It was a chance encounter than kicked off Paige Vaughn and Nikhil Deshpande’s life together. “I was on an impromptu visit to Albany to visit my best friend, Sam, who was Nikhil’s lab mate while they were earning their PhDs,” Paige remembers. “Nikhil had come over to lend something to Sam and we instantly hit it off.”
They started off as friends as the timing wasn’t right. Four months later though, it was. “Once we began talking, I decided to fly up to upstate New York for our first official date in late August 2018. It wasn’t long before we both realized this was the end game.” It kicked off a whirlwind long-distance romance, with the couple traveling between New York, Austin, and San Francisco for a little over a year.
Then, a proposal. “Nikhil partnered up with my best friend Chelsea to plan the proposal on New Year’s Eve 2019,” Paige remembers. After getting gussied up with Chelsea for a “birthday party,” Paige headed toward Seaholm District, one of her favorite areas of Austin. There, Nikhil was waiting with all of their friends to propose. “It was very overwhelming. Even though I hate being the center of attention, it was so precious to be able to share that moment with my favorite humans,” Paige remembers. “They all took me to a surprise dinner afterward and I got to immediately FaceTime my parents. One of my favorite memories of all time is seeing my mom burst into happy tears when I told her!”
As a sought-after wedding photographer, Paige has a creative eye—and lots of industry pals. She used both to guide their wedding planning journey. “Our vision was to have a wedding that was as colorful and fun as our relationship,” she says. “We wanted our guests to leave and say, ‘Wow! That wedding was so Deshvaughnde!’” (Their “couple name” is made from their combined last names.)
Paige turned her photog’s eye toward selecting a venue, and fell in love with One Eleven East. “We really loved how unique, modern, and bright the venue was, and we loved the architectural and industrial details since the original building was constructed in the late 1800s,” she says. “We knew the bright white backdrop was perfect for the colorful wedding we had planned—not to mention it’s a photographer’s dream!”
The challenge, however, was connecting two events, two days apart. “We wanted to equally represent our cultures, especially Nikhil’s Indian heritage and Hindu faith, while intertwining both wedding days to feel connected and seamless.” They booked Friday and Sunday for the Hindu and American ceremonies, respectively—choosing off-days to preserve more budget for design elements. “We wanted to make them feel like two pieces of the same celebration.” Using a unique color palette and creative design strategies, the duo and their vendor team pulled it off beautifully.
Read on to see all the unique details of their October 2021 wedding, planned by Much Ado Austin and photographed by Katelyn James.
In collaboration with planner Ashley Robertson, Paige led the design for her big day, kicking it off with an out-of-the-box palette of peach, orange, mustard, and teal. The paper suite was cheeky and fun, and created by Jen Krause Paper Co., one of Paige’s many industry friends. “All members of our diverse creative team are personal friends of the couple—and many of them joined in for the party after their jobs were finished!”
For the Hindu ceremony, Paige donned a sari picked out by her mother-in-law. “I wanted to bring a touch of the retro feel to my traditional outfit, so I decided on glam waves with a center part to make room for my bridal bindi headpiece.”
We did a modern spin on all events, cutting out tired traditions and obligations.
“We did a modern spin on all events, cutting out tired traditions and obligations,” Paige shares. “We had a deconstructed mandap for the altar to modernize our ceremony. We shortened the Hindu ceremony and modernized the language.”
“Funny enough, I bought another wedding dress before ‘the one,’ since I didn’t know if I would have time to shop in-person with my mom because of COVID,” Paige says. “But, we later had an opportunity to shop together, and I fell in love with a dress that arrived at the salon five minutes before I did. It was the first dress they pulled out of the box, I put it on, and I immediately knew it was the one.”
The winner was a Milla Nova gown with a sheer bodice, tulle skirt, and caviar dots. She paired it with statement floral earrings from Lilly Pulitzer and a “magical” bouquet of garden roses, daisies, chamomile, and ranunculus.
Paige prepped her skin with monthly HydraFacials for the half year leading up to the wedding. “I took extra care to do all my skin care steps to get soft and hydrated skin before the wedding,” she says. She opted for a matte look given the heat outside, and added a subtle pop on the lips. “I’m a lipstick girl through and through, but didn’t want to distract from my gown since it was already so much,” she says. “I opted for Charlotte Tilbury’s First Dance and Mrs. Kisses.”
Her hair was tied up in a romantic braided crown. “Texas is hot in early October, so I knew I wanted my hair up so it wouldn’t look tired at the end of the night,” she says. “I garnished it with pearl pins from Jennifer Behr, along with my crystal-studded veil. I hid a blue Jennifer Behr jewel clip in my hair too, for my ‘something blue.’”
“Nikhil picked out a muted rose-colored tux, perfect for his fun personality while maintaining the formal vibe of the event,” Paige says. The bride gifted him with custom cufflinks to wear on the wedding day.
Nikhil did a little beauty prep of his own: “Because he has naturally curly hair that can be unruly, we had our beauty team schedule in time for him to get his hair done as well.” The finishing touches? A spritz of Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and a boutonniere of butterfly ranunculus, chamomile, and billy balls.
Paige always knew she wanted to do a first look—”It’s more our style than me being ‘given away’ down the aisle,” she says—but she certainly didn’t expect the emotion. “Nikhil cried so hard during our first look,” she recalls. “It was very overwhelming since he’s usually not a crier. It was so incredibly special!”
“Instead of a traditional altar, we had a circular ceremony setup, surrounding a streamer install from the ceiling,” Paige describes. Texas-based Pop & Drop brought color to the blank-canvas space.
Paige entered the ceremony alongside her father to instrumental versions of two Taylor Swift songs—“Love Story” and “Lover”—to meet Nikhil at the altar. The ceremony was officiated by the couple’s best friend Sam (the same Sam who was the reason they first met!) “We had Sam read a quote from our favorite movie, Sleepless in Seattle,” Paige shares. Both bride and groom got emotional. “Crying again during our vows, reflecting on our story, and sharing that love with our friends and family was so, so special,” Paige recalls.
“Because there was so much going on with the decor, we opted for unified attire for our wedding parties: velvet floor-length mustard gowns for the girls and classic tuxes for the groom’s party,” Paige says. “We didn’t have flower girls, but we had two junior bridesmaids—my little sisters—who carried petite daisy bouquets.”
A custom banner with their couple name hung above the bar, stocked with colorful glassware to fit the fresh scheme. On the menu? Prickly Pear Margaritas and Lynchburg Lemonades.
“Musical touches were woven throughout the wedding to highlight the groom’s background as a musician and acoustical engineer, and the couple’s love of late ’60s music,” Paige and Nikhil share. A few of the more prominent nods included their fun mixtape-themed escort card display and vinyl records to sign for the couple’s guest book; the records are now hung in their home.
Making a little go a long way was paramount for Paige and Nikhil. “We utilized free techniques to make the day more unique without exceeding the budget,” Paige says, sharing a few examples: “A zigzag table layout, first dance during cocktail hour, florals reused between celebrations to reduce waste. And, the streamers were reused by the decor company for future events. Yay sustainability!”
The zig-zag tables were adorned with teal linens, modern floral arrangements, quirky bud vases, and colorful taper candles, and the tables were lined with upgraded chairs. “So important!” enthuses Paige.
An Outkast-inspired neon sign was another nod to music—and a fun photo op.
Paige and Nikhil did their official first dance to “Beyond” by Leon Bridges, during cocktail hour. “But we accidentally had a second first dance, because the music cut off the first time due to a technical difficulty,” Paige remembers. “So, we spontaneously broke into dance during our grand entrance to “All My Loving” by The Beatles. This was one of my favorite moments!”
While they did have a cake, Paige and Nikhil didn’t make it a moment—it was one of the traditions they nixed, along with the bouquet and garter tosses, to make the wedding their own. The peanut-butter cup and triple-berry cake was decorated to match the invitation suite and the wedding color scheme. Rather than cutting into it for photos, the couple opted for a Champagne tower moment.
Another unique addition? “We had festival sparkle face painter,” Paige says. (They leaned into the fact that their wedding was held the same weekend as Austin City Limits Music Festival with the face-painting station and music festival-themed welcome bags.)
The planning decision they would do over and over again? Keeping the guest list intimate. “Don’t be afraid to keep your guest count small,” Paige recommends. “60 people felt like so many to us, and it’s half of the amount people usually have. Your budget will go so much further, and you’ll have more intimate moments with more people this way. Just be sure to have a photographer at everything to capture the candid moments that happen.”
Paige reminisces, “It was such a magical night having almost all of our favorite people together in one room after two years of planning and the pandemic.”