very natural and flawless make up for all the occasions. She was extremely professional and punctual for all the events, that made it so much easier for me to get ready on time. Karishma did an amazing hair-do, be it traditional or trendy. I got a lot of compliments for both my hair and makeup.
Hair Flowers - Pelli Poo Jada/Vaagai
I saw the fb page and contacted Malleswari for my jadai on both the wedding days and also flower jewelry for mehendi.
Mehendi Artist - Nafla from Aura Mehendi
She did a very intricate design for both my legs and hands. She also gives you a color guarantee. Mine was just perfect. She is very sweet and friendly to talk to. She also got her crew to put mehendi for our friends and parents.
Invitations - Mekala from Pathrika
We wanted a custom made invitation and we approached Mekala with our design ideas. It includes a lot of illustrations depicting various factual Tambrahm events. she did a fabulous job with the design. The highlights I would like to mention are, her timely response and pace of her work, the capability to understand what a customer needs, ability to convert that exactly into illustrations, adding her creativity and style on top of the design, professionalism, and most importantly the classy product (invitation) itself.
We coordinated with my mom for all the above planning and targeted to get them all done by the time we arrived in India. But the most crucial time was the last one month before our wedding. We took a long 4 weeks off to get all my sarees, jewelry, blouses, raghav’s shopping and our parent’s dresses too!
Sarees & Lehengas
It was the first time I went Saree shopping with my mom and I was super excited. I didn’t want to miss any shop and so we almost went to every shop in Chennai to get exactly what I wanted. Of all the shops we went to, I would rate Kanakavalli, Varamahalakshmi the best. I loved their collections and the quality of silk.
Mehendi - Women’s world in EA
Sangeeth & Reception - I wore lehenga for both occassions. Sangeeth from Mokshaa and Reception from Kay. Both shops have got a lot of collections and it is a must visit place for lehengas and gowns.
Vratham (Merun) & Nalungu (Greenish blue) - Kanakavalli. This is relatively a new shop and they have very exclusive collection of silk sarees. Though a bit expensive, it’s well worth it.
Engagement - Green with pink - Babu Shah in kanchipuram. Orange with pink - Varamahalakshmi.
Oonjal Saree - Bottle Green - Kumaran Silks, T.Nagar
Muhurtam 9 yards - I got it custom made from Shreenivas Silk & Sarees, Pondy Bazaar
Mom’s Sarees - Palam, Varamahalakshmi, Hayagrivas & Shreenivas Silk
Since we would hardly reuse any of the imitation jewelry, I went ahead with renting most of them.
Kushal’s Fashion Jewelry - Lehenga sets (bought them so that I could reuse them later).
Swarna Prabhu Jewelers & Lingeshwara Jewelers Rentals - Both these shops are near Mylapore tank. I took my sarees to the shop and got the suitable ones that matched my sarees well. However, both these shops had all the trendy collections and I never had to go anywhere else.
NAC, T.Nagar - Gold & Diamond jewelry.
It would take minimum of 20 days for the designers to get the blouses done. So, I gave my blouses to different people since I had only 3 weeks to get them all done.
Geetu’s boutique - Engagement (pink ones) and Vratham saree (green) blouses were designed by her. She did a brilliant job. I loved her work on my blouses. Got a lot of compliments for the pink blouses. Personally, I loved her work and fitting the most.
Laiyah fashions/Kama (Girija) - She has been stitching my salwars for me since college days and she always amazes me with her work. Got my oonjal blouse(Merun) and my mom’s blouses done by her.
Studio 149 by Swati - Swati did my nalangu & muhurtam blouse. She did a great job.
It’s always easy when it comes to the guys. We finished his shopping in 2 days. We got his Sangeeth attire and engagement waistcoat from Manyavar, suit from P.N.Rao, Mylapore.
Planning & Shopping was a lot of fun but very exhausting too. I felt very tired during the week of the wedding, So I decided not to roam any longer and got my facials & massages done to relax a bit. As far as beauty regime, I always do my cleaning, toning and moisturizing for my face everyday and always try eating healthy food.
Honeymoon - We had to go back to the States in a week’s time after the wedding and so we only did the temple visits that week. We have postponed it to the Summer this year!
I didn’t quite realize I was getting married until I went into my room to change to my 9 yards saree. I didn’t exactly know what I was feeling until I saw him on stage all happy & smiling. The most memorable and emotional moment for me was when he tied the knot and I was trying so hard not to cry. I think that moment can only be felt than expressed in words.
Myself, Raghav and our families had so much fun in the wedding. We were much more delighted and happy when we had few friends fly down for our wedding, who were with us all through out the occasion and they made it much more special & memorable for us.