A long time ago, in a galaxy far away…. (actually this past May and rather close to Philadelphia) Poonam and Karthik disagreed with the amount of May the 4th festivities to incorporate with their wedding celebration. Fortunately for Karthik (and the photo ops), he found himself riding a horse down South 5th Street with a light saber with Independence Hall in the background. All May 4th joking aside, The newlyweds shared a their first look moment at Philadelphia City Hall followed by a hand-in-hand stroll down Broad street to capture a few iconic photos. The baraat shut down South 5th Street and Karthik was a star having his photo taken by many tourists who’d never experienced anything like this before. Poonam was escorted down the aisle by her parents at the American Jewish History Museum.


After they said ‘i-do,’ staff worked on flipping the ceremony space into the reception. The newlyweds changed into their reception outfits and we took advantage of the late evening light bouncing off the buildings at Second Bank. The newlyweds enjoyed a quiet moment before heading into their reception. The American Jewish History Museum boasts amazing views of the city that the newlyweds love.

Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette?

As both of us are South Asian, we chose to have a South Asian Hindu ceremony. However, while I am from Himachal Pradesh, which is in the North of India, and he is from Tamil Nadu, which is from the South of India, we ended up incorporating traditions that are important to both of our families as well as American fusion elements. We decided to keep the colors for the ceremony to white and gold with red and for the reception we wanted to keep the colors to blues, purples, with some pink. My husband also had a baraat and my mom and family were able to welcome my husband to the venue.


Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

For the ceremony, we wanted to keep to the vibe of the ballroom at the National Museum of American Jewish History, which is bright and white and we had white chiavari chairs. And so we chose to have the mandap be white and gold draping along with pops of red, with rose petals down the aisle, flowers on the tiebacks, and the chairs in the mandap. We ended up having white and purple uplighting as well. With white draping in the back of the room from where the processional entered, it created the perfect vibe. For the reception, we ended up having a stage that is common in South Asian wedding celebrations, with a couch for us to sit on. For the backdrop, we just chose different elements that each of us liked: some artificial candles structure, hanging crystals, draping. For the centerpieces, we loved the submerged orchids with floating candles look, and so we decided to go with them.


What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

We tried to limit the florals at the wedding, but they were important in certain elements. I was sure I wanted book paper flowers for the bridal bouquet. The bridal bouquet and bridesmaids bouquets were self-designed, ordered from Etsy, assembled. The Bridal bouquet was made from Harry Potter book paper flowers from an Etsy shop called TheOpenBookShop. And we mixed in some gorgeous red silk roses from another Etsy shop called Dexin Floral. The bridesmaids bouquets were white and gold Harry Potter book page flowers. The groomswoman and my sister-in-law has bouquets of champagne and white silk roses.


Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

Beyond selecting all the decor elements ourselves, the details were where we were really able to personalize the wedding. The book flower bouquets, UNC Tarheels socks and a Philadelphia Sixers Trust the Process wristband, the engagement photo guest book and cardbox, photos of family members who are no longer with us, and some Star Wars elements. As our wedding was on May 4th, the groomspeople and groom had lightsabers, we played a little bit of the Star Wars Throne room theme just prior to our entrance, and we had a Stars Wars themed signature cocktail. We also handpicked all the liquor, wine, beer, and signature cocktail (Quigon Gin – Bluecoat Gin, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, tonic water). Our moms’ also decided to put together a welcome table with candy and flowers for the guests. We loved everything. All the details came out so beautifully and brought everything together, but most important were all the people that were at the wedding to celebrate with us.


Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

Red lenghas are traditional in my family, so I knew I wanted to do that. I also didn’t want an outfit that was completely covered with design. The negative space of red and the vertical workmanship were what made me feel like this was a good fit for me. I was surprised by choice of the velvet but it felt right and luxurious when wearing it. For the reception, I knew I wanted something that was much lighter, easy to dance and move in, but glitzy. I saw the turquoise gown on a mannequin in the shop and immediately fell in love. Even after trying on other outfits, once I tried this one on, I knew this was it. To style, I ended up wearing traditional red bangles and various jewelry from India and some jeweled sandals. My husband also tried on a many outfits, but chose the cream colored sherwani from the same store where I found my outfits. He didn’t want anything too covered, but still wanted to feel regal. The shop matched the accents to my red and so we matched perfectly. For the reception, he knew that he wanted to wear a western style suit and chose a navy suit that fit him perfectly. And then he used some fabric from my alterations for his pocket square. He styled that with a champagne tie, and classic coffee Allen Edmonds belt and cap-toe Oxford shoes. And he brought it all together with some UNC tarheels socks as an homage to his hometown and team.

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

We actually met on the first day of college at Drexel University when we were moving in to the dorm building. Our families parked next to each other and we were moving into the building at the same time. We both noticed each other in the elevator, but didn’t talk to each other and put the other out of our minds. However, we had moved in early for a special course, and so all the people in the dorm gathered in the common room, the two of us were soon in the same friend group, and were dating within a couple of months. While he was thinking about how best to propose, he was on the South Street Bridge a couple of days prior, and zeroed in on the skyline. And immediately it clicked. In a frenzy, he figured out the best place to propose would be on the elevator on the way to Skygarten, a rooftop bar in center city, as on homage to our first meeting. It was also the longest elevator ride he could find. Despite an icy night and with help with a friend, and to my great surprise, he was able to propose to me in the elevator!!! And a bottle of champagne was waiting for us at the bar at the top and a beautiful snowy view of the city for a beautiful evening.


What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

We were looking forward to getting ready with our friends and the post-dinner party the most, which would allow us to have fun with our favorite people. However, there were definitely a couple of really special moments throughout the day. The first look was a wonderful moment and time, because we got a little bit of time to just walk around and talk about our mornings. We had been so busy the previous couple of days and we got a few minutes to laugh and spend a little time together. Walking down the aisle was also really special. Emotion got to both of us, with tearful eyes and some nervous tremors, before we started the ceremony.


Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

Our main advice, after figuring out a budget, would be to select the type of vendors that are most important to you and to find them right away, that way you don’t have to compromise. Trust your gut when you’re making decisions, and don’t get too stressed about things that you can’t control. Go the extra mile on the details that are important to you, even if they take a little extra time and effort. As some friends told us, you’re only engaged for a short period of time – take lots of photos and spend time together!