Wed­ding High­lights: Trina & Greg 6-​3-​2017

Trina & Greg tied the knot at Lesner Inn in a beau­ti­ful Ben­gali cer­e­mony on our Sun­set Deck and then par­tied the night away in Lesner Hall. We loved hav­ing the oppor­tu­nity to learn more about Trina’s cul­ture and get to know the cou­ple through­out the plan­ning process. And we wanted to share more with you! We reached out to Trina & Greg and — amidst her crazy res­i­dency sched­ule – got to hear their side of their big day!

How and when did you meet?View More:

Despite hav­ing the same mutual friends for about 10 years before meet­ing, we finally met a few years ago in Rich­mond, VA. My friend from high school, Chris, was back in town from the North­east for his annual col­lege soccer/​fraternity reunion week­end. He invited me to meet him and his friends, Greg included, on a Fri­day night. I decided see­ing a good friend from out-​of-​town war­ranted a short study break even though I had an exam (med­ical school) on Mon­day. Lit­tle did I real­ize how impor­tant that study break would even­tu­ally be! (We learned shortly after dat­ing that we missed meet­ing each other by one or two days almost every year for 10 years…) Greg and I hit it off instantly and kept in touch for many months as friends. Greg lived two hours away in North Car­olina but vis­ited Rich­mond often for work and fam­ily. We caught up on one of those vis­its, and the rest is his­tory…

How and when did he pro­pose? (Don’t worry, we cried too)

Greg had the oppor­tu­nity to take a head soc­cer coach posi­tion at a uni­ver­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia. We were then five hours apart but vis­ited each other as often as we could. Some­times meet­ing in Mary­land for a week­end or day trip was the best option due to our crazy sched­ules. One Fri­day in late Feb­ru­ary 2016, we were two weeks into a four week stretch apart. Greg had work oblig­a­tions the next morn­ing but knew I had the week­end free. He sug­gested we meet in Annapo­lis for part of the week­end. He only told me where to meet and what to pack. I was not phased by the lack of detail because he loves to plan sur­prises. I was just excited to explore Annapo­lis together and spend [what I thought was] an unan­tic­i­pated week­end together. I had only been there once before, but Greg was born there and spent many sum­mers coach­ing at Naval Acad­emy soc­cer camps.

View More: met at the Mary­land State House and dropped our things at one of the his­toric inns. After explor­ing down­town Annapo­lis in the after­noon, we headed over to the Naval Acad­emy. We sat on a bench, look­ing out on the water and city. Greg shared sto­ries about dif­fer­ent parts of town, either from fam­ily life or sum­mer coach­ing vis­its. I was pretty antsy from sit­ting in the car and sug­gested we walk more. He asked me to stand with him for a moment as he pulled me to the cen­ter of a huge com­pass rose on the ground. [The com­pass rose had turned into a theme for us through­out our rela­tion­ship for a vari­ety of rea­sons.] He stood right next to me and said he had to show me a cool tra­di­tion before we walked away. He asked me to turn and look west. I looked back across the water as the sun was about to set over the city. He then told me to face north. And last, he said to face east and then watch my shadow. At this point, I was rolling my eyes and laugh­ing, won­der­ing what this strange “tra­di­tion” was. That’s when I saw my shadow still stand­ing and his shadow get­ting down on one knee…

Why did you pick Lesner Inn for your wed­ding?

We were excited to show­case the local side of Vir­ginia Beach dur­ing our wed­ding. Trina’s fam­ily moved close to Chick’s Beach before she started high school. When we come to town, we are usu­ally on/​near Shore Drive at the beach or favorite local spots. We stepped into Lesner Inn and instantly fell in love with the beau­ti­ful views and the building’s setup. The Sun­set Deck pro­vided an out­door feel with secu­rity of a cov­ered deck in case of rainy sum­mer weather. The Lesner Hall was the per­fect size and lay­out for our recep­tion. We also liked the inclu­sion of tables, linens, cater­ing, bev­er­ages, etc. into a pack­age. We were also for­tu­nate that Lesner started offer­ing day-​of coor­di­na­tion ser­vices at a really rea­son­able price!

What ven­dors did you use and why did you pick them?

Bengali Wedding Bride Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Best Wedding Venue.jpgChelsea Ander­son Pho­tog­ra­phy– Chelsea’s images are crisp and very true to life. We could tell how well she would cap­ture the col­or­ful nature of an Indian cer­e­mony. Chelsea is also more than a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher. She truly believes in mar­riage and uses her pho­tog­ra­phy to cel­e­brate the con­cept of mar­riage beyond the one day of a wed­ding. Her authen­tic­ity is unique!

Empty Pocket– Band. We found Empty Pocket through Sam Hill enter­tain­ment and through the rec­om­men­da­tion of a pre­vi­ous Vir­ginia Beach bride. The band’s song list was a full spec­trum, much like our music taste, and the singer’s voice is unreal.

Nor­folk Whole­sale Flo­ral– Trina’s fam­ily had a great expe­ri­ence with them for her sister’s wed­ding. We actu­ally ended up work­ing with the same florist, Sandie. At our ini­tial meet­ing, she asked if Trina could show her any pho­tos from Pin­ter­est we had saved. Trina laughed as she said, “I don’t have Pin­ter­est,” and asked about sea­sonal flow­ers in the col­ors we were choos­ing. We pretty much told Sandie the col­ors, some of our favorite flow­ers, and the gen­eral look of the arrange­ments… she took care of the rest!

Bengali Wedding Ceremony Lesner Inn virginia beach 41.jpgBeauty by Sharra– Hair and Makeup. Sharra’s port­fo­lio was amaz­ing and ver­sa­tile. She included travel fees, which made it fea­si­ble for my brides­maids and me to get ready in the com­fort of my par­ents’ house. She exclu­sively did my hair and make up. She and another artist split my mother’s and brides­maids’ hair and makeup. Sharra had such a calm­ing pres­ence through­out the day. She also was very will­ing to make any adjust­ments, if needed, so that we all loved our hair and makeup.

Cus­tom Cake Shoppe– Fan­tas­tic cus­tomer ser­vice and great cake!

Brah­mani Indian Asian Mar­ket (Nor­folk)- This is Trina’s family’s local go-​to for Indian gro­cery needs. They were able to order gulab jamun and ras­malai in bulk to be served at the recep­tion.

View More: Design Co (Etsy)- Our guest “book” sign was custom-​made by Bri­anna from an orig­i­nal com­pass rose design in her shop. The turn around was quick, and we love the sign on our wall!

Edi­son, NJ Indian shops– A large selec­tion of Indian apparel and other goods. Greg’s cer­e­mony out­fit was made by Maha­rani Fash­ions. Trina’s wed­ding sari was a banarasi silk sari, which is cus­tom­ary of Ben­gali brides, from Miss India.

Stu­dio I Do Bridals– Ash­ley, the owner, is a high school class­mate of mine. I loved see­ing the growth of this local store as well as the inven­tory she posted through the store’s social media. After try­ing quite a few dresses that didn’t seem quite the right fit, Ash­ley found the gown I ulti­mately chose, a Mag­gie Sot­tero gown. The gown was gor­geous and actu­ally com­fort­able. The style also some­what blended Indian and Amer­i­can cul­ture, just in the way we wanted our wed­ding. (Also, I actu­ally bought my prom dress from this store when it was solely All The Rage… and Ash­ley was there then, too!)

We loved get­ting to learn more about your cul­ture and all of the tra­di­tions. Can you explain what all of them were for any­one who may not have attended an Indian wed­ding?

This is a very brief synopsis/​explanation but hope­fully help­ful for those less famil­iar!

Lesner Inn Greg and Trina Indian Wedding92.jpgThe Vedas (ancient scrip­ture) describe the rit­u­als of Vivaha (Hindu wed­ding). Some spe­cific tra­di­tions vary from region to region, and our wed­ding was of clas­sic Ben­gali (of the state West Ben­gal) tra­di­tion. We infused Chris­t­ian ele­ments through­out to cel­e­brate Greg’s her­itage as well.

The wed­ding begins with the bride’s mother and friends wel­com­ing the groom with arati (a wor­ship rit­ual). He then stands on a piri (plat­form) to wait for the bride. She is car­ried on her own piri by broth­ers (in our case, Trina’s cousins and close friend). She holds betel leaves in front of her eyes as the group car­ries her around the groom seven times. After the sev­enth time, she removes the leaves from her face to share the first shub­ho­dr­ishti (first aus­pi­cious look). The bride and groom then exchange gar­lands three times. This all occurs under a chadna (canopy).

The bride’s father then accom­pa­nies the bride, groom, and priest on the man­dap (mar­riage stage). The bride’s father joins the bride’s and groom’s hands above a holy pitcher before the priest ties a knot between their gar­ments. The cou­ple then lights a holy fire before mak­ing offer­ings and cir­cling the fire three times. Next, they take sap­ta­padi (seven steps), where the bride steps on each bowl indi­vid­u­ally with the groom’s assis­tance. Each step rep­re­sents a promise: to unify spir­i­tual thoughts, to seek mutual hap­pi­ness, to be faith­ful, to be right­eous to one another, to be kind to all cre­ation, to act towards good name and fame, and to seek friend­ship, affec­tion, and fidelity. Waterfront Indian Wedding Lesner Inn Virginia Beach Trina and Greg 16.jpg

The cou­ple then exchange vows in San­skrit that mean “Let my heart be yours and yours be mine. Be a full part­ner in my enter­prises; merge your thoughts with mine. May the Almighty make us one.” They pray to the fixed North Star as a sym­bol of their now per­ma­nent tie. The priest presents a seed-​bearing fruit as a sym­bol that will later be shared by the cou­ple. The groom then applies sin­dur (ver­mil­lion pow­der) to the bride’s forehead/​part to sig­nify her as his bride. They then exchange rings before mak­ing the final offer­ing and extin­guish­ing the fire. The priest then sprin­kles them with holy water before announc­ing them as offi­cially hus­band and wife.

How did you pick your first dance song and why did you pick it?

Civil Wars– Sacred Heart. One day early in our rela­tion­ship, we both hap­pened to lis­ten to songs in French. Nei­ther of us speak or have stud­ied French, so this was very ran­dom. We shared them with each other, and this song ended up stick­ing as our song. The cho­rus has a line “Seule­ment Toi,” mean­ing “only you.”

What were you most excited about for your wed­ding day?

View More: to pick just one! We were excited to start our mar­riage with stun­ning views as the back­drop and to share the evening with our clos­est friends and fam­ily. We were also excited to have a cer­e­mony and recep­tion that paid homage to both fam­i­lies’ cul­tures.

Were there any per­sonal touches that you put on your wed­ding day that were really spe­cial to you?

Cer­e­mony items: We used Trina’s mom’s wed­ding sari as the canopy in the cer­e­mony. The piris were built by Trina’s father and designed/​painted by Trina for her sister’s wed­ding. They hope to pass them down as the gen­er­a­tions go by. Trina also designed the com­pass rose [by hand] that was used on our pro­grams and wed­ding table num­bers.

Cer­e­mony struc­ture: We infused some Christian/​American ele­ments into our Hindu cer­e­mony– hav­ing a tra­di­tional bridal party with a pro­ces­sion, exchang­ing Chris­t­ian vows, and includ­ing a read­ing of one of our favorite poems. We also included music that rep­re­sented that fusion: tra­di­tional Indian wed­ding music, The Bea­t­les, Sara Bareilles, and Anoushka Shankar with Norah Jones.

Spice jar favors: We loved the idea of a practical/​useful favor. We ordered bulk Indian spices, small spice jars, and labels/​tags to put these together. We were serv­ing the deli­cious choices from Lesner Inn’s menu for our recep­tion but wanted to [lit­er­ally] add some Indian fla­vor for guests. Each jar had a label with the ingre­di­ents and a tag with a recipe.

What was the biggest mis­take you made dur­ing the plan­ning process? (Not that you made any mis­takes!)

We were really lucky to have Alexis and Cayleen as our [ABC] day-​of coor­di­na­tors. Not hav­ing them would have been our biggest mis­take!! We handed every­thing over 2 weeks prior. Their detail-​oriented work ensured that all went smoothly, espe­cially when they coor­di­nated some unan­tic­i­pated changes in the sched­ule dur­ing the night.

What advice do you have for other cou­ples plan­ning their wed­ding?

Have fun with it! Remem­ber what the day truly means– you are sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends who are cel­e­brat­ing the start of your mar­riage. Think of each deci­sion, small or big, about rep­re­sent­ing that notion. And def­i­nitely have at least day-​of coor­di­na­tion so that you can just enjoy your night with­out any tasks in mind!

Best Waterfront Wedding Venue Virginia Beach Lesner Inn 74.jpg

Almost three months later, and we still can­not get enough of Trina & Greg’s story! What a beau­ti­ful cou­ple that we were lucky enough to have at Lesner Inn for their wed­ding! These doc­tors are a power cou­ple to look out for, and we can’t wait to see what amaz­ing things they accom­plish together!

Pho­tos by Chelsea Ander­son Pho­tog­ra­phy!

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