Every wedding is a merging of two families and traditions. For this couple, that couldn’t be more true.
Anupa and John both grew up in Hazard, KY, but didn’t meet until she was out of high school. A classmate asked if Anupa might be interested in going on a date with his older brother, John. They ended up dating during her freshmen year of college, but then parted ways. Fifteen years later, they reconnected on Facebook. They were engaged in Las Vegas within three months of their second “first date”!
They chose to have their wedding at the Griffin Gate Marriott, both for its beauty and its kind, helpful staff. Anupa wanted the wedding ceremony to blend Eastern and Western cultures, both to embrace her family’s Indian heritage as well as their roots in the United States. This meant including many traditional Indian ceremonies and customs, as well as Western marriage customs.
Before the wedding, Anupa and her friends and family participated in a mehndi ceremony, a centuries-old tradition in which henna is applied to the bride’s hands and feet. The colorful, musical, and lively celebration was decorated with pink, orange, and yellow Gerber daisies and balloons. Anupa’s intricate mehndi application took over 20 hours to complete! The design included the groom’s initial, which he later had to find.
The wedding ceremony began with the Baraat, the traditional welcoming of the groom and his family and friends. Anupa’s mother performed an Aarti, a Hindu ritual of blessing, and applied Tilak (vermillion powder) on John’s forehead before leading him to the Mandap, the canopy under which the ceremony was to take place. As tradition holds, a curtain was held in front of the groom as Anupa was escorted to the mandap. The couple was to then exchange flower garlands to indicate that they accept one another as man and wife. As soon as the curtain was dropped between them, Anupa pounced and flung her garland around John’s neck, surprising the groom and creating one of his favorite memories of the day. The couple also chose to exchange wedding rings, in keeping with Western tradition.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour with passed Indian snacks. Anupa’s dogs, Buddy and Bailey, donning floral garlands of their own, were specially brought in for the family pictures.
The reception was held in the Paddock Pavilion. The tent was draped from floor to ceiling with white fabric, covered in strings of white lights. Lush centerpieces of white and pale pink filled the tent with the scent of roses. A table in the entryway greeted guests with a mirrored statue of Ganesha, the Hindu god of new beginnings and remover of obstacles. The custom-made dance floor had a large “A J” monogram in the center.
By merging Indian and American traditions, Anupa and John created a stunning wedding celebration that neither will ever forget.
Photographer: Conrhod Zonio | Venue: Griffin Gate Marriott | Catering: Masala Indian Cuisine | Wedding Planner: Alicia Collins | Flowers: Great Expectations | Cakes: The Twisted Sifter Cake Shoppe | Bridal Gown: Charisma Design Studio | Bride's Reception & Groom's Attire: Saahil Exclusive | Hair & Makeup: Anna Crane | Priest: Shri Rajendra Kumar Joshi of the Hindu Temple of Kentucky | Mehndi Artist: Maya Kalathia