Indian bride and Canadian groom leaning against a classic car

Canadian Groom Serenades Punjabi Bride to a Bollywood Song, Simran and Frank, Baltimore Marriott

Simran and Frank
Bride and Groom: Punjabi Sikh – French-Canadian Christian
Wedding and Reception: Marriott Inner Harbor Baltimore

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.

Sikh bride and her Canadian groom leaning against a classic car wearing their Indian wedding clothes
Sikh bride and groom sitting in chairs opposite each other wearing traditional Christian wedding clothes
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.

Canadian groom dressed in a sherwani and pagadi for his Sikh Anand Karaj.

Indian bride and Canadian groom playfully chatting, wearing their Christian wedding ceremony attire.
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.

Canadian groom playing the piano and singing a Hindi film song to his bride
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!
Groom twirling ride during their dance
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.
Indian bride wearing white gown with a surprised expression.

Wedding Highlight Video

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.

An Indian-Canadian, Sikh bride smiling, wearing a white wedding gown, holding up a hockey jersey, with her groom standing next to her.

Indian bride and Canadian groom taking a romantic photo
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.

Indian bride and groom on their sangeet night standing at rooftop view.

Parasol at an Indian wedding

venue setup with chiavari chairs and tablesAnother 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.
Indian wedding reception ballroom
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.
colorful pillow case covers purchased 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.

Personalized hanger for the bride with her new last name written out in wire
The Indian bride getting her dupatta put onto her head for her Anand Karaj
Sikh Punjabi bride's wedding lehenga
Indian bride's jeweled necklace
Indian bride smiling, wearing her tikka
Indian, Punjabi bride's kalire
white wedding gown hanging with a window in the background
Mehndi functionChhabra 555 also in Rajouri Gardens
Indian bride's mehndi and panja

Wedding LehengaFrontier 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.

Sikh bride during jaago
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!

Canadian groom wearing a pagadi for his Sikh wedding ceremony.
Canadian groom wearing a pagadi and sherwani during his baraat.

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!

Groom negotiating to get his shoes back
Homemade version of Punjabi jeopardy display
Indian bride and groom at their Anand Karaj. The bride with her hands n her husband's face.

Indian bride's family and Canadian groom's familiies together
The Indian bride throwing rice behind her, at her vidai
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.

Indian bride and bridesmaids

Indian bride having a playful moment with her bridesmaids
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.
Mehndi on an Indian bride's hands

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.

Indian bride doing a Bollywood dance

ladies selecting bindi's and chudiyan
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.

Sikh ride escorted by her male cousins, holding a decorative clloth over her head walking her to her Anand Karaj.

Indian bride and groom during their Anand Karaj

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.  

Sikh bride wearing a white wedding gown escorted down the aisle by her parents

Christian wedding ceremony after the Sikh ceremony.
Indian bride getting help with her veil for her Christian wedding ceremony
Our Wedding Professionals Team

Sangeet: Simply Catering – they served heavy appetizers and live stations –  crepes, fondue, and setup a carving station.

chef at a carving station at an Indian wedding
Reception: IndAromatheir 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

Officiants:

Christian Ceremony: Joyce Cochrane from Say I Do Your Way
Sikh Ceremony: Amarjit Kaur

Photography –
Inbalmore Photography 

Planner:
 Trisha Craner from Working Brides

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.

VideographyAVP Studios (from Canada)

Group selfie shot by the bride at an Indian wedding

3 thoughts on “Canadian Groom Serenades Punjabi Bride to a Bollywood Song, Simran and Frank, Baltimore Marriott

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