Spandana and Dhinesh, InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort
The enchanting environs of this luxurious beach resort came alive with music, and revelry as Spandana and Dhinesh tied the knot in a beautiful traditional ceremony.
Spandana and Dhinesh’s lavish nuptials planned by WeddingSutra Favorite Weddings and Events by Shilpa and Sonika created a splash at the serene and sprawling InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort. With a traditional wedding ceremony by the beach and waves of revelry the wedding was the best of all worlds.
Here, the bride shares highlights of the grand affair with beautiful moments captured by another WeddingSutra Favorite – Once Upon a Time Wedding Tales.
How we met
“We met on Bharat Matrimony. Dhinesh says he was intimidated when he first saw my profile. A few days later, I received one of those ‘parent generated’ messages but he’d sent it himself. I replied that I was interested but would prefer to speak directly to him (which is a slightly unconventional way of going about things on the site.)
We had an awkward first chat but I decided to give it a shot. I thought he was sweet, genuine and a good listener. Before we knew it, he was flying to Dallas to meet my family and I and we fell in love instantly. We shared a biryani and it was ‘love at first biryani’ for the Hyderabadi in me.
Within 5 weeks and with our parents’ blessings, he got down on one knee and said the magic words. I said yes! We set a date in December for our formal engagement ceremony in India and started planning the wedding.”
“I grew up in the U.S. but I’ve always been a desi girl. Most of our family is still in India so we wanted to have the wedding there. Dhinesh and I are both from Tamil Nadu so it made sense to have the wedding near Chennai which is easy for people to fly into. With only an hour to drive to it, we decided to go with a destination beach wedding in Mahabalipuram with elements of a traditional Tamilian wedding.
As soon as we entered the ICC property, we fell in love – the open layout, the traditional nods to the famous Mahabalipuram temples, the unparalleled service, and, of course, easy access to the beach. It is easily the best, most luxurious resort in Mahabalipuram. We were initially told that the dates we were looking at to have the wedding were already reserved for another wedding, but my amazing wedding planners Shilpa and Sonika made a quick phone call to double check, and sure enough, it was available as the other party had moved their dates. It felt like it was meant to be!”
“For the mehndi we went with the ever-popular carnival theme, as we wanted the night to be festive, colorful, and just full of masti! Floral Hut – especially UD (our lead designer) – definitely delivered. The entrance from where we took our decorated cycle rickshaw to the mehndi venue Sama 1, had a beautiful pink box structure that was fully decorated with hanging flowers and trinkets. The stage was a mix of natural, traditional, and colorful elements that looked beautiful and went together so well. Split into 3 panels, the 2 outer panels were covered in fresh banana leaves, jasmine flowers, and lotus buds. My favorite part of the stage was probably the super cute marigold elephant! The night was filled with performances by all of our friends and family, ending with a beautiful 2-minute display of fireworks.”
“The bridegroom function (at Samaya – the indoor banquet hall) is called maapillai azhaippu in our culture. The bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family, there is an exchange of gifts and certain rituals are performed, including the elders of our families acknowledging on paper that we are getting married. Dhinesh and his family went to a nearby temple, as per tradition, before they entered the resort. Dhinesh had a grand baraat, where he entered the resort on a decorated horse, after which we both entered the function as our sisters and cousins held up sparklers. It felt super special.
The decor and vibe of this function was definitely more traditional and simple, with shades of white, brown, and pink as the color palette. The stage was beautifully done with rustic lanterns on wooden stumps and minimal floral accents on the edges, and rose gold bulb standees lining the backdrop. The theme of the menu was ‘When Hyderabad Meets Chennai’, as I consider my hometown to be Hyderabad (my birthplace).”
“One of the most special things my wedding planners and decorators did for us is move the mandap right onto the beach at the last minute. It was supposed to be on the lawn (due to uncertainty of the tides), but when they realized it was low tide, they moved it knowing how desperately I wanted to get married on the beach.
The entrance was a vibrant tunnel structure lined with yellow and pink drapes. I walked through to the wedding mandap under a beautiful flower chaddar held up by my bridesmaids, led by my paternal aunt and uncle. Before entering the mandap, all of our guests stood on either side, showering me with their blessings and rose petals. The mandap was a traditional temple structure, beautifully decorated with red, orange, yellow, and white flowers with 2 fresh banana trees at the entrance. The open temple structure allowed for a nice cool breeze to come in from the beach, adding to the magic of the wedding day. The bright colors on the beach were a perfect match for the most perfect day ever. As he tied the thaali (wedding necklace) around my neck, approximately 30 kgs of rose petals were showered onto us. After the rituals, we had a traditional Tamilian ‘elai saapadu’ at Samaya.”
Advice for Couples
“Don’t fret the small stuff; if you are as lucky as we are, then you have a whole village helping you put together the wedding. Let everyone do their part, and try not to be too picky. When the wedding rolls around, you’ll barely have time to worry about every little detail. Enjoy the whole thing, hug your loved ones, dance with one another, and do not forget to eat! The biggest regret you’ll have is missing your own wedding food!”
The Wedding Makers
Venue: InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort
Wedding Planners: Weddings and Events by Shilpa and Sonika (Sonika Advani & Shilpa Rohera)
Decor: Floral Hut
Bride’s Outfit: Kanakavalli (Wedding)
Groom’s Outfit: Manyavar (Wedding)
Jewellery: Mangatrai & GRT Jewelers
Wedding Stationary: Pink Whistle Man
Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist: F Salon – Hyderabad
Photography/Videography: Once Upon a Time Wedding Tales