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Wedding

My Mehndi Day Look

Sheena Virmani

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Today marks one year since our wedding week officially began. Time is literally flying; it honestly feels like it was just last week.

My Mehndi Day look was one of my favorite looks from the whole week. My outfit was a twist on a classic dhoti saree, but we made the pants shorter so that they wouldn’t get in the way of the mehndi applied on my feet.

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I also loved this look because of my hair and makeup. My hair was done in a braid that was swept to the side with flowers pinned down it. I felt like an old-school Bollywood actress.

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The whole look was just so simple and pretty – something you want to strive for on your mehndi day. You don’t want your look to be too fussy because you will have the mehndi applied on your hands and feet – you want something that is comfortable, but that the same time something really girly and pretty.

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Vendors:

Outfit – Designerz Den

MUA – Pretty Faces YYC

Mehndi – Glamour Studios (Calgary)

Decor - Sweet Soiree 

How to Throw a Kick-Ass Bridal Shower

Sheena Virmani

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Over the past few years I’ve had my go at hosting a handful of bridal showers. Bridal showers are one of those events that can be relatively simple to host if you are organized and you don't have a bridezilla on your hands. On the other hand it can be completely chaotic if not planned well - the bridezilla part, well you can't really do much about that.

Here are my bridal shower FAQ’s to help you plan the best shower ever:

 

Who should organize the shower?

·   Typically the bridal shower is organized by a bridesmaid(s), close friends, or family members of the bride.

·   If it is an informal shower the host should generally pick up all the costs. For a more elaborate shower the bridesmaids or family members might split the cost, but this should be decided in advance.

·   Unless it is a surprise, involve the bride by:

o   Getting her guest list to ensure you don’t leave anyone important out

o   Figuring out a theme for the party- she might have one in mind

o   Ask her to create a gift registry

 

Where the shower should be held?

·  The bridal shower can be held at the host’s home, an intimate event space, or a cute café/restaurant.

·  If the guest list is more than 20, I would consider hosting it at an event space.

 

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What should I do for décor?

·  If there is a theme – stay on theme with the décor.

·  Before you go out and buy décor, see what you already have around the house. Also ask around to see what types of supplies the other ladies helping you plan can bring. Dividing and conquering is the best when it comes to décor.

·   Find a local supplier who rents out foldable tables and chairs – this can really make all the difference, especially for a shower that is being hosted in the backyard.

·  Helium number and letter balloons are always a good idea.

·  Beau-coup is really great online site for bridal shower décor. Also try - Etsy, Party City, and Oriental Trading

·  If you are a DIY queen then this is your time to shine. All those Pinterest crafty projects you have saved up, bridal showers are a great place for DIY décor. Check out my DIY paper flowers below:

· It's also a good idea to have some kind of photobooth or pretty backdrop guests can take pictures in front of. It can be as simple as draping fabric over this:

Backdrop Frame

 

What should I do for food?

·  If there is a theme – stay on theme with the food selections.

· Assess the time of day you are hosting the shower. If it begins at 11am – breakfast food is fair game as well as a few “filling” lunch items. This may be better because it works out to be cheaper. However, if you are hosting an evening shower, it may require you to serve dinner which can be a lot pricier. So be aware of timing/budget.

· Guest count will also play a big role in the food you serve. I know anytime you Pinterest “Bridal Shower Food” the cutest finger food comes up. The truth is, nicely presented finger foods can be a lot of work if your guest count is more than 20. If it is a big group – buffet style may work best.

·  A good tip is to keep it as simple as you can. Have a variety of finger foods – some cost savers like: dips, fruit/veggie trays, and meat and cheese trays. Pick one or two main items to spend the majority of your food budget on.

· You can make the shower a potluck and have every guest bring a dish on theme. Ensure everyone knows what other guests are bringing to avoid duplicates.

·  A dessert table is always a good idea.

·  I always make a non-alcoholic punch and have a few bottles of white wine/champagne laid out so guests can spike the punch if they wish.

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What should I do for party games?

·  It’s not a shower without party games. It is definitely the thing I look most forward to when I attend a bridal shower.

·  It is a way for guests to get to know each other before the wedding and interact in a fun way.

·   Good party games: The Knot, Martha Stewart

 

To wrap things up, if you get asked to host a bridal shower, don't freak out. It is only as complicated as you make it. Keep it simple and stay organized and you will definitely throw a kick-ass bridal shower.

Kate Spade Inspired Bridal Shower

Sheena Virmani

One of my best girlfriends is getting married in a couple of weeks and this past weekend we threw her a Kate Spade inspired bridal shower. We went with a Kate Spade inspired theme because she absolutely looooves Kate Spade. We had a lot of fun with the theme, it was fairly easy to find decor and  DIY decor ideas online. 

We used black and white striped wrapping paper (a large table cloth would work as well), polka dot balloons, and pink tissue balls for the backdrop to the dessert table, this was the focal point of the room. 

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We printed and framed Kate Spade sayings and displayed them around the room. 

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Nail polish favours 

Nail polish favours 

We set-up a Polaroid photo booth so guests could take pictures. The backdrop is pink polka-dotted wrapping paper and the tasseled banner was a DIY I found on Pinterest. I also had a few selfie sticks on hand because every party needs one. 

Photobooth backdrop 

Photobooth backdrop 

Polaroid camera, selfie sticks, and props 

Polaroid camera, selfie sticks, and props 

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For food, we set-up a taco bar, this is a lot of fun for guests and really easy to set-up. We had ours catered from Mucho Burrito here in Calgary, but you could easily buy all the ingredients and set this up yourself. 

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Date night idea activity 

Date night idea activity 

Shop the Theme: 

Behind the Ceremony

Sheena Virmani

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I recently watched a documentary on CBC entitled Little India Big Business which talks about the booming Indian wedding industry in Canada. Just having planned an Indian wedding myself I wasn’t shocked to hear that the average cost of an Indian wedding is $100 000 (jaw drops). Indian weddings can be extravagant, lavish week-long events, and the costs can add up quick. As a bride today, it’s so easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of it, get lost in little details, and lose sight about what the wedding day is actually about. 

From the perspective of someone who just got married, and fell victim to the glitz and glam aspect of weddings (it's me after all, it was expected) I realized when reflecting back on our wedding day that it was the ceremony that was the most beautiful part of the whole wedding week. It was that moment for me when the whole thing felt magical. Our ceremony was light-hearted and full of laughter, it matched us as a couple perfectly, and I think making sure that happens is really important. Couples focus a lot on things like decor, outfits, and food to ensure it fits them as a couple and place their personal touches on these items to make them special. I don't see many Indian couples who try and put personal touches on their ceremony.

Here are some ways we made sure that the ceremony fit our style and we could ensure we got the most out of it:

Venue of the Ceremony

From the very beginning it was important for both Kunal and I to get married outside in a place that really connects us and makes us feel grounded.  Neither of us grew up in very religious households and after thinking about it we realized Banff was that place for us. The mountains give us a sense of peace and gratitude so we knew that there was no better place for us to feel connected to each other than here.

I know if you are Indian this can be a bit tricky because in some cultures the marriage ceremony must be performed in a temple, but I challenge you to think deeper than this. For example, if you feel connected to a certain temple, don't just go off of availability, ensure that you get the ceremony venue that will do the most for your spirituality and make you feel the most connected to your partner. 

Wedding Officiant

We had a Hindu wedding ceremony, and because of that a pundit (Hindu priest) performed our ceremony. Pundits usually perform a traditionally Hindu ceremony in Sanskrit (a sacred language of Hinduism), the challenge here was that Kunal and I don't understand Sanskrit and it was important to us to understand the meaning behind the ceremony. We found a pundit that could perform the Hindu ceremony for us in English. A Hindu ceremony can be up to three hours long (ours was condensed to an hour) but there are many steps, rituals, and prayers performed during this time. I can't tell you how amazing it was to understand what every step meant and it truly helped us feel more connected to the ceremony. 

It was also important that whoever was performing the ceremony had a great sense of humor and brought a sense of light-heartedness to the ceremony. Our pundit definitely did this, and we really liked this because we felt that the ceremony was really light and enjoyable for both of us (we laughed a lot!).  

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Our Guests 

At our ceremony, Kunal and I only wanted people in attendance who we knew personally and who we felt connected to. When planning an Indian wedding you can get a lot of pressure from your parents to have an extensive guest list attending every event. The ceremony is something so personal and sacred, we didn't feel right sharing it with people who didn't mean something to us. We tried our hardest to keep our ceremony number low and think about each and every person in attendance and what type of energy they would bring to the ceremony. On this day the bride and groom should feel loved and supported and shouldn't have to feel obligated to invite anyone for any reason. If you don't think someone will bring good energy to this occasion for you, it is okay to leave them out (hashtag good vibes only, it's a real thing). 

To wrap this up, my best advice would be to be selective when planning your wedding ceremony. It is the most spiritual part of the whole wedding week and it is a time you should truly feel connected to your partner and your loved ones in attendance. Ensure that you don't overlook the ceremony because it is what the whole wedding week is truly about and in my opinion it should be one of the most enjoyable parts of the week, and it can be if you put in the effort to make it right. 

 

Why I Chose to Wear Red on My Wedding Day

Sheena Virmani

When it comes to Indian bridal wear the possibilities are endless – and it’s very apparent now more than ever. When creating my own looks, I found so many options to get really high quality custom designed outfits with my own colour, material, and design specifications from a variety of places here in Canada, where as even five years ago that wasn’t possible. This is really great because for one you don't have to go all the way to India to design the outfit of your dreams and can save some money (and who doesn't want to save money), and secondly it opens the door for design possibilities. Brides are no longer limited to what individual stores offer in their bridal collection and stores can no longer define what a bride should look like. We can now essentially create anything we want for our wedding looks based on a picture or a design in our head.  

When scrolling through my Instagram feed looking for Indian bridal inspiration while planning the wedding I saw so many brides out there steering away from the traditional wedding ceremony shades like pink, red, and maroon and opting for completely different colour palettes.  Why? Because they can.  As a fashionista, I love it; I love when brides are daring and push the limits for what’s acceptable for Indian bridal fashion and get creative. 

The creative in me would’ve had the best time playing with colours and designing something unique for myself, the tiny bit of “Traditionalist” in me wouldn’t allow me to go there. Although, I was born and brought up in Canada, being Indian is a huge part of who I am and has shaped a lot of my experiences growing up. Even though I don’t embrace it in every aspect of my life, wearing red on my wedding day was important to me. 

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In India, red marks the colour of an auspicious occasion. It is the colour of a new life, and a reminder of beginning a new phase in your life. The colour red is a powerful symbol of leaving behind one’s adolescence and stepping into womanhood. For me, more than our marriage signifying our love for each other, this is what the wedding was truly about. Kunal and I love each other; I already knew that and experienced that. Our marriage was truly about us stepping into this new life together and taking on responsibilities as grownups that was significant, kind of like a rite of passage.  Before I was married I didn’t spend a long period of time living away from home, I was largely dependent on my parents for a lot of things, and didn’t really take on a huge amount of responsibility for anything in my life that required being an “adult”. The wedding for me was about embracing my new life and taking responsibility for myself as a grown and independent woman, so the significance behind the colour red truly struck a chord with me. 

So to wrap this up, if you didn't know why Indian brides traditionally wear red...well now you are in the know my friends! 

Getting ready behind the scenes 

Getting ready behind the scenes 

Getting ready behind the scenes

Getting ready behind the scenes

Outfit Details:

Make-up: Pretty Faces Calgary

Hair: Roopstyle

Outfit: Made In India (Surrey)

Jewelry: Gehna (Surrey)

Flowers: Amy Sanderson

Venue: Rimrock Hotel (Banff)

Bachelorette Weekend in Kelowna

Sheena Virmani

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I just spent the weekend in Kelowna and it was the perfect spot for a girl’s weekend getaway.  My best friend and I are getting married a week apart so we decided to get all of our best girlfriends together to celebrate. We have been planning this trip since early this year and it’s hard to believe it’s already over!

We had a jam packed weekend full of bachelorette party fun. We arrived in Kelowna on Thursday evening and started off with a Welcome BBQ at the resort. We all sat around the fire, ate burgers and s’mores, and everyone got to share their favourite memories of the brides-to-be while getting to know each other. We stayed at the beautiful The Cove Lakeside Resort. All the girls loved the resort - it was in a quaint location close to the wineries in West Kelowna. The resort has its own private boating dock, a private beach and a really nice pool.  I will definitely be going back to this resort.

On Friday, we went on a wine tour we booked through a company called Vines and Views.  They were really great at accommodating 20 girls. We got our own private tour bus fully stocked with snacks and drinks. Our tour guide was great company and very knowledgeable about the area and the different wineries we visited. We visited 5 wineries. Quail’s Gate was definitely my favourite stop and the views from here were breathtaking.

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On our final day we were able to sleep in a little and have breakfast at the resort before heading out on the water for the afternoon. We rented a boat through the same company Vines and Views. It was a such a good time and perhaps my favourite part of the weekend. We danced, listened to music, and got views of the beautiful Lake Okanagan. Some girls were even daring enough to jump in the water, but not me. I stuck one toe in and pulled it right out - the water was pretty cold!

On our last evening, we played some fun bachelorette party games and popped some champagne before dancing the night away. All the girls dressed in white and I dressed in rose gold.

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All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. If you are planning a bachelorette party I would definitely recommend Kelowna!  

Lot’s of Love

-       S

Outfit Details:

White Brunch Themed Bridal Shower

Sheena Virmani

Over the weekend my family and friends threw me the most wonderful bridal shower a girl could ask for.  They sure made me feel special. It was so nice having everyone I loved in a room together. We laughed a lot, ate yummy food, and played silly games. It was an afternoon I will cherish forever  Here are a few of my favourite snaps from the afternoon: 

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The dress I was wearing is from Lulu’s Here, however it is sold out. I’ve linked some of my other top choices for bridal shower looks for you to shop below. 

My Thoughts on Weddings ATM

Sheena Virmani

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Hello my lovely friends! I know I promised a lot of wedding updates on the blog and I feel like I have been lacking on wedding posts. I can’t believe it’s almost been a whole year since we got engaged in magical Paris…I seriously reminisce about it all the time. I wasn’t one of those girls who got proposed to and already had a game plan for the wedding; in fact, I didn’t have a clue about wedding planning or exactly what I was in for. I even let the engagement set in for a couple of months before I started planning, I would say I officially started planning the wedding in August of 2015 and we are getting married in August of 2016 – so a good year in advance. With only three months left until the wedding there is a lot going on. Surprisingly, I didn’t get as overwhelmed as I thought I would – or maybe I’m just being naïve and the worst is yet to come (I have a gut feeling that this is the case).

 I want to take some time to talk about my experience so far to help anyone who is recently engaged or starting off planning a wedding- just some things to think about; a WEDDING FYI of sorts: 

 

1.       First things first – THE GUEST LIST

The first thing we did was sit down with our parents and created a guest list, at this point it wasn’t exact, but it was a rough estimate of the number of people we were going to have attending the events (notice I say events because it’s an Indian wedding and there are multiple events spanning over multiple days). The guest list determines a lot – it will help you to identify a budget and from there identify potential venues.  The budget and guest list count kind of go hand in hand. Now, some may say that budget comes first and then the guest count, but in my case it wasn’t realistic to work it like that. Our families felt obligated to invite certain people who couldn’t really get cut, and I’m sure this is the case for many couples- so guest list first, and then come up with a realistic budget around your count. For example, if I had 200 people coming to the wedding I could then decide if I could afford to pay $40/plate at Venue A, VS. $70/plate at Venue B. The guest list count also determines what venues you can use, I was finding it hard to find venues I loved that could host more than 200 people. You also don’t want to be going and viewing dozens of venues (it’s really time consuming) knowing your guest count and budget will really help narrow down your search.

 

2.       Use a Tiered Approach

Outside of people you and your family are obligated to invite use a tiered approach for the rest of your invites and send out our invites in waves. Prioritize the “nice to have” guests in two waves. Send off the first round of invites with a certain RSVP date and if you don’t hear back by the date, send out the remaining to the second group.

 

3.       More on the Budget

Most wedding budgets increase as you get further along into planning from when you initially started. It is so important to keep some contingency funds for when this happens (because it will no matter how hard you try to stay on budget). I think the important thing to think about here is focusing on a few things you want to splurge on and then spending less on everything else. For example, if you really want to splurge on the venue and photography, do that, but then look for cost cuttings in other areas such as outfits, the cake, decorations, and entertainment. It’s important to figure out what’s important to both you and your fiance to see where best to allocate the wedding funds.

 

4.       Forget About the Little Things

This one is HUGE! If you are debating on certain things to spend on that seem really important but are increasing the budget - my trick is to think about how big of an impact it will have on guests to help me make a decision. This happened to me just the other day when I was asked to choose between a $3/person plain Jane chair cover VS. a $6/person fancy chair cover and I was just so torn. It sounds silly when I write it out, but I feel like people get so caught up in these types of little decisions when planning a wedding and this is what causes budgets to go over. Remember the wedding industry is a money making industry, you could spend endless amounts of money upgrading and adding different things, but at the end of the day a wedding is about celebrating your love. Are your guests really going to remember/care about what kind of chair cover you had at the wedding? Probably not. I know it seems important at the time you are choosing them, but when this happens try to remove yourself from that instance and think about the big picture (of what is your wedding). For items that will have a minimal impact to your guests, I say, don’t think twice and always go with the cheaper option. Think about the experience as a whole for your guests instead of worrying about individual details to put things into perspective. Focus on areas that are going to really elevate the experience for them.

 

5.       Don’t forget to….Have fun!

It’s a well-known quote- “Life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey”. Have fun with your planning, it shouldn’t just be about enjoying your wedding day itself; it should be about enjoying the whole process with your family and your fiance. Get loved ones involved and use it as an opportunity to come together and spend quality time together.  I've gotten K involved with planning and we both have a lot of fun with it! 

 

Those are some of my major thoughts around wedding planning ATM. I’ll make sure to put together another post closer to the wedding!

 

Lots of love and thanks for reading!

 

-S

     

Our Black & White Love Story

Sheena Virmani

As you may or may not know, K whisked me off to Paris a couple weeks ago to propose. I have to say, the whole thing still feels like a dream. It was a really magical moment, everything I could have imagined and more. 

These past few weeks after our engagement, I have really been reflecting on our relationship and what makes a strong and healthy relationship. In general, when you first start getting to know someone, your relationship is only surface level deep. You make a conscious effort to look nice when you see them, and you try to do and say all the right things. It makes sense, you don't know this person very well at this point and may not be comfortable being your complete true self around them yet. K and I have known each other for a very long time. When we first met we had an instant connection which made me feel like I had already known him for years. I think that time is not always an accurate measurement of how deep your relationship is with someone. You could know someone for years and years but still have a very superficial relationship. 

When you meet someone you have a serious connection with, your relationship becomes deeper than surface level really quickly. For me, this helped me to realize that nothing I ever experienced before was real (the saying "when you know, you just know" comes to mind here). Real relationships challenge you in a good way, and they help you grow both individually and together as a couple. You accept each other's weaknesses (because everyone has them) and work on them together. You put ego aside and you learn to compromise and trust each other. Most importantly, in a true relationship there are no expectations. Even the best partners are not mind readers, and you have to make your desires known through clear communication. 

K- you not only make me a better person, you have helped me in more ways than you even know. We went from two kids in school not having any idea of what we wanted to do with our lives to now working together towards creating our dream life. Thank you for being the biggest supporter of my goals and aspirations. You push me and inspire me to work harder and dream bigger each and everyday. You are my best friend, soulmate, confidant, business partner and your love means the world to me. 

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