Chic Southern Greek Indian Fusion Wedding {Arkansas}

2018 Apr 20 - by Preeti
This wedding is everything fun and exciting you could want from a wedding. A Greek wedding, an Indian wedding, an American Southern wedding, our feature fusion wedding is eclectic and grand!

Kristin and Jason wanted to honor Greek and Indian traditions, yet they also live in the US South, so they took inspiration from all three cultures. Their ceremony was in the Greek Orthodox church where they regularly attend and, while they did do the full Greek ceremony, they also had an Indian priest there to do an Indian ceremony as well.

Planner Meredith Events and photographer Jojo Pangilinan brought this wedding to life!

Here's our Q&A with the bride:

How did you meet?

We met during college in Missouri in 2004. Jason had gotten an academic scholarship to a school about 6 hours away from his hometown in Arkansas and I had gotten a volleyball scholarship to the college on the other side of town and had moved there from California. Seeing as we had both traveled so far for school, it was amazing we met each other at all. I ran into Jason at his fraternity house, became friends, then sorority formal dates, then briefly dated before he graduated two years ahead of me.

We remained close friends and kept in contact when we kept running into each other over the years, but it wasn't until 2014 that we finally started dating. Our relationship was a decade in the making, but we're overjoyed it worked out how it did. We were actually the best man and maid of honor in our friends' wedding back in 2008 and the two of them, especially now as members of our own wedding party, had apparently taken a lot of the credit for the matchmaking :)

How did he propose?

I had planned a month long trip to Southeast Asia last December for my 30th birthday, but Jason was only able to join me for the final week of it in Bali. We did my birthday dinner at a nice restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Reserve in Ubud, Bali and had reserved a two-person wicker "cocoon" enveloped table along the side of the restaurant that overlooked the river. It was private, beautiful and romantic.

He gave the most uncomfortable toast I had ever heard, which was odd since he had done public speaking his whole life, then immediately excused himself to go to the restroom. I was convinced he had gotten sick, but apparently he was talking to the hostess, then trying to get the ring out from the pocket he had sewn it to in his pants. When they came out for dessert at the end of our meal, he handed a phone to the waitress to take a photo and while I was distracted trying to keep my birthday candles lit, he was down on one knee with the waitress filming.

I was so flustered I tried to put the ring on my right hand! He had arranged the whole thing with the restaurant, asked both my parents for permission, and had even gotten my ring blessed by our priest and booked a wedding date at the church.

What was your wedding design and style?

I wore an ivory Kelly Faetanini gown which had this intricate gold lace detail, my bridesmaids wore purple and gold sarees, and my flower girls wore Indian gowns as well to contrast with my dress. To complement the bridal party, the men all wore traditional tuxedos with gold or purple paisley ties. Both the pattern in the sarees, paisley on the men's vests and ties, and the lace on my dress influenced other things like our mehendi (henna), centerpiece lanterns, and even our cake design.

We used a lotus pattern Jason had put into my engagement ring on a lot of the stationary to tie the theme in as well. Our floral was more Southern inspired with purple calla lilies, white and blush roses, and green filler in the bouquets with calla lily, rosemary, and lavender boutonnières for the men. The bright Indian colors played well off all of the ornate decor in the Greek church and getting to do a blended ceremony was really important to us.

We invited our guests to join in on wearing traditional Indian clothing and seeing so many of our friends jump at the idea to embrace a new culture was really neat to see. Our mothers participated in a traditional southern Indian milk ceremony at the beginning of the reception where each mother serves their new son/daughter a glass of warm, sweetened milk as a welcome into their respective families.

My mom is still talking about how fun it was to participate in it. At the end of the night, we gave guests both Greek and Indian favors in the form of koufetta almonds one of the ushers brought us from Greece and little wooden hand-carved elephants Jason's parents brought back from India.

What were your fun moments?

Some fun stuff (in order of appearance):

Since we opted out of doing a first look and I wanted to make sure to get enough time in for photos, we did a day-before session with our photo and video teams. I wore a red saree and Jason wore a suit and we ended up doing an impromptu 3+ mile hike up a mountain in 90 degree weather so we could get some epic photos and read handwritten vows to each other. Since we don't get to exchange vows in a Greek wedding, we wanted to take the time for ourselves and get this moment in. We ended up being late to our own rehearsal because of it, but we both agreed it was totally worth it.

Jason's mom surprised me the morning of with these beautiful gold anklets to wear. I learned the next day the reason they were so significant was because she apparently had worn them the day she and Jason's father immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s.

Along with the other bangles I had on, I wore an ivory & gold bangle on each of my wrists that my grandmother had given me. She and my grandfather were actually traveling in India nearby to Jason's parents' hometown at the exact same time I was born 30 years ago and the two ivory & gold bangles I wore were brought back from that trip of hers. As serendipitous as it was that they were there the same time I was being born, it was truly wonderful and meaningful to have something of hers there with me because neither of my grandparents were healthy enough to travel to our wedding.

Halfway through the reception we changed out into traditional Indian outfits that Jason's parents had gotten for us when they went home to Kerala earlier in the year. I wore a red and gold saree that was symbolically gifted to me during the Indian part of the wedding ceremony and Jason wore a cream, burgundy, and gold sherwani suit. While I was conflicted about changing out of my western wedding gown, the second I saw the saree I fell in love with the intricacy of the details on it. For both of us, getting to wear two distinct and special outfits was a great experience and getting the chance to honor his family was icing on the cake.

What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?

Too many to count! Honestly, if I had to narrow it to my single favorite memory, it was dancing together surrounded by everyone we love at the end of the reception. It was just this huge mess of people going ham on the dance floor and all we could see was each other and all we felt was all of the love and support around us. Getting to just enjoy ourselves and not stress about any of the wedding details or timeline at that point was such an amazing feeling.

Jason's favorite moment was when I walked down the aisle and he saw me for the first time. He had strongly opted against doing a first look and wanted that to be the first time he saw me on our wedding day and both of us are so happy we did. It was only the second time I'd seen him cry (though he won't admit it) and with all the people in the room, it's like we only saw each other.

Do you have any advice for other brides-to-be?

The two of us were on completely different pages about what we wanted our big budget items to go towards. He was more interested in catering and entertainment, while I was most interested in photography, video, and decor. We ended up using that as a way to divvy up things each of us worked on researching / booking and what was left ended up being what we worked on together to find cost-effective plans for.

Our centerpieces were wine and beer bottles we'd saved over the year and painted gold with lanterns we'd bought from Target and Ikea and painted as well. Our place cards were basically Ferrero Roche chocolates with toothpicks in them. To save cost on invitations, I found a wholesale store which sold materials then I designed all of them myself in Photoshop & Illustrator in order to cut costs there.

All of the DIYing we did ended up keeping us in the budget we needed without sacrificing our own personal style or the things we wanted to spend more on. My best advice to other brides-to-be is to find the items you care about, book those first, then find the things you can do yourself to cut cost down.

What was your biggest worry and how did you overcome it?

As a project manager, I was worried that we both would be micromanaging the work to be done on our wedding day or stressed about what's happening, not happening, and how. The way we overcame it was simple: We hired the best vendors we could find and we trusted them to take our plan and do what they do best. Everything ended up working out as we had hoped and we had no stress at all.

At one point we were actually so far ahead of the schedule we had meticulously planned, that we had to shift dinner and the reception up by almost an hour and every single one of our vendors, catering and band included, just rolled with it without question or complaint. At the end of the day, this was our day to enjoy and having such a wonderfully professional and experienced team supporting us meant we could do just that.

{Wedding Credits}

Photography: Jojo Pangilinan // Wedding Coordination: Meredith Events //

Cinematography: Henry Weddings // Band: Patrick Lentz Band // Hair & Makeup: Face Your Day Salon // Florist: Tipton & Hurst // Cake: Art Is In Cakes Bakery & Supply // Catering: Arthur's Prime Steakhouse // Rentals: Party Time Rental & Events // Church & Reception Hall: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church