By Sandeep Gopalakrishnan
In September 2012, Karthik saw me on a dating website and decided to send a message. I soon replied, and the rest is history. What started as a few quick online exchanges bloomed into long text chains, and in November of that year, we went on our first date, where it felt like we had already known each other forever.
Over the months, we shared many magical moments, first I-Love-You’s, and traveling the coast of California. Walking the neighborhoods of San Francisco and wine tasting in Napa were our two favorite activities. But it was in May 2013 that we decided to take the next big plunge in any Indian couple’s timeline, by introducing each other to our respective families. Although nervous at the prospect of meeting people whom we might one day call Mom and Dad, we were happily surprised at how quickly everyone warmed up to our presence, incorporating us into their lives.
The talk of marriage came early and often in our relationship. But it was in February 2014, sharing a hot-air balloon ride over Napa, that I proposed to Karthik. We liked it so much, that Karthik decided to propose again in March, at the beautiful Dolores Park in San Francisco with family and friends in tow.
Planning for the wedding started right away. His religious parents discussed the necessity of consecrating our vows with traditional pooja, mantras, and sacred actions (e.g. saptapadi). My mother also ensured that each aspect of the ceremony was infused with Malayali (Kerala) culture, from the nirapara (auspicious vessel) to the thaalapoli (procession of young women). Whether it was picking out designs (a bright peacock theme), clothing (flown in from India), or ceremonial customs, the global family network of cousins, aunts/uncles, and in-laws throughout the United States, Europe and India were intimately involved and greatly contributed their efforts in making this the best wedding ever.
When we finally took the first steps of the saptapadi, we looked out from the mandap at all the smiling, happy faces of friends and family who had flown in from all over the globe to show their support and love. Our wedding was different because it had two men, but the sanctity was exactly the same. It was both exciting and heartwarming to see how much the world had changed in such a short period of time.
The only advice we have for young couples is to enjoy each moment of courtship, from the first time you hold hands to when you join them to perform the mangal pheras. Savor the small things, celebrate the big ones, and remember that time can slow down (just a bit) when you’re fully present with the one you love.
Wedding Venue: Golden Peacock Banquet
Reception Venue: Canyon View Banquet, San Ramon CA
Photographer & Videographer: Motion8 Films
Hair & Makeup: The Makeup Movement
Wedding Bands: Gregorio Jewelry
DJ: Toofan Sounds
Florist, Linens & Décor: Elegant Wedding Décor
Caterer: Red Chillies Malabar Restaurant
Cake: Torino Baking
Wardrobe: Sagar Exclusive, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker