Upon finding themselves at a point in their lives where they were feeling open to meeting someone special, Matthew and Priya’s story begins. After some encouraging conversations online, they decided to meet for “sushi followed by chocolate” after Matthew cleverly deduced that these were some of Priya’s favorite foods.
A year and a half later, on Priya’s birthday, Matthew decided to repeat the date with a purpose – it was time to propose. The evening’s cuisine seemed particularly appropriate as it reflected their relationship — a fusion of cultures and traditions. The evening started with a very good omen: they sat in the exact same booth in the sushi restaurant as they had on their first date. The time flew by and soon they were reliving that first date again with chocolate fondue for dessert. Afterwards, though, it seemed that the check was taking seemingly forever. Priya was becoming impatient when finally, their server emerged from the kitchen carrying a large plate. It arrived at their table with “Will you marry me?” written in chocolate across the top. Priya said yes, but only after she was assured it was not a joke. She later learned Matthew had even secretly gone to ask for her father’s permission over a glass of scotch.
Fast forward to their wedding day, to unique a ceremony that was a blend of traditions and rituals. The couple wanted to ensure that they were respectful to both of their backgrounds, and included elements from both cultures. All of their friends and carefully chosen vendors contributed to a palpable feeling of love and celebration at the wedding.
Their officiant took charge, welcoming everyone to “the best wedding ever!” “He was really great and he kept it fun,” said Matthew. The ceremony included a Hindu tradition of a sacred fire at the altar representing the presence of the divine, bearing witness to the marriage. The Unity Candle tradition from Catholicism symbolized the couple’s individuality becoming a permanent union. Hindu tradition was honored by the exchange of jaimalas, traditional garlands showing Priya’s and Matthew’s acceptance of one another in marriage. The couple also exchanged rings, in the American tradition, which they wear to show their commitment to each other.
Priya’s dress, hand beaded in India, was a brilliant deep red representing the rising sun and the beginning of her new life with Matthew. Priya’s father procured the fabric and had it hand beaded in India. The extensive hand beading made it very heavy. “It actually had suspenders underneath to help hold it up!” laughed Priya.
Ceremony and reception took place at the ever-popular Arden Hills Country Club, with the ceremony taking place in the Courtyard of The Villas. Priya really loved being able to watch her guests arriving at the ceremony from the window in her suite at The Villas without being seen. The ceremony began with the big doors flying open and Matthew entering to the song ‘The Final Countdown”. High-fives were exchanged with everyone within reach as the groom made his way to the altar.
Afterwards, guests made their way to the Heritage Room as Matthew and Priya finished their pictures, and were expertly taken care of by the venue’s top-notch staff. Priya remembers the in-house coordinator as being “awesome, organized and on top of everything.” They were both impressed by the way Arden Hills operated, describing it as “a well oiled machine”.
The Heritage Room was awash in vibrant colors of the wedding. Maroon, eggplant, and navy decor with silver accents adorned the room. The flowers coordinated to reflect the rich celebratory colors of the theme with softer colors and silver to make it all pop. Red orchids floating in water created beautiful centerpieces decorating the room.
For dinner, a hearty meal awaited the bride and groom at their sweetheart table. Fusion being the driving force of the night, Indian appetizers were served. Dinner followed with a variety of salads, lasagna, chicken tikka masala, salmon, saag paneer, dahl, rice, rolls, and naan. They were able to achieve this unique menu with the generous help of Arden Hills presenting the American fare and Mehfil Indian Restaurant providing the appetizers and Indian entrees. Every palate was satisfied.
The DJ directed all of the entertainment for the evening, including a popular photo booth, which stayed busy all night. “He really knew how to use music to build the mood,” said Priya. The bridal party made a big splash entering to Usher’s “Yeah” and Priya and Matthew danced their way in to Macklemore’s “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us”. Matthew and Priya danced their first dance as everyone cheered them on. As Priya retells it, “during our first dance, I messed up as my hair piece got stuck in my hair and I got distracted. So it started a little extra ‘funky’ but we recovered!”
The evening progressed with introductions of speakers ready with their toasts. You never know what folks can say during a toast, but, “it was all praise, love and support,” said Matthew. Priya was especially moved by a moment in her Father in Law’s toast. As he was giving his toast to the couple, he paused and took a deep breath. He looked to his Daughter in Law and said, “Priya, you’ve been such a beautiful person to us.” It didn’t matter what else he said, as at that moment Priya knew she was loved and accepted by the family.
The evening wrapped up with guests enjoying the couple’s chocolate wedding cake with white chocolate icing, thoughtfully prepared by family friends. Then it was time to dance and celebrate for the remainder of the evening.
It’s always fun to look back on your wedding and share your best advice for those who will follow in your footsteps. “Slow down a little during the actual day just to take it all in. It went by SO fast!”, says Priya, “Something will go wrong, something will get forgotten and it’s all OKAY. And the end of the night, you will be married to your man and surrounded by love. In the end, that is all that life it truly about. Being in love.” Matthew’s best advice to a new groom, “Put love first. Influence what you can in the direction of love and accept everything else.”
PHOTOS: Ranalla Photography