Where and how did you meet?

#DODGEBALL

“Have you ever seen the Matrix?”

…Twas an average Sunday Eve in the middle of an otherwise average year. Megha was in the midst of a “Yes” phase, meaning she was agreeable to everything that came her way. So, when a friend suggested they meet for a meal at the ultra-chic (not) Rusty Mullet Bar on Hollywood Blvd, post his Dodgeball game, Megha shrugged & said sure, why not.

Eme, in the meantime, was simply living his life, heading towards the same fine establishment, also with aforementioned mutual friend & post dodgeball, full sweat. As the legend goes, Megha walked into the bar and scanned the room at the exact time Eme’s eyes landed on her. In a truly Hollywood “Meet Cute,” they made extended eye contact as the rest of the room seemingly vaporized. They struck up a conversation that neither one can recall the beginning of, but a conversation that both say started in the middle. There was an extraordinary and overwhelming feeling that they knew each other, perhaps from a previous era, a previous life; That they were not meeting for the first time, but rather, they were reuniting.

However, there was one particular part of the dialogue that would later prove to be an important callback; Megha had never seen The Matrix, one of Eme’s all-time favorite movies. Like any good Rom-Com, the rest of the evening was an action-packed whirlwind complete with a conflict (a missing cell phone, resulting in mad detective work, car chases, and a wild goose hunt,) several highly charged chemistry-building moments, & a ride-or-die epiphany. Before long, our loveable leads overcame their obstacle, and their long-winded journey led to, like all our favorite films, a very happy ending.

In the final moments of this spontaneous & significantly bonding 36-hour experience, Eme turned to Megha and asked her the question he had been dying to ask all night. “Would you like to watch The Matrix?” And so they did. And the rest, as they say, is… (Hollywood) History.

Who proposed and how?

Eme did – amidst the chaos that is Covid, in February 2021, he gathered many of our nearest and dearest friends (about 80 of them!) to create the most beautiful (and conscientious) proposal evening. I opened the door and walked out of our then apartment, and I was shocked to see those friends, each holding rose, and standing 6 feet apart, all smiles. As I greeted each and every one of them, they had a sentiment to say to me – a favorite story of mine and Eme’s, or a moment they loved. Our “framily” took up the entire hallway, and then four more hallways, all the way to the front door of the building! Each corridor played a different favorite song of ours. And, knowing that this marriage is bigger than just us, Eme had our family and friends from home tuned in via zoom (he is from Denver/Nigeria and I am from New York/India.) After walking through all the halls and greeting each friend, I was then escorted back to our home where, in a private moment in our private lush garden, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

Fun fact – No one heard the actual proposal until our save the date – in keeping in line with the venue of Planet Hollywood (film theme,) and Eme being an actor and me a writer, we created a “movie trailer” video as a save the date which featured some intimate moments from the proposal. Here’s the link, if you want to check it out! https://vimeo.com/554118408

Give us some insight about the wedding planning process.

Once we settled on Mexico which we did rather quickly, we knew we had to get moving, as it was already April of 2021 and we wanted to get married that year. We connected with a travel company that suggested Planet Hollywood, being that it was a beautiful new venue in Costa Mujeres, and after an extremely brief 36-hour trip, we decided it was the perfect place for our wedding – as a couple, we love to host, to cook, and to bring family and friends together – what better way to do that than to gather people from every era of our lives and stick them on an island together for one week!

The travel company was in charge of coordinating travel from all our destinations, including New York, Denver, Canada, Los Angeles, and abroad. There were many elements to think about, in any wedding, but especially being a mixed race, multicultural event, where we would be carefully infusing Nigerian and Indian customs, we knew we needed a tenured and very special wedding team to help bring our vision to life– cue Joss Morales, and her team at Cancun Unique Weddings. They helped execute the wedding week of our dreams, down to the very last detail. From packing the welcome bags to making sure each guest was comfortable, knew where they were going, and left each event happy, tipsy, and with gift in hand, CUW was invaluable to our wedding week!

Describe the wedding day. (Feelings, emotions, etc…)

Stunning, exhilarating, touching (x3,) moving, terrifying – ALL of the things. I have several favorite moments from the actual day (and a million more from the week!) But one moment that I’ll highlight is being walked in under a beautiful chunni with all my brothers by my side. (This includes my cousin brothers, and close family friends- many of whom have been by my side from quite literally day 1.) As a traditional Hindi song played over the speakers, I was ushered in by my “Bhaiya’s” (brothers) under a cascade of shimmering diamonds and deep red silk. I got to the edge of the fountain of lights, the catwalk I had designed, and stood there as Joss fixed my 6-foot train. Never one for a dull moment and having 243×2 eyeballs on me, I had tunnel vision for my groom who stood alllll the way at the end. My happy ending, right there. Overwhelmed with excitement, I waved at him, smiling a big, goofball smile, which he returned. This made the crowd laugh, because I think they felt all the same energy we were feeling!

And then I got to watch Eme’s reaction as the music changed, and the song I had chosen for my aisle walk rang out – it was a surprise for Eme, and seeing his face go from smile to “wait what,” to a total, deep understanding of the musical selection, filled me with great joy. You see, I had chosen the song “Montana” by Youth Lagoon, which holds great meaning for us – it is from a short-lived TV program called “Awake,” in which a man fights between 2 worlds after having a horrible car accident – in one, the accident kills his wife. In the other life, the accident kills their teenage son. In the final scene of the series, the husband finds himself in a new world where both his wife and son are alive, and Montana plays out over the scene. It is a testament that you can really have everything if you fight hard enough for it, if you believe in it.  Given the incredible amount of crisis Eme and I have endured in our relationship, that song really means a lot.

And I think that’s another reason why our wedding week felt so very special – when you have a destination wedding, only the people that truly are willing to make the effort attend. And all these people, all 243 of them, know just how much we have been through and we have come up on the other side of it all. And that’s something to celebrate.

 

Describe the ambiance of the wedding reception, décor, food, special touches and special/favorite moments

I mean…where to start! It’s all in the details, details, details. Everything was on brand – down to the logo for the welcome bags, which featured our personal logo that we designed and bits of film reels; once again keeping in line with the venue.

While we had an overriding theme, each night also had its own vibe.

Night 1 – my mehndi/welcome party – this was women only, and I got my mehndi done as my aunties played the Dhol and sang traditional songs. Lots of floral, and rustic, pretty vibes.

Night 2- The traditional Nigerian wedding / sangeet night, this was the first big wedding party! It was poolside, very chic, LOTS of color – bright florals, hues of orange, red, yellow. We had fire dancers, DJ Jiten played hot tunes that had bodies on the light up dance floor all night, and the food was a mix of Nigerian, Indian, and local Mexican.

Night 3 – we had a Miami themed all white holi party! I tell you, they said it won’t be done! That holi, the Hindu festival of colors, should only be done in March! But, always thinking outside the box, I arranged for 300 lbs of colored powder to ship to Mexico and it was an EPIC celebration. Imagine 250 people, all in white, and then all of a sudden, we start throwing color on one another! It was such a fun event and something most people had never done! When all the color had been sprayed, we all ran into the ocean, (which was a PERFECT 80 degrees,) washing away the color but basking in the sun and fun of a wickedly joyful afternoon! The drone footage from this event is truly something to behold!

Night 4- wedding and reception (followed by another epic after party) – not being one for florals, I opted for more greenery. I wanted to feel like we were getting married in a lush, enchanted garden. I am also HUGE on lighting – always have been. Thinking about how to do lighting in a ballroom, and also bearing in mind that many people had never been to a hindu wedding ceremony, I decided we would treat the ceremony as a show, like a performance. We turned off all the lights in the ballroom, and the only thing that shone was the canopy of lights that served as my aisle, and the various bulbs around the Mandap (altar.) It was absolutely stunning. Our vendor did an unbelievable job, and Joss and her team executed the vision like magic.

This served as the basis for our “Old Hollywood” reception, where we re-purposed the greens that edged the aisles as centerpieces. We also had these fabulous rectangle tables which had their own hanging florals and lighting. The whole room was very enchanting – lots of gold, lush greens, and really romantic lighting. We also had the logo we had designed, once again, in the middle of our custom black dance floor – but you couldn’t really see it, as the floor was packed all night! We opted not to have a traditional break for food, but rather, announce the buffet was open (Nigerian/Indian menu) and keep the music flowing.

We did not attend our cocktail hour, which was done at the disco on the resort property, but the lighting and views were truly instagrammable! The sunset was a mixture of deep purple, bright oranges, and yellows. The pictures were gorgeous! Food wise, we had everything but the kitchen sink! Stations of Indian, Nigerian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian food!

Some quick other hits of our special touches:

We had personalized cocktails at each event, in line with the evening’s theme. For example, at the reception one of the drinks were “The Forever Nindians” (Champagne and Chamboard)

We had personalized napkins, water bottles, tic-tacs, and more- all again, bearing our wedding logo. These were at each event. We also had personalized coasters at the reception which doubled as a return gift. I am not generally a fan of return gifts, but as these were practical and elevated our table scape, I liked them!

Each welcome bag had the classics and essentials – hangover cures, water, personalized itineraries etc. But we also had some very special things –sunglasses personalized with our wedding #andtheemegoestomeg (for Holi), orange wristbands with our #, so that wedding guests would be able to identify (and befriend!) one other, even a hotel map with little animated “Megha and Eme characters,” that a friend who is a graphic designer, created for us as a wedding present. I thought that was a unique touch that once again showed our personalities.

When guests arrived in the hotel, they were led to a special check in desk that also had those same animated mini-megha and eme’s! There was also an amphitheater that toggled between playing our Save the Date trailer, as well as a “welcome to our wedding week” video that we created.

At our Sangeet, we had a little his/her’s table with return gifts – Megha’s Bangles & Bindi’s, and Eme’s Chin Chin – two different items, each from our cultures.

Our rings are engraved with each other’s handwriting, saying “I have you.” As an homage to this, I also engraved “I have always had you” on my wedding lengha skirt, on the train bit.

Finally, my Mehndi, which I loved and did on my feet and full arms, featured our 2 cities – Delhi and Lagos, coming together, as well as hidden messages to my groom.

Include any additional information you may want to share. Such as humorous stories that might have happened or anything else you feel may be of interest.

I often say that the wedding is for “them,” and the marriage is for you – this comes from the idea that sometimes, wedding planning can be big, chaotic, and stressful – so it’s important to keep things in perspective, and remember at the end of the day, the main takeaway is the beautiful journey you are about to embark on, with your new partner. So, with this in mind, during our wedding planning process, Eme and I decided that each evening (and there were many of them!), we would steal away five minutes. Just us, locked in a room, checking in. Making sure it still feels like us, and that we are present with each other, as sometimes we can be socially very independent. I did not want my wedding week to feel like a blur and at the end of it, think back and go “wow did I spend any time with my husband?” It’s something that we cherished each evening and are so glad we did.

 

 

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