Share a little about your planning environment.
My family lives in Tampa. I was doing a fellowship in New Orleans. My husband was in residency in St. Louis, which is also where his family is from.
We got engaged in February and wanted to get married in December. We moved to Florida in the fall and I took my boards two months before our wedding! It was a whirlwind year but that’s life and you just get through it.
- Something that was available in December
- A venue that could accommodate 350 guests
I went to Tampa to look for venues and fell in love with a hotel. So we didn’t bother looking at others. But…that venue fell through. So my mom took the reigns and started the process all over again. The Westin ended up being a blessing in disguise as it’s on the water, as opposed to the other venue that was in downtown Tampa.
- Allowed a Hindu ceremony indoors
- Of course, allowed outside catered foodWe were really restricted because a lot of venues weren’t available. So when The Westin was and could accommodate our guests we booked it. I hadn’t even seen it!
How was your experience with the Westin?
Overall good. They don’t do as many South Asian weddings as other Tampa venues but they knew all of the traditions and our needs. There was nothing they couldn’t accommodate. For instance we had an indoor Hindu ceremony, and the open flame was not an issue.
I did feel like the ballroom was a bit tight for our 350 guests, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.
What were your wedding events?
- Pre-wedding Meet and Greet in St. Louis one week before the wedding. Rohit’s family is from St. Louis. There were about 300 people.
- Mehndi – my parent’s home in Tampa
- Pendikoothuru (haldi cremony) and pooja at my parent’s house. Rohit’s was at the hotel
- Sangeet – Indian Cultural Center, Tampa
How did you combine Telegu and North Indian traditions?
The ceremonies aren’t that different. There are a few differences but overall it was really easy to combine the two. For instance, the varmala game at the beginning of the ceremony. That’s not a Telugu tradition, neither is milni – so his family educated us about those things. A baraat isn’t normally done in Telegu ceremonies either but are important in North Indian tradition. In the US they’ve become popular in general, so we did it and had a lot of fun!
- Hire a day-of coordinator – she kept things in line and we were stress free.
- Have an idea of what you want and prioritize (where I’m willing to spend the most money and time). I prioritized decor. Music and food were tied for 2nd.
- Get the help of your vendors
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. But at the same time if there’s something you really want, stick to your guns.
- Once you get engaged and select the venue, line up the other vendors ASAP. You never know when something falls through or changes. The more time you have to fix an issue the better off you’ll be.
- Enjoy it! It’s very satisfying to see your vision come to life that day!
Bridal Party Clothes
I bought all of the clothes in India. We were supposed to go to Mumbai but there was a strike going on so we went to Hyderabad instead. I got my clothes, Rohit’s clothes, invitations, and bridal party clothes there. Each bridesmaid/groomsman, gave us their measurements before I left. I gave each girl the fabric for the blouse which they had made on their own.
Some of our Vendors
They weren’t an approved vendor but it was easy to get them approved.