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An English-Garden-Meets-The-Gilded-Age Wedding That Blended The Couple’s Indian and Korean Cultures

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Hope Allison

Despite attending the same high school, Jinah Oh and Ajinkya Nene did not meet until after they had both graduated university. The two connected on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, right before Jinah left for graduate school.

After five years together, Ajinkya knew a proposal was on the horizon and planned to incorporate their immediate family members. With Jinah’s parents’ blessing secured, he planned an elaborate ruse. Jinah was told that her family would be taking a vacation to the Florida Keys. Ajinkya could not go because he had a critical business trip in New York City—or so he said. In reality, he, his parents, sister-in-law, and brother were already traveling down to the Keys.

Ajinkya booked everything for Jinah and her parents, including the dinner reservation on a small island off of the coast. After stepping off the ferry, her parents suggested they take photos on a secluded part of the beach. Just before the click of the third photo, someone called out, “How about one with me?” Jinah turned around to find Ajinkya. He took her hand and walked her down an aisle of rose petals and candles before genuflecting on one knee and proposing. Meanwhile, down the shore, his family hid so they could photograph the entire event. The moment was made even more special when grandparents from India and Virginia were called in via WhatsApp.

The newly-engaged couple immersed themselves in preparing for the wedding and decided to reinterpret the classic English garden aesthetic. “We wanted to run with the lush green, ethereal nature of our venue but set it apart with a twist that still worked with the architecture of the Gilded Age,” Jinah shares. Without a wedding planner, Ajinkya and Jinah chose to leverage their background in research, design, and project management to plan the details of the wedding from vendor selection to day of logistics. Designing the Fireball Printing invitation suite was one of their favorite parts of the process. Their custom wax seal even represented the blend of both their cultures, Indian and Korean. They enlisted Hope Allison to photograph the multiple ceremonies and reception.

Ajinkya stumbled upon the perfect destination, Wadsworth Mansion in Connecticut. “We wanted the elegance of an estate wedding, the access to a beautiful and grand lawn, but with modern enough amenities to accommodate a sizable wedding,” Jinah explains. She adds, “The floral design of the wedding played a huge role in achieving our overall vision.” Floral Designs by Justine created the voluminous circle arch of olive, smilax, Queen Anne’s lace, dahlias, butterfly ranunculus, and green mist. The couple complemented the florals with ikebana-inspired centerpieces that balanced textures and densities while remaining monochromatic.

For the Hindu ceremony, Jinah found her lehenga from Tarun Tahiliani Ensemble in Mumbai. Ajinkya sought a piece that would fuse his Maharashtrian roots with the crisp lines and subtle embroidery of contemporary design. “He found all of that and more in the five-piece, seashell white Kurta from Kora, the designer boutique by Nilesh Mitesh,” Jinah says. The outfit was highlighted by delicate tonal embroidery across the overcoat, belt, and uparna. He paired it with a four-string pearl necklace, chestnut brown mojadis, and crimson-color Marathi pagdi.

For the Christian ceremony, Jinah found “the one” at Kleinfeld Bridal. “Working in architecture, I thought for sure that I was going to pick a chic, structured gown when in fact, I fell in love with a delicate, beaded, fit-and-flare dress that I feel really suited the feeling of the wedding venue,” Jinah notes. Upstyle created her luminous beauty look.

The groom opted for a classic black tuxedo by Vera Wang, accented by silver and white cuff links and studs, a black bow tie, and a white pocket square. He accessorized further with a boutonniere of greenery and flowers from the bride’s bouquet.

One of Ajinkya’s friends played the Dhol to initiate the processional before the traditional Hindu ceremony on September 4, 2022. Jinah recalls this moment, saying, “We were just enjoying the moment and trying to take all of the sights and sounds in as much as possible.” The service celebrated the union of two individuals through prayers and incorporated the bride and groom’s families. The newlyweds walked down the aisle, through a veil of bubbles.

The Christian ceremony similarly emphasized Ajinkya and Jinah’s family values. Jinah’s family’s long-time pastor and close family friend, guided the couple through prayers, meditations, and life lessons aimed toward a partnership grounded in mutual trust, respect, support, and kindness. 

“Good food was one of our biggest priorities for the wedding,” Jinah confides. “We had some incredible butlered hors d’oeuvres that we were really excited about: short rib and mashed potato bite, New Zealand lamb lollipops with spiced tzatziki and mint, smoked duck crostini with fig, Maytag blue, edamame dumplings with mustard shoyu, forged mushroom crostini with goat cheese and saba.” Then, guests sat down for Max Catering’s burrata with beets, heirloom tomatoes, pancetta, and kale. They had their choice between roasted tenderloin of beef, summer vegetables, confit fingerling potatoes, demi-glace, and roasted all-natural chicken with ratatouille and pan jus for their main course. The vegetarian option offered a delectable burrata ravioli with ratatouille and basil. Instead of cake, Ajinkya and Jinah opted for individual vanilla bean creme brulee with citrus.

The moment before the deejay from Style Points would present the bride and groom’s parents, siblings, and wedding party, the skies darkened and a light drizzle commenced. The couple made a lightning-quick decision to move the party inside the loggia, a long corridor that connects the east and west ballrooms together. “As the DJ introduced us for the first time as a married couple, we remember walking out into the loggia to see the many smiling faces of our family and friends huddled intimately around us in a circle,” Jinah reminisces. “In particular, we remember the expressions on our parents’, grandparents’, and siblings’ faces as we danced around the circle as husband and wife. In that moment, we truly felt blessed to have had the chance to cherish this huge milestone in our lives with so many of our loved ones.” The hotel staff allowed the party to continue after hours in a large conference room and even kept the main bar open for late-night drinks.