While attending the University of Washington, Sasha Babayan and Aneesh Patel met at their dormitory, where they lived just a few doors down from one another. Aneesh recalls speaking to Sasha for the first time a couple days after move-in; however, she didn’t even look his way and remembers their initial meeting at a party she and her future maid of honor threw in their 170-square-foot dorm room. “At some point in the night, he took his earphones out and we said a few words to each other,” she shares. Despite a hurried quintessential college meet cute, it wasn’t long before they started dating. Eight years later, Aneesh proposed at the same place they said “I love you” for the first time.
As they began planning their nuptials, the couple was thrilled to receive help from the bride’s godparents, who work in the industry. “They run their own event and wedding planning business [Aliana Events] out of Los Angeles,” smiles Sasha, confirming they helped ensure everything went off without a hitch. “I didn’t have any ideas for décor or flowers, but thankfully my godparents are the best and immediately understood the look I was going for. The things they were able to materialize I would never have been able to even dream up.”
Desiring an outdoor wedding that would seemingly transport them to a faraway place, Sasha and Aneesh selected Hummingbird Nest Ranch, a beautiful property in Southern California that accommodated their cultural requirements, allowed for a number of different events complete with traditional elements, and welcomed an outside caterer to serve traditional fare to loved ones. “We wanted to make sure to incorporate as many cultural traditions from both sides as possible,” the bride notes of their Armenian and Indian cultures.
To honor both of their upbringings, the couple had an Indian ceremony earlier in the afternoon decorated with rich, bright hues, as well as an Armenian ceremony at 6PM featuring blush, cream, and pale green tones featuring gorgeous florals designed by Butterfly Floral & Event Design. Since there were two separate cultural ceremonies, the couple, their family, and their bridal party all wore two different sets of outfits for the celebrations. “We also included a baraat (groom’s processional) for the Indian ceremony, my bridesmaids and I all got mehndi (henna) done, and for the reception, we entered with traditional Armenian live music,” adds Sasha.
The alfresco reception space was illuminated with bistro lights, and decorated with stunning décor. “I wanted to avoid an over-designed event,” confirms the bride of their vision. “I wanted everything to look elegant, simple, but still super romantic.” Tables were cloaked with ivory linens, surrounded by wooden vineyard chairs, and decorated with lush florals in elegant tones. Centerpieces showcased arrangements of garden roses and spray roses, as well as suspended green amaranthus and tea lights in glass orbs. Dinnerware showcased mixed pieces with a rustic feel, and plenty of candlelight provided a soft, romantic look throughout the celebration.
As is customary at Armenian weddings, dinner was served family-style with a menu featuring dozens of appetizers and traditional entrées such as kebabs. To offer vegetarian options for their loved ones, Indian specialties, including paneer tikka masala and okra, were provided at certain tables. To honor another Armenian custom, several bottles of alcohol were placed at each table in lieu of an open bar. “All in all, we tried to find ways to honor both of the cultures that we grew up with, which felt like the best way to personalize our special day,” confirms the bride.
When reflecting on their nuptials, Sasha and Aneesh confirm they wouldn’t change a single thing. “Having so many Indian and Armenian elements in our special day was the best way we knew to stay true to ourselves,” the bride smiles. “We didn’t cut any corners and made sure to leave time for almost every tradition on both sides… We didn’t want it to feel like two separate weddings in one day, we wanted to recognize both cultures at every stage of the event.”