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A Summer Gujarati Indian Wedding at Sheraton Tysons in Virginia

With every wedding, we learn something new. Even though we have been planning Indian weddings in the Washington, DC area for years, last summer we learned that Gujarati Indians tend to be more conservative from our clients who got married in Virginia. While the wedding itself was no less spectacular, it meant that we had minimal dancing. I wanted to share with you the highlights from their wedding day.

All photos by Mariel Hannah

indian-wedding-virginia-sheraton-tysons-hotel-baraat-carA fancy Mustang takes the groom and his sister on a ride during the baraat.

indian-wedding-virginia-sheraton-tysons-hotel-baraat-dancingLove it when the groom and his guests get into the baraat with a lot of dancing.

indian-wedding-virginia-sheraton-tysons-hotel-sarah-khan-mandap-pink-mauve-ivoryA Gujarati wedding ceremony under a mavue, pinks, and white mandap by Sarah Khan Styling.

indian-wedding-virginia-sheraton-tysons-hotel-vidaai

The bride’s family sends her off to be with her new husband in the vidaai after the ceremony, although I’m sure they did not travel in the Mustang back in the day.

indian-wedding-virginia-escort-card-table-modern-pink-mauve indian-wedding-virginia-sheraton-tysons-hotel-head-table-pink-mauve-ivory square-wedding-cake-textured-buttercream-custom-cake-design gujarati indian-wedding-virginia-newlywed-gamesNewlyweds game provided lots of laughter.

Event Partners
Venue: Sheraton Tysons Hotel, Vienna, VA
Wedding Coordination: Event Accomplished, Vicky Choy
Indian Caterer: Bombay Tandoor
Hair: Anna Fazio
Makeup: La’Sara Makeup Artistry
Decorator: Sarah Khan Event Styling
Cake: Custom Cake Design
Photographer: Mariel Hannah
DJ / Lighting / Mobile Music: SVP DJ
Chiavari Chairs: Sammy Rental
Garba Venue: Julia Bindeman Suburban Center

I hope you enjoyed the recap from this wedding. Check out our blog posts on Indian weddings.

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Categories: Indian weddings, Real Wedding

Indian Wedding at Westfields Marriott, Chantilly, VA

At the end of the night, we usually have a pretty good idea on how our clients felt about their wedding but I have to say that I’m never really sure until I get an email like the one below. Enjoy these photos from Photographick Studios (more on their blog) — Vicky

“We wanted to thank you for ALL that you did for us during our wedding. Our families cannot stop raving on and on about you and Juanice and your professionalism, enthusiasm and ability to keep the entire weekend organized and fun for us and our families. So, from the bottom of our hearts – thank you. [We] personally know all the behind the scenes things that you did for us and we are so appreciative of all of your hard work. When I called you in a panic last Thursday over the place cards, you jumped right in and took care of everything and had everything ready for us in a timely manner. I was so stressed before I made that phone call to you and knowing that you understood and agreed so quickly to work on the place cards meant a lot to me. You even went the extra mile to try to incorporate our original place card design onto the cards. Working with you and your team was probably the best decision we made throughout our wedding planning process and we are so thankful and fortunate to have worked with you. “

haldi ceremony indian wedding

My first time at a haldi ceremony. Photo: Photographick Studios

westfields marriott baraat indian wedding

The baraat. Photo: Photographick Studios

indian wedding ceremony westfields marriott priti verma l'ambiance decor

Mandap and decor by L’Ambiance (Priti Verma) Photo: Photographick Studios.

Hindu wedding ceremony westfields marriott l'ambiance mandap

Decor: Priti Verma, L’Ambiance. Photo: Photographick Studios.

westfields marriott indian wedding purple fuchsia

Can you believe this is the same ballroom as the one used for the ceremony? Decor by Priti Verma of L’Ambiance. Lighting: Dynasty Entertainment. Photo: Photographick Studios

westfields marriott indian wedding purple fuchsia priti verma l'ambiance decor

Photo: Photographick Studios

university of maryland bhangra team indian wedding performance

These bhangra dancers always impress me with their boundless energy. Photo: Photographick Studios

westfields marriott indian wedding fuchsia purple

Photo: Photographick Studios

Production Team
Venue: Westfields Marriott
Wedding Coordinator: Vicky Choy, Event Accomplished
Caterer: Bollywood Bistro
Photographer: Photographick Studios
Videographer: Villatoro Productions
Hair & Makeup: Bridal Elegance by Suman
Priest: Ramesh Babu
Decorator: L’Ambiance, Priti Verma
Cake: IndAroma Bakery, Cafe & Catering
DJ / Lighting: Dynasty Entertainment, Ravi Prasad
Horse: Harmon’s Hayrides and Carriages
Bhangra Dancers: UMD Bhangra team
Transportation: Alabaster’s Limousines

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Categories: Indian weddings, Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Backyard Indian-Inspired Fusion Wedding in Great Falls Virginia (Part 2)

Go back to Part 1.

At home wedding Great Falls VA L&A Tent Fall

Can you spot me in the tent? Photo: Kate Hauschka.

Trailer Restrooms: Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers. Vince and Val own this company and they make everything really easy. If you do a restroom trailer, best to have a dedicated generator just for the toilet. Don’t forget to arrange your portable toilet as well.

Rental Equipment: DC Rental. Really accommodating since we had to have several visits to the showroom. We rented practically everything from them.

DJ: Amer Sultan. To prevent my client from having a disaster of a DJ, I told them to get out of the contract they had with the DJ they hired. I want to thank MyDeejay for referring Amer. He was so flexible, from dealing with providing sound for 2 outdoor areas, to coordinating with the dance instructor. He kept the dance floor hopping!

Flora Design: Helen Olivia. Marianne was a natural match for this couple and the mother of the bride, who was on task for the design. The flowers were so vibrant.

orange fuchsia wedding bouquets dahlias Helen Olivia

Photo: Kate Hauschka

orange fuchsia wedding flower arrangement Helen Olivia

Photo: Kate Hauschka

Cake: Hot Bakes n Cakes.

Photographer: Katharine Hauschka

Tent, Chairs, Tables: L&A Tent Rentals

Food: Masala Arts. One word of advice for using ethnic restaurant caterers – clarify exactly what the staff will be doing. The restaurants are typically not full service caterers. They don’t set up, clean up or break down or supply equipment. They bring the food. Period.

— Vicky

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Categories: Fusion wedding, Indian weddings, Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Backyard Indian-Inspired Fusion Wedding in Great Falls Virginia (Part 1)

Remember this Sneak Peek? Yeah I didn’t think so. Well no matter. Here is this wedding story.

With a wedding date like 10.10.10, I bet you will never forget your anniversary! I had to snap a photo of the clock of the microwave that morning. Look at what time it was!

Chelsea and Harish had glorious weather on their wedding day, with the event being held at her parents’ home. I really feel honored to be welcomed by the family into their home. Being there so often, I felt like I was imposing on them and their privacy. I just loved this family and wanted to share some of the highlights. Have I mentioned that I love fusion weddings?

They were an emotional family so that meant lots of crying.

At home Indian fusion wedding Great Falls VA

Chelsea and Harish rode in on a scooter for their introduction.

At home Indian fusion wedding bhangra dancing Sarina Jain

Sarina Jain, the Jane Fonda of India, taught the guests bhangra dancing. We got the largest dance floor that made sense and it was still not big enough.

at home Indian fusion wedding fuchsia orange tablescape

The color scheme of orange and fuchsia gave the wedding a happy vibe. DC Rental's linens played a big role in the overall look.

More next week — Vicky

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Categories: Fusion wedding, Indian weddings, Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Bright Modern Indian Reception at Fairmont DC

I had the privilege of partnering with the talent decorator, Prabha Bhambri, on a Hindu wedding reception at the lovely Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. The reception was the finale to several days of celebrations. While the sangeet and ceremonies focused on traditions, the reception had a more modern flair. We worked closely with the mother of the groom who had impeccable personal style.

The cocktail hour was held in the Colonnade Room and the courtyard, while dinner and dancing were held in the Ballroom. While the colors for cocktail hour of yellows and mauve were more soothing, the reception colors were bright and vibrant orange and hot pink.

Hindu Indian Wedding Reception Fairmont Hotel, Washington DC

Venue, Lighting, Cake: The Fairmont Hotel, Washington, DC (Mark Medrick)

Decor: Prabha Bhambri

Photographer: Regetis. See their blog for more beautiful photos.

Videographer: Suburban Video (Bill Bowen)

DJ: Magic Mike

— Vicky

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Categories: Indian weddings, Real Wedding

Incorporating Cultural Traditions in Your Wedding

We often work with brides and grooms that come from different cultural backgrounds and they want to incorporate their individual traditions into their wedding in some form. However, we have also seen the  challenges that this desire can create, sometimes resulting in undue stress and even friction between the families. Here are some tips and thoughts from what we have learned from our clients.

Determine which cultural wedding traditions you want to incorporate. If you are not familiar with the wedding traditions associated with your ethnic background, consult your relatives. While you can do some research on the internet to get an overview, it is best to ask your relatives because traditions can vary even amongst different regions of a country. For example, with Hindu weddings, there are subtle differences between northern and southern Indian ceremonies and even variations depending on the Hindu priest. When my husband and I got married, I was familiar with Chinese wedding traditions but did not know the details of each step. So, my Mom sent me a written translation of those steps, which really helped us decide which steps would be appropriate for us to incorporate.

Discuss with parents. This is one area that I feel can benefit from working in conjunction with your parents. Their input can be important. The cross generational understanding of what certain traditions are about and how they are to be perform may differ between you and your parents, especially if you and your fiance are of different ethnic or religious background and if you want to incorporate both sides, as well as some standard Western wedding elements. It’s best to talk about it openly in detail early on.  Is it acceptable to modify certain traditions? You might be surprised that it may not be acceptable to the families. After all, the wedding is suppose to be about the joining of families, so doing something that can be viewed as offensive to one side or the other because of religion or culture might not be a good way to start.

When and how will you incorporate the selected wedding traditions? Is it something that your guests would enjoy? Would it be better done in private or on another day? When my husband and I got married, we performed the Chinese tea ceremony after our Catholic ceremony – in private. We did it before all the guests arrived at the reception venue. I consulted with my Mom and she felt that it was more respectful to do it in private. On the other hand, my best friend from high school incorporated the tea ceremony into her reception so that all the guests may share in the experience [see photo below. I’m the bridesmaid on the right].

Chinese tea ceremony

Photo by Brett Matthews Photography

Will your guests understand what is happening? If not, you may consider having some written or have a MC describe what is happening. My husband and I attended an Afghani/Pakistani wedding not too long ago. The bride and groom performed wedding rituals which we had no idea what they were all about and it went on for a long time.  While it was interesting to observe, it would have been more enjoyable if we knew what was going on. A few weeks ago, our client had a Hindu ceremony. While a program was provided to the guests so they could follow along, for the first time, the Hindu priest actually explained each ceremonial step he performed, which made it so much more meaningful to the guests. Normally, the priest speaks in Hindi only.

How long with it take? How elaborate are the set up for the tradition?  One of our clients wanted to perform the traditional Korean Pae Bek ceremony during her reception. While we really enjoy having the guests participate and learn about the ritual, it took 30-45 minutes to set up all the items needed and for the bride and groom to change into their Korean outfits. The venue was also not ideal for such an elaborate set up, and would have worked out better if it could have been done in another larger room.

Korean pae bek ceremony

Photo by Love Life Images


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Categories: Tips

Real Wedding: Soumya & Tejus Part 4

Lastly, here are the photos I took from Soumya & Tejus’ wedding showing more of the details. Go back to Part 3 for professional photos and Part 1 and Part 2 for my event notes.

Fairview Park Marriott - Mandap for the ceremony

Fairview Park Marriott - Mandap for the ceremony. Note: the ceremony & reception were both in this same ballroom. Notice how the lighting changes the whole mood and feel of the space.

The Ganesha welcoming guests

The Ganesha welcoming guests
A traditional gate welcoming guests

A traditional gate welcoming guests

Photo Booth by PartyBooths

Photo Booth by PartyBooths

guests leaving a message for the couple with their photo booth photos

guests leaving a message for the couple with their photo booth photos

Cake by Creative Cakes

Cake by Creative Cakes

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Categories: Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Soumya & Tejus Part 3

Go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 if you’ve missed them. What I love about South Asian weddings is that they are so rich and vibrant in color, often in such contrast with Western weddings. Here are the pictures from Regeti’s Photography.

Tejus & Soumya goofing around

Tejus & Soumya goofing around


Tejus & Soumya - a beautiful portrait

Tejus & Soumya - a beautiful portrait


Fairview Park Marriott bathed in blue lighting for reception

Fairview Park Marriott bathed in blue lighting for reception


Fairview Park Marriott - The sparkly stage for the sweetheart table

Fairview Park Marriott - The sparkly stage for the sweetheart table


Me & Jag Singh goofing around

Me & Jag Singh goofing around during setup! Who says we don't have fun?!

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Categories: Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Soumya & Tejus Part 2

Continuing the story of Soumya & Tejus’ wedding from Part 1 … We couldn’t pull off such a spectacular event without a team of skilled professionals. I really enjoyed working with this team!

Symbol of the ganesha done in rice

Symbol of the ganesha done in rice

Fairview Park Marriott: Event Manager Khatera Panjshiri-Ibrahimi — The main floors of the hotel went through a recent renovation. There is one huge ballroom that we used for the ceremony and reception. For the reception, the room fit 500 guests and a dance floor and stage comfortably. The pre-function foyer is spacious although not huge. There is ample parking and all your guests can easily stay at the hotel also. The hotel is located near the intersection of Rt. 50 and I-495, which is extremely convenient to get to other places although there is not a whole lot going on near the hotel.

Sound & Lighting: EventEQ, Jag Singh — Awesome is all I can say. Jag did an awesome job with setting up the lighting, sound and video simulcast for the wedding. He is super easy to work with and very helpful. The photos will speak for themselves on the lighting. The packed dance floor, young and old, speaks to the quality of the music he played to get everyone moving!

Photographer: Regeti’s Photography, Srinu & Amy Regeti — I wanted to thank Amy for referring this client to me. Srinu and Amy are super easy to work with. Amy was a rock star getting all the group photos done in record time! I cannot wait to see the results. The Regeti’s have such a unique style to their photography that is truly unique. The colors are always rich and vibrant.

Decorator: Prabha Bhambri — First time working with Prabha and I can see why clients keep coming back to her. I accompanied Soumya and her Mom to Prabha’s house to finalize the wedding design. It was really interesting to see how Prabha takes ideas, bits and pieces, from previous projects, interjects some new ideas and forms a totally new and unique design just for Soumya. The photos will speak to the more modern, simple yet elegant decor that Soumya chose. Many guests commented on how wonderfully different the design was! Good job Soumya!

Videographer: Blue Sky Films, Neil Benjers — Neil was really great to work with also. During the planning process, he reviewed everything we sent him and was very open to the ideas the bride had about the style she was looking for in her video. During the wedding, you rarely noticed him amongst all the guests!

Photo Booth: Party Booths, Eric — What a fun idea! Everybody took turns taking pictures in a throw-back style photo booth! Afterwards, they adhere the photos to a scrap book and left message for the bride and groom. What was more amazing is that the booth came in a suitcase and Eric, the attendant, assembled it all on site!

Cake: Creative Cakes — Another beautiful wedding cake. They also provided a birthday cake with an Absolut Vodka bottle for 2 girls who were turning 21 that evening.

Breakfast & Lunch Catering: Woodlands, Anand Poojary — Anand is such a nice guy and the bride’s family has been going to this restaurant for many years. They also catered the Sangeet. The food was wonderful and everything was ready on time. He and his wife just had a baby and were able to find a baby sitter so that they could attend the reception. I’m glad they were able to have some fun! He has a restaurant in Gaithersburg and Langley Park. Please make a visit if you are ever in the area.

Dinner Catering: Heritage India

Stay tuned for photos from this awesome wedding!

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Categories: Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Soumya & Tejus Part 1

This was by far the largest and longest wedding I have done so far! 500 of their closest friends and family all came together for an all-day (9am-midnight) celebration of a beautiful wedding.

Soumya and Tejus are the perfect example of theory of opposites atract. Tejus is a totally goofy and always making jokes, while Soumya is more serious and meticulous. But you know what? It works!

Here is a preview of the beautiful couple’s engagement photos by Regeti’s Photography.

Soumya & Tejus Engagement photos by Regetis Photography

Soumya & Tejus Engagement photos by Regetis Photography

Soumya & Tejus Engagement photo by Regetis Photography

Soumya & Tejus Engagement photo by Regetis Photography

Some of the highlights included 3 delicious meals, a photo booth, and a completely transformed ballroom. Stay tuned for more details from this extraordinary wedding!
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