Susan & Thomas: Indian Influences at a DC Wedding

by Allison Micarelli

Sometimes, it's not what you know, it's who you know -- just ask Susan Pujari and Thomas Novak.

THE BRIDE Susan Pujari, 28, a physician
THE GROOM Thomas Novak, 29, a physician
THE DATE April 5
THE SCENE Ceremony and reception at the Hay-Adams in Washington, DC.

FRIENDS OF FRIENDS Six degrees of separation eventually brought Susan and Thomas into each other's lives. "Tom went to medical school at Tulane, then moved to Washington, DC, for residency," says Susan. "Tom lived with a guy his first year, named Eric, who he went medical school with. Eric worked at my hospital. Eric's girlfriend, Beth, also went to med school with both of them, also worked at my hospital, and was in my residency program. The two of them thought we would make a cute couple." Initially neither one found the other to be a love interest, but as time went on and they became closer through spending time together with their mutual friends, they fell in love.

SIMPLY RED Susan and Thomas opted for a city-chic wedding where the color red would infuse every aspect of their affair. Details included a bridal bouquet made up of red roses, centerpieces made of dark red calla lilies and branches, and a wedding cake with fresh raspberry filling.

A CULTURAL CEREMONY A sunset ceremony took place on the rooftop of the Hay Adams Hotel, which is situated across the street from The White House and has a view of the Washington Monument in the backdrop. "Since Tom and I come from two different religious backgrounds, we customized our ceremony to make it respectful for everyone involved," says Susan. "We included three readings. One was a traditional excerpt from the Bible, one was a poem from Gandhi, and the third was a poem that we found and liked about love." A cocktail hour immediately followed the ceremony. Guests stayed on the rooftop to enjoy the view at dusk, as sounds from a string quartet playing classical and jazz music wafted through the air.

A MAGICAL NIGHT Later, family and friends were ushered to a small room downstairs with eleven round tables and a sweetheart table for the newlyweds. Each table was decorated with a statue of the Indian god Ganesha, who represents good luck in the Hindi religion. "My father and brother brought them home from India," says Susan. Once dinner was over, several tables were removed so that people would have room to dance. Says Susan, who was having too good a time to recall every last detail, "Our first dance was to 'Every Time I Close My Eyes' by Babyface; I don't think anyone at the party, including us, can remember what the last song was."

--Allison Micarelli
photography © Cathy Gorey and Arthur Swerdlow

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.

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