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Meet Meena And Josh

bride's hometown: Brooklyn, NY

groom's hometown: Media, PA

current place of residence: Brooklyn, NY

bride's occupation: middle school technology integrator

groom's occupation: high school guidance counselor

how they met: The couple met while teaching in Brooklyn. Meena was an art teacher, and Josh taught high school teenagers in special education. Josh flirted with her for a full year without receiving much of a response. Finally, he got his friends to convince Meena to go out one night in Alphabet City, and he joked his way into her heart.

proposal story: Josh surprised Meena with a proposal in a park in San Francisco. The couple was on a West Coast road trip for two weeks, and Josh popped the question on the first night of the trip. It was a complete surprise until Meena noticed that Josh was having a hard time breathing and was acting strangely, and she realized what was about to happen. At that very moment, a photographer Josh had hired popped out of the bushes and captured the moment.

length of engagement: almost two years

honeymoon destination: "Josh and I are lucky to enjoy our summers off together as educators," Meena remarks. "We enjoyed six weeks of adventure, romance, and sweaty heat in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam."

The Wedding

wedding date: June 24, 2017

ceremony and reception location: Historic Acres of Hershey, Elizabethtown, PA

wedding colors: "We chose to focus on vibrant colors like yellows and oranges for the ceremony and bright flowers with an organic flow for the reception," explains Meena. "We wanted our wedding to look different, not like the traditional 'all-white wedding.'"

wedding theme: colorful, vibrant, bright

bride's bouquet: fuchsia stock, delphinium, yellow button poms, white bouvardia, purple tulips, orange

spray roses, purple freesia, pink astilbe, burgundy garden roses, plumosa fern, olive branch, and seeded

eucalyptus

the ceremony: A Hindu priest performed the ceremony and read from ancient Vedic scriptures.

the menu: signature cocktails, a specialty keg, three wedding cake flavors, and an ice cream sundae bar

cake: a two-layer sheer red velvet cake

first dance song: ortoPilot cover of "Grow Old With You"

favorite decoration: wooden farm tables

something worth splurging on: travel and experiences

Vendors

photographer: Emily Grace Photography, Elizabethtown, PA

bride's dress: RK Bridal, New York, NY

tuxedo rental: The Tux Shop, Bayonne, NJ

hair and makeup: Bombshell Brides, Hershey, PA

traditional Indian sari draping for bride and bridesmaids: Deluxe Hair and Beauty Salon, Mechanicsburg

ceremony pergola flower design, farm table garlands, and hanging mason jars: Roots Cut

Flower Farm, Carlisle, PA

bridal and bridal party bouquets: Royer's Flowers & Gifts

carnation ceremony garlands and reception centerpieces: Wegmans Floral Design

antique furniture styling: Swoon Vintage Rental, Hummelstown, PA

catering: Passage to India, Harrisburg, PA

wedding cake: Rosie's Creative Cakes, Manheim, PA

ice cream sundae bar: Leo's Homemade Ice Cream, Carlisle, PA

specialty keg: Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey, PA

servers and food cleanup: MACK Employment Services

hotels: Red Lion Hotel Harrisburg Hershey, Harrisburg, PA, and Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, Harrisburg, PA

transportation: Rohrer Bus, Duncannon, PA

The Wedding Planner: What was the first thing you did when you began to plan your wedding? What inspired you to start there?

Meena: The first thing we did was to find venues. We knew our wedding was most likely going to be outside New York City. We looked for a venue that that had an open feel and included a lot of green space, something we knew we wouldn't be able to find in NYC.

Josh was totally a "groomzilla" when we began wedding planning. He did hours of research on venues and wanted to talk about it often. Little did I know how helpful that was going to be. (Thank you, Josh!) He made a spreadsheet with the maximum number of guests we could have at each venue, the number of hours at the venue included in the rental, and a list of items that were included at each venue (because tables and chairs were not always included in the rental). I poked fun at Josh for being SO into the planning; meanwhile, I was clueless where to begin. I am so glad we got a head start on the venue search because of him.

TWP: How did you select your dresses and the outfits of the members of the wedding party?

Meena: I loved picking out my dresses; I had two outfit changes. Traditionally, Indian wedding ceremonies and the reception are not held on the same day, but we decided we wanted all wedding festivities on the same day, which meant we both had to change for the reception. We both knew we wanted to have fun with our outfits and we didn't want the "traditional" look. I knew I did not want to adhere to the traditional pure red outfit for the ceremony. Instead, I looked for an outfit that included a lot of pink, which is my favorite color, and had a regal, elegant, and sophisticated feel. As soon as I tried on my outfit, I knew it was the one.

I purchased my ceremony outfit first and then looked for my white reception dress about five months before our wedding date. I went to RK Bridal in New York City and loved my experience there. I went by myself for the first appointment and tried on a few gowns. I fell in love with the first wedding dress I tried on! That same day, I tried on several other dresses with different shapes and cuts and took photos of my favorite ones and texted them to my friends. They were eager to see the dresses in person, so a few weeks later, I asked them to come with me to choose the dress. Everyone had a different opinion of what they liked on me. In the end, I was glad I chose what I liked. I knew immediately that the dress complemented my petite figure and was elegant, and - most of all - the train wouldn't get in the way of me dancing.

Josh and I are super laid back, so we asked our closest friends to choose outfits they would feel comfortable in and would flatter them. The groomsmen wore handsome suits, and the bridesmaids wore beautiful, flattering dresses they could dance in all night.

Josh and I loved the outfits we chose. They were very flattering, and we have received so many compliments.

TWP: How did you incorporate the tastes and personalities of both the bride and the groom into the wedding?

Meena: Since we had a long engagement, we had ample time to put a lot of thought into different aspects of the wedding. We used our strengths to make large decisions about decor, food, and design. I used my creative art background to design the mandap (pergola) for the ceremony. Josh was in charge of choosing the food, beverages, and desserts.

TWP: What did you find to be the biggest challenge in planning a wedding?

Meena: The biggest challenge as a couple was creating a wedding that was our vision. It was challenging to respond to questions from family about why we weren't adhering to "traditional" wedding expectations.

TWP: What is the most important piece of advice you have for other brides and grooms planning a wedding?

Meena: Consider the importance of all the decisions you make. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Photos by Emily Grace Photography, http://www.emilygracephoto.com

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