Shreta and Bharat
Bride and Groom: Gujarati-Punjabi
We got married on Thanksgiving weekend. One of our priorities was for our guests to have a really good time. A big part of that was how accommodating our venue was with our requests. I’ll get into that more below but since it was a holiday weekend we pretty much had the hotel to ourselves so their staff could really cater to us.
How long did you give yourself to plan your wedding?
Almost a year. We got engaged in December and focused on booking the venue, photographer, videographer and decorator first. I started booking the other vendors around March.
Who designed your clothes?
I worked closely with my decorator, Prashe. She got into decor after launching a successful career in clothing design. I absolutely love her decor work and knew early on that I wanted to work with her on my clothes as well. I had 3 lehengas made with her for my garba-sangeet, wedding, and reception.
How long did it take to design and make your 3 outfits?
I started the process almost 7 months prior to the wedding weekend.
Where did you get Bharat’s sherwani and other clothes?
Mostly online, from Utsav and CBazaar. His family in India also selected and sent many of his accessories and shoes etc.
Why didn’t you go to India?
- I knew what I wanted – I didn’t need to shop around.
- Shopping for Indian clothes can be taxing.
- At that time velvet was in and that’s not what I wanted.
- I wanted Indian clothes but with Western flare.
- I like Prashe’s work so much.
- There weren’t any items we felt like we had to get from India.
How did you select the InterContinental hotel for all of your wedding events?
I looked at a few venues – all hotels. I selected the InterContinental because:
- They’re familiar with South Asian weddings. They reflected that in their flexiblity.
- The hotel is close to both airports, restaurant row as well as the Galleria Mall. There were several great places nearby our guests could enjoy when in-between our wedding events.
- We had our sangeet, wedding and reception at the InterContinental. Since it was Thanksgiving weekend, we had the whole hotel to ourselves. And having all of the events at one venue was very convenient for our guests.
- We liked the hotel’s Garden Court for the wedding ceremony. It’s a covered space, which was perfect because I didn’t want an outdoor ceremony. I liked that they had a separate space for the ceremony and reception, as opposed to being in the same room for both events.
- We appreciated how flexible and accommodating they were throughout our wedding weekend. They allowed us to bring in outside food for our smaller events. We served naasto, chai, donuts and other items. These details were important to us, as they increased our guest’s enjoyment and comfort.
- Bharat went to Michigan and on our wedding day, Michigan was playing Ohio State. We requested the bartender in the hotel lobby to open the bar early and put the game on. That added to the fun of the whole weekend as our guests had a fantastic time following the game while simultaneously enjoying our wedding ceremony.
- We were able to secure a hospitality room for the entire weekend to make our guest’s stay even more comfortable.
Tell us about your hair/makeup looks for each event.
I did different looks for each event. For the sangeet I wanted more of a Spanish themed look. My hair was up and on the side with a flower. For the wedding and reception, I wore my hair down.
What cuisine did you serve on your wedding weekend?
On the sangeet night we had Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean food as well as chaat. We wanted the guests to enjoy a large variety of dishes like they were at a tasting. We served nachos, tacos, enchiladas, ravioli and other pastas, falafel, hummus, baba ganoush, pani puri, bhel puri and mango ice cream.
The hotel catered most of the sangeet food which was a nice break from Indian food and it helped us meet our food and beverage minimum.
For lunch, after the ceremony, we catered from the BAPS Swaminarayan mandir. Their food is delicious. Many guests told us afterwards that was their favorite meal.
Indian Palace catered Punjabi food for cocktail hour and dinner. During cocktail hour we served gobi manchurian, samosas, and paneer tikka, along with some hor d’oeuvres the hotel prepared for us. For dinner we had malai kofta, chana masala, saag paneer, tava vegetables along with a few desserts.
Walk us through your wedding day schedule.
We had a full day planned with a morning ceremony followed by lunch, a break after lunch, cocktail hour and the reception.
I woke up at 4am, to be ready by 8am for photos with our wedding party
Bharat and his family started the sehra bandi at 9am
The baraat started at about 10am followed by the ceremony at 11am
Lunch after the ceremony was catered by the BAPS Swaminarayan mandir
Cocktail hour started around 6pm and the reception around 7:30pm
Tell us about some of the unique decor aspects you incorporated.
- My aisle at the ceremony was an elevated runway.
- We mostly had seating at rectangular kings tables for 28/32 guests at each. We included some round and square tables in the outer perimeter of the room as well.
- It was important to us to have 1 large reception bar for all guests that was centrally located to the dance floor. Prashe’s team did a great job designing a white 360 degree bar that was staffed with 5 bartenders to accommodate all guests and keep them close to the dance floor.
How did you divide wedding planning responsibilities between you and Bharat? We were both engaged in all aspects of wedding planning but split leadership of tasks. For example, I was very particular with the decor, clothing, and food whereas Bharat had very specific thoughts in mind for his baraat. At the end of the day it was all about us working together and we had great help from our family and friends to take on many of the delegated tasks.
Tell us about the baraat. The baraat was an hour long. It started outside the hotel, they came down the hotel’s escalator and into the hotel’s lobby with the dholi still playing inside the hotel. Bharat really enjoys baraats so it was important to make it very special for him.
Tell us about bridal party arrangements.
I had 8 bridesmaids and Bharat had 11 groomsmen. My cousin did a great job procuring the saris for my bridesmaids. She made sure I didn’t have to worry about it. I loved the way they looked and our photos came out great!
What advice would you give to couples planning their wedding now?
- Be very nice to your vendors.
- Both people involved with planning is best. Each of us had aspects that we wanted to lead, as well as things we didn’t. So it balanced out very well.
- Ask vendors for what you want. The worst thing that can happen is they say no.
- Book your must-have vendors first.
- Pay attention when you attend other people’s weddings and observe things you like and don’t like, as well as the vendors.
Our Wedding Professionals Team
I was intentional about being easy to work with. I didn’t flip out if my vendors didn’t call me back right away. I understand they’re busy with their upcoming weddings. I trusted my vendors and knew they’d concentrate on my wedding as we got closer to the wedding day. We were happy with all of our vendors. I couldn’t have had a better wedding and everything turned out exactly as I envisioned it.
All of the caterers were fantastic. We served a large variety of cuisines and dishes from multiple caterers. At most of our events there was more that one caterer involved, thus it was important that not only was all food and beverage high quality and delicious, but also that each caterer worked well with each other and the hotel’s staff.
Coordinator: Uptown Events: We highly recommend getting ‘week of’ wedding planners as they coordinated with all vendors and ensured the entire weekend ran smoothly and we would be able to enjoy events as they happened vs being focused on executing our plan.
Decorator: Prashe Decor; I love her decor. Everything she does is so unique. I had her do my lighting as I thought it was better to have one person handling all decor aspects vs. having my DJ do it.
Hair & Makeup: Ms. Painted Lady. They do hair, makeup and draping for Indian weddings. They’re one of the most popular companies in Dallas. At first they weren’t available on my weekend but luckily were able to work me in to their schedule. I booked them a few months before my wedding and was so happy with the way each look turned out.
Invitations: Indianweddingcards.com. It was very easy to select the card design, send them the copy and iterate until we finalized the invitations. They mailed them directly to us. The whole process was smooth and convenient.
Mehndi: Mehnaz Ranmal from Meena’s Mehndi. I selected designs from Pinterest and they used those as creative inspiration for my mehndi. They did a nice job and I’d recommend them. My mehndi was hosted by my cousin at her home. She took care of all the decor and catering and made that event very special for us.
Photography: VEK Photo: They were very easy to work with and extremely accommodating. They were able to do engagement shoots for us in both Dallas as well as Chicago. We were pleased with the quality of photos capturing special moments throughout the weekend as well as timeliness of delivery. Very knowledgeable of ceremonies and never got in the way of guests.
Videography: Memories Films was very professional and pleasant to work with. The entire team captured the essence of our weekend and provided great edits for both the highlight video and full length cuts. They made it extremely easy to share the videos with family and friends as well.