When two cultures are blended in marriage, many traditions come into play. Today’s wedding, introduced earlier this morning from Sara Dahmen, principle wedding planner of Golden Chic Events encompassed a traditional, yet modern Hindu ceremony followed by a lovely luncheon and stunning evening reception. Now ~ it’s time to hear from Swathi, the beautiful bride!
After six years of dating and over seven and a half years of friendship, Adam and I were incredibly excited to finally get married. We wanted our wedding to truly represent us both as individuals and as a couple. We envisioned a romantic yet chic event that modernized our distinct backgrounds while maintaining their cultural integrity. We wanted our friends and family to not only feel as though they entered an exclusive event, but to also feel truly loved. We wanted to sincerely thank them each for their continued love, support and impact on our lives. We accomplished this by both paying homage to our heritage throughout the event and also making the guests a part of our love story. This vision is best encapsulated by our favors: handmade, monogrammed truffles custom created to represent us as individuals, by reflecting each of our cultural backgrounds. Although each truffle featured completely distinct flavors, they complemented each other perfectly, just like Adam and I. Similarly, every out of town guest received a gift bag full of monogrammed snacks and beverages that also featured a custom newspaper designed to be a window into our lives. While the newspaper contained essentials such as descriptions of all of our wedding events (spanning four very busy days), we also included trivia, photos and stories of our past, present and future together as a couple.
As an admittedly type A individual, I pulled Adam into my world and, together, we poured over every little detail of the event. We custom designed every single item used at our wedding and, as a result, our monogram was literally everywhere (numerous people actually told me that I should shift careers into marketing and graphic design!). What I remember most about the planning process, however, is actually how well Adam and I worked together to hand create many of the monogrammed details at our wedding, including custom water bottles, cocktail stirrers, candies, matchboxes, magnets, coloring books and, most significantly, hand embossed napkins. This took FOREVER. But, I will never forget how we set up an assembly line with my parents to emboss 1,200 napkins during the week before the wedding. I could barely breathe from ingesting an unhealthy amount of silver embossing powder. And my dad, who took the project very seriously, sported goggles and a face mask while aggressively using a heat gun to set our monogram into the napkins. This was pre-wedding, familial bonding at its finest.
Yet, while focusing on the event’s minutia, we never lost sight of the bigger picture – our guests had to have a blast at the wedding! To get them involved, we opted for grand entrances throughout the day that would evoke excitement and crowd involvement: Adam entered on a horse (which is atypical for South Indian weddings) and I entered on a doli carried by four men and circled the perimeter of the Pilot House. To add cultural authenticity, we brought in traditional Indian musicians from Canada. They added character and liveliness to the ceremony and temporarily transported guests to India for the day. At the reception, we used a combination of a harpist and a DJ to create an event that was both romantic and elegant, but also a killer party. The dance floor was crowded the entire evening and guests of all backgrounds were dancing to Hip Hop and Bhangra alike. It was truly wonderful to see all of our guests mesh together so well and alternate between shaking their booties on the dance floor, taking silly photos in the photo booth, jotting down the names of our favorite Chicago restaurants (used in lieu of table numbers) and gorging on the dessert buffet, the chocolate chip cannoli wedding cake and our signature champagne cocktails.
Still, after all the sketching and planning we had done prior to the big day, I will never forget how I felt walking into our ceremony, lunch and reception venues for the first time. All three venues felt completely modern and romantic, but each was distinct. The traditional Hindu ceremony was chic and ethereal. The post-ceremony lunch was contemporary and pure, with grand chandeliers and one of a kind, mum ball flower arrangements. And then, there was the reception. I almost fainted when I first walked in to the venue. It epitomized modern romance. Lush pale pink and champagne roses consumed the base of the tables, while the centerpieces completely stole the show. Manzanita and birch branches in silver vases overflowed with flowers. I thought I had never in my life seen anything so beautiful, but then I turned around and saw the sweetheart table. I almost had a heart attack; it was surely one of a kind – a huge, silver tree dripping with roses and crystals. Guests raved about our use of contemporary branches and trees throughout the event and many told us they had never seen anything like it.
Looking back on the event, I can honestly say that our wedding was the best day in both of our lives. Being surrounded by so many people we loved made all of the planning completely worth it. Yet, as the excitement from the day wears off and the memories begin to fade, there is one part of our wedding day that I will always remember. After the Hindu ceremony, Adam and I privately exchanged rings by Lake Michigan. I will never forget how I felt at that moment – overwhelmed with emotion and love. After I quickly placed Adam’s ring on his finger, Adam surprised me by pulling out a stack of papers on which he had written vows and began to articulate all of the reasons he loved me and was lucky to be my husband. I, of course, felt like a total idiot for not also preparing my own vows. But, I will never forget standing next to that lake, hearing Adam’s vows and knowing that nothing else mattered in the world. I had found the man I loved and I wanted to spend my entire life with. I was completely content.
After exchanging rings, Adam and I went back up to the pilot house. At this point, all of the guests had moved to the lakeside tent to eat their three course lunch. What remained in the venue was the ethereal mandap, the sun shining in and a private table set up for the two of us to dine together. I feel so blessed to have had time alone with my husband amidst an amazing, yet admittedly hectic and overwhelming day. This was by far the best hour of my life. ~Swathi
Congratulations Swathi & Adam and Thanks to Sara at Golden Chic Events for sharing!!
Ceremony & Luncheon Venue: Discovery World & Bartolotta Catering / Reception Venue: Renaissance Place / Event Planning and Design: Golden Chic Events & Consulting / Reception Caterer: India House / Service Staff: Bartenders On The Go / Photography: J.Be Photography / Videography: Park Hill Multimedia /Linens & Chair Rentals: The Elegant Touch/ Floral: La Tulipe / Ceremony Rentals/Mandap: Poonam Creations / Cake: Sweetness by Alice / DJ: Brian Redd of ACA Music & Entertainment / Ceremony Horse: Maharaja Farm / Reception Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Favors: Indulgence Chocolatiers / Harpist: Dorothy Walsh / Photobooth: ShutterBooth / Dance Floor Decals: Partyfloor