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Our series, Featured Weddings brings you wonderful moments from weddings held at the finest venues across different cities. Here, bride Shruti, a business woman by profession, tells us all about how she met and married Raghav, a lawyer, and their wedding celebrations across different venues in Navi Mumbai.

About Us
"If you ask Raghav whether we had a love or arranged marriage, he is likely to answer ‘Arranged marriage’. How do I roll my eyes without an emoji? Yes, our parents did introduce us, but it’s hardly been what one pictures when one hears the term. A few weeks of Skype chats and messages later, he flew down to Mumbai, and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was with my future husband. We met at Café Zoe in Lower Parel, and not long after moved to the Barking Deer pub next door. I know it’s a cliché, but I really loved how comfortable Raghav made me feel and how I never had to worry about being ‘judged’ for drinking on our first date. I never really realised how much time had passed when my parents called to check on me. We were together for nine hours straight, and all that time we were just being ourselves. I guess that did the trick and that’s how our ‘love story’ began."

Shruti and Raghav

The Proposal
"Raghav gifted me an empty box. Quite literally! He had me thinking that he had bought me a necklace. Inside it was just a note asking me if I would be his forever. I finished reading the note and saw him go down on one knee with this beautiful ring in his hand. He promised me a life full of happiness and love, and I said ‘Yes, Raghav. I will marry you.’ It was one of the biggest decisions of my life, and it was so easy to say ‘Yes’."

Wedding Venue
"We got married in Navi Mumbai in a fun-filled three-day affair. Once our wedding date was out we barely had three-and-half months to prepare for the event. It was a challenge to make sure each location perfectly matched each ceremony. As modern ‘TamBrahms’ (Tamil Brahmins), our wedding needed to marry ancient rituals that were performed before the crack of dawn with a formal black tie reception, and a sangeet that could go on well after the stroke of midnight."

"Our main criteria when picking venues was that they should be disabled friendly as my dad would need wheelchair access, and it would be convenient for our elderly guests too. Another important factor for our venues was that they had to be spacious enough for guests to properly sit down and enjoy their meals instead of standing around holding heavy plates around the buffet area."

"Our main wedding venue had to be a place that allowed us to hire an external caterer which was vital as we were having a traditional ‘TamBrahm’ wedding in which the way the food is cooked and the way it was served to our guests is important. For the reception, we wanted a ballroom which would be elegant and spacious where people could be seated at their round tables and move around freely and dance the night away. We ended up spreading our wedding functions over different venues."

Wedding Planning
"Our wedding was a fairly intimate affair with 400 to 500 guests at most. We did not hire a wedding planner and took care of all the wedding details ourselves.

"As a modern-day South Indian wedding we wed tradition with modernity. We decided to focus on beautiful venues which could offer us what we were looking for and kept the decoration minimal. We chose different venues for all our wedding functions which would offer our guests a unique experience each time. For our wedding reception, we decided to skip the typical rigid stage reception, and chose to walk around and meet our guests personally."

"Our mehendi was held at Yogi Metropolitan, sangeet at Ramada Navi Mumbai, traditional wedding at Bliss Banquets in Navi Mumbai and reception at Imperial Banquets at Vashi. I personally visited all the venues and discussed the details about the décor and food with the manager. Ronak Caterers dished up a unique menu for each function in consultation with us and our loved ones."

"One of the top priorities on my wedding planning checklist was to pick a wedding photographer and videographer as the good ones get booked right away, and given the short time we had to plan, I was worried. My cousin recommended Stuti from The Cheesecake Project and had briefed me about her experience shooting Tamil weddings. I was looking for someone who had previously shot such traditional events as ceremonies start early in the morning, and I wanted someone with a sharp eye to capture all the various rituals in detail. Stuti offered a comprehensive package and gave personal suggestions as to how to go about it which lifted a burden off my shoulders. When I saw the pictures, I loved the personal touches she had given the pictures and how comfortable she had made us feel."

Wedding Looks
"I had a vision for myself as a bride and wanted to look for styles that would reflect my style and personality. I wanted my ensembles to look timeless and classic - outfits I could gaze at when I am old and still be happy about, but also something that a young bride would wear."

"I chose Maya R Mehta for my bridal make-up as I had liked her work which I saw online. I met up with her and we discussed specific looks in detail and I gave her references which she incorporated and she worked out beautifully for me."

Mehendi
"I wanted a something colorful, vibrant and floral for my mehendi ceremony. To my luck, I found my perfect floral lehenga by Label D by Dimple Shroff which had a beautiful vintage glam look. With its broad golden hem, orange dupatta, pretty pink floral print on the skirt and short-sleeved blouse, it was the perfect outfit to flaunt my intricate henna designs. I paired this ensemble with huge silver ‘chaand balis’ from Aquamarine and a pearl and kundan ‘maang tikka’. Raghav wore a simple white kurta & light blue Nehru jacket from FabIndia."

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Sangeet
"For the sangeet, I picked a beautiful rose pink embroidered lehenga with a dull gold dupatta from Frontier Raas and paired it up with a simple embroidered jacket from Label D by Dimple Shroff, which gave it a royal look. My jewellery for this look included a silver choker set with earrings from Amrapali Jewels. I went for a side swept updo for my hairstyle with braids and dramatic smoky glittery eyes and I loved the effect Maya R Mehta gave me with her make-up skills. I wore wedge heels by Malini Ramani. Raghav chose a simple black ‘bandh gala’ jacket and trousers from Blackberrys."

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Wedding
"Our first traditional wedding function saw me wearing a sea blue-green Kanjeevaram silk saree with gold ‘zari’ borders which I bought from Chennai. I was looking for sarees with beautiful royal colors and intricate designs motifs on them."

"On my wedding day, for the first part I wore an orange saree with peacock motifs and an emerald green blouse which perfectly complemented my jewellery. I later changed into this gorgeous royal blue and brick red nine-yard traditional saree. In terms of jewellery, I wanted to wear items which were not only versatile and functional but which also could be passed on as heritage family jewels that convey a story. So I chose temple jewellery and a traditional ‘maang mala’ which represented the beautiful and intricate craftsmanship of South India. I also wore traditional head ornaments with sun and moon motifs typically worn by ‘TamBrahm’ brides. These beautiful symbols represent the strength and energy of a man and woman."

"I bought my wedding jewellery from Ethnic Jewelers, Joyalukkas and Tanishq, and my make-up was done by Maya R Mehta."

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Reception
"I wore a glittering champagne coloured custom-made gown by designer Sakshi Malhotra which had transparent net fabric with small motifs on its long sleeves. Maya R Mehta gave me a glamorous look and my hair was left open with curls gently styled. Being a lawyer, Raghav decided to ditch the typical black and white tuxedo and opted for a bespoke navy blue one from Raymond Made to Measure."

Shruti and Raghav

Shruti and Raghav

Memorable moments
"I opted for a professional dance choreographer for my friends and family as I wanted someone who could bring out the spirit in them and push them, and Alistair from Alistair’s Dance Academy managed that perfectly. There were a lot of performances and last-minute requests, which he patiently handled and made all the performances were fun and unique."

Advice for to-be-wed couples
"My advice to couples is to not let the wedding preparations and logistics overwhelm you. I know how challenging they can be, but make sure you enjoy your journey and cherish your loved ones. The sangeet rehearsals, shopping trips and the advice one receives from loved ones is what makes a wedding special and enjoyable. Also, try and make time to meet all your guests personally."

The Wedding Makers
Venues: Yogi Metropolitan, Bliss Banquets & Ramada Hotel in Navi Mumbai, Imperial Banquets, Vashi
Bridal Trousseau: Label D by Dimple Shroff, Sakshi Malhotra, Frontier Raas, New Delhi
Grooms’ Trousseau: FabIndia, Raymond Made to Measure
Jewellery: Aquamarine, Joyalukkas, Amrapali Jewels, Ethnic Jewellery & Tanishq
Make-up & Hair: Maya R Mehta
Catering: Ronak Caterers
Choreography: Alistair’s Dance Academy

Photos Courtesy- The Cheesecake Project

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