I’m very excited to share this story, as I’ve known Shailvi for a long time. And she and Ankit were one of the very first users of ShaadiShop!
Their engagement party for about 180 guests was hosted by Ankit’s family at their home in the SF Bay area. Ankit’s mother planned and organized everything with tremendous help and support from family and friends. They started working on the party a few weeks after their official engagement – so they worked on the party for about 8 months.
The engagement party was Mumbai themed, as that is where Ankit’s family is from – and they did not hold back. From decor to clothing to food – guests were transcended to India’s beloved bustling metro.
The official engagement was in San Francisco. Ankit organized a treasure hunt which culminated in popping the question with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Ankit can you share the vision you and your family had for the engagement party.
It party was all outdoors, at our home. When Shailvi’s family arrived onto our street we wanted to immediately transform them to Mumbai. The driveway was setup to look like the they had arrived in India.
All of my family was outside as Shailvi, her parents, brother, and sister walked onto our driveway where my parents, dressed in very traditional Maharashtrian clothes, were waiting, thali in-hand, to welcome them.
My parents greeted the Shah family with traditional tikka and feeding one another sweets.
Then they were escorted onto the red carpet lined by my cousins who were dressed as traditional Maharashtrian dancers. A couple of them know Maharashtrian dance – and practiced for months to prepare and teach our other cousins that came from around the country.
The red carpet led to the grand entrance which was set to look like the Gateway of India, in Mumbai, which is where I was standing with a red rose for Shailvi.
Once everyone passed through the gates, they had arrived in Mumbai. Our guests were greeted with an assortment of Mumbai style appetizers and sweets, including boondi ki ladoo, fruit papdi, pav bhaji, chaat, and small vadas. Surrounding the area were signs of the Mumbai Metro stations.
The program kicked off with my dad saying, “Bombay se aaya mera dost!”
And I re-enacted my proposal to Shailvi by playing the song, “Aaja meri gaadi mein bhait ja”. My cousins, friends, and I performed to that song and I had Shailvi come to the stage and I got down on one knee.
For the ring ceremony – we played “Waha waha Ramji” – so everything was choreographed and planned, except that it was all a surprise for Shailvi. She didn’t know any of this was going to happen and she loved it!
Shailvi: Ankit was performing with his family and friends and one of his cousins came to me with a red laminated circle and a green one. The green one meant that Ankit’s performance was awesome and he could sit down. The red one meant that he had to do something more to impress me. So she asked me to pick a circle. I picked the red one, as I thought that since they were asking there must have been another dance prepared – but there wasn’t!
I was supposed to pick the green one and someone was supposed to prep me but somehow that fell through the cracks. So Ankit did Aaja meri gaadi again! He was such a good sport about it! And what was was funny was one of his friends that was in the dance, at this point, was hanging out at the bar and when he saw Ankit performing again, ran over to the stage.
Shailvi you also performed, what song did you do?
I did two songs. It started as an all girls dance to “Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye” from the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
The second song was “Kajra Re” from Bunty aur Babli, which I thought was just going to be me, my brother and sister but as a surprise my parents joined us!
Where did you get your clothes?
Ankit: My mom got my sherwani from Kora in Mumbai. I couldn’t go to India so the poor guy at the store tried on multiple outfits while I was on Google Hangouts, here in the Bay.
Shailvi: I arrived to the party wearing a sari given to me by Ankit’s Naniji. During the engagement party they did the godh bharai ceremony and gifted me a lehenga, jewelry and makeup and I changed into it lehenga during the party.
Ankit: The “costume change” really matched the Bollywood theme!
Shailvi this was a quick trip from SoCal.
Yeah, my family – including my cousins, uncles and aunts, and close friends – a total of about 80 people – met at the Jain Center of Southern California early Saturday morning – the day of the party and loaded into a bus and one van and caravan’d to the Bay.
We left SoCal at 7:30a and got to the hotel, which was about 10 minutes from Ankit’s house by 3:00p.
I had about an hour to practice my dance for that night, before the hair and makeup artist arrived. So it was a long day – and the party hadn’t even started yet. But I was so excited and happy!
Ankit: On Sunday morning, my extended family went to the hotel to join Shailvi’s family for breakfast and give them thank you/going away gifts followed by a little pooja. Then Shailvi’s family drove off.
Where did the decor come from?
Ankit: my mom and family friends made and set up ALL of the decor. They worked on it making and gathering the items for months. Right about when Shailvi was leaving SoCal was when we started setting up for the party. The assembly and setup was all my cousins, uncles, aunts. We had ladders and tools. It was a real group effort.
How did you decide what ceremonies to do that night?
Our parents sat down and talked about the various traditions and ceremonies for the wedding. That was very interesting for us to learn as we don’t really know any of that and also even though our families are both Jain our traditions are different.
Shailvi: in my tradition, godh bharai is typically done when a woman is pregnant – it’s like a baby shower. I enjoyed learning about their traditions and honored by how much they put into this event; plus it’s always fun to get new clothes, jewelry and makeup!
Ankit, since this was outdoors at your home, was there any issue with noise?
Around 11:15pm police arrived after receiving a noise complaint. My friends asked them if we could get 30 minutes more and they agreed. Around 11:45pm we were closing down the party and the cops came back because they got another noise complaint. At that point we were shutting down anyway so we turned off the music.
Did you hire multiple caterers?
Other than some of the sweets we served as the guests arrived, we catered everything from Milan. They did a fantastic job.
Who did your stage? DPH Sound and Lighting
Dance Floor: Stuart Party Rentals
DJ: DJ Salim-he did sound and basic lighting. I’ve known him for a long time. He knows how to rock a party and he’s great to work with.
We also got our own LED lights which we put up ourselves.
Photography: Greycard Photography. We love their work!
Videography: Robles Video Productions