Pankhesh and I met when we were just 16 years old. We were seniors at local high schools and I randomly met him through a mutual friend. We were both so young and just starting our lives. Over the course of the next ten years, we formed an unimaginable bond. We attended under grad near each other, formed similar circles of friends and ran into each other all the time. He says he knew we were going to get married when we first met. In 2016, I finally introduced him to my parents and they couldn’t have been happier. Coming from a Christian, Tamil household, I wasn’t sure how any of this was going to work out considering the fact that Pankhesh comes from a traditional Gujarati, Hindu household. I spent my childhood in Chennai and never ever thought I would marry someone who was so unlike me. In September of 2015, Pankhesh proposed to me in front of the Lincoln Memorial and it was magical. He had asked for my parents’ blessings earlier in the week and planned the proposal with perfection, with a photographer who had been following us! And so the wedding preparations began- We set in a date in July 2016. With just 10 months to go, we decided to have the wedding in Chennai. There was no way I was going to get married without the presence of my extended family, and Chennai has always had a special place in heart.
To hear more about our engagement: http://howheasked.com/christine-and-pankhesh/
We decided to have an engagement party in December to formally celebrate with everyone. Most of Pankhesh’s family lives here in the States, so we wanted to make sure we included everyone in the celebrations. We wanted to celebrate where we both grew up- deep in Southern Maryland. Most often, people do not appreciate the natural beauty we are surrounded by. We chose a family owned farm venue for our celebrations. We were awed by the warmth, and kindness by the family. They hold weddings and events there all the time, but it was the first time they had ever hosted an Indian event and they did an amazing job accommodating all of our needs and requests. We chose winter themed decorations for the engagement and it couldn’t have been more gorgeous. Green was the color of the night, so Pankhesh and I coordinated our outfits accordingly. Our photographers, the Kitchens are a husband-wife duo who couldn’t have been sweeter! Like our venue, they had never witnessed Indian events before, and they were amazing. We chose them because of their experience, and technique. We wanted someone who was familiar with Southern Maryland, and who would be able to capture the rawness of the event.
Hair and make up:
Never in a million years did I think I would trust anyone with my hair and make up for all four events without a trial. I am very particular with how I do my hair and makeup and I knew exactly what I wanted every event to be. Prakruthi was the first step to my wedding- as soon as we had a date, I contacted. Just like everything else, I needed someone who had worked with a variety of clientele. I was going for 4 different looks, and nothing was going to overlap, and it was Prakruthi, and her mom, Seetha aunty who were a dream team. They took my suggestions and vision and gave me exactly what I was going for.
Bride’s outfit: Om’s Sari Fashion Boutique, Iselin, New Jersey
Bride’s jewelry: Indiatrend.
Bride’s make up: Iram Ali make-up artist: @iramalimakeupartist, https://www.facebook.com/iramalimakeupartist/?fref=ts
Bride’s mehndi: Henna Ink: @hennakinkMD, https://www.facebook.com/HennaInkMD/
Groom’s outfit: Noose and Monkey, Calvin Kline.
Venue: Flora Corner Farm LLC, Mechanicsville, Maryland: @FloraCornerFarmLLC, https://www.facebook.com/FloraCornerFarmLlc/?fref=ts
Photography: Sincerely, The kitchens: @JuliaKellettphoto, https://www.facebook.com/JuliaKellettphoto/?hc_ref=SEARCH
Meet and greet dinner/rehearsal dinner:
Venue: Madras restaurant, Raintree Hotel, Chennai.
Theme: North and South meet
Hair and Make up: Prakruthi Ananth
Mehndi: Natural’s Beauty
Sari: Pothys, Chennai
Jewelry: GRT Thanga Maligai, Chennai
Groom’s outfit: Mumbai
We held a dinner to welcome all guests the night before the wedding. This was the first time both the Bride and Groom side families were meeting, and it was also a reunion for all of our family members. We had guests from all over the world, so we wanted to take some time to welcome and thank everyone for being there with us. We decided on a North and South theme to celebrate both of our cultures. I wore a traditional maroon pattu saree from Pothys and Pankhesh wore a kurta vest from Bombay. We ended the night on the rooftop bar, High at Raintree Hotel. It was ladies night and we partied till we realized we needed to be up early in the morning for us to get married!
Wedding and Reception photography:
Sudeep Bhattacharya: @sudeepbhattacharyaphotography, https://www.facebook.com/sudeepbhattacharyaphotography/?fref=ts
Wedding and reception videography-
Creative Chisel Wedding Films: @creativechiselweddingfilms, https://www.facebook.com/creativechiselweddingfilms/
Wedding/reception decorations: Ethnic decors, Chennai
OUR WEDDING VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdnJANuuSdk
Christian Ceremony dress: Designer: Sottero and Midgley, Mary’s Designer Bridal Boutique, Annapolis, Maryland
Veil: Serendipity Bridal and events, White Plains, Maryland
Jewelry: Customized diamonds
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Groom’s outfit: Calvin Kline
The Christian ceremony was held at the gorgeous CSI St. George’s Cathedral and it was a ‘dream come true’ moment! Built in 1815, the church had recently turned 200 years and was the perfect church to honor our Christian faith and to start our life together. That morning was one of the most emotional moments I have ever had in my life- I was able to have a few minutes with my parents, and we spent the time praying. I was about to begin one of the most important journeys of my life and I am so grateful to have had those few minutes with my parents. My parents mean everything to me so it was so important to me in so many ways. My bridesmaids were in the room with us at the time and I felt so much love and support. It was just what I needed before I walked down the aisle. The ceremony was attended by all of our friends and families and we couldn’t have asked for a more elegant, and royal wedding. We went with pastel colors for the morning festivities- light pinks, and whites. We added a touch of south celebrations by having nadhaswaram band at the church! The bridesmaids wore customized maroon chudidhars, the groomsmen wore tuxes with maroon bowties to provide a contrast with the Bride and Groom.
After the Christian ceremony we held a luncheon over the Raintree Hotel while we changed in our afternoon ceremony outfits.
Lengha: Nazranaa, Iselin, New Jersey. @nazranaa
Jewelry: Indiatrend, GRT
Groom’s outfit/accessories- Manyavar, Mumbai
This ceremony was held at the Raintree hotel and was decorated with traditional summer weddings colors as marigold, and orange. Though the event was taking place just a few hours after the morning ceremony, we wanted a completely different look and experience for the afternoon. The mandap was decorated with strings of traditional flowers and bells and was a beautiful backdrop to our colorful outfits. I went with a traditional red and gold heavy lengha and Pankhesh wore a sherwani to match me. To add more colors for the afternoon, the bridesmaids wore customized purple sarees with gold blouses while the groomsmen wore matching kurtas. This was such a fun event because besides the groom and his family, none of us really knew what to expect. All of our friends from the States were so fascinating by the Gujarati culture and traditions. We took a joyride in a locally rented auto rickshaw and it was a perfect mix of both North and South as we headed into the evening for the reception.
Bride’s Reception dress: Om’s Sari Boutique, Iselin, New Jersey
Bridal shoes: Jimmy Choo
Groom’s outfit- Calvin Klein
First dance: Like I’m gonna Lose you – Meghan Trainor, John Legend
DJ: DJ Zen, Chennai
We wanted come back to the soft, pastel theme from earlier in the day as we headed into the night and said good bye to our friends and families. We went with peach, light pink and white for our reception, which was nicely tied into the flower backdrop we had on the stage. I wore a beautiful peach lehenga which I had made into a dress (comfort comes first!), and Pankhesh wore a white coat and black slacks. As we entered, we were humbled by all the love and support we had received to make this come true. It had been an intense 10 months of planning for both us and we were so happy that it turned out just the way we wanted. The best man and maid of honor gave their speeches, as well as both of our younger brothers. It was a special moment for both of us because we wanted to make sure our best friends as well as our brothers were included as part of our day. When all is said and done, we were not going to remember what color flowers we had, or what went wrong but those special moments were able to share with our loved ones. We danced the night away with our loved ones with a mix of music that pleased all of our tastes, and happily said good bye to everyone as we headed on to our honeymoon.
Honeymoon- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
This was a dream come true for the both of us. It exceeded all expectations. The resort has been recognized as the Indian Ocean's Leading Hotel 2016 & 2015 and the Maldives' Leading Water Villa Resort 2016 by the World Travel Awards and offers a variety. We were able to feed sharks, dine at the worlds first under sea restaurant, and soak up the Sun at the most beautiful place. It was like we were living another life. The staff and property were phenomenal and we will definitely be visiting it again.
One of the biggest concerns we had while planning was trying to find the perfect vendors who understood we are and what we wanted via online. We planned the entire wedding online so it meant a lot of late night phone calls, skype and WhatsApp messages for us. Not only was the timing a big issue, but the making our dreams become a reality with just words. We were unable to visit the venues in person, and meet with any vendors until the day of the wedding. We had no time to make a trip to India in those 10 months we spent a lot of time researching online and communicating via emails. We are so thankful to all vendors who were able to execute just what we wanted without ever meeting us in person. We planned everything by ourselves, and we were adamant that we did not want our families involved, we wanted this to be an exclusively Christine and Pankhesh planned day. One of the decisions that we made was to have everything finalized before both of us arrived in Chennai. This included all of our outfits. The clothing we had to purchase was the rehearsal dinner clothing, everything else was already purchased here and all we had to do was transport it there. This was a stress reliever for us because we did not have to do any last minute shopping for ourselves and or make any decisions in a rush. We took care of the bridal party and family shopping once we were in India and it really enabled us to enjoy the wedding experience.
Photography-Videography- we spent most of our time finding the perfect photographers and videographers. One of our biggest concerns was that we didn’t want the traditional photos- we wanted to capture the candidness, love, happiness and lots of laughter instead of having pre planned poses. We were also looking for vendors who had worked with Christian weddings. Many of the vendors did not have any experience in Christian weddings and we didn’t want to risk having someone who would not know what to expect. We were planning the wedding as if it was taking place back here in Washington DC, so we didn’t want to compromise on the quality and the experience of our wedding. Sudeep and Anand had worked together before and I was so happy that I was able to book them for the day. I had been speaking to them for month and when I met them on my wedding day it was as if I had been friends with them for years! They made me so comfortable, and moved effortlessly throughout the day and kept up with the events. The best part was that they were able to work with the Tamil, Gujarati and American friends and families. At one point, I was at a loss what was happening at the Gujarati ceremony and Sudeep came to the rescue for translation and explained what was going on. Anand and Sushma (Creative Chisel) were able to capture every part of the day for both the Groom and Bride’ side for the video and we couldn’t be more pleased with their work for us.