When a caterer finds herself engaged, you can count on the food being an important part of the big day. Erica O’Brien has worked on numerous weddings as part of Occasions Caterers, so one of the top priorities in selecting a venue was finding one that allowed for outside catering, so she could work with her colleagues on the diverse menu. Another key factor in the venue choice was the ability to rent the space for the entire day, allowing for two ceremonies and a reception. Because her groom, Rishi De, is of Indian heritage, “we wanted to include traditional elements from Indian weddings, such as hosting a sangeet the night before the wedding, a baarat, traditional Hindu ceremony (with translation for American guests), and performances during the sangeet and reception,” explains Erica. The couple also incorporated a more brief ceremony featuring Western traditions, as well as Western customs in the reception, such as the first dance, father-daughter dance, and mother-son dance.
For the baraat, which is a parade-like processional for the groom and his family to the wedding, Rishi rode in a spiffy red convertible while dressed in his cultural wedding attire. Erica and her bridesmaids wore beautiful saris of varying jewel tones, and had their hands tattooed with henna. The bride also wore a bindi – a common practice in Hindu culture – and a gold bracelet provided by the groom’s parents, as part of an Indian tradition.
Erica and Rishi took part in the Hindu ceremony under a beautiful canopy with wheat-colored drapery featuring an accent of purple drapes. The Neoclassical auditorium where the wedding was held is stunning on its own, but its architectural beauty was highlighted with blue up lighting, as a spotlight shone on the couple during their nuptials. Once they were officially married, the newlyweds and the bridal party changed to transition to the Western ceremony. Erica now wore a lovely v-neck lace gown, with her bridesmaids in floor-length dresses of various muted shades. The groom and groomsmen looked classic in their black tuxedos, until they revealed the pink, purple, and blue striped socks that Rishi provided for the men. The bride carried a creamy bouquet of roses, orchids, and calla lilies, while her bridesmaids’ brilliantly violet bouquets contrasted the pale frocks. The groomsmen matched their boutonnieres made of purple calla lilies. The second ceremony may have been brief, but it was still touching. Erica admits that while walking down the aisle she was “starting to tear up, even though we were officially already married from the Indian ceremony.” The Western nuptials featured a personal touch, as the ceremony was officiated by a good friend of the bride and the groom. “[He] was also our MC for the night!” the bride exclaims. “He was one of the highlights for the guests.”
For dinner, Erica and Rishi provided two Indian buffets and two American buffets. In lieu of a wedding cake, there was a dessert bar with the couple’s favorite treats. The ceremony up lighting remained, but the auditorium transformed with tables for the 328 guests, featuring sparkling linens in bullion hues and a variety of centerpieces. Violent hydrangeas were the constant, held alone in low gold vases or tall glass cylindrical vessels paired with branches and glass orbs featuring indigo blooms inside. The night concluded with an espresso and cappuccino station and late-night snacks.
With two ceremonies for two different cultures, there’s a potential for things to go wrong. But that was not the case for Erica and Rishi: “It was absolutely perfect,” the bride confirms. For brides hoping to have their own perfect weddings, Erica encourages: “Stick with your instinct and do what you want to do! Make sure to relish every minute of your wedding.”