You will not believe how this Indian bride blended her Indian tradition with her husbands Texas Charm!

When Priya Sambasivan met Ryan Foster through OkCupid, the first meeting lasted 7 hours! The connect was so strong, it seemed like a glove fitting over one’s hand. In Priya’s words,”The date felt like a long, slow exhale of breath I’d been holding for years”.

“We just fit together,” says Ryan. “We had similar values and philosophy of living but enough differences to help each other grow. She laughed at my stupid jokes, and my jaw dropped when I saw how beautiful she was.”

Two years later, the couple was tying the knot at the Hamilton Station Vineyards in North Virginia and it is just amazing how they blended each others culture and tradition within their wedding!

Everything from Priya’s dress to the wedding ceremony to the food was just fabulous as seen in the photos 🙂

The Bride getting ready! We love the color of the Lehenga!

Notice the Lehenga and the Boots to go with it! 🙂

The brides decorated hands and her Maang Tikka and Jhumkas

A closer look at the brides Texas Cowgirl Boots

The beautiful bride ready!

The Brides feet decorated with Mehendi 🙂

The set-up for the ceremony, a fusion between an altar and a mandap!

We love the floral decor leading up to the mandap!

The Priests altar replaced by a traditional looking Mandap.

The handsome groom with his parents 🙂

Priyas uncle from India was kind enough to chant the shlokas!

The Jaimala Ceremony

And also,”you may now kiss the bride!”

The buffet included a lavish spread of Indian foods and the globally famous Texas Barbecue! The wedding favours were cutely decorated boxes with Macaroons!

We love how the colour has been coordinated with Priya’s outfit 🙂

It’s the time to party!

The slipper-hooks are adorable!

The Lovely Wedding Cake!

Self Serving Water and Lemonade Station!

And the rest is history, Priya and Ryan are off to Scandinavia for their honeymoon and we can not get enough of the pictures from their beautiful wedding!

The Happily Married newlyweds!

We wish the newlyweds a great and prosperous married life together!

Photos by: Kursten Roe Photography

Event Planning & Design: Bellwether Events

Flowers: LynnVale Studios Llc

Table Rentals: Barnes Handcrafted Farmhouse Tables  Chair & Rug Rentals:

Chair & Rug Rentals: Something Vintage Heirloom Rentals & Styling

Bride’s Gown: Maharani Fashions

Hair & Makeup: Lori Nansi

Henna: Henna Harmony

Groom’s Attire: Al’s Formal Wear

Music: Van Petty for MyDeeJay

Catering: Woodlands Restaurant and Hill Country BBQ

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes

Stationery: Invitations by Ajalon

Transportation: Dulles Limo

What this father did at his sons wedding will shock you and then leave you in awe!

As far as wedding gift ideas go, we have a gazillion options for products which can be gifted and if nothing else, there is always the envelope filled with money and a coin for shagun. But what Rakesh Vaishnav asked for was something you can never ever imagine.

When Rakesh Vaishnav decided to get his two sons, Arun and Alpesh married, he envisioned setting an example which has never been set before. The wedding took place at Ramganjmandi town in Kota Rajasthan.

To give you a bit of background, Rakesh lost a family member from complications owing to lack of blood and has since been donating blood regularly.

So at his sons weddin, he saw and opportunity and seized it and requested his guests to give him just one gift, that of donating blood. He set up a blood donation camp at the wedding venue.

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Even the wedding invitations read,”Uphaar ho to aisa, raktdan jaisa” (no better gift than blood donation).

While he made it clear to his guests, that in no way should they feel obliged to donate, his efforts inspired so many of his guests to actively participate in a cause that can make a huge difference to the current state of affairs in the country.

His request did inspire many attendees at the wedding to donate their blood, including his 21-year-old nephew Rahul Vaishnav and guest Saroj Sharma, who at aged 39 donated blood for the very first time. As many as 26 units of blood had been collected in one afternoon, and more was expected to be donated in the evening.

This wedding camp is not Rakesh’s only initiative. He has also worked on awareness campaigns, encouraging others to donate blood and assisting those in need of a donation. “I started a group called ‘Raktdata Jeevandata Samooh’ in 2012. It is connected with voluntary blood donation organizations in nine states and provides blood to the needy people,” he said.

All we can say is kudos, we can not draw enough inspiration from you Mr.Rakesh Vaishnav, and it’s such small beautiful gestures by citizens which will make our great country a shining light on the global stage.

Inside Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception!

Yes!  Pippa Middleton, the world’s most famous bridesmaid is married to financier James Matthews and unlike what everyone imagined, this was not a royal wedding but the one Pippa envisioned and specifically designed. And we have some beautiful photographs thanks to her florist Drojde Verda.

“They said all along they wanted it to be a private family wedding at home in the beautiful countryside with their closest friends and family.”

British designer Giles Deacon created a custom masterpiece of a gown which was stunning, to say the least.  Little Prince George was the pageboy and Princess Charlotte was the bridesmaid.

Princess Kate recited the prayer during the ceremony at St.Marks Church in Englefield and the wedding program featured a drawing of the church sketched by Kate herself.

After the church ceremony, the 150 ceremony guests filed into the nearby Englefield House for a midday reception, where they dined on mini haggis, deer carpaccio with mushroom, fresh langoustine claws and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.

An afternoon break preceded the evening celebrations which were held in a glass palace shipped all the way from Belgium. 350 guests including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in attendance

Guests sipped champagne while watching a light show filled with projections of Middleton and Matthews’s love story on the side of the Middleton family home and tennis pro-Roger Federer took on William and Harry in a doubles game of Ping-Pong.

And what an evening it was!

Celebrities who weren’t afraid to be Happy and Gay!

We all heard of Jim Parsons tying the knot this May to Todd Spiewak, his long-time partner who he has been happy and celebrating life with since 2002.

We, of course, can not think of a better way to celebrate their love for each other than making it official.

As we congratulate Jim and Todd for being the men that they are, being an example for so many others to be themselves, we list down some others who have stepped out and inspired so many people.

ELLEN DEGENERES AND PORTIA DE ROSSI

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi reportedly first met through mutual friends back in 2001.After the California Supreme Court overthrew the ban on same-sex marriage on 16th May 2008, they married on 13th August 2008 at their Beverly Hills home and have been happily married since.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS AND DAVID BURTKA

“How I Met Your Mother” star Harris fell for David Burtka, 36, eight years ago. After nearly 10 years together and adopting fraternal twins, the pair tied the knot in September 2014 in Italy. Neil says, “Yup, we put the ‘n’ and ‘d’ in ‘husband’.

SIR ELTON JOHN AND DAVID FURNISH

Five months after they got together, the smiles on their faces said it all at Sir Elton John’s AIDS Foundation party after the Oscars in LA way back in February 1994.Their son, Zachary, was born in December 2010, to a surrogate mother. In December 2014, following the legalization of gay marriage, the couple wed at their home at Old Windsor.Furnish told Attitude magazine: ‘As a high-profile couple, we feel it is our duty to do it to make sure that everyone knows this is something that many gay men living in this country never dreamed would happen.’ Take a bow!

CYNTHIA NIXON AND CHRISTINE MARINONI

The Sex and the City actress, 46, and the education activist, 45, have been together since 2004. Marinoni gave birth to their son, Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni, in February 2011. The couple waited to marry until it was legal in New York State and finally got married on 27th May 2012.

LANCE BASS AND MICHAEL TURCHIN

Their journey towards the aisle actually began – or, rather, almost didn’t begin – in 2010 when the two started a friendship that neither thought would become anything more.The couple made history as the first-ever same-sex couple to be married on an American television network!The ceremony itself took place at the Park Plaza Hotel in 2014.

We know the struggle is real, and we respect them for standing together through thick and thin so that so many others have hope and can envision these days happening for them 🙂

What happened at this arranged marriage meeting will leave you speechless…

Growing up in India, we all at some point go through the wonderful process of arranged marriage.

Calls go back and forth, mothers speak first, meetings are set up and the bride and groom to be, move on from one prospect to another being evaluated and checked, and this is just me trying to sound normal about it, it is however quite a mechanical process in all honesty.

Most times though, this seems to work. Happy couples, happy families and all is well that ends well.

But sometimes, outrageous demands are made. From Dowry to threats to what not. A post by one quora user is beyond outrageous. It is outrageously the most outrageous of outrageous demands I have ever heard.

In fact I have never heard something even close to such nonsense.

See the post here:

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What the post says:

“Okay, This is an experience I heard from a friend.
The girl belongs to an orthodox, religious Indian family. She lives with her 2 paternal uncles, their wives and kids and has 2 siblings of her own, in short an elaborate joint family.
She has just completed her B.A. from a girl’s college, does excellent embroidery and Henna Art, and congratulations, she’s a very strong candidate for Marriage.
The younger paternal uncle’s friend’s neighbor’s wife’s brother-in-law’s brother (phew) is a candidate too. So a marriage proposal is laid down and a meeting is fixed for the prospective groom’s family to visit the girl’s place to “SEE” her and “EVALUATE” her.
Both the sides, everyone is excited, preparations are in flow and the fateful day arrives.
The prospective groom arrives with an elaborate family of his own. His mother takes the lead and begins scrutinizing the girl, grilling her with all possible questions and the groom-to-be is eating cake and biscuits in merry. After the intense grilling session, the girl breathes a sigh of relief and looks towards the prospective groom’s face, to catch a glimpse, to realize he’s still busy eating cake.
Suddenly the to-be Mother-in-law whispers something in the girl’s mother’s ears. Startled at first, the mother says something to her mother-in-law and reluctantly they both get up from the living room, politely excuse themselves from the guests and along with the girl and the groom-to-be’s Mother, go to the nearest bedroom.
Now, you will not believe this, the prospective Mother-in-law asks the girl to strip down because she wants to make sure that the girl is “FAIR” overall, physically fit for marriage, bears no sign of albinism and is a virgin!
The poor girl is embarrassed and bursts into tears, the girl’s grandmother politely refuses to such outrageous demands and excuses the lady out of the room.
The marriage proposal is discarded and the girl is admitted to a computer course for 6 months, till next time..
This is horrendous and insulting and by far the craziest experience I’ve heard concerning arranged marriages.
Till date, prospective brides are treated like an item on sale, to be examined thoroughly for damage and quality before pasting a “sold” label onto their foreheads. Such outrageous demands begin with scrutinizing the bride-to-be for appearance, lead to dowry demands, and later domestic abuse.”

It makes one wonder how many different types of sick does a person have to be to even imagine going to someone’s house and making such an outrageous demand, actually doing it is a completely different story.

Disgusting!

What do you think?

Intercaste Marriages: Cast Away the Misconceptions

Intercaste Marriages: Cast Away the Misconceptions

“Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom

Marriages are supposed to represent a union of two souls and families. Religion, caste systems and other such social dogmas are barriers that have often crippled budding relationships in our country. Couples who have found love beyond their community circles usually tend to face resistance from friends and family. But don’t fret about it. Resisting change or something new is part of human nature. The best thing to do is to ease your family into accepting what you know in your heart is best for you. We’ll have a look at how you can attempt this. We know love doesn’t see cultural and lifestyle differences before finding it’s way into one’s heart, but there are some unforeseen hiccups that we’re going to make you aware of so you can have a smooth transition into your spouse’s family.

Learn to empathize

Every parent has a set of expectations attached with the person their child will marry. One of the biggest expectations is that their child’s choice belong to the community they are familiar with. So when you spring the fact as being something else, they are bound to be upset about it. In such a situation, it will only get worse if you throw a tantrum or use the reverse psychology of lashing out at your parents so they are forced to accept your decision. If you want them to accept your love wholeheartedly, learn to empathize with their point of view and understand the fact that time is the only healer.

What’s life without a challenge

Apart from the obvious challenges, such as resistance from family and variance in religious practices, some unanticipated obstacles could be a difference in language, lifestyle, food habits, medical beliefs, etc. However, don’t let this bog you down. The key to a successful intercaste relationship is for each couple to stay true to their roots and maintain their individuality. This will be appreciated in the long run. Try and blend in as much as you can, but you’ll have to make peace with the fact that some things are simply done differently in your spouse’s family.

Mingle

The best way to blend in is to mingle with the extended family at get-togethers and functions. The first few times may prove awkward for all of you, but once you’ve overcome this phase and actually begun to enjoy the company you’re in, things will get much easier for you (and your spouse) at home. Your in-laws will appreciate the honest effort you’re making to become a member of the family and accept their traditions. All in all, it’s a win-win!

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Educate

Intercaste marriages are beneficial in so many ways, and yet, in India they remain a social taboo of sorts. People need to be made more aware of the benefits of such unions so they are more open and accepting of them. Mixed unions are so much fun! They are an opportunity to get introduced to a whole new world of culture, rituals, traditions, ideologies and philosophies. They help aid the progress of the country by bringing two communities together and eradicating communalist ideologies.

So in the spirit of acceptance, this note goes out to all the moms and dads out there. Give your sons and daughters a say in the most important decision of their lives. In the words of William Shakespeare, “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” Have confidence in your upbringing. Trust that your child will do what’s right for them and you. Keep the faith!

These Punjabi Wedding ceremonies are so much fun you may as well call it a Fun-jabi wedding! Pun intended!

They say you know someone is a Punjabi when their party catering for 100 people can actually feed 500 people, they are willing to do the bhangra everywhere they go (except the Gurdwara) and they call people they don’t know ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’. And when you imagine a whole load of such people together, you can expect nothing less than fun, excitement and noise. In short, a big fat Punjabi wedding.

Punjabi weddings are extremely reflective of the culture and these customs and traditions just tell you how much fun they truly are!

Roka Ceremony – An official engagement is held to seek the blessings of family and friends. At this ceremony, the to‐be‐bride receives a very significant part of her wedding day jewellery, the nose ring, popularly known as the ‘nath’ by her mother’s brother.

Shagun – Translated as engagement, in this ceremony the girl’s family confirms this relationship between the couple. This is celebrated with the boy’s family receiving gifts and jewellery.

Sagai ‐- This is the formal engagement ceremony which takes place at the groom’s house. Followed by the tikka ceremony, The girl is draped in her ‘chunni’ by the grooms mother and a dot of mehendi is applied to her palms for good luck.

Sangeet – Translated as music, this ceremony is our answer to the Western bridal shower. The female family and friends of the to‐be‐bride gather for an evening of traditional music and dancing while they play the Indian instrument, ‘dholki’. Over the years, this has been modernised with a DJ belting out commercial music.

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Mehendi – As per customs, the ‘mehendi’ is sent by the boy’s mother.
The ‘mehendi’ marks the end of the pre‐wedding rituals and the wedding ceremonies begin. A set of rituals are followed in the bride and groom’s homes before they get together for the wedding ceremony.

Haldi – Wedding preparations begin with the bride being beautified with the application of a paste of turmeric and mustard oil. Post this ritual, the bride and groom are not allowed to meet each other until the wedding day.

Chuda – On the actual wedding day, all family members touch a set of red and cream‐ivory bangles which will be presented by the uncle to the bride. This will be worn by the bride as part of her wedding attire but she does not see these bangles until she is dressed up for her wedding. Close family and friends tie gold plated dangling ornaments called ‘kaliras’ to a bangle on each wrist.

Ghodi charna – Once the groom is dressed and has been protected from evil, he is set for the final ceremony which is ‘getting on the horse’. The groom makes his way to the wedding venue on a horse that has been fed and adorned by his sisters and cousins.

After a series of rituals in both homes, the wedding ceremony takes place at either the temple, gurdwara or a generic wedding venue.

Varmala – The bride and groom meet for the exchange of the garland of flowers. This ceremony signifies the acceptance and love they have towards each other while stating that from here on they will live with each other. Both the families tease the couple and an atmosphere of fun and frolic is built and an auspicious time is chosen for the wedding ceremony.

Kanyadaan – As per Indian traditions, a father gives away his daughter at the time of marriage. In order to get his daughter married he first places a ring on the groom’s finger after which the actual wedding ceremony can begin.

Phere ‐- The main part of any Hindu wedding is the circumnavigating the mandap like Christopher Columbus did to the world, only this needs to be done 7 times around the sacred fire with Panditji chanting away something, which few people understand.The groom applies sindoor to the centre of the bride’s head and then gets her to wear a black and gold beaded necklace called the ‘mangalsutra’.

Joota Chupai – While the ceremonies are being performed, the bride’s sisters and friends steal the groom’s shoes.the groom generally has to pay a price to get them back.It is so much fun when the groom’s side decides they wont let it happen.

Vidaai – Once married, the bride departs her parents home throwing puffed rice over her head. Accompanied by her brothers, she makes her way to her new home.At her husband’s house, she is welcomed by her mother in law who circles a glass of water thrice around the head of her daughter in law before welcoming her in.

Pani bharna – The girl then steps in to her new home by using her right foot to knock a vessel filled with mustard oil which has been placed at the entrance. This is followed by a prayer offered by the couple in their room and blessings taken from the elders.
This brings them to the end of the wedding rituals and to the start of a new life filled with love, happiness and health for both.

Phere dalna – The following day, the bride’s brother picks the newly wed couple and takes them to the bride’s house so the couple can spend a day with her parents.

Who would not want to be a part of the festvities! Amazing fun!

PS: It is usually left unsaid, but Daaru flows freely like water does 😉