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Divya and Joe Wedding

Divya & Joe’s Fearrington Wedding

We are so excited share Divya and Joe’s stunning Fearrington wedding! Divya and Joe tied the knot in a traditional Hindu wedding on the Garden Terrace and then celebrated the night away with their dear family and friends in the Barn. Divya shared the story of their engagement, their experience planning a multicultural wedding from abroad, and their special day, of course. Read the story below!

How did you two meet?
Joe and I met in 2011 when we began our MBA studies at London Business School. There were several “get to know you” events held at the start of school, and while we met very briefly at one, we didn’t really chat again until the end of our first year. We were both attending a sports tournament between a number of European business schools that was held just outside of Paris. I was playing tennis, as well as women’s touch rugby, and Joe was playing for the men’s rugby team. For better or worse, Joe was injured and my tennis matches did not go that well, so we had some time to get to know each other over that weekend. When we returned to campus, I was off to the U.S. for a summer internship, while Joe was working in London. However, we kept in touch throughout the summer and our second year. The defining moment came at our MBA graduation, when I was moving to Baltimore to start my new job, and Joe was remaining in Europe for his work. After much deliberation, we decided to try dating long-distance.

Tell us about the engagement?
After a couple of years of long-distance, I transferred to my employer’s London office. At the time, Joe was working in Luxembourg. The move finally got us on the same continent, which helped immensely on the travel budget and vacation time front! We typically spent the weekends together, with one of us traveling over on Friday evening. One of Joe’s visits started off normally enough, with dinner followed by sleep, as we’d each had long weeks at work. However, at approximately 4am, I heard music playing loudly, and jumped out of bed ready to go ask the neighbors to turn down the music. I soon realized that the music was coming from inside my apartment – and that the song was one Joe and I had talked about during one of our first conversations, as being his karaoke song of choice (I love karaoke!). When I got to the living room, I noticed him on one knee, and looked out to my balcony to see champagne set up outside. We got engaged so early in the morning because Joe had grand plans to watch the sunrise together on one of the longest days of the year – a new beginning. While the day ended up being cloudy, it couldn’t dim our excitement! We then called our families to share the news – it turns out my parents and sister were in on the surprise and eagerly awaiting our call from 5 hours behind.

Divya and Joe

What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?”
There were a few key elements at play with Fearrington that really made a difference for us. First, I wanted to get married near where I grew up. My parents live less than an hour from Fearrington, and I also went to college in Chapel Hill. I knew that it would be a convenient location for our friends and family who were traveling from out of town / state / country. Second, I knew that I would be planning from abroad, so the amazing on-site planning staff at Fearrington, Gilda McDaniel in particular, were a big part of the equation. Being in a different country, it was incredibly helpful to be able to liaise with Gilda over email or phone call, and have the added convenience of my parents nearby to help check on things or drop off paperwork. Third, given that we were planning on having a Hindu wedding, Fearrington’s past experience with multicultural weddings was in its favor. I knew that the restaurant, which is already so well-known for its food, could cater to an Indian vegetarian diet for some of my relatives. I also knew that Fearrington could accommodate a small fire as part of our ceremony – which not every venue is able to do, understandably so. Gilda, with all of her experience, has seen so many types of weddings and was able to make pretty much everything we wanted to happen come true. Finally, the venue itself is gorgeous – I loved that we could have all the festivities take place on the same grounds, which made it easy for our guests and the wedding party itself. We were married at the Garden Terrace – which is covered and therefore perfect in case of rain – and held our reception at the Barn. In the meantime, our guests had the chance to check out the various gardens on site, as well as the famous belted cows, goats, and chickens!

Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
The highlight of the day was most certainly our wedding ceremony. Joe is from Ireland, and his parents, sisters, and some aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends had traveled over to join us for the celebrations. Many of our guests had never attended a Hindu wedding ceremony, during which our parents sat at the mandap and we faced out towards our guests while performing rituals with the priest. It was a pretty amazing feeling to be surrounded by all our loved ones, but also to be able to see their faces throughout the ceremony – if you think about it, that’s quite rare. I got to make eye contact with friends I hadn’t yet seen, saw their reactions when the priest explained the significance of various rituals, and heard their laughter when Joe and I showered each other with rice and flower petals. Even though our ceremony lasted for an hour, it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. That said, I could literally feel the joy around me throughout.

Divya and Joe

What was the biggest surprise of the day?
I can narrow it down to two major surprises – both good! – during our reception. Our DJ had heard the story about our engagement, and the fondness that Joe and I have for certain karaoke songs. Soon after our joint father/bride and mother/groom dance, the DJ asked Joe to join him at the podium and played his karaoke song – challenging him to sing along! Luckily it did not last for too long, but everyone was just so impressed that Joe was even willing to go up there and embarrass himself a bit that no one cared about how he sounded! The second surprise was when Joe’s sister requested a particular Irish song to be played, and managed to get almost all our guests participating in a big Irish dance circle. I loved seeing everyone let loose, and had so much fun seeing our different cultures interact.

What was your biggest surprise about wedding planning?
To be honest, as much as people complain about how stressful wedding planning can be, and how they can’t wait for it to be over – I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I like to think that I was relatively low-stress, though I admit to having numerous Excel spreadsheets and a folder on my computer titled “Wedmin”. I never had a childhood vision of how my wedding day would look, and was completely overwhelmed when Gilda presented me with the various options for reception linens (who would have known there were so many choices?!). That said, I really enjoyed putting the different pieces together and meeting amazing vendors along the way who we would trust with helping to make our wedding day so special. When you put all of the decisions aside and realize that this is going towards sharing a fun day with your loved ones, the stress quickly melts away and the excitement just mounts. I actually felt a little bit sad after the wedding because it flew by so quickly. Everyone warns you, but it’s the absolute truth.

Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
Though everyone told me to remember that the day was “ours”, we wanted so much to honor our families and cultures in little ways. Our welcome bags included items from North Carolina, India, and Ireland. We had photos of our grandparents up at the place card table to honor them since they were not with us. Our table names were those of cities both of us had lived in at various points in time. We both gave speeches so that we could thank everyone who made the day possible – the wedding party, our families, our friends, and of course our vendors. While tradition was important, we wanted the day to reflect us as much as possible, as well as our marriage representing the blending of different cultures and traditions, to make our own. Gilda and the Fearrington team are consummate professionals, but also know how to manage through pretty much anything you can throw their way. Gilda also made sure we enjoyed some food and drink throughout the hectic day, bringing us cocktails since we missed most of our cocktail event for photos, and plates of food as we greeted guests during the dinner portion of the reception. We were thrilled with our vendors and felt that much more excited about the wedding day knowing that they were on the same page as us.

Thank you for sharing your special day with us, Divya!

Design and Planning: Gilda McDaniel of Fearrington Village 
Photography: Julia Wade Photography
Hair and Makeup: Wedded Kiss
Wedding Gown: Nalli Sarees and Straavi
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nalli Sarees
Groom’s Attire: Manyavar and Anita Dongre
Stationery: Oak Leaf Design Studio
Music: DJ Q Focus Live
Transportation: Carolina Livery