Aparna and Jay met during tryouts for an Indian dance team at the University of Michigan. After realizing that they were in the same class, they became best friends. Three years later, they began dating. Their incredible five-day Indian wedding is both traditional and uniquely tailored to Aparna and Jay. Read on for our interview with Aparna and Jay below and watch their full wedding video by 97 Films.
How did you meet and fall in love?
We first met in college at tryouts for an Indian dance team at the University of Michigan. We made small talk then, since my best friend went to the same high school as Jay. Eventually, we both made the team and slowly got to know one another better. Around that same time, I noticed that Jay was in my biology class so I sent him a text. Since then, we sat next to each other every day and studied together. We also made sure that we had at least one class with each other every semester since then…and after three years of best-friendship, we started dating!
Tell us how the proposal happened.
Jay: As soon as Aparna and I had decided that we wanted to get married, I began brainstorming how I wanted to propose. I knew that Aparna and I weren’t big on theatrics and we would feel better if it was low-key and we had people we cared about around us. I had always talked about taking Aparna to Traverse City, Michigan and the sand dunes, since I had been there many times and loved doing the dune climb. I figured that would be the best place to [propose] because it’s a relatively involved climb but the view at the end of Lake Michigan is absolutely stunning. I worked up a plan to go on a trip to Traverse City with Aparna and have my sister and brother-in-law join us–they were in on the proposal. I figured that the end of May would be good because it would be good weather and make the dune climb especially fun. The weekend rolled around and instead of being warm and sunny, it was cold, cloudy, and rainy with a high in the mid 40s–not what I had wanted or expected. Despite all of that, we made the most of the weekend by exploring downtown Traverse City, eating great food, and checking out a few wineries. When the time came to go out to the sand dunes, Aparna asked if we really should considering how cold it was. My sister threw me a nervous glance but I reassured Aparna that we should, since we came out all this way for the dunes. When we got to the sand dunes, we had to layer up because of how cold and windy it was. We did the hike, which seemed a lot harder than usual, and eventually made it to the shores of Lake Michigan. Though it was incredibly frigid, I got down on one knee and proposed. We had planned to stay on the beach for a little, have some food, enjoy the view, and then head back, however it was far too cold so we headed back immediately. That night, we went out for some ice cream and played some boardgames in the hotel room to relax. In my opinion, I think the entire weekend perfectly encompassed the type of people we are.
Tell us about something that was creative or unique to your wedding.
Our wedding was a five-day Indian extravaganza, and our families pulled out all the stops! From getting water poured on me (Aparna) for prosperity, to both of us getting smeared with turmeric paste, to our dance-filled sangeet evening (complete with a family flashmob finale), the outdoor ceremony and the reception, we poured our hearts into every little detail to tailor the wedding to us, our story, and our interests…and we wouldn’t have done it any other way!
Describe the moment from your wedding day that stands out to you the most.
Our first look–it was just a whirlwind of emotions. The feeling that this moment was finally here just hit me all at once! Also, looking out into the audience and watching all of our family and friends chatting and laughing with each other was very special to me too!
How did you find your wedding dress? Who designed it and how did you know it was the one?
We went on a three day intense shopping spree in Bangalore for the ceremony outfit and we had a week in Mumbai for everything else! After many hours in many stores, I finally found the ceremony outfit! It was a gorgeous maroon and gold Kanjivaram silk sari, with hints of green (just what I wanted). When they tried it on me, I just knew it was the one. It was the only one that made me smile when I wore it. It was designed by the tailors at Kala Mandir in Banagalore, India.
What made your wedding feel extra special to you and your partner?
We loved being able to share our special week with so many friends and family who came from near and far. We also loved being able to dance with our bridal party and just watching everyone have a great time! Finally, the little moments that we had together, just the two of us, in between all the chaos, are the moments that stand out and the ones that I will cherish forever!
How did you find your filmmaker and what made you choose them?
I watched a LOT of videos on various blog sites, and read many reviews of vendors in our area. We loved Katie from 97 Films the minute we met her, and we loved her work for weeks before! She and her team were so amazing in capturing every detail of a multi-day Indian affair, and we loved how comfortable she made all of us feel–she became a part of the family during our wedding week! 97 Films was absolutely stunning in their cinematic delivery and we knew that Katie and her team would deliver the wedding film we’d always dreamed of.
What is your favorite moment from your wedding film?
Jay and I high-fiving during the ceremony.
What do you think the “secret sauce” to your relationship is?
We were friends first and I really think that has let us grow together and individually in a way that is conducive to a loving, supportive relationship.
Tell us the No. 1 piece of wedding planning advice you wish you would have known OR that you found to be the most helpful.
I wish that I wouldn’t have stressed the small stuff so much and delegated a little bit more to other people so that I could have enjoyed the weekend even more! Take it all in, because it all goes by so quickly. Though we enjoyed ourselves, I wish I’d taken more time to enjoy every little detail for just one extra minute.