How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
Lili- We have been together for six years and have known each other for seven. While we technically met at an introductory robotics club meeting, we didn’t start talking until we ended up on the same bus later that week.
I was head over heels immediately, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship. We didn’t start dating until the end of freshman year when I finally confessed my feelings over a midnight text conversation. Our first date was on my birthday when we walked along the river and got ice cream.
Sana- I was much slower to understand my feelings. I slowly fell over the months as we got to know each other better and spent more time together. For reasons I can’t remember, I was convinced this was one-sided. So it was a complete and total surprise when Lili asked me out (looking back, she hadn’t been very subtle).
Tell us about the proposal.
We didn’t have one. We talked about marriage for a long time, and after a few years of adding pictures of rings and dresses to Pinterest boards, we finally decided to go ring shopping together.
How long was your engagement?
We actually had two weddings – one small court wedding in July 2022 and then the proper celebration with all our friends and family in May 2023. We were only engaged for around six months before the court wedding, but we originally planned to wait for May.
What led you to the venue?
The three absolute requirements for our venue were having an on-site ceremony, a dance floor, and plenty of natural light. We visited several venues before arriving at Danversport, but nothing felt quite right. It ended up being the waterfront ceremony (and the price) that sold us on the venue. We actually had to pick a wedding date based on the availability of the gazebo, as it doesn’t typically go with the reception room we booked, but it all worked out in the end.
What was the inspiration behind the vibe of your wedding?
Sana- We both wanted to include aspects of our cultures but didn’t feel connected to our religious backgrounds. Thus, we asked our friend instead of asking someone from a church or Hindu temple to marry us. We still incorporated cultural symbols that were important to us, like Lili wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle. Since we had already exchanged rings in the court ceremony, we exchanged garlands, as in Hindu tradition. I dressed in traditional Indian attire, while Lili wore a white dress. Dancing is significant to me, so I made a Bollywood dance playlist for the DJ, who was unfamiliar with Indian music.
Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?
Instead of hiring a florist, we decided on wood flowers for our decorations. Sana created the centerpieces by threading copper wires into partial icosahedrons and dyeing flowers to place in the middle. Lili designed the save the dates and invitations, which we printed at home.
Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.
Sana and I went dress shopping together multiple times without finding anything. Sana decided to stay home one Saturday, and my Mom and I went to yet another dress shop. I found a dress I loved and video-chatted with Sana to show her. It was even a floor model, so I took it home that day.
Sana- I was certain I wanted to wear a lehenga to my wedding but wasn’t set on the traditional red color. I checked a few Indian dress shops in the area, but nothing stood out to me. Once I had exhausted all the local options, I started to look online. I found a beautiful blue lehenga on an Etsy shop from India, which I pieced together with a blouse I found on the Etsy shop as well.
Talk to us about the big day!
Lili- Since our venue didn’t have a place to get ready, we rented an Airbnb. We got there the night before and just hung out together and tried to ensure everything was planned for the next day. I did my nails, and we ordered Five Guys. We had gotten henna a few days before and were both trying to keep our hands as dry as possible so that it didn’t rub off. Sana ended up being more successful at that than me.
Sana- We woke up bright and early at 7 am on the day off. Soon enough, the bridal party, both the families, the photographers, the hairdresser, and the makeup artist were there, and things were in full swing. Everyone was ready by noon, all the behind-the-scenes photos were taken, and we were headed to the venue. The actual ceremony began at 3 pm, so we spent time taking family and bridal party photos.
Eventually, people started trickling in, and 3 pm arrived. Our officiant (a dear friend) asked people to settle down, and the music began. Months of work were finally coming together. Before we knew it, we were walking down the aisle and standing face to face in front of all our friends and family. I had expected this to be nerve-racking, maybe even embarrassing, but in the moment, it all felt like a film where everything but Lili was blurred out. To me, the ceremony didn’t pass too fast or too slow. I felt like I had time to soak everything in. We exchanged garlands, said our vows and finally sealed it all with a kiss.
Lili- I was so nervous waiting to walk down the aisle with my parents. Before I knew it, I stood before Sana and looked into her eyes. She was so beautiful, and even though I was still nervous, just being there with her calmed me down. The ceremony felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. Honestly, though, it was perfect, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
The guests then enjoyed cocktail hour while we took a few more photos. I was a lot less nervous at this point and felt that I could relax more now that it was just the two of us (and the photographer). Some food was brought out to us, but unfortunately, seagulls stole the majority of the cheese.
The guests then entered the reception room, the DJ introduced us, and we had our first dance. I was so nervous (I am not a good dancer), but Sana was calm and led me through everything. It was all absolutely magical, and it couldn’t have gone any better. We settled down for dinner, and after that, the dancefloor opened up and we danced and talked the night away.
Did you incorporate any family or religious traditions into the day?
Sana- All my jewelry was borrowed from various family members. Also, we exchanged garlands during our ceremony instead of rings.
Lili- I wanted to walk down the aisle but didn’t like the patriarchal ideas behind fathers “giving away” their daughters after walking down the aisle. I also wanted to include both my parents, so Sana and I decided to have both our parents walk us down the aisle instead.
What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage means always being there for each other and sticking up for and defending each other no matter what. It means doing whatever we can to care for each other and always being open and honest. It means communicating when something is wrong and trying to solve any issues that come up together.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Everyone will suddenly have an opinion on everything. Feel free to ignore them and do what feels true to you. There’s no right way to have a wedding, and you don’t need to follow every single tradition (unless you want to!).
If you’re like us and want to keep costs down, decide which wedding pieces are most important to you and budget accordingly – for example, we cared most about the venue and the photography but didn’t care about florals. So we ordered wood flowers and only used real flowers for the garlands and bouquets, and we didn’t even officially have a florist.
Photography & Videography by Castillo Holliday Photo + Film
Cake Sylvia Macdonald
Catering & Venue Danversport
DJ Unique Sounds Entertainment
Dress Boutique I Do Wedding
Engagement Rings Market Square Jewelers, Amoroso Jewelers
Florist Saiflowers, Currans Flowers
Hair To Make Beautiful – Salon & Spa
MakeUp Michelle Mailloux