A Vibrant Fusion of Indian and American Wedding Customs at Amaterra Winery in Portland, Oregon

Haarika Reddy and Chris Bender first laid eyes on one another during their senior year at the University of Oklahoma; in those hallowed halls, they fo

Haarika Reddy and Chris Bender first laid eyes on one another during their senior year at the University of Oklahoma; in those hallowed halls, they formed a connection that would withstand the test of time and physical separation. After college, they navigated the challenges of a long-distance relationship, their relationship remaining a constant in the changing landscapes of their lives until they finally settled together in Portland. It was during a trip to Costa Rica, near the quaint town of La Fortuna, that they took that next step. With the “gorgeous Arenal Volcano in the background,” as Haarika fondly recalls, Chris had crafted the perfect proposal, “exchanging a series of WhatsApp messages (in Spanish with the help of Google Translate!) with a restaurant to set up a surprise lunch.”

As they journeyed through the Costa Rican countryside, Haarika was “so mesmerized by the expanse of Costa Rican countryside that I didn’t even realize Chris had been driving for 45 minutes up some random one-lane, pothole-filled country road.” The destination was a quaint restaurant, a hidden gem nestled among nature. It was here, in this picture-perfect setting, that Chris popped the question.

As they began planning their special day, the bride wanted to include “some religious aspects as well as combine them with my husband’s Western cultural background.” This desire was the cornerstone of their wedding theme, a Western-Indian fusion that presented a modern look with traditional elements. The couple envisioned a celebration encompassing both cultures, creating a beautiful mosaic of their shared life.

Choosing the perfect venue was a pivotal decision. The couple found their dream location at one of Portland’s premier wedding venues, a stunning estate overlooking the Willamette Valley. The venue, known for its contemporary elegance, required “minimal effort from our families so we could enjoy the day without having to do any cleanup.” The natural beauty of the winery provided a breathtaking backdrop, while the vibrant and colorful decor transformed the space into a wedding wonderland, complete with marigold garlands and colorful drapes.

Fashion played a central role in their fusion wedding. The pair embraced the bride’s background for their ceremony attire, adorning themselves in traditional wear they had purchased during a trip to India. Haarika’s Lehenga and Chris’ Sherwani, both in a matching palette of white, cream and gold accents, were a sight to behold. “We wore this for the ceremony and cocktail hour,” Haarika recalls. They transitioned into a classic Western look for dinner and dancing as the evening progressed. Haarika changed into an all-white, off-the-shoulder reception dress while Chris donned a clean, three-piece black suit.

The day of the wedding was a kaleidoscope of color and emotion. Guests began to gather, feeling the love in the air like the delicate florals that festooned the aisle. “The colors for the wedding were neutral white with bright florals which included marigolds, a traditional flower in Indian culture,” notes the bride. The ceremony, held under the open sky, was a harmonious blend of Western and Indian traditions. At one poignant moment, Chris tied a mangalsutra around Haarika’s neck, symbolizing eternal commitment “similar to the exchange of wedding rings, which we also did towards the end of the ceremony.”

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a cocktail hour, where they sampled custom signature cocktails and indulged in late-night snack bites, including “three different varieties of grilled cheeses.” The newlyweds’ first move as husband and wife was to steal a moment to share a private champagne toast and reflect on their journey. “With the chaotic nature of a busy wedding day, we wanted to make sure that we got to share a few moments alone with each other to savor our special day,” Haarika remembers.

As day turned to evening, the reception began in the venue’s skyline ballroom, which had been transformed into a modern affair with hints of India’s colorful decorations. Dinner included a host of bold and delicious flavors. The chef had crafted a custom chicken dish, ensuring every guest could enjoy the family-style meals, regardless of their dietary restrictions. The DJ played a perfect remix of Bollywood and modern hits, creating a dance floor alive with energy and movement.

In the afterglow of their wedding, Haarika and Chris had some wisdom to impart to other couples embarking on their own planning journeys. “Patience and communication! The planning process takes a long time, and many decisions must be made,” Haarika advises.

A modern Indian-American wedding invitation suite featuring bold pink and yellow colors, gold details and an ornate pattern with engagement and wedding rings and jewelry beside it.
Colorful Backdrops With Hanging Yellow-and-Orange Flowers for Indian Pre-Wedding Turmeric Ceremony
Bride and Groom Receiving Turmeric Paste From Guests During Indian Pre-Wedding Ceremony
Guests Getting Rice to Place on Couple's Foreheads During Indian Pre-Wedding Ceremony
A rooftop ceremony space with white chairs and draping accented by low and tall aisle floral arrangements and a wooden mandap with greenery and yellow, orange and pink flowers adorning it, all looking out over the rolling hills and town of Portland, Oregon, below.
Bride's Entrance, or Kanya Aagman, With Her Male Relatives for Indian Wedding Ceremony
Guest Applying Turmeric Paste to Bride's Forehead in Modern Indian Ceremony
Couple Exchanges Vibrant Floral Garlands Under Mandap at Modern Indian Ceremony
During Aashirwad, Couple Receives Blessings From Their Families at End of Indian Ceremony
Groom's Scarf Tied to Bride's Shawl in Granthibandan, a Part of the Indian Ceremony
Guest Throw Flower Petals at Couple Under Mandap at Indian Ceremony
Groom in Suit and Bride in Modern, Chic Midi-Dress With Trees, Lavender
A bride with a soft, pink-infused makeup look, elegant drop earrings, a minimalistic necklace, a half-up hairstyle and a stylist, off-the-shoulder ruched midi dress for her modern Indian-American-fusion wedding reception.
Bride in Off-the-Shoulder Midi Dress, Pink-and-Yellow Bouquet With Groom in Suit
Long Reception Tables, Wooden Chairs With Low Arrangements and Mostly White Palette
Elegant, Simple But Modern Seating Chart, Vibrant Floral Arrangement in Pink, Yellow
Reflective and Modern Dinner Menu and Frosted Table Number in Semi Arches
Two-Tier White Wedding Cake With Bright Fresh Flowers in Yellow, Pink and Orange