Seema and Avinash
Talented Event Planner Seema married Avinash in a gorgeous beach wedding that was a beautiful mix of glamorous western aesthetics and desi splendor.
A two-states romance, a surprise proposal and then a fairytale wedding by the sea, Seema Shah and Avinash Chennamsetty’s union combined Southern Californian splendor with a hint of Michigan magic, and was everything that dreams are made of!
How we met
I’m an Events Planner and I was busy planning my friend’s wedding when a handsome young man introduced himself to me. He had a deep voice and as he extended his hand in a friendly gesture he accidentally dropped a drink on the DJ console! I was worried about a short circuit so I hurriedly start to clean it up. When I looked back up, he’d disappeared.
Weeks later, some of my wedded clients mentioned Avinash to me, suggesting we get together. Avinash sent me a friend request on Facebook but honestly, for me the geography was all wrong – he was a Michigan boy, I’m a South California girl.
I hesitantly decided to give it a go and the rest, as they say, is history. We spent some time in California and that turned into never-ending late night phone calls, crazy commutes to meet each other and finally we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
My mum, Nutan Shah is a wedding planner and she played cupid in my proposal story. She convinced a contact at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel to send me a fake auto-generated mail inviting me to a special ‘Wedding Planner Appreciation Day’ and after-party. When I arrived, I found a runner with petals, a violinist and a flute player playing while Avi with a ring in his hand, waited to propose to me.
The Grand Wedding
As a wedding planner, I know the mad frenzy that goes on behind a wedding! I wanted an outdoor beach wedding, with an amalgamation of modern classic and a dash of vintage. I have always associated Hindu weddings with color but wanted a simple yet elegant setup for my own wedding. Being familiar with all the area venues, and knowing our wedding would require five unique spaces, we zeroed in on The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort at Dana Point, California. The morning ceremony was held outdoors with a rotunda draped in gauzy lace, wide floral tie-backs and a massive floral chandelier. The décor had an ivory theme with a pop of colorful flowers to offset the all-white decor. There was also a traditional baraat ceremony – Avi arrived on a horse, while the baraatis danced happily to the latest Bollywood tunes.
I wore a beautiful ivory lehenga by Sabyasachi Mukherjee. It is the most beautiful piece of clothing I have ever owned; the subtle embroidery made me feel like I was a princess, floating to my fairytale! I accessorized my hair with jasmine flowers, the traditional gajra and sported matching garlands of jasmine on my arm, to give it a very edgy look. Avi wore a green and gold sherwani for the wedding.
Our theme for the reception was the celebration of two cultures, ‘Two states, Two hearts and One happily ever after.’ I wanted my reception to be upbeat and full of jazz. We had professional dancers who performed for the guests with their acrobatic moves and swingy Bollywood dancing. Both Avi and I love to dance, so once they finished their performance, we jumped on the stage to shake a leg and shocked the guests by entertaining them with our dance moves. We even had mansion-sized mirrors on either side of the stage that reflected the sparkle of the evening in the beautiful decorated garden.
I wanted to wear a classic Hollywood inspired gown for our grand entrance and chose a red Monique Lhuillier fishtail gown while Avi wore a dapper 1701 tuxedo for the evening. The party continued in the ballroom which was transformed into a ‘sexy lounge’ in black, silver and red where guests enjoyed unlimited cocktails and danced the night away.
The Wedding Makers
Location: Monarch Beach Resort Dana Point, CA
Hindu Ceremony Wedding Dress: Sabyasachi
Reception Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Groom’s Tuxedo: 1701 Bespoke
Caterer: Natraj Cuisine of India Laguna Hills, CA
Cake: Joanie and Leigh’s Cakes Bel Air, CA
Event Design and Planner: Elegant Events by Nutan Orange County, CA
Wedding and Reception Floral Design: Bloom Box Costa Mesa, CA
Sangeet Floral Design: Three Petals Costa Mesa, CA
Lounge Décor: Square Root Designs, Irvine, CA
DJ and Lighting: Special Occasions Brea, CA
Entertainment: Karmagraphy Los Angeles, CA
Photos Courtesy– Duke Photography