South Asian Wedding with Modern Twists: Barathi & Mahesh

Images and story by L. Hewitt Photography

Mahesh and Barathi were wed with traditional services in Baltimore. This couple is so vibrant – they brought so much life to this wedding weekend!

From the planner:

Tell Us More About Your Story

How did you meet?

We met in French class in high school when we were 15. Our last names start with an S so we sat near each other and we became fast friends. He asked me to junior prom, and we went as dates. I still have the cute notes he would put in my locker back then! After graduation we went to college in different states but stayed in touch, reconnected, and even did the long-distance thing for a while. We finally both ended up back in Maryland when I started medical school and the rest is history.

Describe the proposal:

It was the day after Thanksgiving and we had plans to hang out that afternoon. He suggested we go for a walk around Fort McHenry which is a short drive away, to burn off all the food we had eaten at Thanksgiving. It was, unfortunately, the coldest day of the year so far! I knew something was up when he told me I should probably change into something else (I was wearing sweatpants). We first drove to a favorite local coffee shop to grab warm drinks. On our way to the park, I noticed he was driving fast, and hitting all the potholes which were causing me to spill coffee everywhere. I didn’t realize we were late for something!

We started walking around the park, he told me later I was walking really fast (because I was so cold!). Eventually, when we were in front of the Chesapeake Bay he pulled me over onto the grass and dropped to one knee. He said many lovely things and pulled out the ring. Meanwhile, his 2 best friends were hiding and taking photos of the whole thing! They even had some hot chocolate and a blanket waiting for us.

The cherry on the cake was a surprise party he arranged with both our families and close friends at a local restaurant. I was actually so surprised and it was wonderful celebrating with everyone immediately afterward!

What did you like about your venue?

The best part of the venue was the amazing floor to ceiling windows in the cocktail hour space that looked over Camden Yards which is the baseball stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play. It is such an iconic Baltimore view. We also loved that there was plenty of space for all of our guests without feeling crowded and it was nice for all the events to be in one spot. It made it very convenient for both our guests and us!

What did you like about your wedding planner?

We chose Christine because she has so much experience with South Asian weddings but still has a lot of modern ideas and twists. She came highly recommended and was very organized and able to handle such a large event. Her assistants were also so nice on the wedding day and great to have around.

Describe your vision/inspiration for your wedding day. Did you have a specific theme?

My inspiration overall was elegant traditional with a modern twist. My husband and I were both born and raised in the United States but our parents are Indian and so we wanted to truly fuse both our Indian heritage with Western touches.

For the décor, I really wanted to play up the fall colors, with lots of greenery and pops of burgundy and blush. I wanted the florals and décor to feel like a secret garden that the guests had stumbled upon. We didn’t want anything too symmetrical but rather to feel organic and as though it was this overgrown garden that was still beautiful.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

There are so many to choose from! I loved the ceremony because we really made it personalized by including traditional Hindu wedding elements such as tying the mangal sutra and exchanging flower garlands, but also made it our own by writing our own vows and having our grandparents say a few words. We didn’t write them together but both of our vows promised lots of desserts, which was a cute surprise! I should also mention that Mahesh is not someone who cries easily and he teared up when I walked down the aisle with my parents, which was a special moment.

What was your color scheme?

For the décor, we focused on a bright fall color palette – lots of green and white, gold, burgundy and blush accents.

Were there any new trends that you incorporated, or did you decide to go more traditional?

I think in the South Asian wedding world we incorporated some modern trends. For our escort cards, we wanted to do something a bit different. However, in order to stay in our budget, Mahesh built our escort card wall and we painted it together. It was truly a labor of love and a fun project before the wedding.

Our colors were definitely not traditional for an Indian wedding but I decided to wear a traditional red silk saree for the ceremony. It was nice to be able to mix and match both traditional and modern elements.

How would you describe your personal style and fashion (wedding dress/tux)?

I would say feminine and elegant with a hint of glam for the evening look.

What kind of flowers did you pick for your centerpieces and bouquet?

What kind of food did you serve?

We served Indian food for both lunch and dinner but went with different regions to keep things interesting for the guests. The lunch was vegetarian as you don’t typically eat meat after a religious event such as a wedding and was similar to the food you would prepare in the southern region of India, which is where the bride’s family is from. The dinner was more similar to North Indian food or what you would find at most Indian restaurants.

What flavor(s) did you pick for your cake?

We did a different flavor for each tier, including a lemon raspberry, chocolate mouse, and Smith Island (which is a local favorite from Maryland!)

Where did you go for your honeymoon?

After planning and executing a huge wedding we decided we wanted a honeymoon where we could lounge by the beach and relax and we got just that in Negril, Jamaica.

What was the most memorable moment of your reception?

I have been a dancer my whole life and knew I wanted to do a huge dance performance at my wedding reception with my bridal party and friends from the dance team that I was on at Brown University called Brown Badmaash. With the help of several friends we choreographed and remotely taught people a group Bollywood dance number and performed it at the reception. It was such a blast dancing with so many of my friends and Mahesh, who doesn’t have any formal dance experience but was such a good sport. The most impressive part was that we had only ever practiced in person the night before the wedding. I had friends from California to NY who learned this for us.

What is the best advice you can share with other couples?

Spend your time on what is important to you. I knew that dancing was something that I loved and wanted it to be a part of my wedding. I probably spent more time choreographing and practicing our group dance than I did doing other things for the wedding, but it is also a moment that I will remember forever! Also, take ballroom dance lessons with our partner. Both of us loved this because it gave us an activity to do together that was fun and not making spreadsheets or seating charts. It was a built-in date night to what may otherwise be a time in your life that is consumed by wedding tasks. We are talking about continuing some classes now even though the wedding is done! Finally, if you can have a casual event the night before your wedding, do it! We invited all of our friends to a local brewery for dinner and drinks the night before and it was nice to actually have a few minutes to talk to people and catch up before the craziness of the wedding day.

What did you learn from it all?

We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support. I am so thankful that our family and friends traveled all the way across the world to celebrate with us. For us, planning the wedding was so worth it to bring all of the people from every part of our life together for one night.

Any other details we left out, special considerations, or something you want to share that made your day unique?

For the Baraat I wanted to surprise Mahesh so with Christine’s help we planned to have the Orioles bird join the party. He did such a good job dancing with everyone and was such a hit! It really made the morning extra special and made for some great pictures.

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