looked like an angel'
Taneja attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She then attended
Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, the alma mater of President William
Clinton. While in her first year at Georgetown, she attended a formal event at
Constitutional Hall in Washington D.C. Malkit Gill, also at this event, was perched atop
the grand white stair case at the entry point to Constitutional Hall. Standing with a
friend, he recalls "I noticed this beautiful, tall, incredibly elegant woman standing
on the ground surrounded by 15 or so of her friends- several of whom were my common
friends from school. She looked like an angel." After a quick glimpse, Malkit's
mysterious angel disappeared from his site.
the days following, Malkit approached their common friends to enquire about Sheena. Sheena
soon became aware of his interest, however, did not wish to pursue a relationship without
seeing Malkit first and knowing him well. This lead to a dilemma for Malkit. He had seen
her in person, gotten to know a lot about her through friends Shireen Gujral, Pramod
Banavar, Sumit Gupta and Anita Bakshi, and thus he admired her more and more as the days
went on. But he could not get Sheena to meet him in person. Sheena recalls "I was
scared and I did not know what to do. He sounded too perfect- smart, handsome, tall, same
values and religion- which was important for me and my family
Sometimes the one who
is right for you falls right into your lap, and it is you who is scared to admit it."
(Malkit, who came to this country at the age of 15, is originally from Amritsar, Punjab.
Although Sheena was born and raised in America, her family is originally from Kashmir and
Delhi.) After many months, Sheena's childhood friend Anita Bakshi decided she had had
enough. Sheena was to drop by Malkit's University to register for summer courses. Knowing
of this, Anita informed Malkit, and he waited in front of
Registrar's office for five hours unsure as to when Sheena would arrive. "When I
finally saw her, she walked right past me, not knowing who I was- it is so strange to look
back and think at one point in our lives I was just a stranger to her. When she came out
of the office I was nervous, but knew this was my one opportunity." As Sheena began
heading down the steps, Malkit leaned over the Balcony facing her and called out her
she didn't respond
Sheena states, "I remember when he called my name
for the first time.. I don't know why I didn't look up. But when he called my name the
second time, I stopped, looked up and saw him. Without ever having seen him- I knew who he
was.. I felt that at that moment my life changed forever." There on they exchanged
conversations frequently. After some time, they met in person again, and Malkit professed
his desire to have Sheena in his life- to his surprise, Sheena pulled out a pen, held the
palm of Malkit's hand and in Punjabi script wrote that she felt the same way. Malkit was
shocked to learn that not only could Sheena (American-born and raised) read and write in
Punjabi, but more importantly that she had been swept off her feet.
Their love story is very filmy but
their daily lives are very professional. Malkit, now 25, is pursuing his Masters in
Information Technology part time and is an engineering consultant for Booz, Allen &
Hamilton. Sheena, now 22, is in law school and will be obtaining the Juris Doctorate
degree next year. The couple lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Wedding festivities over many months
wedding festivities took place over many months. The engagement was held in the local Sikh
Foundation Gurudwara Sahib in Northern Virginia. This was a very private and religious
function where only the family attended. Sheena wore a maroon salwar kameez given to her
by her Mamaji's family as is done in their tradition. The next event was a grand bridal
shower hosted by Sheena's very near and dear aunts: Jasbir Sethi, Jaswinder Anand and Mona
Kochhar. Sheena wore a white dress and Malkit wore a white Versace dress shirt.
Next, friends Monica Sethi, Anita
Bakshi, Nileah Bell and Hemant Datta threw a youngster's night out party at Memsahib
Indian Restaurant for the couple in celebration of their upcoming wedding. A belly dancer
entertained the banquet hall patrons, while everyone dined to a six course meal. The
couple matched their look Sheena wore a red dress from Guess and Malkit wore a red
As Sheena was immensely busy with
law school, Sheena's mother took two trips in 2004 to India in order to get Sheena's
clothes and jewelry for the big wedding events that took place in December. Says Sheena:
"I was most pleased with my mom's picks and now many of my friends are requesting for
her help with their wedding shopping!"
A kirtan and karoli ceremony were
two of the smaller events occurring in December. The first of the big events was the Gill
family's sangeet held at their residence on December 11, 2004. Sheena wore a mint green
salwar kameez from CTC with a heavy silver set, and Malkit wore Kenneth Cole attire.
December 18, 2004, the Taneja's held their sangeet at the Crosspoint Club House. Sheena
wore a light pink CTC lehenga with a pink stone set, and Malkit wore a DKNY suit. During
the evening, traditional sangeet songs, dances and skits were performed by Sheena's aunts,
cousins and friends. However, that evening Malkit stole the show. Malkit had Hemant play a
game of "hang man" with Sheena in front of everyone. The game went as follows:
Hemant informed Sheena that Malkit had bought a present for her. Sheena had minimal
chances to guess the letters in the spelling of the name of the gift. If her chances
expired prior to being able to guess what it was, Hemant would take the present. Luckily
for Sheena, she was able to guess suitable letters before her chances were finished, and
found a beautiful brand new car, a White Acura MDX SUV, waiting for her outside the
On December 18, 2004, a formal
Shagun party was held at the Monsoon Banquet Hall in Northern Virginia. The shagun party
was given by Malkit's Chaachi and Chaacha Ji- Mr. and Mrs. Jaskinder Gill & Malkit's
Mother and Brothers. Sheena wore a lavender- purple mermaid cut lehenga, and Malkit wore a
charcoal grey suit with purple shirt and tie. The Sikh traditional shagun and chunni
ceremonies were done simultaneously on stage at Monsoon.
Sheena's mehendi was held at her
parent's home. She wore a yellow and green suit to match the intricate mehendi work done
by her beautician, Mrs. Suman Khosla who is a well-known artist who has been trained by
mehendi maestro Ash Kumar. The theme of the mehendi evening was for all the aunties to
come dressed in red attire, to remind them of their special day many years ago. A large
number of Sheena's aunties came wearing red suits, saris, and lehengas- some of them even
their original wedding attire and laal choordas!
wedding day took place on Christmas morning at the Gurudwara Sahib in Northern Virginia.
The bride wore a heavy deep red lehenga with two duppatas. The lehenga and full attire
weighed almost an amazing 20kg. The gold set and lehenga were purchased in Delhi. The
groom wore a matching ivory, gold and red sherwani. The groom entered the Gurudwara via a
30 person stretch limo, and then on a traditionally decorated horse along with the bharat.
The wedding took place smoothly and the bride was whisked away in an extravagantly
decorated dholi which was carried by her brothers and cousins: Shaan Taneja, Simran Singh,
Ricky Kochhar, Robby Kochhar, Amandeep Singh, Puneet S. Taneja and Pawan Sethi . The bride
and groom were blessed by their parents at the lunch held at the Bombay Tandoor restaurant
following the ceremony. This lunch was emceed by Sheena's Uncle, Mr. Baljit Kahlon from
The reception took place on December
26, 2004 at the Marriott Fairview Park Resort in Northern Virginia. Many of the guests
came all the way from places like Bombay, Delhi, Amritsar, U.P, France, Canada, England,
Switzerland and from all over the United States to attend this extravagant event. As the
600 guests arrived, they were welcomed by a sitarist and tabla player through a
golden/orange tissue and lights archway followed by a hallway of luxmi statutes. The
cocktail hour was followed by the opening of the grand ballroom. As the doors to the
ballroom opened, an isle made of pedestals and golden tissue, with a red runner gracing
the floor welcomed the guests. The tables were decorated with floating candles, red roses,
and gold foiled napkins reading Sheena and Malkit, Shaadi Mubarak! There were three head
tables- one for the 5 tier wedding cake, one for the family members, and one for the bride
and groom. The bride and groom's head table was an intricate mandap-like structure with
ivory and gold backdrops, golden posts, a vast golden dome and roses.
The bride wore
a stunning off-the-shoulder ivory/gold lehenga made of zari silk with pink and crystal
Swarovski stones, which she designed herself. Her gold set was of kundan and rubies. Atop
her head she wore a golden crown with crystal Swarovski stones. The groom wore a dazzling
Tommy Hilfiger tuxedo. All of Sheena's Sakhian (bridesmaids) donned beautiful lehengas in
different shades of lavender and pink.
before the couple was introduced all of the lights were turned off in the grand ballroom
except for flood lights (spotlights) dramatically highlighting the entire path the
couple would walk during their introduction. When the couple was introduced, they entered
the ballroom, and the song "Baharo Phool Barsao, Mera Mehboob Aya Hai" began to
play. The couple was greeted by non stop applause and standing ovation as they walked down
the red carpet, and reached their beautifully decorated head table. A few seconds before
the couple entered, cousin Amrita Anand had symbolically showered the long red isle with
rose petals to match the lyrics of the song. During the evening, dances were performed by
friends and family of the bride and groom. The groom's brother, Mr. Harjinder Gill and the
bride's father, Mr. Manjit Taneja and grandfather, Mr. Niranjan Taneja gave very eloquent
speeches. The evening was emceed by Malkit's close friend Hemant Datta and from the girl's
side, close family friend and radio talk show host, Mrs. Jaswinder Laungani. The evening
concluded with dinner, ample desserts, and dancing all night long.
Following the wedding, the couple
headed to the ultra all inclusive Sandals resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica for 7 days. The
honeymoon package was a gift from Malkit's Chaacha Ji and Chaachi Ji, Mr. and Mrs.
Jaskinder Singh Gill.
An Amazing Wedding
and Malkit would like to thank their parents Mr. and Mrs. Manjit Taneja, and Mrs. Jagdish
Kaur Gill for helping to make their wedding a dream shaadi. From start to finish the
entire Taneja and Gill families were very compatible and supportive welcoming one
another with immense respect, care, and love. This unity is one of the key reason Malkit
and Sheena feel their wedding turned out so amazing.
Sheena and Malkit would like to
offer the following advice to those who are about to venture into the world of marriage:
"Your family- Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, In-Laws, etc.
- are the key to a successful wedding. Listen to their advice, and let them help you to
create your fairytale. They will and can make it happen. They care about you more than
anyone and want to see you happy. Secondly, remember that your wedding day, and the weeks
up to it- are like a streamline of thoughts. Thoughts about love, life, your new family,
your parents, those who are no longer with us, and children that may soon one day be with
us. You barely even know what time zone you are in. You don't have time to worry about the
small problems here and there. You simply can't do everything, nor can you answer
everyone's issues- its best to delegate to those you trust. All the while, just
concentrate on looking your best and feeling your best. We are so glad we did that
Thirdly, remember, there is a fine line between someone being happy for you, and someone
being unhappy for themselves. You will be surprised to see so many incredibly helpful
people who expect nothing in return except your happiness. And believe us, we are so
thankful to them that we can't wait till the first opportunity to return their kindness.
memories of great help from family and friends
specifically remember instances like when one very dear Aunty hand-made 40 boutonnières the reception morning when the local florist gave last minute notice they were closed on
Christmas; when close family friends Mr. Andy and Mrs. Jaswinder Laungani so kindly came
from Kentucky to help with coordination the days before and during the wedding, when
cousins Ricky, Natasha, and brothers Harjinder Gill and Shaan Taneja worked for 10 hours
to make the mehendi party favor cd(s) when the cd(s) that had been ordered were not
shipped on time; when cousin Jessica refused to sleep the night before the wedding to help
scrape Sheena's mendhi off at 3 a.m.; when cousin Sarina surprised Sheena with an already
paid salon trip for the youngster's evening; when dear friend Swati Bhatia from Germany
provided valuable bride to bride advice throughout the months of preparation- and despite
being so busy (Swati's wedding occurred three weeks prior to Sheena's) Swati continued to
provide help and advice up until Sheena's wedding day; when the weeks before the wedding
so many family friends came to coordinate the ladies singing group for the sangeet,
mehendi planning, wrapping party favors and other gifts, etc.; and even during the months
up to the wedding friends would send us articles with ideas, many assisted us in
researching and selecting the many vendors/wedding service providers we needed, and there
were so many people who would simply call to ask if we needed anything- such actions
really showed how much they cared and wanted to see our wedding as a huge success.
When people take the time out of their very busy lives to help you during the
most memorable and important time of your life- you will never forget it. You will also be
surprised to see a few nonchalant individuals throughout the wedding preparation process
(which is generally the most tedious, stressful and overwhelming for the bride and groom)
who during the wedding all of a sudden demand a role or attention. But do not worry, its
nothing unusual. We were warned of this phenomena by many experienced aunties- so we were
prepared to expect it. Don't forget that when you are the bride/groom it is your wedding-
the day you have dreamed of for your whole life. You may not have time to even talk to
some of your closest friends at your wedding.. and that is okay because the wedding is
about the bride and groom, and no one else. That is how we will view every bride and groom
whose wedding we are given the privilege to attend. And that's the way everyone should
view a wedding- it's what's right.
'Your wedding is a great indicator
to find out who honestly cares about you!'
"Everyone who has already
gotten married can definitely relate to what we are saying. Lastly, remember that your
wedding is the day you celebrate your forever love- its spiritual, romantic, and amazing.
Enjoy it! When we look back at our wedding day we are so thankful we took moments out of
the rush to just look at one another and smile- saying "this is it.., this is what we
always dreamt of".. Tears of joy come to our eyes because we loved our wedding so
much.. and you can too. When you walk down the isle take your time, smile, and remember
how beautiful this day is. It's a celebration of your love. Nothing could be more
beautiful. Nothing could be more amazing."
The bride and
groom wish to further thank
- Beautician Suman Khosla: available
- Marriott International
- Monsoon Banquet Hall
- Bombay Tandoor Restaurant
- Gurpreet (Vicky), Raj &
Mintu at Elegant Creations, L.L.C
- Mr. Rakesh Grover,
- Mr. Raj Shrama, photography
- Mr. John Bell, Sitarist
- MC for the Sangeet, Shagun
& Reception evenings: Mr. Hemant Datta
- The Traditional Sakhian
(Bridemaids in Punjabi Weddings): Ms. Amrita Anand, Ms. Natasha Singh, Ms. Jessica Taneja,
Ms. Pavneet Taneja, Ms. Jasmine Sethi, Ms. Sarina Sethi, Ms. Selena Taneja, Ms. Anita
Bakshi, Ms. Nileah Bell, Ms. Shireen Gujral, Ms. Amrita Sodhi, Mrs. Sonia Mundra, Ms.
Sumaiya Talukdar, Ms. Soumya Sudhakar, Ms. Smethna Chaabra, Ms. Monica Sethi, Ms. Shalini
Sethi, Ms. Reena Batra and Ms. Priya Verma.
- (Last but certainly not
least) Wedding Sutra- for countless ideas and inspirations during our wedding planning