Tim and Bela had a beautiful wedding at Carefree Resort on 19th December 2015. While they’re both Christians (bride’s family Gujarati-Hindu) they kept the ceremony Tim, from Phoenix, and Bela from Florida first met on eHarmony in April 2014. Over to Bela to tell us their story…
How they met
eHarmony April 2014: We both were about to call it quits in regards to online dating. On my side and my last hoorah, I decided to send smiles to the profiles I read that intrigued me the most and one of those belonged to Tim. One of my rules was “NO SELFIES.” He had NONE. His profile was very well communicative, honest with an odd sense of humor and a slightly sensitive side. Just very different from a lot of profiles I came across.
He hadn’t checked his in a few weeks and after logging in and planning to delete his profile he saw my “smile” and decided to send me questions. That lead to LONG emails, then a skype session, then regular emails and skyping, then planning a visit. He says he appreciated how easy it was to be himself around me. He eventually flew out from Wisconsin to see me first – like a true gentleman 😉 – in Washington state.
Our first in-person meeting was at a brunch place. I saw him first as he was standing outside of the eatery and my friend was dropping me off. My stomach was in knots but once the introduction was over it felt easy to be around and with him. After brunch he surprised me with a scenic drive on the outskirts of Spokane. We ended up getting lost that day FOR HOURS (it should have taken 1.5 hours!) and we loved every bit of it. It felt…natural.
He proposed in June 2015 – soon after I moved to Wisconsin in May 2015 – and we got married in December 2015! (Just the two of us at his house) Very simple – I was sitting on his lap while he was sitting in a chair just talking and he looked up at me in the middle of the conversation with the sweetest look on his face and very organically asked, “babe, will you marry me?”
I was speechless for only a moment and immediately said yes. Wasn’t the way we thought it happened but loved the way it did. Simple, laid back, unplanned – just like us 😉
The wedding took place at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center. The Ceremony was at the Mustang Overlook with a backdrop of some mountains. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Kachina Courtyard with lit fireplaces (my favorite place) located in front of the reception area, the Opera House.
This was difficult as there was such a limited amount of time to buy an Indian bridal dress within a budget, picked out and altered but it all worked out. Options: have made in India, go shopping locally, custom made locally or order online
First I shopped around on Devon Ave in Chicago – not the best experience or quality and everything was overpriced even with bargaining. Then I met with someone to check out some sketches to have it custom made. Felt overwhelmed with having to pick out colors and designs. Then I checked it out online and decided to (bravely) ordered it from there. I did A LOT of research on designers and read up on reviews of different sites.
Gathering some recs from my cousins, decided to order from Exclusively.in (unfortunately now merged with Snapdeal.com, sad day) and fell.IN.LOVE. with a lehenga choli designed by Anita Dongre. I appreciated her ability to incorporate the old Indian culture with the modern Indian culture in regards to fashion – keeping it simple but elegant. I think her inspiration comes from the Mughal empire days.
I had a difficult time deciding if I wanted to do a traditional Gujarati colored wedding dress (red and white) or a random color (something I loved). We were planning for an Indian-American fusion wedding. Then I found THE dress and loved that it represented the American culture, ivory in color – and Indian culture, design and intricacies. LOVED LOVED LOOOOVED my dress.
The groom’s outfit
(I let him do his thing – he’s such an eclectic, original hipster kind of guy and I love that about him!)
Custom made suit online from Indochino (measurement print out provided by site and had measurements done locally) – had to have some minor alterations; Wanted a baby blue lining with “what
beautiful lines so full of life” stitched in the inner pocket of his suit jacket because it reminded him of me. It’s from a song called, “The Curse” by Josh Ritter that we danced to for our first dance. We both love the music and the artist.
Shoes from Zappos – Florsheim brand; had a western look to the shoes since the setting was western-ish
And lastly, he wore his lucky ‘octopus socks’ since he was wearing them the first time we met.
Groomsmen & bridesmaids outfit and accessory details
Bridesmaids wore custom made saris from India – my cousin facetimed with me when it came to pick out the designs. It was a fuchsia pink color. I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t a fan of pink but these turned out beautifully and most importantly the girls loved them. Also had custom made blouses to fit according to comfort (having/not having belly show). The girls picked out their own jewelry and gold colored shoes. Topped off with a fuchsia/gold bindi bought locally at an Indian store.
The guys, including our ring bearers, wore suits. Each was individually bought so I am unsure of websites.
Wedding theme or colours if any
We let the desert and it’s setting be our theme and colors keeping it simple 🙂 So….pretty much didn’t have a theme or certain colors haha!
Food and catering (including drinks)
Food and drinks was provided by the resort
Cake was made by our fabulous baker in the family – Amy (Tim’s sister)
DJ Mark located in Phoenix, AZ (no online info); Oddly, Tim was talking about finding a DJ in AZ to his co-workers and one of them gave him Mark’s # (we lived in WI!) so that was cool. He did a great job
Tim’s sister in law, Jennifer, used to be a florist so she did our flowers 🙂 Everything except the succulents were bought at Costco. The succulent cuttings and succulent flowers were bought on Etsy through Shop Succelents
The ceremony and traditions (if any)
Indian weddings are 3 day celebrations which is SO MUCH fun but we were planning a destination wedding in a limited amount of time and budget so here is what we did keeping in mind we had a small (up to 50 people) wedding attendance:
Thursday evening: Meet and Greet with both families in Scottsdale at a private pizza place in Old Town with simple henna decorations provided by Purvi our henna artist
Friday: Small henna party with the bridesmaids and a few friends with wine and good cheese – basically all day. She did an excellent job and stuck with us all day even though she was pregnant! We did take care of her 😉
Ceremony: We had orange carnations lining both sides of the aisle, with a white arch that had a small blue chandelier with roses in the candle holders made by a cousin. We are pretty non-traditional so we had a representative from each side lead the wedding. Tim has a cousin who is a pastor and I have a best friend who is Messianic Jew and they both worked perfectly together.
My cousin walked me down the aisle because my father died a long time ago and I wanted it to be someone close to me. The song I walked down to was “The Book of Love” by Peter Garbrel. We had a violinist who did an excellent job composing the music. I highly recommend him as he was so flexible and was able to come up with the music a few days prior to the ceremony. I planned to do the varmala (garland) ceremony but unfortunately the garlands were left in the hotel room and no one saw them! We are pretty laid back so we didn’t let it bother us. My friend just read that part of the ceremony and explained it well.
Vows were actually made up by Tim’s cousin and my friend so that was a personal touch that I adored.
The ceremony was fairly quick – 20-30 minutes. We didn’t deviate much from the traditional American ceremony. I think the only thing we didn’t do was have a sand ceremony or something like that. Everyone sat on either side. The decor was simple because the backdrop and location of the Mustang Overlook supplied enough decor for our tastes.
Favourite part of the day
My favorite part of the day was the First Look. I LOVED getting time with Tim prior to the wedding and a busy day overall. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to see me before but glad I made that decision! It was such a special moment with me walking up to him and seeing him first and him turning around and seeing his expression. He’s the sensitive one so he was already crying. I may have teared up a little…
Easiest part of wedding planning
Is there an easy part of wedding planning?? Can’t believe I missed that!!
Hmm…I’m an easy going person (so is Tim) so the easiest thing was saying “ok, you do flowers however you want” “you do cake and I’m cool with whatever” and it was easy because it was people I trusted and knew their tastes were similar to mine.
Hardest part of wedding planning
Planning all those details in 6 months. Dress, date, venue and amount of people to invite were among the hardest and time consuming.
Is it harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc
It was harder only because there were several things I wanted to incorporate from the Indian culture in regards to ceremonial traditions but with such limited time and budget I had to pick out simple traditions (if there is such a thing in Indian culture). I did have pressure from my family members to do or not do certain things mostly mixing the two cultures which I was a little surprised since they are progressive and Tim mentioned how his family may not have liked it if we did something non-Christian. But we BOTH decided to do what we wanted since it was our day and we knew in the end our family would accept whatever it is we planned.
Advice to give to other multicultural couples
You don’t have to stick to traditions. I loved thinking about mixing both Indian and American culture and would have done more if not for time and budget. It was fun to sit down with Tim and talk about what he wanted and what I wanted and get excited about each other’s ideas.
My other advice is pretty general and not specifically just for multicultural couples: BOTH should agree on the big things like budget to keep the peace, well that and because you love each other more than everything else; ONLY do the things YOU want to do, don’t let the pressure of other family and friends get to you (I only had this from one family member but regardless of how many people there are it can be overwhelming! of course depending on the personality) including picking out a dress, decorations, theme, colors, etc.
Photographer: Genevieve Hansen Photography
Venue: Carefree Resort
Lengha designer: Anita Dongre
Groom’s suit: Indochino
Groom’s shoes: Zappos
Flowers bought from: Etsy
Henna artist: Purvi
Violist: Violin Phoenix