Archna Goel and Ryan Calfee incorporated both American and Indian customs for their all-day (and night!) wedding outside Columbus.
THE BRIDE Archna Goel, 26, pediatrician
THE GROOM Ryan Calfee, 26, orthopedic surgeon
THE DATE May 27
THE SCENE Ceremony at Franklin Park Conservatory; reception at Embassy Suites Hotel
"We envisioned a wedding that would expose our friends and family to our different cultures," says Archna, who is of Indian descent. So as she and Ryan started planning, they knew that the occasion would encompass a variety of traditions and customs. Taking fourteen months to sort out, the festivities eventually unfolded over a Memorial Day weekend, with guests traveling to Columbus, Ohio (where Archna grew up), from such far-flung destinations as Delhi, India and Spokane, WA. The wedding took place on a Sunday, spanning from morning until way past midnight, with two religious ceremonies and two fabulous receptions -- a heady celebration indeed.
The wedding began with a Catholic ceremony -- complete with Old and New Testament readings and time-honored music such as Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary" -- in the Palm House of the Franklin Park Conservatory, a lush, tropical space with glass ceilings. Clad in Western wedding attire (Archna in sleeveless white satin, Ryan in a classic tuxedo), the bride and groom said traditional vows after a touching homily by Ryan's uncle.
Afterward, it was off to Embassy Suites Hotel to enjoy a buffet luncheon in the atrium. At 5 p.m., the crowd re-convened in the hotel's main ballroom for the Hindu ceremony. This time, Archna was adorned in a traditional Indian bridal gown, a handmade scarlet satin garment with elaborate gold embroidery. Her hands and feet displayed intricately patterned Henna designs. Her bridesmaids traded their light blue satin dresses for silk Indian saris in dramatic shades of peacock blue, while Ryan sported an elegant beige sherwani.
Beneath a mandap, or a sacred canopy, draped in vibrant fabrics and silk flowers, the ceremony incorporated many symbolic rituals including the jaimaala, where the bride and groom present each other with garlands of white and red flowers, and the mangal phera, where the couple circles a fire in the center of the mandap seven times. "Both ceremonies were very festive and rich," says Archna. The reception that followed featured a dinner buffet comprised of both Western and Indian delights, such as roasted Italian veggies, chicken tikka masala and shahi paneer. The dance floor would remain packed all night along, with contemporary favorites and Indian dance music exuberantly filling the resplendent space. "All of our guests seemed to enjoy the variety," says the bride. "They got up and danced even when they weren't familiar with the music."
Photography © Greg Bartram
For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.
Real Weddings: Cultural Celebrations