Yogi and Steve
This bride says couples should keep some elements of their wedding a secret! Find out why, and other cool aspects of Yogi and Steve's chic wedding at River house Reef & Grill in Florida
How we met
Yogi met Steve via a mutual friend who enlisted the help of one of his friends to help him move. “When people ask me where I met Steve, I can literally answer, ‘At my doorstep!'” shares Yogi, adding, “We couldn’t be more opposite – on paper that is. He’s a fifth- generation American and I’m a fifth generation South American. He comes from a small family who are all geographically close. I have over 30 first cousins on three continents. I took a more traditional career path in business, and he is a talented artist and professional sand sculptor! Go figure! However, from the moment we met, something stuck and we’ve been inseparable ever since.”
“Steve did get down on one knee to propose, if you consider that formal. Let’s just say, he did it in a way that tied together his artistry, my background and our quirkiness. It was very true to who we are as a couple and who he is as a person – personal, meaningful and quiet”, recounts Yogi.
The couple says that they wanted a place that looked and felt unique. “It had to be casual yet special at the same time. We certainly did not want a big generic wedding hall. We love the colors of the sea and wanted a beach or ocean wedding without the actual mess of one. After seeing about six venues, we stuck with the first one we visited – Riverhouse Reef & Grill in Palmetto city,” recalls Yogi. Situated in Tampa Bay in Florida, the Riverhouse Reef & Grill is an up market seafood restaurant that is spread over two levels and charms patrons with its casual, inviting vibe. It offers beautiful views of the Manatee River, and has ample banquet spaces for weddings and other events.
“My family is huge, and as a result, we’ve experienced our fair share of weddings, which makes planning one easy – almost like second nature to us”, shares the beautiful bride. “We, along with my parents, planned every detail. Given that it was a multi-cultural wedding, we wanted to make sure that it didn’t overwhelm our guests who were not familiar with how elaborate (and long) a traditional Indian wedding can be. We had about nine months from the proposal to the wedding day and ended up with just the right amount of guests – numbering 125.”
The four-day wedding included the mehndi, puja (prayer ceremony), and lots of family bonding time factored in. Most of the décor elements were saved for the big wedding and reception venue. “Going with the colors of the sea and our minimalist aesthetic, we kept to simple yet bright motifs. There was lots of teal and aqua accents surrounding the indoor ‘mandap’, and the same color scheme flowed into the reception area below. It was very easy to coordinate the pops of color with our decorator”, shares Yogi. The pillars of the elegant yet minimalist mandap was festooned with pretty blue blooms.
Steve and Yogi did their wedding shopping that included outfits and accessories from Prerana’s Beauty Boutique in Tampa, Florida. “My gold jewellery is heirloom and has been passed down to me by my maternal grandmother. For the reception, my glittering beige gown came from Bloomingdales, and Steve got his blue and brown outfit from Dillard’s Department Store, and his hat from Express Men. His hat! That’s his signature hat – I met him in that hat. He wouldn’t be him without it”, exclaims Yogi.
She wore an ochre and blue lehenga with gold thread motifs for the wedding with a beautiful blue ‘maang tikka’, and Steve matched her look with his blue kurta pyjama set with a golden stole. Even their white wedding garlands had teal blooms embedded in them.
Challenges of organizing an Indian wedding in the US
“We knew we wanted a fun, yet laidback hybrid Indian-American wedding, so scaling down was easy. Truthfully, the hardest part was the guest list. There was some negotiation with my parents, but in the end, we had the right size and the right people there. All of our vendors were extremely excited to work on an Indian wedding and truly listened to our wishes and made them happen without question,” shares Yogi.
Advice for couples to wed
“Don’t give away all your plans when it comes to colors, décor, food and music . That way, guests don’t know what to expect. Keep it simple and enjoy the people, celebrations and fun. In the end, you will remember how you felt and how your other half looked, not if the centerpieces had five candles or seven. Make it personal wherever you can – it shows who you are as a couple and shows you put a lot of thought into your big day. But most importantly, listen to each other as this is your day. Make sure that you are happy with it – and that means both the bride and groom.”
Planning for Wedding Vendors
“It was important to work with people we felt comfortable with. I couldn’t have asked for an easier hair and makeup team. My hair was done by the bridal team at my regular salon, so that was an easy decision. My makeup artist is in the family – again an easy decision. I had no idea who to work with for mehndi (henna) and did some research online. I can’t say enough good things about my henna artist – not only was her work gorgeous, but our time together really helped me to relax and enjoy everything that was going on. When it came to photographers , we looked online at many, and spoke with a few. From the beginning, even before speaking with our photographers Rob and Kelly from Villetto Photography we knew there was something (many things) we loved about their style, and we were really hoping they were available. Then after speaking with them for the first time, we felt like old friends and we knew we made the right choice! I’m fortunate that my husband is artistic – he designed all of our wedding stationery, which made it very unique and something we felt proud to share. We still get compliments on the venue, how great the food was, how unobtrusive our photographers were, and how fun it was!” Yogi and Steve chose a stunning cake created by Alla Levin of The Cake Zone. With beautiful teal layers, the cake had beautiful henna designs in gold crafted along one side of this multi-layer cake which was set on a golden base.
The Wedding Makers
Bridal Trousseau– Prerana’s Beauty Boutique (Wedding), Bloomingdale’s (Reception), Florida
Groom’s Trousseau– Prerana’s Beauty Boutique (Wedding), Dillard’s & Express (Reception), Florida
Decor– Amber Patricio, My Event Desigh
Cake– Alla Levin, The Cake Zone
Treats– James Baier and Cassandra Plas, Gezellig Cookies
Hair– Tammy Gamso in association with Fresh Bridal
Makeup– Anastasia Persaud-Rambarran (family member)
Henna– Alisha Ladha
Photographer– Rob and Kelly Villetto, Villetto Photography