I’ve known Ann for a while now, and she is as talented as she’s beautiful.
You may know her as the fashion entrepreneur with a heart, who founded Anneha – a line of ethnic wear inspired by Keralite traditions that also empowers economically underprivileged women. Yeah, I’m as much in awe of her as you are!
She’s also a very private person, which is why her engagement came as an absolute surprise. And as she began sharing a little by little with all of us, I knew you would enjoy reading about it as much as I did. So take your time, go through this post and pick up some fun, creative and very thoughtful ideas to not only make your celebration a special one, but also how you can make it happen when you’re sitting across the world.
I am in the U.K and my fiancé is in the U.S and hence, planning out an engagement was quite the task.
We both don’t like big celebrations but had to take heed of our folks desires’ to have a reception in India as the wedding will happen later in USA, and most of my family won’t be able to make it.
So I took up the responsibility of planning the engagement because my style is to always have something small but personalized.
So how did we do that?
Introducing #RyAnn : Ryan + Ann
Ryan and I have quite an unbelievable and funny story of meeting up and all that followed, so let’s keep that one for the books. 😉 We both love talking and have no ounce of stage fear so we decided its best that we compere and introduce each other and our families to our guests. Everyone quite liked it and we heard that our super chill attitude and all the on-stage banter made the start of our reception quite amusing.
I had a tough time trying to get the saree because I wasn’t going to make it to India until a few days before the engagement. So I had to rely on online websites. I bought my Banarasi sari from www.jaypore.com, and was quite happy with their services! They were fantastic and I got my sari here in UK in less than 48 hours of the order.
From here on, Ryan had no idea about any plans because I wanted to surprise him with everything 🙂
Cake topper and Cake
I never knew that Malayali Christians cut cakes even at their engagement! This was definitely one of the toughest decisions because I wanted something that evokes a special meaning. My friend suggesting approaching her sis-in-law, Chanchal from Cake factory, who baked THE MOST DELECTABLE Chocolate Truffle cake I’ve ever had in my whole life. And what’s better was that she took a lot of effort in personalising it for our engagement with ‘The ‘Better Half’ theme that matched my fiancé, Ryan’s, suit and my sari. Ryan, definitely being my better half (cheesy much?)
Aimee from ‘All Things Clay’ truly recreated our past with the ‘You Had Me At School Assemblies’ cake topper. Right from the dimple on my cheek to Ryan’s bass guitar, Aimee’s attention to detail was spot on. I had the best time planning the cake topper with her as it was a walk down memory lane for me. This was a complete surprise to Ryan and he sure was ecstatic when he saw the uncanny resemblance of the topper to our past
School Reunion Photo Booth
Since we knew each other in High school (but nothing happened back then hehe), I planned a photo booth of a school reunion with props that displayed the same such as ‘Class Reunion’, ‘Did we date?’, ‘You’ve changed’, ‘Former Prom King and Queen’, ‘Class Clown’, ‘I didn’t even go here’ , ‘Look who I found’, ‘Still Cool’, ‘When did we get so old?’. Our friends definitely had a blast with the photo sessions!
I had a canvas of an Engagement Tree that acted as the guest book. As people left the stage after wishing us, they pressed in their thumbprint to the engagement tree. That’s going to be the first thing we are going to frame and mount up in our home 🙂
Growing Up Photos
I created a life size frame of photos of different stages of us growing up in parallel to each other, from the photo of our parents wedding, the day we were born, first birthday, sleepy babies, dapper in school uniform, overseas trips and then towards the end, we had photos of us together 🙂 I also had a LED wall mount up and I created a 12 minutes slideshow of the same ‘growing up’ photos that was played in loop during the reception. Guests really liked seeing that as it was a unique addition to the usual background reception music, which was also chosen by us.
So my best buds won’t be able to make it to the U.S for the wedding. Hence, they were the entourage at our engagement (Again a surprise to Ryan). In shades of yellow, white and black; the guys looked dapper in their yellow bow-tie and chevron black & white suspenders, while the girls wore white and yellow dresses. My nieces wore bright summer dresses and nephew twins wore ‘Moochi’ suspenders and bow ties. I love them to bits and they sure had a blast too.
Long back, the first gift I got Ryan was a pair of fun socks and he continues to love (read: expect) the gesture of gifting him socks, so for our engagement, I got him a pair of his favourite superhero, Batman, socks. Little did he know that the entourage were sporting the rest of the Avengers, from Captain America, Superman, Iron Man and Spiderman 🙂
Well ahead of the engagement, I got a favourite song from each of my entourage friends, uncles, aunts and cousins and created a dedication stream of songs for them. As each of their song was played, the LED wall displayed their name and photos. They liked that personal gesture and we got a variety of song dedication from everyone – a few of those were hits like La Bamba’, ‘London Thumakda’, ‘Johny Mone Johny’, ‘We no speak Americano’ and even an African song ’Sura Yako’! The last one a dedication from me to Ryan, our all time favourite and the first song he shared with me ‘No Words’ by the Script.
Entourage surprise dance
Now this was a surprise to both Ryan and I. My friends quickly prepped for a dance during the morning hours of the engagement and surprised us with an absolutely adorable dance with classic Malayalam songs. Everyone really liked this as they chose old songs that the older guests would relate too as well 🙂
Wishes From Around The World
This one is hands down my favourite surprise for Ryan 🙂 Most of Ryan’s friends and family are scattered around the globe and hence wasn’t able to make it to the reception. So I personally reached out to them and requested for a 30 seconds wish from each one of them. They happily agreed to it and I collected the videos from around 20 people and made a montage (thanks to iMovie) of wishes starting from down south Australia, to the Middle East, UK, Puerto Rico, various places in the US and ending right up North in Calgary, Canada. Wishes from our kiddie nieces and nephews were the cutest whereas all the teasing from Ryan’s friends was hilarious. The YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVlX0x27OUk
So this is how I tried to make our engagement meaningful and personal 🙂 I suppose everyone liked it as the wishes still keep coming in!
I took roughly 3 months to plan this out during my hectic academic time and being out of country made it quite difficult to plan it. I managed by waking up in the early hours which was late morning India time to talk to suppliers and other vendors, a few hours off in the weekend to work on the video montage, slideshow, dedication stream etc. I don’t prefer watching TV shows and movies at all, so I usually have a lot of free time to work on small projects and this was one 🙂 A lot of support from family and friends took it a long way ahead 🙂
I was fortunate to be surprised by Ryan a month before the formal engagement in India as he flew down to the UK to propose to me personally after getting both the families consent. The engagement in India was more like a celebration for everyone and I tried my best at being a party planner and hostess 🙂
My Advice To Future Brides
Enjoy the engagement, as it is basically one big party! However, the most important thing about planning a wedding is planning how you and your partner will be dealing with life and all that will gradually unfurl after all the wedding celebrations are over. Do carve out most of your time to talk to your partner, get to know them better and understand how you two would be dealing with everything going forward. We have all the resources available such as guide books for a happy marriage, real couple videos on YouTube etc. Leave the troubles of planning the wedding to family and friends, or even better is to hand it over to professionals and relax!
Hence, I take off my party planner hat as Ryan and I hold hands (with the tiny Atlantic Ocean in the middle), while truly preparing for our wedlock.
Wishing all the soon-to-be and future brides and grooms, the very best life has in store for you two 🙂
I really really can’t thank Ann enough for sharing such a private and important part of her life with all of us. I may or may not have teared up reading about all the beautiful elements she incorporated through her (trans-continental!) meticulous planning, BUT, I’ve definitely come away with so many ideas on how to make this special day more special.
What was your favourite part of the story? Its a tough choice, but I’d pick the gorgeous cake and cake topper!
And now, it’s your turn to show RyAnn some love, so share your wishes in the comments below!
Love you too ♥