An Intimate Multi-Faith Wedding In Chicago: Devanshi & PremChicago United States
A couple who eats together stays together! At least that is the case with our couple, Devanshi and Prem. They enjoy exploring new food places whenever time permits and even try new recipes to cook together. Devanshi runs a food page on Instagram and no one is allowed in her kitchen except Prem. So, how did these two foodies meet?
It all started with freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where both Devanshi and Prem met for the first time. Having mutual friends, they used to see each other and hang out at parties quite often. Things were normal till the senior year started and Prem started finding reasons to see and chill with Devanshi. As Devanshi’s roommate and Prem were part of the same dance team, he used to drop by anytime in hopes of spending some time with her, but every time he visits, either she was at work or taking a nap. Luck was not with Prem, but one fine event, lady luck decided to be on his side. During the last semester, Devanshi took part as a lead organizer for their senior class for the annual India night show. Prem did not waste a moment and grabbed the opportunity to help with the senior class dance and finally, he got to spend time with her. And the day after their graduation he asked her to be his girlfriend which she happily agreed to.
After 5 years of long-distance dating, they were finally living in the same city, Chicago. They decided to celebrate their 5th anniversary and planned to take a weekend trip to Denver, Colorado. As they were having an early morning flight, Prem suggested that they can start celebrating the night before at his apartment and go to the airport from there. Devanshi loves to dress up and click pictures and make TikToks, so it was very easy for Prem to convince her to get dressed up. She did and when she arrived, he took her in by putting a blindfold on her and took her to the bedroom, which was decorated with lights and their pictures from the past 5 years. After cherishing those moments, Prem took her to the living room which again was beautifully decorated with roses and tealight candles everywhere. There he went down on his knees and popped the question, to which Devanshi did not think twice before saying a big yes. Prem was not done here, he surprised her with a six-course meal from around the world, after the proposal in his kitchen. The next 5 hours they spent eating, video chatting with families and friends, and making TikToks.
For her ring, Prem worked with Asian Gems in Chicago to design a custom engagement ring. It is a cushion-cut center stone with a classic four-prong pavé setting. The ring is beautifully finished with a hidden halo.
Prem and Devanshi both wanted to have an intimate wedding followed by a big party. They chose to get married at a temple hall in a traditional ceremony and then they organized a Garba event full of colors, food, and dancing. They had a blast ending their wedding weekend with a huge reception party, where they danced the night away. Both of them knew that Indian weddings cannot be 100% sustainable, but then also they wanted to at least try and reduce wastage as much as possible. For their wedding invitation, they went for seed papers from Botanical Paperworks. With the help of the families, they designed the invitation on Canva and used HP Printers at home to print out the invitation.
For the Mehndi ceremony, the to-be bride decided to have her Mehendi party at her aunt’s place and chose the classic Bollywood theme, as Devanshi is a huge fan.
Her family not only decorated the space with movie posters and other movie-related props but also everyone dressed up like a Bollywood movie character.
Prem was dressed up like Hrithik Roshan from the song Ghungroo and Devanshi chose to dress up like Deepika Padukone from YJHD as Naina Talwar.
Unnati did her mehndi, and we loved how beautifully she did it, including the food elements.
The bride’s family hosted a small intimate ceremony at their house to worship Lord Ganesh and prepare the bride for a happy married life. The décor for this event was traditional and all DIY! The fabric was purchased from Joann Fabrics, the décor was borrowed from friends and family, and the faux roses were purchased on Amazon.
For this ceremony, Devanshi chose a more fun color and went with a purple Patola saree purchased from a local vendor in Vadodara. She paired it with a custom-tailored white blouse with thread work from Madhulika and jewelry from K R Sons.
Mehndi and Pithi
Devanshi’s family hosted a formal mehndi and pithi/haldi event for their guests where her parents and her sister and brother-in-law decided to wear matching custom outfits. One of the bride’s cousins is a fashion designer in India, so she helped in getting matching outfits for the family, tailor-made in Mumbai. Devanshi chose a sleeveless ivory Lucknowi Anarkali and paired it with a velvet ombré green dupatta.
She went for matching earrings and maangtikka from her sister’s closet.
The event was held at Society 57, a beautiful venue with a coffee shop in the front and event space in the back, in Aurora. The venue had a dark industrial feel, so they planned to keep the décor minimal and let the venue shine. They had black table covers to match the dark walls, tealight candles and faux garlands for centerpieces, and real plants for the backdrop.
Multi Faith Wedding Ceremony
Since Devanshi is Gujarati and Prem is Tamilian, they wanted to honor the traditions of both cultures. Coming from different backgrounds, both traditions required outfit changing in a specific part of the ceremony, so they used this as an opportunity and dressed first in Gujarati-style wedding outfits and then changed into Tamil-style wedding outfits.
Devanshi’s wedding look was very special to her, as she wore her mom’s wedding saree. To complete the whole look she borrowed jewelry from her maasi and sister.
Devanshi opted for a simple yet glowing makeup look and a textured bun adorned with fresh jasmine flowers done by Tamara Makeup.
To compliment her, Prem wore an ivory Lucknowi kurta custom made in Mumbai with a custom-tailored red long jacket custom made in Vadodara.
For their Tamilian wedding, Prem wore a traditional South Indian outfit consisting of an ivory silk veshti and a button-down shirt.
Devanshi wore a bright red Kanchipuram Silk saree paired with a custom ivory blouse with traditional beaded work from RmKV Silks. To finish her look, Devanshi wore Temple Jewelry and a matching waist belt, purchased from Rebaari Jewels.
For the decor, the couple went for a modern wooden frame and red color for draping and florals. They wanted simple and elegant decor.
They served their guests a traditional South Indian wedding meal on a banana leaf.
Unlike other couples, the couple exchanged rings after the wedding ceremony.
Devanshi wore her mom’s wedding gharchola saree and paired it with a heavy choker necklace, matching earrings, and a mathapatti headpiece. Her hair and makeup were done by Rabia Sikander.
On the other side, Prem wore a custom ivory Lucknowi kurta made from the same fabric as Devanshi’s ivory Anarkali from her mehndi event.
He finished the royal look by draping his mom’s wedding saree as a shawl.
A Gujarati wedding is incomplete without Garba! And as the couple is fond of dancing they knew that they cannot skip a Garba night to dance away with full zeal.
For the decor, they went for a very colorful backdrop. To add some photo ops, they chose two big umbrellas and a taftan seating to go in front of the draping. For the centerpieces, they used the hotel’s round mirrors and votive candles and arranged them over colorful table runners along with reusable rangolis borrowed from friends and family.
For the favors table, they used colorful pillowcases and traditional bangle stands. This same decor was used for the ring ceremony too, as Garba night was just after that.
For this event, Prem and Devanshi both wore custom-tailored matching outfits. She went with a dark purplish maroon velvet skirt and crop top, paired with a simple lavender dupatta.
Her jewelry, hair, and makeup were the same as the ring ceremony and Prem wore a dark purplish maroon kurta with pathani pants, paired with a lavender mirror work blazer.
For the finale, reception night, the bride and groom wanted the whole look and vibe to be dark, moody, and royal.
They opted for a backdrop with a green wall and candle walls in the front-lit up with chandeliers and candles. For the guest tables, they opted for black linens with gold, red, and burgundy floral centerpiece and finished the look with gold chivari chairs with black cushions.
The entrance door had burgundy and gold draping which looked stunning.
Devanshi wanted to wear something fun and comfortable to dance in at the reception. She wore a stunning, mirror-work lehenga in a dual-tone purchased from Aari in Mumbai.
On the other side, Prem wore a tuxedo jacket and shirt with ankle-length pants, custom-made from Indochino.
He completed his look with a black bow, a pocket square matching Devanshi’s outfit, and a lapel pin of Devanshi’s food blog logo.
Tips from the bride, Devanshi
1. No matter how much you prepare, some things are bound to go wrong and at that point, they are going to be out of your control. The week of our wedding, we had mehndi artists cancel, caterers go out of business or on a sudden holiday, vendors falling sick, fire alarm go off during an event, etc. and as scary and frustrating as it was, it all passed with the help of family and friends and each event was as successful as it could’ve been. For me, my sister and brother-in-law were self-appointed wedding planners. When things went wrong, they took charge and came to me with a plan. That took so much pressure off me as I could not have possibly made all those decisions the week of my wedding! My advice for future couples is to have someone reliable like that on your team. They don’t have to be involved in all your planning, but they must be someone who you can trust and who can make decisions when you are busy.
2. It’s important to remember that this event should reflect you as a couple, not what other couples are doing. When I decided to reuse my mom’s wedding sarees for my outfits, I debated turning them into lehengas because I felt like every bride these days wears a lehenga. But I just couldn’t get myself to do that to my mom’s wedding outfit! Traditionally, Gujarati brides have always worn sarees so even though I felt like not wearing a lehenga was “out of fashion”, wearing a saree truly reflected who I am!
3. If you find a vendor who hasn’t worked with South Asian couples before but is willing to learn, have a conversation with them to see if your vision matches their work. Our photographer and videographer were relatively new to the South Asian wedding industry, but we had multiple conversations about the rituals and expectations. They completely blew our minds with their work! They were probably one of our favorite vendors to work with!
- Devanshi’s Mandap Muhurat Photographer: Rishta Klix
- Photographer and Videographer for Bollywood Mehndi, Mehndi & Pithi, Wedding Ceremony, Ring Ceremony, and Reception: Visi Studio
- Décor for Wedding Ceremony: JD Event Design
- Décor for Ring Ceremony/Garba and Reception: Sanimar Décor Studio
- Devanshi’s Mehndi: Unnati
- Devanshi’s hair and makeup for the wedding ceremony: Tamara Makeup
- Devanshi’s hair and makeup for ring ceremony/garba and reception: Rabia Sikander
- Devanshi’s ring: Asian Gems
- Garba and Reception DJ: DJ Krush of Shaadi Entertainment
- Devanshi’s Bollywood mehndi skirt: Kreative Boutique
- Devanshi’s Tamil-style Wedding ceremony saree: RmKV Silks
- Devanshi’s reception outfit: Aari
- Prem’s reception outfit: Indochino
- Devanshi’s wedding ceremony and reception jewelry: Rebaari Jewels
- Devanshi’s mandap muhurat jewelry and reception bangles: K R Sons
- Cake: The Baking Institute
- Cake topper: Custom Crafts by Miki
- Venue for Mehndi & Pithi: Society 57
- Venue for the wedding ceremony: The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, IL
- Venue for ring ceremony/Garba and reception: Hyatt Regency Schaumburg
Author: Gayatri Guha
Edited By: Neha Garg Ahuja