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A Romantic, Modern Indian Wedding at the Westin Lombard in Lombard, Illinois

Megha Shah (29 and a pharmacist) and Hari Narayanan’s (29 and a financial consultant) wedding was a festive, traditional Indian affair with a romantic

Megha Shah (29 and a pharmacist) and Hari Narayanan’s (29 and a financial consultant) wedding was a festive, traditional Indian affair with a romantic garden-inspired twist. Working with Zeena Roy from Oliveaire, the couple transformed the elegant ballroom at the Westin Lombard into an ethereal oasis of vibrant color, lush blooms and romantic candlelight. The day kicked off with a traditional ceremony, which combined traditions from Megha and Hari’s Gujarati and Malayalami backgrounds. Arrangements of ivory and pale pink hydrangeas, roses and cascading amaranth dotted the ballroom, lending a romantic air to the space, while a statement-making mandap dripping in white and bright pink orchid garlands and airy white fabric had an undeniably whimsical feel. For the evening’s festivities, the couple went all-out glam, looking to gold satin linens, magenta uplighting, gilded accents, crystal garlands and lots of candlelight to bring their vision to life. The evening was full of fun and surprises, even for the newlyweds, whose wedding party and family surprised them with a special dance. A slow-mo photo, where guests could strike a pose and create silly 40-second clips with Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” playing as the background, was a huge hit with Megha and Hari’s friends and family members, as was the DJ. DJs Damaniac, Anand, and Prashant churned out upbeat top 40, Indian and '90s hits that kept guests on the dance floor all night. And to set the tone for the evening, the couple opted for food stations during cocktail hour and a buffet stocked with traditional cuisine, which created a relaxed environment that encouraged guests to mix and mingle. A tip for the taking from Megha: “Enjoy it! It is very important for each of you to take breaks and sanity checks from the planning process. It can be super-stressful, and the last thing you want to do is add additional tension. Ensure that you make time for date nights and relaxation.”

Festive, Traditional Ceremony Processional
Traditional Hindu Ceremony Processional
Wanting the wedding to have an ethereal romantic feel, the couple, with the help of planner Zeena Roy of Oliveaire, designed a showstopping mandap that served as the focal point for the ceremony. The stunning construction featured light, airy panels of white fabric and cascading pink and white orchid garlands that introduced an air of whimsy to the Westin Lombard’s ballroom.
Westin Lombard Yorktown Modern Hindu Ceremony
Traditional Bindi Application
Inspired by her the unique maroon sari that her mother wore on her wedding day, Megha deviated from the traditional bright red and wear a maroon wedding outfit like her mother. The two headed to India to seek out the perfect bridal set for the day, finding it at Sabyasachi in Mumbai.
While the wedding day went off without a hitch, Megha and Hari met an unexpected obstacle that threw them for a loop. When they picked up their programs for the ceremony, they realized that they had all been printed backward. “I was so stressed, but our printer was so sweet and they stayed up all night to re-create the programs for us,” Megha says. “At the moment, it felt like the biggest deal ever, but really the worst that could have happened was that we wouldn’t have had programs -- not such a big deal in hindsight.”
While Megha and Hari had a traditional Indian ceremony, they incorporated some Western traditions into the ceremony, like a cake cutting and first dance. “We wanted our cake to match the overall theme of the wedding,” Megha says. “I had Baking Institute play off of my centerpieces and bridal bouquet to create my cake. They were able to mimic some of our flowers by creating sugar flowers with gold foil.”
Cascading Amaranth and Hydrangea Centerpieces
Megha and Hari’s reception was all about glamour and romance. To bring their vision to life, Oliveaire created stunning centerpieces with gilded candelabras dripping with crystal garlands and pale pink tea roses. Tea lights illuminated each table and worked perfectly with the magenta uplighting to give the ballroom a warm, ambient glow.
Decorative Crystal Bead Garlands
Whimsical Hand-Calligraphed Table Numbers
Sabyasachi Gold Tasseled Top
Traditional Gold Lehngas and Jewelry
Traditional Red Groom\'s Safa
Traditional Red Kurta Pyjamas
To match her traditional bridal look for the ceremony, Megha had Jody from Tamara Makeup and Hair Artistry style her hair into a traditional middle-parted bun with her stunning dupatta draped over her head. For the reception, Megha let her hair down, opting for long, romantic curls. “Later in the evening I wanted glamorous Hollywood curls,” Megha says. “We had to wash my hair and redo it in less than an hour. It was impressive!”
Megha custom-designed her bridesmaids’ saris during her trip to India, drawing inspiration from some of her favorite designers. The saris were constructed from airy chiffon fabric in a light blush color that allowed the girls to move around comfortably, while complementing the wedding’s ethereal, romantic theme. The blouse piece featured sheer black fabric and was embroidered with an elegant white floral pattern. Shimmery accents on the neckline and sleeves added a subtle glam touch.
While Hari wore traditional attire for the ceremony, he changed into a custom-designed navy tuxedo with Spiderman cufflinks for the reception. “I decided to go with a mix of James Bond and 'Mad Men,' and had a suit made identical to James Bond’s tux in the movie 'Skyfall,' ” says Hari. For his groomsmen, Hari looked to Don Draper’s dapper style for inspiration. He asked each of the guys to don light gray suits for the evening’s festivities with light blue shirts, navy ties and pocket squares.
After a dinner of traditional Indian fare, the couple and their guests put on their dancing shoes. DJs Damaniac, Anand, and Prashant churned out upbeat top 40, Indian and '90s hits that kept guests out on the dance floor all night. “After our reception ended, our DJs had live instruments that they played until it was time for them to kick us out of the hall,” Megha says.
After a delicious dinner of traditional Indian cuisine and sweet speeches by their closest family members and friends, Megha and Hari were taken by surprise when their wedding party and families hit the dance floor to perform a special surprise dance. “In our culture, dancing is huge,” Megha says, “so we were thrilled that our family and friends took the time to surprise us with a dance.”