When Poonam Sharma first crossed paths with Anand Parikh while visiting her sister at college in February of 2012, neither of them knew it would be the first of many encounters. After Poonam moved to New York City in 2015, the two kept seeing each other’s profiles on the dating apps. But, since they had many mutual friends, Poonam never swiped right. Then, once they started running into each other on the streets of the Lower East Side, they realized it was fate, and Anand finally asked Poonam out.
After a few years of dating, Anand took Poonam to the Cotswolds in August of 2019 for a weekend getaway. They stayed at Blenheim Palace for their trip, so Anand decided to schedule a private tour of the grounds and a picnic. “As we approached, I knew that something was going on,” Poonam admits. “When I saw the beautiful picnic set up, overlooking the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Palace, I knew that he was going to propose.”
The romantic setup was filled with sentimental touches. Anand decorated a table with sunflowers, Poonam’s favorite flower, and champagne. An easel displayed a love quote from Pride and Prejudice, Poonam’s favorite book. Finally, there was a memory book with pictures that documented the couple’s relationship. After Anand got down on one knee, Poonam shouted “yes,” and they celebrated that evening with a private wine tasting and a romantic dinner. Just when Poonam thought the surprises were over, Anand invited her family to join them in London the next day. “The entire weekend was so well-thought-out and beautiful, and we were both overcome with so much love,” Poonam reflects.
Although the couple knew they wanted a two-year engagement, they still experienced the uncertainty of planning a wedding during the pandemic. Initially, they were going to tie the knot in Spain, but they decided to pivot to somewhere more accessible. They settled on the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. “Miami was the most central for local family and friends as well as international family coming from Africa and London,” Poonam explains.
Even though the planning process wasn’t all smooth sailing, relying on their planner, Brittany from Eventrics Indian Weddings & Events, and one another’s support made it as seamless as possible. “We promised each other from the beginning that we were going to be a united front on all decisions,” Poonam shares.
On December 11, 2022, Poonam and Anand tied the knot in Miami Beach with 200 guests present to celebrate their love. Keep reading to see all of the details behind their big day, planned by Eventrics Indian Weddings & Events and photographed by Masson Liang Photography.
The duo started the wedding festivities with a Sangeet. Poonam sported an emerald green sequin lehenga by Sunaina Khera for the celebration. Anand rocked a navy blue deconstructed kurta by Kunal Rawal.
For their Sangeet design, wooden furniture, rattan accents, and pampas grass arrangements helped execute their natural aesthetic. They had the setting painted in neutral hues and accented with lush greenery. “I wanted to mirror Nikki Beach, which is a Miami staple, and make it tropical—but in a classy way,” Poonam explains.
No Sangeet is complete without music and dancing. During the celebration, Poonam and Anand’s family members brought the energy with special dance performances.
Anand slipped on a cream Anita Dongre kurta with gold embroidery for the ceremony. He accessorized with strands of pearls and Corum and Jaeger-LeCoultre watches. To finish off his look, the groom spritzed on Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense from Jo Malone.
Poonam spent the morning getting glam in a baby-blue silk pajama set with feather trim. She chose an elegant low bun secured with pearl hair pins for her hairstyle and a glowy makeup look featuring her signature cat eye. “I wanted to look natural and slightly glammed up, but still like myself,” she says. The bride also had her nails painted in a reverse ombré French manicure for her big day.
Poonam decked herself in accessories for the special occasion, and much of her bling held sentimental value. “I wore my sister and aunt’s jewelry for my wedding,” she states. In addition to her beaded bangles and necklaces, the bride fastened on her mom’s watch. She also donned translucent heels with a crystal accent by Stuart Weitzman for the vow swap. Poppy & Barley Cologne by Jo Malone rounded off the lineup.
For the ceremony, Poonam sported a light pink silk lehenga with custom hand-embroidered flowers by Shyamal & Bhumika. The dress shopping experience had its fair share of challenges for the bride. Since the couple was throwing an Indian wedding, Poonam knew she wanted to sport an original design from India. However, due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic, she wasn’t able to visit the country to make her purchase.
“I had to find designers and outfits through Instagram and work with them via WhatsApp,” she reveals. “That took a long time because of the time difference, shipping delays, and uncertainty of what the outfits look like.”
Poonam’s all-white bouquet of baby’s breath and orchids popped against her pink lehenga.
We just wanted a private moment with each other before the craziness of the day.
The couple snuck away before the ceremony to share an intimate first look in nature. “We just wanted a private moment with each other before the craziness of the day,” Poonam notes. The highlight? The two swapped handwritten letters, which contained their vows.
The bride and groom hosted an outdoor ceremony surrounded by palm trees. A white acrylic serpentine aisle, bordered with a trail of white baby’s breath and pink roses, led to a wooden mandap decorated with more of the same blooms. “For the wedding, I chose baby’s breath as the star of the show,” Poonam remarks. “As I was doing my research on Pinterest and Instagram, I came across so many beautiful mandaps and décor elements that incorporated baby’s breath, and I just knew I wanted that.”
At the beginning of the ceremony, both of Anand’s parents escorted him down the aisle. For the bride’s processional, Poonam’s uncle led her halfway to the altar, until her mother and father led her the rest of the way. Indian music played for both entrances.
The duo followed a traditional Indian ceremony, which a priest conducted. They included many different unity rituals, such as the jai mala, which refers to the exchange of flower garlands. They also participated in the mangal phera, which is when the couple holds hands and takes four steps around a burning fire to represent each stage of life.
After they were pronounced husband and wife, Poonam and Anand walked back up the aisle as Indian music wafted around them.
Everyone reconvened in the venue’s swanky ballroom to celebrate. Tall arrangements of pampas grass sat at the center of round tables, which were wrapped in blush and oatmeal linens. A mirrored curved table housed a runner of floating candles and vases that overflowed with pampas grass and roses. “I wanted drama, modern décor, lots of velvet and mirrors, and of course, serpentine tables,” she describes.
The couple’s place settings also played with color and texture. Guests found black geometric chargers, pink napkins, and silverware at their seats.
At their sweetheart table, an eye-catching assortment of baby’s breath, roses, pampas grass, dried florals, and vines were juxtaposed with a black velvet tablecloth.
Before making her grand entrance into the reception, Poonam changed into a blue strapless ball gown with a ruffled skirt from Milla. The bride actually intended to wear another dress by an Indian designer, but the sizing wasn’t right. A week before the wedding, Poonam quickly bought the Milla number, and it ended up being an almost perfect fit. “It was a little long, so with the help of my grandmother and aunt, we hemmed it a bit inside, so I wouldn’t trip,” Poonam recalls. She accentuated her dress with a necklace that her in-laws gifted her and a bangle from her grandmother. The bride also switched up her beauty look for the party. She wore her hair down and chose glamorous makeup for her eyes.
Anand also freshened up his wardrobe for the next phase of festivities. He donned a midnight blue velvet tuxedo from Michael Andrews Bespoke and Paul Stuart shoes.
Poonam wanted to conclude the evening with one more outfit change. Dress number three was a white strapless mini covered in tulle by Katie May and sparkly silver heels.
The duo put on a performance for their first dance, which lasted for two songs: “Find Someone Like You” by Snoh Aalegra and “Conversations in the Dark” by John Legend.
Looking back on the festivities, the couple couldn’t have imagined a better celebration of their love. Not only did their vision come to life, but they also spent the weekend surrounded by their favorite people. “It was just so lovely having all our friends and family in one place,” Poonam reflects.