Mumbai-based Chirag and Sonika’s mehndi venue with its British design was a tribute to the UK which is where their romance blossomed

Sonika, a wedding planner by profession, did a spectacular job of conceptualizing and executing her wedding celebrations that were spread across multiple venues in Mumbai. She and her business partner Shilpa are founders of WeddingSutra Favorite S&S – Weddings by Shilpa & Sonika. They joined forces with another wedding planning whiz – Rachana of Vivaah Vows, which is another WeddingSutra Favorite, to pull off a fabulous wedding that was memorable for all. Here, Sonika takes us through the highlights of her love story and the wedding festivities.

Chirag and Sonika

How We Met

“Chirag and I met 14 years ago when we were studying commerce in KC College, Mumbai and became friends very soon. We were in the same section in college, as well as in the same 8 am accounts tuition session. I found Chirag to be very sincere and caring. One morning, he asked if I was interested in dating him. I replied that I wanted to just go with the flow. When he went to the UK for further studies, we gave a long-distance relationship a shot and made it work for three years! I joined him later in the UK for my further studies. He was based in London, and I was in Newcastle, and we met every month. I decided to move back to India in 2010 after my graduation. I remember being disheartened and telling him that we were back to square one and 14 days later he moved back to India for good too! He said that it was time we took our relationship forward and while most would expect that we got married soon it took us seven years before we reached to that point!
We finally exchanged our vows on December 20, 2018, and now, at last, we are living together!”

Wedding Venues

“We hosted our wedding at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Khar. My father was very keen that I get married at the same place where my brother did, and so the location for my pheras was decided.”

Wedding Planning

“Since I am a wedding planner I was the one planning everything. My partner Shilpa, on the other hand, helped me coordinate my entire wedding. Rachana, Sneha, and Anisha who are my friends from this industry were of great help to us as well.”

Wedding Functions

Youngsters’ Party

“Our wedding festivities began with a youngsters party that was thrown for us by my godparents. They wanted the venue to have a night club like feel and needed it to be easily accessible from Wadala and Cuffe Parade. The Havana Café Bar at The Gordon House Hotel in Colaba made for a fitting venue for this function.”

Mehndi

“The UK has been a big part of Chirag and my lives as well as our relationship, therefore, we wanted to pay tribute to this country at our wedding. Thus we decided to choose a venue that had a British feel to it, and the Wodehouse Gymkhana served as the ideal spot. The place also had a mix of open-air and covered areas which was another prerequisite that we had. Rachana from Vivaah Vows designed this function and gave it a quirky look by using lots of colors along with decor elements such as tassels, bicycle wheels, flowers, and bright covers.”

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Wedding

“At the wedding, I wanted to do something memorable, and so I decided I would have a baraat too! I arrived in a car with my head sticking out of the sunroof. My entourage and I had a blast as we made our way to the temple. The decor for the ceremony was taken care of by my partner Shilpa and my friend Sneha. I didn’t want any marigolds at the event, and they kept this in mind when designing the setup. Instead, they opted for ‘rajnigandhas’ (Mexican tuberoses), lotuses and bamboos as the key decor elements and the results were breathtaking. We also incorporated white and pink drapes to match the flowers.”

Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Reception

“Chirag was hell-bent on having an open-air setting for the reception since it was happening in December and he wanted to make the most of the wonderful weather. When we saw the Jade Garden terrace, we fell in love with it and decided to lock the venue. For the reception, Rachana from Vivaah Vows created a white vintage look which looked stunning. We also had violinist Sandeep Thakur perform for our guests, and he left everyone amazed with his beautiful tunes.”

Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Chirag and Sonika
Chirag and Sonika

Advice For Couples

“Please book your venues and artists well in advance and enjoy your wedding rather than being stressed.”

The Wedding Makers

Venues: Havana Café & Bar (Youngsters’ Party), Wodehouse Gymkhana (Mehndi), Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Khar (Wedding), Jade Garden (Reception)
Wedding Planner: S & S – Weddings by Shilpa and Sonika
Wedding Designer: Vivaah Vows (Mehndi and Reception)
Decor: S & S Weddings by Shilpa and Sonika (Wedding)
Florist: Raj Florist & Decor (Wedding)
Light & Sound: Platinum World Group – Birju Gariba (Mehndi), Clyde Disc (Reception)
Bride’s Outfits: HK by Himanshi Kapadia, Surat, Gujarat
Groom’s Outfits: Siddhivinayak Boutique
Jewelry: Tanishq
Makeup Artist: Meeta (Youngsters’ Party and Mehndi), Kapil Bhalla (Wedding and reception)
Mehndi: Kinjal Mehndi Art
Entertainment: Sandeep Thakur (Reception)
DJ: DJ Dash (Mehndi)
Emcee: Madhussneha Upadhyay (Mehndi & Reception)
Wedding Invitations: Tidal Ink, Surat, Gujarat
Photography: Fusion Films

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