Megan and Raj became my clients back when they booked me for their Pittsburgh wedding back in October of 2018. It was a lovely ceremony at the Allegheny Court house, and despite torrential downpour during what was supposed to be the first look and portrait time, the entire bridal rallied together to help us organize an indoor first look in the lobby of the Omni Hotel. By the time we finally made it to the courthouse it had stopped raining enough to get photos in the courtyard. Megan's dress was custom made with a stunning train that attached to the back of the dress to add extra movement. I had so much fun playing with it! The reception was outdoor and it was gorgeous. There was lots of fun dancing once it got dark, and I couldn't have asked for a better ending to the day. We said goodbye and I thought that was it! (until they started having babies that is) :D
In December of that same year, I got a call from Megan asking if I would be available to shoot their Indian ceremony in April! I was so excited for the opportunity to working with this family yet again! I had enjoyed getting to know them as a couple the first time around, and was briefly introduced to Raj's family on their big day, but this time we were full on embraced into the family and culture for an experience involving lots of henna, bright colors, delicious food, dancing, and one of the warmest welcomes I have ever encountered. I learned so much from them by just observing the traditions, and I was so impressed by the way Megan and her family meshed into all of the activities going on. There was so much love being shared from both sides, and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
I asked Megan to share some details about her planning process that led her to the decisions they made to celebrate their love and the coming together of two cultures. Check it out! And enjoy the colorful photos from this exciting weekend! Starting with the Henna Party Friday night, going right into the events on Saturday.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Our favorite part of the planning process was getting to work super closely with all of our vendors. We were planning a wedding from almost 500 miles away, so coming into town to visit venues, rentals, caterers, etc was an infrequent occurrence. This meant a lot of phone calls ,emails and trust between us and the team to realize our dream wedding.
Why did you choose Kayla Bri Photography to photograph your wedding?
The photos were all beautiful and prices fair. After speaking with Kayla, my fiancé and I found her to be very personable/fun. It was a no-brainer.
What special/sentimental details did you include in your day?
Megan - On my right hand I wore a my grandmom's ring which I had received after she passed away. I was 14 years old when she passed away and I've worn that ring at every major milestone and celebration ever since, so I've always known I'd wear it when I someday married the love of my life.
For our Hindu ceremony in NJ my arms and feet were decorated with mehndi. The artist hid the letters of R-A-J-E-E-V amongst the design as a sort of game. Raj's parents also traveled all the way to India to buy Raj's suits and my saree and lehenga for the ceremony and reception.
What is one moment or memory from the day that stands out in your mind?
Pittsburgh Wedding -
Raj: Waiting for the first look stands out in my mind. We were supposed to have our first look outdoors, but while Megan was on her way, the sky darkened as a downpour approached. I was firmly planted and not going to move until she arrived even at the risk of getting soaked. Luckily my groomsmen and Castine were thinking on their feet and convinced me to go inside the hotel next to where we were waiting and saved the day. The first look wasn't what we had planned but at least everyone was dry!
Megan: The moment that stands out in my mind is the processional. Our ceremony venue was the Grand Staircase at the Allegheny County Courthouse and I was all the way at the bottom out of site of my fiance and all the guests. When my music started playing, I knew all I had to do was climb the stairs, but as I went to take the first step, I was overcome. All of the planning and anticipation of this moment was over, and I was about to marry my best friend. I took a beat to collect myself and really feel the excitement of the day, then proceeded up the stairs with my parents by my side and smile on my face the whole way up the aisle.
New Jersey Wedding -
At the beginning of our Hindu ceremony we exchanged garlands as a symbols of accepting each other and consenting to the union. To tease the groom, the bride is often lifted by family and friends to make it difficult for the groom to place the garland around her neck. We had this planned but most guests didn't know, so it was an exciting moment and made for a great photo op.
How did you ask your bridal party to be in your wedding?
I sent each member of my bridal party a package with a few of my favorite beauty minis, as well as chocolates and a frame for a photo of us from the wedding.
Would you do anything differently looking back?
One thing Raj and I both regret not doing at our Pittsburgh ceremony is eating a full piece of cake. We are in agreement that the bite we had when we cut the cake was the single best bite of cake we'd both ever had. Unfortunately there was nothing leftover at the end of the night to be wrapped up for later. Although, for our first anniversary, our family friend Gayle, who made the cake, sent us the recipe and Megan recreated a mini wedding cake for us to enjoy.
Any advice to future brides?
I've had a couple friends get engaged since our wedding and the advice I've given every single one, is don't skimp on the photographer. Find someone who's style you love and book them early. I can, when I close my eyes, see every detail about both of our wedding days but luckily I also have Kayla's photos to look at when those memories fade. It's as if they were captured with the same lens.
How has you and your spouse's relationship changed for the better since becoming husband and wife?
It hasn't really changed at all, and I think that's a good thing.