Offbeat partner: Smruti, Project Manager
Offbeat partner: Mark, Front End Developer
Date and location of wedding: The Hidden Meadow and Barn in Pepin, Wisconsin — June 25, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
I am a South Indian who moved to the US six years back, and the groom is American, born and raised here. I am from a state in India called Karnataka. In the wedding, we included rituals and decor native to my place while retaining some American traditions. The customs in my state are different from other states in India and not popularly known.
All of the signs and place cards were designed by my husband, and he included Kannada (my native language) numbering. In terms of color, we had a pink and gold theme.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We had a ceremony that included two main Kannada wedding rituals. We had a toe-ring ceremony where my husband inserted two rings onto the second toe on both my feet. The ancient belief is that it makes the woman fertile. The other ceremony we had was what's called Saptapadhi, or Seven Steps. We had seven piles of rice on betel leaves placed on the grass under the ceremony arch. We held each others' hands and took seven steps together on the piles of rice. For each step, there is a vow that the officiant read out loud. We also had the usual ring exchange ceremony.
Tell us about your reception:
The reception was in a beautiful open pavilion. The table numbers, place cards, reception table decor, and entrance to the pavilion were all influenced by my family's customs. The wedding favor was a sandalwood soap that is popular where I come from.
We had rehearsed a Bollywood dance and a slow dance that we danced to after dinner. We had a section where we asked the couples among the guests funny questions and had them kiss after responding.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Wedding planning was difficult, more so because we decided three months prior that we wanted to have a full wedding and not just a court wedding. With our busy jobs and me not having any family in town, it was a challenge. My advice to couples is that no matter how much you feel the need to control every aspect of the wedding, it helps to let go and get help from friends and family you trust.
Also, ours was an outdoor wedding. The weather was perfect, but I had not accounted for the wind. We could not put up some of our decor because it was too windy. I was bummed. Think about all contingencies!