Meet Swetha, the chirpy and enthusiastic bride from USA! She acknowledges that she greatly used the resources featured on Shopzters for getting inspired for my outfits for my wedding and reception. She excitedly shares her wedding story with us all :) 

I was introduced to Ashwin last year, when I was still in grad school. Our parents introduced us­ an arranged marriage, if you’d like. I met him at a time when marriage was easily tucked down in my list of priorities­ where grad school and launching my career was all the romance I knew and wanted!

Urged by my mother to just give it a shot, I answered his call, less than 48 hrs of wrestling the jet­lag and the crankiness associated with the travel and homesickness. Muttering curses under my breath when I saw an unknown number from Kansas City flashing on my phone, I put on a respectful tone and took his call. We spoke for over an hour, and having a conversation with him came effortlessly­ punctuated by smiles and head­throwing­back­laughter galore!

TAfter a month of endless hours of talking on the phone to get to know each other better, my parents, brother and I, finally met him with his Chitti’s family in Jacksonville, FL.

Two months after which, we got engaged and watched our own engagement over Skype. That’s when I decided I would compensate for all this missed out fun, in our wedding the following year. (Well, I got a dramatic one ­knee proposal with a handsome 6’2” man and a shiny lil’ rock on a ring on the other end­ just how does one in their sanity say no to that?)

Months passed by, and very soon, it was time for the wedding bells. I got here just 10 days before the wedding, and Ashwin, a week before. I was quite worried about getting my outfits ready in time­ especially the blouses. On day 1, I had all my sarees and lehenga picked. Amma had already bought the Viratham saree from PSR silks, Mangalore. The nishyathartham & gruhapravesam sarees from Palam silks, oonjal saree from Sarangi, koora podavai from old Nalli, lehenga from Kay, Cathedral road (it was love at first sight!). The vilayadal was after the muhurtham lunch, I knew I would be tired and a floral salwar would be the quickest and best bet­ I got that from Westside.

I had several tailors and designers in mind for my blouses­ however most of them required atleast a month to get them ready. Amma’s friend suggested a tailor in K.K Nagar­ Ganesh embroidery. I was skeptical of the designs­ as I didnt want the blouses to be overdone, and of course, the fit. All my blouses were ready in just 6 days, with brilliant designs­ just like how I’d described it to him, with superb fitting­ I squealed in joy! I would greatly recommend him for people who are time­ crunched, and at a cost that would leave your bank account sniffing tears of joy!

For artificial jewelry I had my lovely besties to the rescue­ selected most of them from Narayana pearls, bangles from T.Nagar and Anna nagar’s Alankaar. I rented out my muhurtham temple jewelry from Maas, T.Nagar­ they have a good collection of both traditional and trendy. My gold jewelry was from LKS T.Nagar, as my parents and in­laws swear by them for quality, designs and family traditions.

Both Ashwin and I were determined on getting candid photography, in addition to normal photography, to capture the precious, once­in­a­lifetime moments at our wedding and reception. We reached out to Varun Suresh (@shot-stories-by-varun-suresh#), whose work speaks for itself. Our traditional photographer Mr. Panneer Selvam, surprised us, with a candid photographer, from his team­ the man captured nearly 15GB of treasured moments in both B&W as well as color.

My make­up artist­ Rhea & hairstylist­ Sumathi from Lakme, Kilpauk, were recommended by a very dear friend who got married earlier this year, and I loved how natural her make­up looked in pictures. So, I got a trial done before the wedding­ loved the look, blocked them down immediately for my big day.

Appa had arranged the catering from Subham Ganesan for both the days. You can never go wrong with Mr.Ganesan’s food­ may it be the variety of payasams (elaneer payasam being the highlight), bakshanam or kattu­sadham the day after the wedding! All our wedding guests loved the food, and the bakshanam that I got back to work in US vanished in a poof! All in all, both our families, friends and everyone who took their time out to attend our wedding, enjoyed it to their fullest, with a wonderful Sangeet organized by my brother-­in-­law and his BFF’s from college­ they put on a wonderful show full of dance, music, videos from our dear ones who couldn't attend the wedding, a heart­ touching compilation with funny comments, capturing Ashwin’s and my pictures from childhood until now.

Quick tips for all you brides-­to-­be: Get it together ya’ll: follow wedding blogs, bridal fashion weeks religiously for all the outfits, jewelry, make­up that are in trend now. But remember to tone down the jazz and understand what really suits your style and the occasions for your wedding. Day­dream: plan out every little thing you’ve ever wanted for your wedding, well in advance. Also have alternatives in mind, to save you from upsetting yourself over a little color mismatched bangle. Keep it cool­ The wedding tension is overrated­ with how easy we have it these days with planners, friends and parents always ready to help you out, don’t let all the last minute running get to you :)