Tanya Rana and Deepak Srinivasan met through “a very persistent friend,” as Tanya puts it. Meaghan is a friend of Tanya’s from their undergrad years and was in Deepak’s cohort at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “She strongly believed we were right for each other, but he had a girlfriend at the time, and I was not interested in being a ‘home wrecker.’” Months later, when he was single, Meaghan called Tanya, but she had just been accepted to business school, so it ended up taking an additional four months until their first date—drinks at The Breslin. Three years later, Deepak popped the question with dessert before dinner.
Originally, he had wanted to propose in Japan, but Tanya figured out he had something up his sleeve. “He was convinced one of our friends leaked the surprise, and he was determined to catch me off guard,” she says. One evening, he suggested having dessert first, and when Tanya opened a box of One Girl cookies, she found a ring!
When planning the wedding, the two decided on a “Big Fat Indian Wedding,” with more than one venue and aesthetic. “Ultimately, we wanted it to be a blend of honoring Indian traditions, while also reflecting who we are as a couple in Brooklyn,” Tanya says. The Sangeet, the traditional night of henna, singing, and dancing before the wedding, was held at The Foundry in Long Island City, and the Hindu ceremony and reception were both held at The Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn. To help plan everything, the couple hired Jharna and her team at Artistic Affairs.
Similar to their thought process about the wedding aesthetic, the couple wanted to represent Indian traditions and also make sure they had a modern, fresh look. For their Sangeet and ceremony outfits, they went to New Delhi to work with a dear family friend on their Indian looks. Tanya wore a deep blue lehenga (a traditional cropped top and full-bodied skirt) with delicate, hand-embroidered florals and traditional jewelry. For the Hindu ceremony, she found a bright coral sari in Chennai with her mother-in-law. “We spent a day draping different saris until we found the right one. These Kanchipuram saris are hand-woven with a special type of heavy silk, and the weavers often spend months making them,” she explains. On the day, she also wore fresh jasmine in her hair. At the reception, she changed into a Monique Lhuillier blush gown.
The Sangeet took place the evening before the ceremony. “We wanted to keep it free-flowing but still honor Indian traditions through our florals and food—we did a lot of bright, bold colors with strings of marigold,” the bride says. The groomsmen performed a dance that they had been practicing for four months, and Deepak surprised his bride-to-be by jumping in too!
The next morning, the traditional Hindu ceremony started early. At eight in the morning, Deepak rode in on a horse with a dancing entourage and met his bride-to-be by the mandap (a structure over the couple, like a chuppah), which the groom made himself out of reclaimed wood and Putnam & Putnam adorned with colorful flowers. The ceremony was shortened to two or three hours, and the priest spoke in Tamil the whole time. “We realize our children may not want to do something so traditional, and we accepted we may be the last generation to follow these customs,” says Tanya.
Following the Hindu ceremony, lunch was prepared by Saravanaa Bhavan. Guests then moved into the warehouse for the evening reception, and Tanya had an outfit change into her Monique Lhuillier number. “For the reception, we shifted away from ‘Indian traditional’ and made it more tropical with Art-Deco elements,” says the bride. Dinner was mostly served family style at the tables and wait staff brought hot naan and meats around.
Tanya’s mother and sister and Deepak’s father and brother gave speeches, then the newlyweds made a final toast, thanking everyone. “At the reception, after we made our toast, Deepak leaned in to kiss me, and for some reason, I got shy. He whispered to me, ‘I’ve married you THREE times, I’m pretty sure we can kiss in front of people now,’ and I just cracked up. It’s true—we had to go to court, but we also did a Hindu and Sikh ceremony,” says Tanya.
Once the night came to a close, the couple had friends come back to their hotel, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bride, for drinks. “We hear people went to House of Yes afterwards, but I insisted that we stay at the hotel!”