Sumit and Anjali recognized the uncommon chemistry between them the very day they met.
It took more than ten years for this pharmacist and attorney to come together in a lifelong union.
Anjali Desai, a college student at Emory in Atlanta and Sumit Jain, at UNC Chapel Hill, met through a common friend in 1999. They stayed connected all through their college years and spent hours chatting online and on the phone every day. Their bond grew stronger with every chat.
Both being driven individuals, they focused on pursuing their respective careers. The endless hours they once spent chatting were diverted to studying and classes. In the fall of 2009, once they settled into their new careers, the couple rekindled their old friendship. “It was as if nothing had changed in all these years,” says Anjali.
A year later, the two went on vacation to California. After having brunch in Beverly Hills, Sumit drove over to the Santa Monica Pier. The couple took a stroll through Palisades Park. With the breathtaking view of the Pacific in the background, Sumit leaned over and asked Anjali to take a surprise gift out of her purse. It was a ring box, and Sumit was already on one knee. She accepted the proposal eagerly, and planning for the big day began.
Yuti Williams, the wedding planner, used her expertise to help the couple alleviate stress. Since the bride’s parents lived in Tampa Bay, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay was picked as the venue.
Mehndi and Sangeet
The mehndi took place at Anjali’s home and was beautifully decorated by Remmal from Occasions. They played with fuchsia and orange fabric to create a dramatic feel. In the foyer, a large golden Ganesh statue stood with candles and a tropical flower arrangement. A traditional Indian swing was placed to serve as a backdrop for pictures.
The sangeet was organized in a Moroccan theme. The Hyatt ballroom was adorned with lanterns and tables covered with colorful fabrics and lounge type seating. A tent was set in the center of the room with a love seat for Sumit and Anjali.
Surrounding the dance floor there was lounge type seating with colorful pillows. Eggplant-colored table linens were covered with Indian overlays. The centerpieces on the tables and cocktail high tables included Moroccan lanterns and candles. There were four different live food stations, and guests had a choice between Mexican, Italian, and Indian.
For wedding décor, the couple chose traditional burgundy and gold colors. A pure romantic theme was portrayed by using lots of candles, crystals and lush flowers. The mandap, a gold gazebo type, was decorated with gold and burgundy fabrics. The rings of the dome were covered with lush white and red flowers. Hanging in the center of the mandap was a mesmerizing piece of crystal chandelier. The aisle that led up to the mandap had floating candles and rose petals on either side, as well as a series of golden pedestals topped with a white and red flower arrangement. Golden chivari chairs added to the elegant look of the ceremony. Anjali personally picked out beige-golden paper and burgundy ink for the wedding program. The combination looked quite fabulous.
Looking for a traditional Indian bride look, Anjali spent days in Mumbai trying to find the perfect outfit. She finalized a white lehnga with a burgundy velvet border. The attire also had intricate gold embroidery and was further embellished with crystal beadwork. The form fitting burgundy blouse that went with the lehnga was similarly adorned with matching crystal beadwork. The dupatta was a heavy burgundy see-through fabric with intricate bead details. The bridal jewelry, mainly consisting of gold and uncut diamonds, also came from Tanishq store in Mumbai. The shoes, also from India, were fancy gold colored sandals with crystal detail work.
The bride’s hair, covered with the dupatta, was up in a fancy bun. The dupatta was held in place with crystal hairpins. Makeup artist Michele did a fabulous job using gold and burgundy hues to match Anjali’s outfit.
The bride walked down the aisle to Bollywood hit Tum Jo Aaye from the movie Once Upon A Time in Mumbai. Once the wedding ceremony began, live music group Khelaiya took over.
The reception bore a dramatic look with the unique lighting and striking centerpieces used. The color scheme was cool and calming and primarily utilized teal and fuchsia. The large centerpieces were vases filled with white and fuchsia flowers. Each vase, big and small, had crystals resting on the bottom and a floating candle. All the centerpieces, surrounded by candles, were placed on illuminated bases.
Anjali’s cousin, Sona Patel, performed a beautiful Rajasthani dance at the reception. As a surprise for the guests, the bride’s parents and the bride herself made a cameo appearance in the dance.
The wedding cake was a three-tier teal cake with gold and fuchsia Indian designs on each of the tiers. The fondant used gave the cake a more polished look. A bonus – the cake was Sumit’s favorite flavor – carrot cake!