A Romantic Garden Wedding at The Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia
Given that Sonia is Indian and Nick isn't, the couple wanted to host an Indian-fusion wedding that reflected "both of our backgrounds and where we come from. We chose to have a multi-day 'wedding,' which is traditional for Indian weddings while adding an American twist to most of the events," says Sonia. In the end the couple came up with a fall celebration that complemented The Clifton Inn's inherent beauty, celebrated natural, autumnal tones and seamlessly honored the couple's heritage.
Sonia and Nick took many wedding traditions from both Indian and American weddings, blending them to create a personalized wedding that was uniquely their own. "For instance, while we conducted a Hindu ceremony for our wedding ceremony, we also shortened it to an hour (they're typically many hours long) and had both of our parents participate (where usually the bride's family only participates). Another example is that we started the festivities with a mehndi night where I had mehndi/henna applied to my hands and feet and guests had it applied to their hands. This is typically only for the Bride's side, but we added in Nick's family as well. Friday night, we had a Spanish guitar player and tabla player and transitioned to karaoke," says Sonia of the couple's multicultural wedding at The Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia. Beyond the wedding ceremony and mehndi night, the couple brought in personalization to the wedding in a myriad of additional ways. "We personalized our wedding with signature cocktails, drinks that Nick and I both love—an Eastside and a New York Sour. Nick and his father also sang songs—Nick on the night of the welcome dinner and his father during the reception as Nick and his mom, and then my father and I had parent-child dances. We also incorporated some of our favorite activities into various events—our mehndi night had yard games (one of Nick's faves) and then during the welcome dinner, we enjoyed karaoke after dinner, which we both love to do. We also had a late-night nacho bar after the wedding—the closest substitute to a late-night Taco Bell run!" shares Sonia.
Beyond creating a celebration that celebrated culture, it was important to Sonia and Nick that their event seamlessly complement the venue's natural beauty. "We wanted the natural beauty that existed at our venue, The Clifton, to be part of our wedding decor. We, therefore, sought to bring in decoration and flowers that would only serve as accents to nature. For the actual wedding ceremony, we brought in a natural wooden mandap and added greenery with a few floral accents in an asymmetrical way to the front of the mandap. We also had seating under the mandap that was earthy and rustic, so as to not take away from the real decor of the ceremony, our beautiful Indian clothing! For the reception, we wanted the atmosphere to feel very natural. We were a fan of the bistro lights and greenery around the tent poles as well as on the tabletops. We chose to keep things simple and sophisticated here," notes Sonia.
Looking back on their wedding day, Sonia and Nick have this advice to offer to current to-be-weds: "It's a lot of work, but as you're planning, don't forget why you're putting in all the time and effort into planning. The ultimate purpose of it is to get married to the person you love and celebrate that moment with your family and friends. If things happen to go wrong on the wedding day, don't let them upend all the positive and happy moments. And have the right team (and a wedding planner) to help you!"