Updated: Feb 6, 2019
I've been trying for two days to write a stylish and cute story about the day we got married at my mom's house. It's hard! It was such a simple day, but I get so many questions about it.
We'd gotten engaged in June. I immediately started wedding planning. My Pinterest board for our wedding still exists and it's fabulous. I had found an Alvina Valenta lace gown a a closing bridal shop and wanted to drape it with a shimmering gold dupatta and ornaments. The Sanctuary at Admiral was my dream venue. It had such an eclectic vibe, with rich carpets and a big beautiful elephant at the front door. I wanted carnations strung up like marigolds, custom cocktails, and a chaiwala at the reception. It would be absolutely grand.
$45,000 was the projected cost, with 100 guests including his family who would need to fly in from India. The venue was 45 minutes from the house, so transportation for international guests would need to be considered. Air BnB homes would need to be rented, which would need to be near to an Indian grocery so that his mother can cook. It was a logistical nightmare.
When I told my mom the amount that I was planning on, she wanted to look at other options. We'd discussed having to go to India for a reception anyway, which would be totally in addition to the budget I'd decided.
I was also finding myself unsure about who I really wanted at the wedding. I think I was excited about the venue and the colors and the jewelry, but I didn't keep a lot of friends. I had a bad habit at that time of getting out of touch and not making enough of an effort to get back into it. Ravi picked his groomsmen in minutes and it took me days to think of anyone that would want to be bridesmaids for me, or would come have mehendi done. My self esteem wasn't great then.
Another thought was Ravi's ability to travel. He was an H1B holder at the time. He needed a stamp on his visa, which we'd been procrastinating. We couldn't just up and fly to India without having documents first, or he could be denied at customs when we get back. A US wedding was a requirement.
I don't remember why we picked up the marriage license, but when we did, we were told the 4th of July was the first day we could sign it. It was a Monday.
It took all of 4 seconds to decide that idea was awesome. We'd always have the day off from work and there would be fireworks. We didn't think about the fact that many restaurants would be closed and traffic would be a shit show, but I digress.
I called my mom to let her know that her house was our chosen venue, as my parents were our chosen witnesses. We threw some clothes in a bag and got in the car.
We had to make a pit stop in Lakewood, at my grandfather's. He's Pastor Bill, retired Lutheran chaplain. We all sat at the dining room table so we could do the traditional Lutheran pre-marital counseling. I guess he wanted to make sure we were legit.
I'm 100% sure my grandmother thought we were pregnant. I must have worn the wrong dress that day because she poked my belly once and gave me a bunch of diaper coupons.
Even the weekend at mom's I don't remember much. It was uneventful. My dad called some neighbors to invite them to come. That was about it, though.
Ravi hadn't understood that it would be a formal ceremony. It sounds like he thought we were going to sit at a table and fill out the document. Maybe eat a cupcake afterwards.
About the time dad set up the pop up tent in the backyard with some lights, it dawned on him.
Mom took him Monday morning to Burlington Coat Factory to buy a suit, since he hadn't packed one. They came back with a big bouquet of orange roses and some trays of snacks from Costco.
We were about to have a wedding!
I put on the frock I'd brought from home. Maybe it wasn't new, but it was new to me. I slid on a pair of beaded juttis. They were the same pair Ravi complimented the night we met, so they were old. Mom had me borrow her gold ornaments, 2 bangles and a necklace, from when dad was stationed in Saudi Arabia.
A few old family friends came to visit us, Daddy got to walk me down the aisle, and I married my best friend.
Afterwards, everyone had a beer and cookie. We changed in to plain clothes and went to a 4th of July party.
Ravi and I kept this a secret for over a year (sort of). We never announced ourselves as husband and wife. We didn't change our names. We planned on having a big, fat Indian wedding in Surat, where we could do it right.
Our American wedding wasn't my Pinterest dream, but it was exactly what it needed to be. I keep the plans on hand. We've got huge financial goals and we're working every day to hit them. Last month was our two year anniversary, so maybe a 5 year anniversary vow renewal is in order. If not, maybe a 10 year.
Our network continues to expand to include some incredible upwardly mobile people that we're so proud to have in our life. 2 years ago, I didn't even know who would want to be my Bridesmaid. Today, I am so confident in my relationships. My two greatest friends, Emily and Shivi, build me up and keep me humble. I'm excited for the future and I'm so proud of how far we've come.