ShaadiShop chatted with Simran, the bride whose wedding video went viral, when her Canadian husband sang a Bollywood song to her, at their wedding reception in Baltimore. We got wind of their beautiful story from a HuffPo Canada article written by Arti Patel.
We want to know everything about the song! How long in advance did Frank prepare?
A month before the wedding I was doing 16 hour shifts in the ICU so I didn’t have time for anything else. And my mom happened to be staying with us. Frank told my mom he wanted to write a poem for me, and my mom suggested that he sing a song instead.
How did he select the song?
My mom suggested Tum Hi Ho. He looked up the lyrics and loved it! My mom worked with him to teach the pronunciation. As for the music, he has this incredible ability to listen to a song and recreate it on the piano. What makes this even more incredible is that Frank’s first language is French! He loves to sing and play the piano but it’s more something he does at home. He doesn’t perform. And I think that mutual joy and love between our families, made him comfortable to sing the song at the reception. The fact that he did it is mindblowing! In all, he learned it in about 6 weeks.
How did they keep this a secret?
As I mentioned, I was working 16 hour shifts in the ICU so whenever I was home, I was sleeping. I didn’t suspect anything!
What did you think when you saw the piano at your reception?
I knew his piano was there but I thought his mom and nieces were performing so he needed it for that. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he was going to play…and sing…in Hindi! When he walked to the piano I realized he was going to sing a song and I thought, “oh that’s nice” and then he started singing in Hindi and I have never felt that emotion before. I was shocked! Throughout the song I kinda felt like I was dreaming.
How did you select Baltimore for the wedding celebrations?
Even though neither Frank nor I are from Baltimore, since we met there, we wanted to get married there. Plus I was in residency in Baltimore so trying to plan the wedding somewhere else would have been a nightmare.
My mom came and stayed with me for 5 weeks and we did a lot of prep while she was here.
What were your venues?
Friday night: Baltimore World Trade Center’s 21st floor all glass with panoramic views. It was a bit of a pain to get that venue. Because it’s a government building, there are more restrictions. They required us to use their caterer on their preferred vendors. We tried to get the caterer we wanted, approved, but were unable to, so that was kind of a bummer. The venue has a an Indian caterer on their preferred vendor list but we didn’t want to serve all Indian food that night. We thought that since the wedding day was going to be all Indian food, all day, it would be nice to serve something different. We went with one of their other caterers and mixed Indian-fusion and French food. We had someone making fresh crepes and tray served samosas, chocolate fondue, and an international cheese display.
Another thing about getting married in a government building is that all the guests had to show their IDs to come up so that was time consuming. But it was worth it. They had multiple staff checking the IDs and processing our guests. It wasn’t a big deal and it didn’t push our schedule back. The only issue was for the people who attended from India because they had to bring their passports with them.
On Saturday we were at the Marriott Downtown Inner Harbor Baltimore. And everyone stayed there. The 2 venues are on the same street and about 5 minutes away from each other, so it was very convenient.
Where did you do your shopping?
Initially I was going to do it here in the US but Frank’s best friend decided to get married in Thailand so we tacked on an India trip to that. I bought a ton of pillow covers to use for the sangeet, in Thailand.
My grandparents are in India and they weren’t going to be able to attend the wedding so they threw us an engagement party. We spent 5 days in Delhi. Given the short window, we didn’t waste time. We headed straight for stores as soon as we landed. I found my outfits and the next day we did Frank’s shopping as well as our accessories. We were done within 48 hours.
Mehndi function – Chhabra 555 also in Rajouri Gardens
Wedding Lehenga – Frontier Bazaar in Rajouri Garden
My lehenga was so bling it took half my suitcase!
Tell us how you meshed your families’ respective cultures.
I’m from a Sikh family and he’s French-Canadian. You couldn’t tell we were from such different cultures. Both of our families are very warm and open. We both have relatives that don’t speak English so we knew that our wedding was going to be two cultures coming together. Some of his family members had never even seen a Sikh person before.
The whole wedding week our families celebrated together. Frank played the piano and my cousins would sing, everyone was so open to teaching and showing each other’s culture. It ended up not being a non-issue. We couldn’t have imagined anything better!
My maternal grandparents don’t speak English at all, so when we went to India for our engagement I taught Frank a few essentials like, Sat Sri Akal, shukriya, Namaste, Khushi hui aapse milke – my aunts kept making him say that over and over. They got a big kick out of it!
Did you have a planner?
Yes, I really needed help. Trisha is from Virginia and specializes in South Asian weddings. I love planing events and I started planning alone but things started to get hectic and I was the chief resident at work so I told Frank it would be best to get a planner.
Since I’m not from DC I didn’t know a lot of vendors. She recommended our caterer, whom we loved and all the other vendors, most of whom came from DC.
I handled a lot of the details, like invitations, favors, bridesmaids stuff. It saved us a lot of time because we met with two vendors per category.
What were your wedding events?
The week before the wedding we did a day trip to DC. We rented a bus and had a picnic.
Thursday – the mehndi was at one of the homes we rented and it was an all day affair.
Friday night was a sangeet/welcome party. It was a heavy appetizers event with cocktail tables – it was not a sit down event. There were a few welcome speeches and performances from both of our families.
Saturday morning was the Anand Karaj. Frank was going to come in on his friend’s moped but it started raining so that didn’t happen. We had langar after the ceremony, followed by a four hour break. At around 6p was the Christian ceremony which was about 30 minutes followed by cocktail hour and the reception.
There isn’t a really big Sikh community in Baltimore. The closest Gurdwara was about 40 minutes away so we didn’t do Anand Karaj in the Gurdwara. We found an aunty and her daughter who could lead the ceremony. They were sitting at the Guru Granth Sahib which they brought with them. Our Christian wedding officiant was a female as well.
Our Wedding Professionals Team
Sangeet: Simply Catering – they served heavy appetizers and live stations – crepes, fondue, and setup a carving station.
Reception: IndAroma – their food is out of this world. We still have people telling us how good it was and the presentation is beautiful.
At the cocktail hour we had a live chaat station with unique dishes like aam-palak (mango-spinach) chaat. I’d never tasted anything like that. We had Tandoori shrimp with mango salsa, served in little cocktail glasses. It was so cool. The presentation was different. They did our red velevet cake that night too.
Decor – DaVinci Decor
DJ/lighting – DJ Volcanik
Makeup – Sonia Iqbal
Mehndi: Henna Harmony
I didn’t do too much research because I needed to get the ball rolling She was on point and had reasonable pricing. She set up our meeting with vendors, recommended vendors, sent us reminders throughout the planning process, made sure Frank and I ate that day, made sure vendors were paid, our parents were happy. And she has a chill personality.
Videography – AVP Studios (from Canada)
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