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Eyeing the beautiful blonde at a party in 2006, Parag Maski knew he couldn’t let her out of his sight. “I made a commitment to myself that before I left, I would speak to that girl,” he recalls.
That girl was Bethany, who had been living in San Diego for the past five years and only recently returned to Minneapolis. As a living liver donor to her mother, she was in town doing some follow up with the University of Minnesota, where the surgery had taken place.
Reminiscing on the night she met her husband, Bethany recalls how a girlfriend had dragged her out to that party. “It was a party I had no business being at,” Bethany jokes. She wouldn’t know anyone there, and was reluctant to go. Lucky for Parag, Bethany decided to come along at the last minute. Once the couple locked eyes and started talking, it was “game over,” as they both recall. “His friends still like to give us a hard time about it,” Bethany laughs. “For the rest of the night, we both just had tunnel vision.”
Bethany and Parag knew what they had was special, but when it came time to plan their nuptials, it wasn’t that simple. Having lived in California, Bethany dreamt of a ceremony by the water—she even entertained the idea of a destination wedding somewhere tropical. Parag was on board, but they both knew it could be tricky to pull off with so many family members and friends from different parts of the world planning on being in attendance. “Bethany knew it was really important to me that we have all the people we love under one roof,” explains Parag. So they put their destination dreams on hold and opted for a unique, two-part celebration in town that would encompass both of their cultural backgrounds.
Parag is Indian, and he and his brother are the first generation of his family to be born in the United States. Bethany is a California girl with Minnesota roots. They decided to host a back-to-back double ceremony at the Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis. While a traditional Hindu wedding can last multiple days, the couple chose to condense a few of their favorite customs into an hour-long Indian ceremony, which would precede an American version.
As Bethany and Parag took their places at the altar in their traditional Indian wedding garments—Bethany in her lengah and Parag in his sherwani—their excitement to start a new life together was apparent to everyone in attendance. In accordance with Hindu tradition, the priest placed seven gold balls beneath the bride and groom’s feet, representing seven Hindu principles they are to live by. According to custom, the couple then pushes the balls together with their feet, symbolizing that they will strive to live by these principles together. As Bethany and Parag performed this time-old practice, traditional Mehndi henna tattoos could be seen on Bethany’s hands and feet. Her bridesmaids were treated to this wearable art, too, at a Mehndi party the Friday before the ceremony. The couple also donned floral garlands handmade for the special day.
After the Indian ceremony, it was time for a quick-change into more westernized wedding garb while guests were treated to snacks and drinks at the Urban Eatery downstairs. “We wanted both of our cultural backgrounds to be represented,” says Parag. “I definitely wanted Bethany to have the chance to wear the white dress.”
As the American ceremony began, Bethany was escorted down the staircase in a Casablanca creation. Her bridesmaids awaited her entrance; their multicolored saris now replaced with short, black dresses. After vows were exchanged, it was time to toast the many people that had helped make their two-part wedding such a success. As she and Parag danced the night away with their loved ones, Bethany’s Mehndi henna was still visible against her flowing, white gown—a symbol of the union between two cultures that had come together so beautifully for one couple.
Date: May 19, 2012
Ceremony Reception: Calhoun Beach Club
Photography: Kelly Brown Weddings
Videography: John Hoel of Vibrant Film
Wedding Planner: Anna Senrick with Fete Perfection
Bride’s Gown: A Casablanca design, purchased at The Wedding Shoppe
Bride’s Lengha: Indian shop in Chicago
Bridesmaid’s Saris: Parag’s mother
Groom’s Tux: Hammer Made
Groom’s Sherwani: Indian shop in Chicago
Flowers: Debbie Kelly
Cakes: Queen of Cakes
Linens: Linen Effects
Music: DJ Bob/Party Unit
Altar: Sankheda Mandap
Lighting: AV For You