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Real Wedding | Akhila + Tyler

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Tyler is originally from St. Louis and I’m from New Jersey. We met in Boston 7 years ago while attending different graduate schools. After a couple of years doing long distance between New York and Washington D.C., a lot of back and forth on buses, trains, motorcycles and planes, we now live in Oakland, CA with our two dogs, Cohl and Kaia. Tyler now works for a software startup and I work in healthcare and UX research. We spend a lot of time fixing up our new home and enjoy traveling and live music whenever we can (rare these days but we still try).

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

A friend attended a wedding out in Elk, CA many years ago and posted some pictures. I thought it was the most magical place I’d ever seen. Never did I think that I’d end up living in the Bay Area or that Tyler would randomly pick that same tiny coastal town to stop in on a weekend drive and propose. It felt meant to be when I tracked it down and it just happened to be the same place! When I showed Tyler, he felt exactly the same way. He had imagined an outdoor coastal wedding as his ideal place for a wedding and quickly gave it the green light. We are both 100% glad we did.

How many guests did you have?

We had 110 guests.

Tell us about your outfits.

Our wedding weekend involved two evenings of events. We welcomed all our guests with a Sangeet on Friday (a night of live sitar music, henna, food and a symbolic meeting of our families). On Saturday, we had our ceremony in the afternoon followed by a walk down the hill to our reception. This meant a few different opportunities for outfits.

I wore a bright pink, beautifully embroidered lehenga on the night of the Sangeet while Tyler wore a custom-made dark emerald green Sherwani jacket over a white and gold kurta with a pair of black Kenneth Cole boots he’s had for many years. Both outfits kept us comfortable in the cool open-aired ranch setting.

For our wedding ceremony, it was important to me to wear something Indian but modern and easy for someone inexperienced in pleating a saree (me!). I chose a mint green, pre-pleated saree gown by designer, Sana Barreja I changed into a white Needle + Thread dress for our reception that felt simultaneously fun and elegant - the dress I found had a bit of Indian-style, anarkali silhouette and still felt perfect for a chilly barn dance party. Both dresses were paired with woven gold heels from a french brand called Sezane. Tyler wore a custom three-piece dark gray wool SuitSupply suit with a crisp white shirt and beautiful minty/sage green tie from Brooks Brothers. The tie matched my ceremony outfit color and the sequined flowers on my reception (without being too overly matchy). His boots were a chukka-style boot called the Tetbury from Crockett + Jones.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

The most important aspect for us during our wedding planning was the location. We were choosy about finding the right environment for the intimate experience we wanted. Cuffey’s Cove Ranch allowed a high degree of customization in the event planning, a unique opportunity for guests to stay on site (in camper vans, tents or in glamping tents), and it offered the raw, natural beauty of northern California - all this without going too overboard on the budget. We were a bit hesitant at first about a “blank slate” like Cuffey’s Cove and having our friends and family make the long trip, but it had the foundation for all that warmth and “hygge” we wanted to feel and share on our wedding day, which ultimately drove this first and most important decision (for us)!

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

My South Indian culture and Tyler’s St. Louis, midwestern roots were elements I wanted to bring together in a way that felt genuine to who we are and our relationship. I think we accomplished this however, bringing forth the vision in my head and tying it all together was probably something I worried about the most. You don’t really know everything that goes into an Indian ceremony, or any wedding for that matter, until you’re planning one yourself and, with so many rituals and elements there, I really had to figure out what reflected our values and still paid respect to my beautiful family and culture.

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during Covid?

My biggest tip for couples getting married would be to not feel pressured by all the “boxes” that need to be checked or steps/events that seem like a must. Think about what matters to you and pick those things. Doing this will make the whole experience truly yours and more enjoyable. Especially during Covid, this mindset makes working around challenges and unknowns just a tad bit easier because you’re excited and invested. In the current climate, don’t worry about taking reasonable precautions, like requiring vaccinations and tests if needed to make it a comfortable experience. Commit and don’t look back (except at your wedding photos)!

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Honestly, we couldn’t have lucked out more with our vendors - they were all amazing! Our planning company, Fern Foot Events pulled everything together on the big day and provided full support throughout the planning. Other highlights were our photographer, Jake from Love & Wolves Photography , and reception caterer, James Chand from Curryous, who both really delivered before and during our big day. Tyler and I were a little nervous about being the center of attention but Jake made it feel natural and fun. He was focused and professional but also felt like someone that could have been there as a friend - the best of both worlds. Our guests loved him! And James’ - his passion came through with every bite during our dinner. The samosas will go down in history with our friends. Fijian-Indian cuisine was a little nod to the general fusion of our wedding and couldn’t have been appreciated or enjoyed more by everyone alike!

Photographer : Love & Wolves Photography @loveandwolvesco | Sangeet, Ceremony + Reception Location : Cuffey’s Cove Ranch @cuffeyscoveranch | Sangeet Entertainment : Sitar Player Joanna Mack | Henna : Hilary Kocher @hilaryshenna | Reception Entertainment : Heart of Gold DJs @heartofgolddjs | Planner + Hire : Fern Foot Events @fernfootevents | Rentals/Ceremony Space/Mandap : Matt Rowland Events | Flora : Swadesh Flower + Fern Foot Events @fernfootevents | HMUA : Love + Wolves Beauty @loveandwolvesbeauty | Reception Catering + Beverages : Curryous @curryous_sf | Sangeet/Wedding Cake, Dessert Table, Donuts : Shani’s Sweet Creations @shanissweetart | Stationery : Basic Invite @basicinvite | Sangeet Catering : Cultivo @cultivoukiah | Bride's Sangeet Outfit : Indian Couture | Bride's Ceremony Outfit : Sana Barreja @sanabarrejaofficial | Bride Reception Outfit : Needle + Thread @needleandthreadlondon | Groom's Sangeet Outfit : Sari Palace @saripalace | Groom's Wedding Outfit : Suit Supply @suitsupply | Rings : RedStart Design | Bride's Shoes : Sezane @sezane | Groom's Shoes : Crockett + Jones @crockettandjones_official | Ceremony Jewellery : Paisley Pop Shop @paisleypopshop


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