Menaka and Matthew’s intercultural wedding at the Hyatt Regency Dulles was everything an intimate marriage celebration should be. It had a lovely low-key vibe. Because the smaller wedding left her relaxed and stress-free, the bride didn’t stop smiling the entire time. Menaka and Matthew’s wedding was also personal in a way that only intimate celebrations can be. Every person there was close to the couple, so their contributions to making the day special were always a perfect fit. That was especially important given that Menaka and Matthew come from different cultural backgrounds. Finally, the wedding was a heck of a lot of fun. The intimacy of the event made it feel more like a party than a marriage celebration. Add all of this up, and it’s not surprising that Menaka and Matthew’s Hyatt Regency Dulles wedding photos were among the best we’ve ever taken.
Preparing for their Hyatt Regency Dulles Wedding
Menaka and Matthew’s entire marriage celebration took place at the Hyatt Regency Dulles. That venue is a luxury hotel located just minutes from DC’s main international airport. We’ve photographed weddings there before and have always loved the first-class facilities and helpful staff. The hotel is one of those special locations that is an equally good fit for large and small events. Its ballrooms can host huge weddings with hundreds of guests, whereas its outdoor Garden Terrace is perfect for intimate gatherings like Menaka and Matthew’s.
Not surprisingly, the Hyatt Regency Dulles also has excellent spaces for pre-wedding preparations. In this particular case, the groom got into his wedding clothes in a lovely executive suite on the hotel’s top floor. That’s where we started the day. Though Matthew was largely ready when we arrived, we still got some really cool pictures of him putting on his signature bowtie. (The latter was a stylistic touch he picked up from his job as a university professor.)
Once Matthew was fully dressed, we went down to a boardroom on the first floor to photograph the bridge getting into her traditional Indian wedding sari. Because he got ready alone, Matthew’s process was calm and serene. Prepping his bride-to-be for the wedding, by contrast, was a swirl of activity and laughter. As Anji can tell you from personal experience, donning a wedding sari is not easy and requires a fair amount of assistance. In this case, Menaka’s mom and two of her cousins were on hand to help. There was lots of pulling, folding and pinning; a bit of cursing too, but also frequent laughing. In the end, though, it was all worth it. The expression on Matthew’s face during their brief first look confirmed just how gorgeous she looked.
Intercultural Wedding Ceremony on the Hyatt Regency Dulles’s Garden Terrace
From there, Menaka and Matthew made their way outside to the Garden Terrace for their wedding ceremony. They made their way down the aisle together to the strains of Etta James’s “At Last.” Another of the bride’s cousins presided over a very touching and personal Bahá’í wedding ceremony.
Though the ceremony largely followed Bahá’í marriage traditions, those aforementioned personal touches also made this an intercultural wedding celebration. Menaka’s family is originally from South India, whereas Matthew’s reflects the beautiful diversity of modern America. So in addition to the more traditional Bahá’í elements of their ceremony, there were also nods to their personal cultural heritages. For example, the bride’s father read a blessing in Tamil, his native language. Menaka’s brother also spoke about the meaning of the saptapadhi, the traditional circling of a sacred fire seven times in Hindu weddings. The groom’s brother then read “Prayers for Dark People” by W.E.B. Du Bois. It was a moving call to persevere in the face of adversity and as such, offered useful advice for navigating the highs and lows of a lifetime of marriage.
We have mentioned elsewhere on this website that we have a soft spot for multicultural weddings. As people who have spent a lot of time living overseas, we love seeing two cultures come together to form some new and beautiful blend. Maybe we are being overly romantic, but we like to hope that every little bridging of a cultural divide like that makes the world a better and more understanding place. And on a more personal level, we can really identify with couples who celebrate their weddings in this way. Our own wedding was a mix of three different traditions, so we can really appreciate the beauty of marriage celebrations like Menaka and Matthew’s.
Fun South Indian Games After Multicultural Wedding Ceremony
Perhaps the highlight of Menaka and Matthew’s wedding celebrations was the part that came after the ceremony. Before kicking off the reception, though, the newlyweds retired to the boardroom to change into clothes better suited to dancing. They were particularly excited to put on their reception shoes. For Menaka, that meant getting into sparkly red heels. Which led to a lot of jokes about there being no place like home, of course! Matthew’s new footwear were the perfect choice for a sneakerhead. The cool black and teal Jordans he picked out looked awesome, especially in concert with his gray suit.
Once the couple reentered the wedding space to cheers and applause from their guests, the funnest part of their multicultural wedding began. In yet another nod to the newlyweds’ personal cultural backgrounds, the bride’s mother led the couple in a spirited round of traditional South Indian wedding games. Everyone there, most notably the newlyweds, had a blast. There was laughter as the couple fished for their wedding rings in a bucket of flowers and water. There was hilarious trash-talking when the bride and groom wrestled for control of a coconut. (Which ended up in pieces on the floor, of course!) There was some chicanery when Menaka and Matthew tried to get rice and lentils from each other through negotiation and guessing. Though the bride ultimately came out ahead in the competition, the real winners were everyone who got to enjoy all the fun.
Stunning Night Time Hyatt Regency Dulles Wedding Photos
Though our coverage of Menaka and Matthew’s wedding was supposed to finish before sunset, we decided to stick around to take some night wedding portraits of the couple. The lights in nearby Dulles Corner Park were just too visually striking to pass up. So we brought the newlyweds over to that space for some hauntingly beautiful couples portraiture. (If we’re being honest, we also wanted to take a little time to enjoy the delicious South Indian buffet that the couple so graciously invited us to partake in!)
We started by having them pose at the entrance to the park and used our artificial lighting to silhouette them. Menaka had taken off those special red reception shoes for the walk over. So we had Matthew take off his Jordans. Then we captured images of them holding their shoes in one hand and the other’s hand in the other. Finally, we brought them down to a lovely gazebo. The latter sits on a path down to a pond that is the park’s signature feature. Once there, we created some very lovely and artistic portraits of the newlyweds cuddling under it. The photos were a beautiful testament to Menaka and Matthew’s love for one another. They were also the perfect cap on a touching, fun and enjoyable wedding day.
Thank you again, Menaka and Matthew, for making us a part of your marriage celebrations! We value you clients but even more as the friends you have now become! We wish you nothing but the best as you start your married life together!
Venue: Hyatt Regency Dulles
Bridal fashion: Mohini
Groom fashion: Gentlemen’s Gazette
Wedding rings: Jared
Cake artist: Amphora Bakery
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