Anna Siradze and Nick Patel
June 11, 2016
This story truly has all the makings for a successful and heartfelt modern day rom com.
Edited by Kaitlyn Murray
How did you two meet?
A: We met in Boston. I had moved here for work, and it was actually my first night out in the city. We went to a bar called the Brahmin. Three, almost four years ago, that was the place to be. It’s the typical kind of bar story of me trying to snake my way over to the bar and this guy stops me and he basically says “Have you met my friend Phil?” I looked at him and said, “Are you his attorney?” and he looked so confused and was like “Am I his attorney, what?” And I said “Yea, are you representing him? Can he not speak for himself?” Just being like really catty. And he just laughed and said “Who hurt you?” It was funny so we just kind of hit it off. After some witty banter he offered to buy me a drink and we went from there.
K: That literally sounds like it could be from a modern day Rom Com.
A: Right? It was like a scene from Good Will Hunting. It was very, very unexpected — when you least expect it is when you might meet the love of your life.
What was your proposal like?
It was a surprise. We met in March of 2013 and got engaged in July of 2015, so we were together for over two years. He planned it with my mom actually. We’re very family-oriented – it’s one of the things that really connects us – and my parents every summer vacation in Venice, Cape Cod. So I took a week off and went down and he was supposed to come down and meet up with us. He completely surprised me. It was a very low-key engagement from the perspective that we were in this little cottage in Cape Cod and I just had no idea what was happening at first. He gets into this speech and I’m thinking, ‘This is so weird, what is he doing? What is wrong with him?’ We were eating chicken Caesar wraps and he’s like, “I love you in so many ways, I love you simply,” and I kind of forget some of what he said because I think I blacked out a little bit. But then he gets up from the kitchen table and he walks back to the couch and takes out the ring and he says, “I’m not going to get down on my knee, but will you marry me?” And I think I stood there and I didn’t say anything for a little bit, then I said, “Let’s sit down. I need to sit right now. And he’s over here like, “… Is that a yes?” And I say “Yes! Yes.”
Then we went down to the beach and met up with my family… That’s when the tears and reality set in. Then what was amazing and really kind of the highlight of the engagement was he flew in his family, like his mother from Arkansas and his brother from San francisco, in to town too and he planned this amazing dinner. When I walked into the room everybody shouted, “Surprise!” and that’s how we celebrated the engagement.
Why did you choose the Biltmore for your venue?
Once we had the date set, we had to figure out which types of venues we wanted to look at. We also looked at our budget and we realized Providence was just the go to. Originally the wedding was actually going to be in Memphis, Tennessee, where Nick’s from, but it was just too hard to plan a wedding somewhere where you have to fly to. We weren’t going to hire a wedding planner, it was going to come down to just me planning it, so we needed to do something a bit more local. I also considered Newport, but the cost and also the logistics of getting everybody down there was really challenging. Plus, Providence just really felt like home – I grew up on the east side and went to Classical High School so it’s where my life’s been. So when I looked at venue options, it just really made sense. The Biltmore has that beautiful, kind of old world charm and elegance that I was going for – without necessarily the massive price tag you would get for renting out one of the mansions in Newport. The ballroom was so stunning; those massive ceilings and the drawings, and the view of the city was just perfect. I think it really fit in with the themes for both the Indian and Jewish portions; especially the colors, ivory and gold.
What was it like essentially planning two weddings in one?
You know, it took some conversations. We knew we wanted to represent both sides of the family properly, and we wanted to do something that was a representation of both of us combined –his Indian heritage and my Jewish side. I wanted a really good mesh of the different cultures where you go from this gorgeous and vibrant morning ceremony and luncheon to an elegant – with an element of simplicity – black tie affair.
We even changed up our outfits for the evening so it had that contrast. The Hindu side is very colorful and I wore a very traditional burgundy dress. It was all handmade, if you can believe it. There was tons of beading so it was super heavy… Even the headpiece that covers the shawl that I wore, that must have weighed around 7 or 8 pounds! But it was beautiful. Then I felt that the second white lace dress represented the Jewish ceremony very well.
We also wanted to re-purpose as much as we could to help keep the cost down. So we looked for similar elements, and there were surprising actually a lot of similarities between the Hindu tradition and the Jewish tradition. What we were able to do was work with Love Decor to make sure that the things that we were doing in the morning could also be used in the evening for the Jewish ceremony, like the mandap (aka the beautiful white canopy); We used it for both ceremonies and just switched out a few other decor pieces.
You had a lot going on in one day!
We did! There were six parts of the day. But you know, it went by so fast. Everyone would tell me, “It’s gonna go by so fast!” and I would say back, “No, not our wedding!” It was a long day: I woke up at 5 A.M. and didn’t go to sleep until 2 A.M., so it was a very long day. But it does go by so fast because I had to get ready twice. I had literally zero time where I could just sit down and relax, it was constantly go, go, go. And that’s another reason why I’m so happy we got a videographer, because there are so many elements of the wedding that you don’t necessarily get to experience while being in the wedding. I think that’s one recommendation I’d give everybody: Hire a videographer because you won’t be able to see and experience all of the parts of your wedding – there’s just so much going on.
But even before the Biltmore on Saturday we actually had events happening on Thursday and all of Friday as well. At my mom’s house, we had sixty or seventy people on the Indian side and we used catering from Rasoi. We also catered lunch at the Biltmore.
How many people came to the wedding?
We invited 260 people, which is actually really small for an Indian wedding – they’ll usually have 500 to 1,000 people! We ended up having 180.
Tell me more about the food situation.
On the day of we actually had two dinners. We had an Indian dinner for the Indian guests and we had an American dinner for the non-Indian guests. That was the hard part, like how do we pick the vendors and put it all together? And, for me, finding Indian vendors, I had no idea where to begin. That was a challenging component for me. Once we found one though, they were really helpful and found everything else for us. Like ,“Okay here’s what you need to do, this is how this is going to work out.” They were really helpful.
What was you favorite part of the day?
This isn’t just one thing, but my favorite memory overall was feeling this tremendous amount of love from everyone that matters to you. Anybody that means something to you in your life gets together and celebrates a big, big part of your life. It felt just incredible. When people ask themselves, “Should I even have a wedding? Should I just elope?” I think the one thing you’ll never get to experience if you elope and don’t have that more traditional setup where you get to invite friends and family, is this amazing experience. I remember it was around dinner time when I looked around right after our first dance and people were starting to give toasts; I looked around the room and thought that I’ve never in my life had so much attention. Being able to look around the room and look at all of these smiling faces and feel so much tremendous love and joy… I would say it’s a very rare thing. Like how often in your life do you get to experience something like that?
Do you have any advice?
The thing for me: There’s so many details that you spend hours planning or organizing so when it comes to the day of the wedding, you need to let go. Just completely let go because there’s nothing you can do about it at that point. Really, there’s nothing. Thinking and worrying about it will just unnecessarily stress you out even more. The thing you need to remind yourself is: Only you know all of the ins and outs of the details. If something’s not in place, your guests will have no idea. So don’t worry about it. They’re having a great time and so should you. Just let go and enjoy it.
As for interfaith marriages or different cultures that are coming together, the only other recommendation I have for couples like us who are going on this sort of never-experienced journey before, is that it takes a lot of compromise. It’s a lot of sitting down and really identifying what are the things that are most important to you, and what are things you can compromise on. From there you can actually piece together a wedding. Each of you should make a list of things that are “must haves” and then a list of things that would be nice to have but aren’t totally necessary. Take a minute to sit down and look at those things together and from there I think you can form a perfect balance.
Ceremony, reception, evening catering and accommodations: Biltmore Hotel // Additional photos: Taken outside City Hall, Providence // Morning hair: Love Decor // Morning makeup: Applied by the bride’s maid of honor // Morning catering: Rasoi // Evening hair and makeup: Ello Pretty, Providence // Traditional Indian garb: Handmade and imported from India // Evening bridal gown: Nicole, Amasse // Evening tuxedo: Custom made // Bridesmaid dresses: Various shops // Groomsmen’s tuxedos: From groomsmen’s personal collections // Cake: Aimees Bakin’ // Desserts: Pastiche // Décor: Love Decor // Floral design: Golden Gate Studios // Reception music: DJ Rishi of Silk Events DJ & Lighting // White horse (Baarat): Provided by owner Amy Mullin // Videographer: Reet Chowdhary, Semper Creations, Mass. // Cocktail hour music: Berklee College of Music students
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