How and when did the couple meet?
Nirav is a corporate lawyer who had moved from his firm’s New York office to the Tokyo office, and he was living in Shibuya, Tokyo. Meanwhile, Akina, who had studied sculpture at the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo, was living and working in Sagamihara, in nearby Kanagawa. Independently, Nirav and Akina were both big beer connoisseurs, and also happened to both be regulars at Belgo, one of Tokyo’s oldest Belgian beer bars, in Shibuya. Nirav would often stop in at Belgo after late nights in the office, while Akina would spend slow Sunday afternoons there with friends. Since Nirav tended to be at the bar on weeknights, and Akina on Sundays, they had a number of common friends and acquaintances, but their paths never crossed. That is, until the fateful Saturday when Akina happened to have the day off from work, and Nirav was stopping in for a nightcap. It was only a brief encounter, with Akina having to run out to catch her train home, but the next time they ran into each other, Nirav made sure to get Akina’s phone number and asked her out for beer and pizza at another of Tokyo’s top craft beer bars. After an evening of beer, handmade pizza, and lots of talk of art history, Nirav and Akina were hooked, and the rest is history.
How did the proposal take place?
In fits and starts! In Japan, the biggest holiday of the year is New Year’s, and, by tradition, after midnight, everyone goes to nearby shrines to pray for good fortune in the new year. Nirav had planned to surprise Akina on the way back from the shrine, but one of them celebrated harder than intended and fell asleep before midnight, so the big proposal had to be put off! Nirav started making a number of alternate plans, but with the January weather not cooperating and the difficulty of keeping a secret from Akina for weeks on end, Nirav kept things simple and got on one knee to propose during a quiet moment at home.
What was your fondest wedding moment?
Akina: In a traditional Indian wedding, the groom approaches the wedding venue as part of a baraat, a wedding procession where the grooms family and friends dance in front of the groom, who is seated on a horse. Meanwhile, the bride watches expectantly from the wedding venue. For our wedding, Nirav’s baraat processed along the Jersey City waterfront, with the New York City skyline in the background, while I watched from a window seat at the hotel restaurant. That moment, watching the collected friends and family having a blast on their way to the wedding under a bright and beautiful September sky, will stay with me forever.
Nirav: My favorite wedding moment was our grand entrance at the reception. Going crazy to our chosen song by LMFAO and acting silly with Akina, who is my best friend, was a blast!
Interesting facts about you and your spouse that you would like to share.
Who were your favorite wedding vendors?
Our wedding planner, Sonal J. Shah, whose contributions would take up an entire page! The SJS team kept our planning process on-schedule and all three days of events on-time. Even my mom, who is notorious for ignoring the clock, was early for our photo sessions and various events. The SJS team also made sure that every little detail came through just as we had planned, which is priceless – after all the work that went into planning the wedding, it was good to know that we were in the right hands, with a team that was committed to making sure everything went right. Also, Sonal introduced us to all of our wonderful wedding vendors, including: Clane Gessel, our photographer. When we saw his website, we knew he was exactly what we were looking for. Our wedding location, along the Hudson River waterfront, was important to us, and, as the photos show, he really captured it perfectly.
Design House Décor, our event designers, who took our request for a colorful wedding and ran with it in a modern and delightful way.
What advice do you have for future brides?
Details are important, but, with any big event, there are bound to be snags here and there. Expect that something will pop up, but don’t let get in the way of enjoying your big day!