East Meets West in a Modern Vintage Wedding

by neha
3 Comments Featured Wedding, Vintage Indian Wedding, Wedding Photography, Wedding Reception

Bursting with personality, infusing Indian + American cultures, and combining contemporary with vintage, the wedding of Shalou and Eric is an ample dose of fun and flair. When Suzi of Q Weddings shared the pictures from this unique Indian wedding, I was ecstatic and could not help admiring the careful attention to detail, and the modern aesthetic of this wedding. I love how the couple’s personalities shine through in every element of this wedding. We are so excited to feature and share this beautiful wedding, and the story of Shalou and Eric, as they were counting down to their to their special day.

{ Scroll down to read about the wedding decor }

Eric is an architect and founder/co-owner of an architectural firm, which focuses on modern and environmentally-responsible design. Shalou is a business consultant and entrepreneur, and has held various marketing and business development roles at big corporations, startups, as well as a green architectural design firm. Their personalities and what they do professionally shaped various aspects of their wedding.

{ Scroll down for the couple’s “How we met” and “Proposal” stories }

Hindu weddings can be very formal and ornate. Shalou and Eric wanted to make sure that they respected that, while making sure that all their guests felt included and comfortable to participate in every way. Typically an Indian wedding can have several hundred guests. Hence, it was a top priority for them to limit the guest list to ensure that they would be celebrating this special day with only their family and closest friends.  Furthermore, the personal touches were abundant in order to share a more intimate side. Both Shalou and Eric are fun-loving and appreciate their unique cultures. They wanted to ensure that their personality and culture – in particular food, drinks and music, were well-represented at their special day. Shalou and Eric’s double-ceremony entailed a beautiful Hindu Ceremony in the morning at the Four Seasons on Town Lake in Austin and an evening American Ceremony and reception at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

{ Scroll down to read about the challenges that the couple faced, and how they overcame the challenges }

Hindu Ceremony

Shalou and Eric’s Hindu Ceremony was full of colors and culture. To honor Shalou’s heritage, Eric rode to the wedding venue on a white horse, decked out in Indian finery and accompanied by dhol drummers, who wore Vans sneakers. The Groom’s Baraat procession was accompanied by his family and friends, as well as a marching band and Indian Dhol Players. The event started at the Four Season’s lush back lawns, and the ceremony proceeded in the Ballroom. Following the morning ceremony, the guests enjoyed fusion Indian brunch with live sitar and tabla music.

American Ceremony

For the American Ceremony, Shalou wore a beautiful white bridal gown embellished with crystals and accessorized with fun shoes. The bridesmaids are dressed in lovely turquoise dresses, and the groom and groomsmen wore ties in shades of blue and funky argyle/striped socks.

The evening ceremony was at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is known for its outstanding contemporary architecture and is based on vernacular farm structures, plush gardens to wander through. A contemporary string quartet played a mix of classical favorites and modern hits throughout the ceremony and during the cocktail hour. Eric surprised his bride and witnesses by performing a song he wrote while exchanging vows, and then carried her out after their big kiss. The couple chose the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey for their recessional/exit. 

{ Scroll down for wedding planning advice, especially for multi-ethnic/ intercultural weddings, from the bride herself }

Reception

A blend of cultures, Shalou and Eric’s wedding reception was full of fun, and personal touches. Shalou and Eric changed outfits for the third time that day for the reception. The evening offered a menu with both their favorite Indian and California/Continental style dishes. They had his and hers specialty drinks, The Diamond Ring (French 75) and The Good Karma (Pimm’s Cup), which greeted guests as they exited the ceremony towards the cocktail hour in the Butterfly Garden.

Since Shalou and Eric are notorious for stirring up the dance floor at friends’ weddings (they swear it’s why they get invited to some weddings), it was critical that the perfect blend of Bollywood beats with American 80s and 90s hits kept the party alive until the end – and indeed, it did. They also performed a surprise Bollywood dance with their bridal party. The guests danced the night away until the couple was chauffeured away in a Classic Rolls Royce, decorated with Indian-inspired floral garlands.

Attention to Detail: Colors, Decor and More

  • Shalou and Eric honored traditional red and gold colors for their Hindu Ceremony. In the evening the couple emphasized the turquoise blue, that they love, with touches of red.
  • The aisle decor for the evening ceremony included beautiful florals in blue vintage mason jars.
  • There were unique floating floral arrangements with butterflies in water ponds during the cocktail hour.
  • The dinner was set up in the outdoors area, which was decorated with beautiful string lights.
  • Eric designed the entire wedding paper suite for both morning and evening, including the letterpress invitations. He’s an architect and incorporated a modern aesthetic, yet with hints of Shalou’s heritage, in the programs, menus, and table cards. The table cards were named after the exotic places that the couple had traveled to together and included a few phrases that captured their special moments during each trip.
  • The wedding favors were one of a myriad of unusual gourmet dark chocolate bars – perfect for post-dinner nibble!
  • The centerpieces at the reception included beautiful florals and signs created by Eric, describing important travel destinations during Shalou and Eric’s relationship.
  • One of the highlights at the reception was the dessert bar with decadent offerings such as mint leaves pressed in chocolate, strawberry parfaits and cake balls.
  • One of the couple’s friend created gorgeous ribbon streamers in red, gold and blue for the grand exit to a classic red Rolls Royce.

Reflecting Back: Favorite Moments from the Wedding

Both families felt very strongly about dancing!  (I can’t tell you how many conversations I had about the DJ and the music).  And both families got along really well.  In general, it was all about family and that’s what made it so special.

My mom and I traveled to India to buy a lot of the Indian clothing and jewelry. Our relatives who live there were overly gracious hosts, they took us everywhere and never tired or complained. We shopped pretty much every day we were there for almost 2 weeks straight. I felt very lucky to spend time with them and despite all of the trekking I think they really enjoyed being involved in the process.

Eric’s family is much smaller than Shalou’s (40+ family members in attendance).  It was remarkable how well everyone sincerely enjoyed each other’s company and felt important to each other – both sides continue to ask about each other even a year later!

Our friends and family from both sides really came together on the dance floor. That was probably the best part…to see everyone out there, regardless of whether they were familiar with the songs or not.

If I had to pick just one moment, it would probably be at the rehearsal dinner (Friday night). My entire extended family (40+ members), Eric’s family and our bridal party were invited. It was at a great venue – the private upstairs room of the Parkside in downtown Austin. I had so many details to coordinate and plan for the weekend, including the Mehendi Ceremony (Friday), the dual-ceremony Wedding (all day Saturday), and Sunday brunch, that I had not really put much thought or energy into planning the rehearsal dinner.  I figured we would just let the venue and the good food and company guide the night. After dinner, one of my aunts and one of my uncles got up and started MC-ing a Punjabi style dance party. They created their own music with clapping, stomping, singing and call-outs and effortlessly got every person in the room dancing Punjabi style and having a blast.  That was a true highlight and required zero planning!

How we met for the first time…

In 1997, Shalou and Eric were two strangers that met by chance in a high-rise dormitory at The University of Texas.  A handshake and some pleasantries were exchanged.  While overall the meeting was not memorable, Shalou is hard name to forget.

Take Two.

In 2005, these two strangers traveled from different parts of the country with the hopes of witnessing a Texas victory over Michigan at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. An introduction, an “I think we’ve met before?”, a New Year’s Eve party and a Texas victory later, the two were strangers no more.  After a few months of corresponding (Shalou in San Francisco, Eric in Austin), Eric decided to leave Austin and move west, and so their love story began.

Proposal

In September 2010, during a weekend trip to San Francisco, that Shalou thought she had planned, Eric surprised her by popping the question while picnicking in one of their favorite spots, Dolores Park. Eric looked long and hard to find a rare and beautiful diamond ring, a 100 year-old antique from a boutique store in Manhattan.  Only Shalou’s father knew of the proposal; Eric picked the ring out and planned every detail of the proposal entirely on his own, at the same time hoping that the surprise would not be foiled by Airport Security.

Advice for brides planning intercultural or multi-ethnic wedding

Expectations are key. It’s important that the bride & groom recognize that the celebration is as much about them as it is their families. Go in with an open mind and be curious throughout the process. Take this as an opportunity to learn more about each other’s families and cultures.

Weddings are often complex but intercultural/multi-ethnic weddings are especially complicated. Regarding the day-of, make sure you have at a minimum a “day-of” coordinator. This day should hopefully only happen once and you want to remember it so this person will ideally take a lot of the micro-management, vendor coordination, guest management, etc. off of your plate so you can enjoy the day. Try to slow things down, take it all in and have meaningful interactions with your (now) husband and your guests.


Challenges and Overcoming the Challenges
Challenges:

  • Coming to the realization that the wedding was equally about our families as it was us
  • Being sensitive to unique and sometimes conflicting cultural nuances and/or wishes
  • Executing a wedding that made everyone/family happy by incorporating everyone’s wishes while still keeping true to our personalities and vision
  • Managing multiple vendors, lots of complexities and details

Overcame by:

  • Constantly communicated to help educate our families and friends in order to avoid unwanted surprises
  • Took a few calculated risks – some things we just knew could not be negotiated without experiencing first-hand so we took a chance on a few things …fortunately we were right
  • Got comfortable with the fact that we wouldn’t be able to make everyone happy, but as long as we made a generous effort to do so we accepted that that’s all that we could do
  • Found out what our family’s/parents’ top 3 must-have’s were; communicated what ours were and set expectations early; made sure that each got all of their must-have’s satisfied
  • Learned how to better at being accommodating, understanding and patient
  • Delegated tasks – family and friends wanted to help and felt included this way

Vendor Credits

Photographer:  Q Weddings | Invitation Designer: Ajalon Printing & Design | Officiant: Angeli Carriages
Musicians: Arundel Ensemble, Sangeet Millenium | Cake Designer: Austin Cake Ball | Shoes: Badgely Mischka | Dress Designer: Carrafina | Caterer: Clay Pit, Word of Mouth Catering | Cinema and Video: Elite Video Productions | Venue: Four Seasons Hotel AustinLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center | DJ: Groovelabs | Lighting: ILIOS | Henna: Mehndi Time | Floral Designer: Pollen Floral Art | Hair Stylist: Rae Cosmetics | Equipment Rentals: Saffron Affairs | Event Planner: The Simplifiers | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Author: neha

3 Responses to “East Meets West in a Modern Vintage Wedding”

  1. […] Marigold Events has a beautiful feature of Eric and Shalou’s Indian fusion wedding (Indian and western).  As a photographer, I’m impressed by the thoughtfulness and planning that went into their wedding. They planned not just one, but two full ceremonies, with stylish and significant details as a way to honor the heritage of each of their cultural backgrounds.  What an achievement, and a pretty one at that! […]

  2. Thank you Marigold Events for featuring this fantastic wedding…we were honored to be their wedding planner, helping them pull together their epic day. Guests arrived at 9am at the Four Seasons and partied all the way thru to 12midnight at the Wildflower Center…magnificent! Every vendor involved did a fantastic job and Suzi Q captured it perfectly on film.

  3. […] Indian American Fusion Wedding, which was featured on the Marigold Events blog recently, was no exception and was a complete joy and privilege to […]