Pooja and Rupesh dated for a year and a half before Rupesh’s surprise proposal, but for the year leading up to their wedding, the relationship was a long-distance affair. Pooja, a structural engineer, was living in Orlando and Rupesh, a business analyst, was in Pittsburgh. Even months before the event, Pooja used to have nightmares that her wedding day had suddenly arrived and nothing was planned. But she would always wake up relieved knowing that they had plenty of time and help from their loved ones. It all started with the memorable proposal. The couple was visiting friends and family in California when Rupesh planned it, somehow without Pooja catching on. He arranged for everyone to secretly arrive at the picturesque Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where Rupesh surprised Pooja with the big question. As an added surprise, everyone took photos of the couple’s special moment. They chose to be wed in Orlando, and since Pooja’s family living there had recently planned two weddings, this was a familiar experience. They chose the grand Wyndham Hotel and Resort – classic ballrooms, beautiful gardens, and a general open feel was important to the couple when selecting their venue. Because they also planned to have many out-of-towners attending, the resort aspect of the Wyndham was ideal for these guests. Before the day of the ceremony, they held a joyful Garba and Raas night. A beautiful Radha Krishna murti surrounded by candles was the centerpiece of the night, as their 250 guests danced and celebrated Pooja and Rupesh. There was a large wooden swing and a backdrop of sapphire, brown and neon green on the stage and the entire space was draped in bright colors to maintain the festive mood. “Surprise” is a recurring theme in their relationship, because the bride and groom both surprised each other with choreographed dances, Pooja with her cousins and girlfriends, and Rupesh with his cousins. It was a charming personal touch to the Garba night.
Finally, the auspicious ceremony arrived, and Pooja was ready to let go of the hassles of wedding preparations and make a happy memory. Rupesh rode to the ballroom in the traditional way, with his baraat on a majestic horse. Pooja’s bridesmaids and cousins walked in to a graceful instrumental song, and finally, accompanied by her brother and mamas, the bride made her entrance.
The official setting of the ceremony, their gold and ivory draped mandap, sat on a stage with a raised aisle lined by candles and lavender rose petals. There were hues of purple throughout the ceremony, including in the floral arrangements, to represent Pooja’s favorite color. The ceremony programs kept to a traditional design, with red and gold text, folded in half to resemble a book. Pooja and Rupesh also included explanations of the complicated ceremony and a special note to their guests.
The reception again reflected Pooja’s favorite color, from the purple floral centerpieces and lighting to the purple linens and cake décor. The centerpieces were not only beautiful, but resourceful, because they were able to reuse pieces from the ceremony. The tables surrounded the diamond dance floor, and the happy couple sat at a sweetheart table on the stage. The reception, just like the other events, flowed smoothly.
Pooja and Rupesh had complete faith in their family and friends, who helped her to enjoy the celebration of their marriage in a worry-free way. Even though this do-it-yourself couple faced some challenges along the way, they created for themselves the beginning of a long and beautiful journey.
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