Udaipur | Meha + Shamal

Destination wedding photography at Taj Aravali, Udaipur.

Our first meeting with Meha and Shamal was amongst the majestic mountains of Mussorie, a year before their wedding. Even though the wedding dates and venue were not finalised, what started as a search for the best photographers for their wedding, soon turned into a dinner filled with laughter and swapping life stories. 

We had a truly wonderful day with Meha, Shamal and their parents. We learnt so much from our talk with Harish Uncle, Harsha Aunty, Yogesh Uncle and Sonali Aunty: about life, humility, business, hard-work and love. It was an evening well spent, hearing stories about their lives in Kenya and gaining valuable life lessons. 

Aerial photo of bride and groom with mountain in the background at Taj Aravali Udaipur

While this does happen at times, it’s rare – we were booked as wedding photographers before Meha and Shamal finalised their wedding venue, country or dates! We knew we would love making wedding photos for a couple that spent so much time in looking for the perfect venue and making sure that everything was just right. And we were not disappointed!

How can one define the kind of love, relationship and bond Meha & Shamal share?
Many couples “complete” each other. Meha and Shamal, though, were already happy, independent, hard-working and genuine. They are jigsaw pieces that just fit together and the wind beneath each other’s wings!

Bride and groom in Sabyasachi at Taj Aravalis Udaipur
Bride twirling in Falguni Shane Peacock lehenga at the reception of Taj Aravalis Udaipur

They do have a very Bollywood love story though. It all started at a party in Nairobi, when they locked eyes across the room and exchanged numbers. Of course, later that night Meha called Rahul, her brother, screamed at him for being late to pick her up after the party, only to realise that she had accidentally called Shamal instead of Rahul!

We were so fortunate to be a part of their planning journey, which spanned across Kenya, South Africa, India and the UK (where Prasheila coincidentally purchased beans grown by Shamal’s family business in Kenya).

Relatives applying haldi to the groom at Taj Aravali Udaipur
The wedding mandap set against the mountains at Taj Aravali Udaipur

All Meha wanted for her wedding was for it to be amongst mountains and Taj Aravali Resort & Spa in Udaipur provided the perfect backdrop for their #DoubleThePatelLove wedding. We didn’t think that the venue could look more beautiful, but Abhinav Bhagat and his team surpassed all expectations.

Believe it or not, Meha had a 178-page wedding planning PDF!!!!! We are NOT exaggerating. If you are imagining a bride who kept everyone on their toes with her streak of (sensible) perfection, you won’t be wrong. BUT what we loved was that after all the planning was over and done with, Meha knew that there was nothing more for her to do, and she just let go and enjoyed herself.

Imagine a super-chill bride who is totally unfazed by smudged mehendi and refuses to call the mehendi artists back after they just left. Meha simply smiled and said, “Nah, it’s okay. Something or the other was bound to go wrong. Life is not perfect, and I like how imperfect my mehendi is.” We didn’t think it would be possible, but we fell more in love with her at that moment!

Meha was the superhero, and Rahul her secret weapon. He can be described as half a wedding planner himself! He was equal amounts about having a blast as well as taking charge behind the scenes. We loved that he loves the camera and some of our happiest memories were making photos of him after every function. And on the other side were Ashini and Faizal keeping everyone in good spirits with their great sense of humour and working silently to make sure everything went smoothly.

Groom in Sabyasachi at the baraat sitting on a dhol
Bride looking resplendent in Sabyasachi at Taj Aravali Udaipur

And we don’t even have words to describe Ba (Shamal’s grandmother); so full of life, with a lovely smile and one of the few people at the wedding who ventured out of the hotel to explore Udaipur. The one moment we knew we were really looking forward to at Meha & Shamal’s wedding was meeting Kunali and Shreekant (and parents!), an absolutely amazing couple we had previously had the good fortune to be wedding photographers for. And what a happy reunion that was! We love you both so much, and will visit you soon in London!

We have so many happy memories from this wedding. But one of the most endearing moments happened during the pheras. After completing each phera, the panditji made a competition out of who sits first. Meha and Shamal sat down almost at the same time after every phera, except the last. While Meha rushed to sit down, Shamal simply pretended to and let Meha sit first. Their laughs at this moment warmed our hearts better than hot chocolate ever could! And we can never forget one of the sweetest gestures by a groom: Shamal asked Abhimanyu to take a photo of his watch the very moment the wedding was official. :)

Shots served at the sangeet at Taj Aravali Udaipur

And what can we say about partying Kenyan style, it’s slow, steady and lasts the entire night! Though we were unceremoniously thrown out much before the end so that we could be well-rested for the rest of the wedding functions; or for reasons not to be written about in a blog post. ;)

We can’t wait to chill with you all in the Mara soon!

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm LIII f/2.8, 85mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.4

Meha & Shamal’s gorgeous wedding at Taj Aravali, Udaipur:

Words of love from Meha & Shamal:

“When Shamal and I started our wedding planning process, we first contacted the wedding planners and the photographers we wanted to be on our team. We didn’t even know where we wanted to get married but asked Abhimanyu and Prasheila if they could come meet us at our first recce venue. From the first meeting, which ended up lasting the whole day, ending with a laughter filled dinner, we became more friends than a professional relationship – we felt comfortable around them and were happy with their previous works to trust them to be our photographers.

They were a great guide to us when going forth with our venue search in terms of making sure we got the permissions and details from the hotels we were looking at to ensure we could have the photo and videography we wanted (mostly in terms of drone footage). At the time of the wedding, the day before all our guests arrived,  Abhi and Prash photographed our pre-wedding mehendi family function and were able to meet all our family and closest friends, which helped to ensure that they were captured in our photos and memories, because if your photographers don’t know who to capture, sometimes people can be missed out.

As we were not very comfortable with staged photos, Abhi and Prash really helped make us feel comfortable and laugh our way through these, so we actually ended up getting a lot more treasured candid shots. After the wedding, we got our photos and videos and worked with Prash to create our photobooks, which in itself was such a fun process as we got to relive all the fun moments. From when we met the Going Bananas Photography team, to the end, was a smooth process and we highly recommend working with them if you are looking for a team that will really get to know you and your family personally and therefore be able to capture a lot of heartfelt moments which you will forever treasure. 

One of my favourite photos was taken the day after the wedding. Abhi and Prash had felt that we didn’t get enough couple shots on our wedding day because of time constraints and so convinced us to get back in our outfits and I am so grateful because the images we got without hair and makeup or being fully dressed up, turned out so beautiful. We laughed our way through this photography session despite being so tired and very hungover. The second is from our reception evening, from the moment I walked into the venue we ended up choosing I was mesmerised by the flower art on the lobby wall and the chandeliers with the mountain backdrop and I wanted a photo which captured this – this photo is my Cinderella moment in one image and they captured it beautifully.”

Dream team:
Event planning: Abhinav Bhagat and Showmakers India
Decor: Abhinav Bhagat
Meha’s welcome lunch outfit: Anamika Khanna
Shamal’s welcome lunch outfit: Abhishek Gupta
Meha’s sangeet outfit: Anamika Khanna
Shamal’s sangeet outfit: Raghvendra Rathore
Meha & Shamal’s haldi outfits: Anita Dongre
Meha & Shamal’s wedding outfit: Sabyasachi
Meha’s reception outfit: Falguni Shane Peacock
Shamal’s reception outfit: Tom Ford
Meha’s hair and makeup: Shradha Luthra & Ritika Kadam
Venue: Taj Aravali, Udaipur
Sangeet entertainment: Jankee & Friends
DJ: Bosco
Sufi night entertainment: Swaraag Fusion
MC: Sonam Chabbra

Related post:
Karishma + Sandeep | A destination wedding in Florence, Italy

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Going Bananas Photography is one of India's leading wedding photography and cinematography studios run by Abhimanyu Sharma and Prasheila Lookhar. They are known for their distinctive style and for the strong friendships they form with their couples.


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