Nitya and Neal met in college through mutual friends, but didn't start dating until 10 years later. "We were first acquaintances and then friends for a very long time prior to dating," Nitya says. They became engaged about a year into their relationship.
Neal surprised Nitya by proposing the night before they departed for vacation to Jamaica. "I actually thought he might propose in Jamaica, so I was confused as to why he wanted to have a nice dinner the night before," the bride says. After a romantic dinner, Neal popped the question at his apartment, where friends and family later gathered to celebrate their engagement.
The couple wanted their wedding to reflect their Southern roots—Nitya grew up in Augusta, GA, and Neal is from Chattanooga, TN—as well as their Indian heritage.
Nitya's lehenga (traditional bridal dress) was a custom design by Surinder Bedi of Image Boutique Shop in Atlanta. According to Hindu tradition, henna is a symbol of love and is believed to bring good luck. Two nights before the wedding, the couple hired a henna artist to create a traditional tattoo on Nitya's hands and a more whimsical design on Neal's palm.
The couple's wedding ceremony and reception were held at Summerour Studio, a refurbished warehouse space in Atlanta. "We knew we didn't want to have our wedding at a hotel," says Nitya. "We were looking for a unique venue with a rustic feel, and once we saw photos of Summerour, we fell in love with the place."
The bride explains, "At Indian weddings, there's usually a long break between the ceremony and reception. This way, we could have a traditional Indian ceremony, and then take advantage of the break to transform the space into a reception with a more vintage and Southern feel."
Many of the couple's 315 guests donned vibrantly colored Indian attire for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Before Nitya entered the ceremony, her parents performed the Ganesh Puja, a ritual to show reverence to the Hindu god Ganesh. The mandap (wedding canopy) was draped with sheer ivory panels and garlands of fresh orchids. Crystal chandeliers were hanging above the aisle. All flowers and decor were by Bold American Events.
During the break between the ceremony and reception, the newlyweds and their wedding party posed for portraits at a nearby park. Nitya changed into a blush-pink Vera Wang gown. "I loved the pale-pink color and that it wasn't white or ivory," she says. Her lush bouquet featured roses, tulips, and fresh greenery.
Neal wore a Hugo Boss suit and Burberry tie, while his seven groomsmen sported seersucker suits and ties from Jos. A. Bank. Nitya's bridesmaids wore blue Priscilla of Boston dresses in various styles the bride chose for them.
The couple and their wedding party returned to Summerour Studio for cocktail hour in the Tuscan-style courtyard, which was illuminated by strands of café lights. The cocktail-hour menu featured lamb kebabs (Nitya's favorite), Arnold Palmers, and popsicles from King of Pops, a mobile frozen treat company. "The popsicles were a huge hit!" Nitya says.
The event space was transformed into an elegant reception decorated with suspended lanterns, sparkling chandeliers, and a navy-and-fuchsia color palette. Tables featured navy blue linens topped with fuchsia floral-patterned overlays and runners, as well as fuchsia tulips, roses, and orchids arranged in glass vessels.
The buffet-style dinner included popular Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala, paneer, and malai kofta; all food was provided by Bold American Catering and Cafe Bombay. The dessert menu included a trio of wedding cakes (banana with white chocolate frosting, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and lemon cake with raspberry filling), miniature cupcakes, and a cookie buffet. All desserts were by Caryn's Cakes.
Photos: Altmix Photography
Nitya and Neal performed their first dance to "This Year's Love" by David Gray. To encourage guests to dance, the couple provided a basket of flip-flops (labeled "dancing shoes") for any potential aching feet. "I was so funny to see everyone ditch their high heels and dance around in hot pink flip-flops!"
Photographer: Altmix Photography || Bride's Gowns: Surinder Bedi of Image Boutique Shop, Atlanta; Vera Wang || Flowers and Catering: Bold American Events || Ceremony and Reception Site: Summerour Studio || Wedding Planner: Jennifer Lackey, Storybook Wedding Consulting || Cake: Caryn's Cakes || Ice Cream Truck: Westside Creamery || Popsicles: King of Pops || Music: DJ Jaz || Transportation: Atlantic Limousine Service || Videographer: Pixotheory
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