A set up first brought food writer and cookbook author Priya Krishna and architect Seth Byrum together in June 2015. After Seth's good friend from graduate school started dating Priya’s good friend from college, the new couple thought their friends would be great together. Clearly, they had the right idea.
Six years later, Seth decided to take their relationship to the next level and propose to Priya. "I invited both of our families to our home in Brooklyn to surprise Priya," he tells Brides. "We painted a giant banner that said, 'Will you marry me?' Our families dropped it from the roof of our apartment building as we returned home."
For their nuptials, the couple decided to invite 250 friends and family members to join them for a weekend full of festivities at Lakefalls Lodge in Stoddard, New Hampshire. "We wanted our guests to feel like they were on summer vacation, and so we chose Lakefalls for its beautiful, but secluded and laid-back atmosphere," share Priya and Seth. "We looked into a ton of venues that were very beautiful, but were clearly built to churn out weddings. Lakefalls, on the other hand, is a small family-run operation, and has the perfect balance of homey, rustic charm and the infrastructure to make guests feel comfortable."
As they crafted the vision for their wedding, Priya and Seth played to their strengths. "As a food writer, Priya was very focused on making all of the meals at the wedding unique and memorable," says the groom. "As an architect, I was very focused on the design portion of the wedding. We put together a design aspiration booklet with the events laid out in specific locations, a mood board for each event, and an overall color palette to help bring the vendors on in a unified way."
The pair then hired Jennifer Matthews of Memorable Events to bring that vision to life. "Priya’s mom and our wedding planner were instrumental in organizing the whole process," notes Seth. "We started with venue and schedule, and then laid out a design vision for the weekend. It was a long process and a ton of coordination, but easier with clear design goals in mind from the beginning."
"Lakefalls is a big property with a lot of unique locations," note the couple. "This allowed us to keep the whole weekend on site, but still have a unique locale for each event." They kicked off festivities with a welcome party alongside the waterfront.
Marigolds served as the inspiration behind the entire wedding weekend design. "Bright oranges, reds, and yellows popped extremely well against the backdrop of New Hampshire foliage in September," add the couple. Priya brought the palette into her fashion choice for the welcome party with a chic off-the-shoulder dress with floral embroidery.
"We knew guests would be traveling long distances to join us, and so we wanted to turn the events into a vacation for each person. That meant making the weekend more than just about the bride and groom–it was about making each person feel taken care of and relaxed," reflect the newlyweds. They made sure guests were well fed at the welcome party with wood-fired pizza from Pizza Moto in Brooklyn, and Salt and Straw ice cream for dessert.
Day two of the wedding began with a Haldi ceremony. Seth says, "Priya and I come from different backgrounds, and we both have very different cultural associations to weddings. It was extremely fun, but also challenging, to unpack the traditions from both her family and mine, and to find a balance that felt right to us both."
"During a Haldi ceremony, the bride and groomed are smeared with turmeric paste as a symbolic cleansing. After the ceremony, we jumped into the lake to clean off the turmeric, and other folks joined in," recalls Seth. "It was a great way to kick off the afternoon of games and swimming."
Later in the day, Priya and Seth donned clean new outfits for the Sangeet celebration. "We did all of our shopping in India, and it was thrilling—and I'm so grateful that we got to do it—but also exhausting," says the bride. "If you think shopping for wedding dresses in America is stressful, you have no idea. But I always love how the shops supply you with bottomless chai and snacks while you're browsing."
To fuel guests from the Haldi through a night of dancing, the couple hired Sukhadia catering to create a wide array of Indian stations for lunch and dinner, as well as freshly fried jalebi for dessert.
For her wedding ceremony, Priya donned a light pink silk sari with shimmering details from Vasansi. "With the wedding sari, the shop we were at was closing in 15 minutes, so we had very little time to make a decision. And, I hadn't originally planned on wearing light pink," remembers Priya of the shopping experience. "But, the embellishments are what sold us. We knew the sari would glimmer so beautifully in the sun. It also draped so well on my frame. The detail work was stunning. We made a very quick decision, but it paid off.
"Above all, I trusted my mom's taste. She has such a good eye," shares the bride. "There were very few outfits we saw that really dazzled her—so when she fell in love with something, so did I!"
For her beauty look that day, Priya mentions, "I told my makeup artist, Zuleika Viera, that I wanted to look like me, just a little more glam." Of course, her elaborate henna stood out as a stunning compliment to her outfits throughout the wedding weekend. The bride also added some shine to her ensemble with her mother's jewelry.
The groom looked dapper in an Indochino tuxedo with a pocket square to match Priya's sari. He kept his day-of grooming simple, and got ready with his friend James and family.
The first look felt like the culmination of all that time, and an opportunity to reflect together.
"We treated the first look as a special time to be alone as a couple. It was a nice respite during the craziness of the weekend," Priya and Seth share. "We dated for seven years before getting married, so the first look felt like the culmination of all that time, and an opportunity to reflect together."
The elegant ceremony set up featured an aisle decorated with natural hues, dried florals, and pops of greenery. "We distinguished the days of the wedding with vibrancy of color," notes Seth. "Our Sangeet and Haldi day was bright, saturated colors, while the ceremony day was focused on more muted tones. Our florist kept the yellows, oranges, and reds, but added dried grasses and flowers to incorporate more earth tones into the palette."
"We tried to completely reimagine the ceremony. Together with our wonderful officiant, Renee, we blended Episcopalian and Indian wedding traditions into something that felt unique to us," shares the groom.
"In an Indian ceremony, the couple usually takes the Seven Steps; each step is symbolic of a value ascribed to a good marriage. In our version of the Seven Steps, we instead invited seven couples from a wide range life experiences to read a portion of their own vows or impart a piece of wisdom," notes Seth. "Our goal was to make our guests feel more engaged in the ceremony and make it more about a blending of families and friends than about just us as a couple."
The couple decided upon a bohemian vibe for their reception design. "We strung lit wicker baskets from the tent ceiling that were filled with marigolds and greenery, while the ground was covered with vintage rugs to bring a more cozy atmosphere," says Seth. "We kept the table décor pretty simple (just flowers and some votives) because we knew the food would be the star of the show."
Cook 'N Solo Events, which owns the restaurants Zahav in Philadelphia and Laser Wolf in Brooklyn, kept guests well fed at cocktail hour after a parade from the ceremony. "An Indian wedding traditional has a Baraat, or parade that kicks off the ceremony. But, we reimagined this as a parade from the ceremony to the cocktail hour, along a wooded path," shares Seth. "We blasted Bollywood music, decorated the trail with flower petals, and strung up a timeline of photos, text messages, and milestones in our relationship for guests to look over as they made their way to cocktails." Speaking of cocktails, the couple chose a few signature sips including ranch water, a negroni, an old fashioned, and a gin and tonic.
It was elegant and modern—a statement without being over the top.
For the reception, Priya swapped her sari for a deep red wine lengha from Seema Gujral in Noida, India. "The lehenga was unlike anything I had ever seen before—after visiting countless shops and seeing so many lehengas that looked exactly the same, this one stood out," reflects the bride. "It was elegant and modern—a statement without being over the top." Seth also swapped out his pocket square to coordinate with his new wife.
One special moment that took place as the reception began? "It was scheduled to rain the entire weekend of our wedding, but miraculously held off for three straight days and we got beautiful blue skies. Finally, once all of the guests were in the tent for our reception, the skies opened and it absolutely down poured for about 20 minutes. Everyone was perfectly dry, and it felt like it had been planned."
Priya and Seth hired the Signature Band of Wilson Stevens entertainment group perform for the reception. "We love Motown and funk from the '60s, ’70s, and ‘80s, so they focused on those genres," says the groom. "This helped get the parents on the dance floor, too!"
For their first dance, the couple swayed to “Annie’s Song” by John Denver. "This was Seth’s parents’ first song at their wedding, so we surprised them by dancing to it as well, and asking them to join in," shares the newlyweds.
Food was definitely a standout of the reception. "For the reception, we had Cook N’ Solo catering group do a Middle Eastern spread of hummus and salatim, whole roasted branzino, herb-roasted chicken, and shawarma cauliflower for dinner," says Seth. "For dessert, we had the very talented pastry chef Bill Clark do an array of pies, cakes, cookies, pot de crème, and fritters."
Speeches brought out another memorable moment for the bride and groom. "Priya’s favorite band is ABBA, a fact that her sister constantly pokes fun at her for. So for her reception speech, Priya’s sister Meera re-wrote the words to an ABBA song and sang it live with our wedding band," shares Seth.
A final word of advice from the bride and groom? "Plan as much as you can up until a few days before your wedding, and then let go," they say. "The most important thing is to enjoy your wedding, so give yourselves a deadline when you will wrap up the planning, and then focus on soaking up every minute of the celebration."
Ceremony and Reception Venue Lakefalls Lodge
Planner Jennifer Matthews of Memorable Events
Officiant Renee Tembeckjian
Bridal Gown Designer Vasansi
Nails Hortus Nail Works
Hair Zuleika Viera
Makeup Zuleika Viera
Second Bridal Gown Seema Gujral
Groom’s Tuxedo Indochino
Engagement Ring Mocuin Jewelers
Floral Design Billies and Tilli
Music Signature Band of Wilson Stevens Entertainment
Lighting Designer Event Lighting Concepts
Videography Love Brain Films
Photography Lev Kuperman