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Emily & Virat getting married at Fearrinton

Emily & Virat

Emily and Virat tied the knot on March 18, 2017. These newlyweds said their “I do”s in the Garden House & The Garden Terrace and danced the night away in The Barn!

How did you and your partner meet?
We met the old-fashioned way – through friends! I met my close friend Michelle when we were both students in a UNC graduate program. Through that friendship I met Michelle’s (now) husband, Drew, who happened to be Virat’s best friend since childhood. A game of matchmaker was played, and we first met at a UNC football tailgate in Fall 2009. The rest, as they say, is history!

Tell us about the engagement?
The engagement was very laid back and very “us.” It was a beautiful Friday evening, and after walking our dog after a long work week, Virat suggested we eat dinner outside in the backyard of our home. I had recently planted some flowers out back, so Virat hid the ring in a flower-shaped box amongst the real flowers. He got down on one knee with just us two present, but he did hide a video camera so we could watch it later!

What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?”
For us, Fearrington was the ideal location for so many reasons! Aside from being an absolutely gorgeous and comfortable-but-still-classy venue, we knew we needed a place that offered a wonderful on-site team who could manage the unique demands of our day. I am Christian while Virat is Hindu, so honoring both of our religions and cultures on our wedding day was something we gave a lot of thought to. We ultimately decided that what felt right to us was to do two separate ceremonies on the same day, with a joint reception in the evening. Sounds simple enough, but that decision made for a very logistically challenging day!

We decided on a very small and personal Christian ceremony in the morning in the Garden House, followed by a large-scale Hindu ceremony in the Garden Terrace in the evening. Virat even had a Baraat (groom’s procession) on a white horse with music, dancing, and a Dholi (drummer) in the front pasture! With all of the logistics of two ceremonies and two cultures, the team at Fearrington was truly the perfect fit for our day. Erin Day was incredibly helpful to me throughout the planning process, Gilda wonderfully managed the day-of craziness, and Mary blew me away with the floral arrangements. Getting married at Fearrington allowed us to be fully-present on our day, which is such a profound gift.

Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
The highlight of the day for both of us was the morning Christian ceremony because it was so deeply personal and meaningful. We kept the guest list for that ceremony to only our immediate families and our closest friends (who are like family), we wrote our own vows to one another, and my Dad even served as our officiant. The morning was slightly drizzly and crisp, which meant that a fire in the Garden House fireplace provided the perfect cozy setting for such an intimate ceremony.

Being surrounded in that little room by those who have loved us and supported us throughout our relationship, and being able to share in that moment together, will be a feeling that we will truly never forget. After the ceremony was over, we popped champagne, all hung out in the Garden House together, and exchanged cheers with those closest to us. It was stripped down, personal, and perfect.

What was the biggest surprise of the day?
The biggest surprise of the day was a secret I kept from Virat. We are both double Tar Heels, having both graduated undergrad and grad school from Carolina. Needless to say, we are huge Tar Heel fans (!!), so I coordinated with the UNC Athletics Department to have Rameses surprise Virat by storming into our reception and staying to dance and take photos. I even coordinated with Gilda, the DJ, the photographer, and the videographer ahead of time so they all knew when Rameses was scheduled to run in. It went off seamlessly!

As soon as dinner and the toasts wrapped up, the DJ made an announcement, started playing “Jump Around”, and Virat’s jaw fell to the floor! It was the absolute perfect way to start the dance party, and ended up being a highlight not only for Virat, but for our guests as well. We took a big alumni photo, and so many of our family and friends raved about dancing and taking individual pictures with him. It was definitely a huge hit! The fact that, just weeks later, UNC won the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship will make this memory all the more special for years come.

Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
Soon after I got engaged, a friend told me something that always stuck with me. She said, “Your wedding day will be the only time in your life where all of the people you and Virat love the most will be in one place together.” That is so true! There is really no other life event that brings together everyone you love, all at once, like your wedding.

I encourage couples to remember that and find opportunities throughout the planning process and the day itself to focus on personal touches. In the end, when you look back, that’s going to be what you remember most – those moments where you reminded yourselves and your guests of why you’re all gathered together. It’s about you and your partner, your story, and your families, so bring those touches into the day itself! Hang old wedding photos of your parents and grandparents to make a family tree, wear heirlooms, and honor your family’s traditions. You’ll find those are the things you’ll treasure the most about your day.

This wedding was designed and coordinated by Fearrington’s own Gilda McDaniel. Photography by Brett & Jessica Photography.

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  1. The entire day and evening were magical! From the intimate, heartfelt morning ceremony; to the tradition-rich, colorful Indian procession and ceremony; to the beautiful decor and yummy food at the reception; to dancing with our mascot, everything was planned perfectly and spectacularly! It was a day of celebrating our dear friends that I’ll never forget!