It Was a #BigFatJewish-HarlemBrooklynIndianWedding for This NYC Couple
Hosting two weddings might seem like a crazy undertaking to some. But for Harlem-based lovebirds Maya and Evan, it ended up being the best way to include everything and everyone they wanted.
On a warm and beautiful August evening, 100 family members and close friends were treated to “wedding one”: a Jewish ceremony followed by heartfelt toasts and an alfresco Italian feast at the couple’s favorite restaurant. Afterwards, guests were shuttled to a nearby dive bar where another 200 guests awaited “wedding two”: an Indian ceremony, Bollywood dance party and jazz concert that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
Did we mention Maya planned the entire extravaganza herself? We dare you not to be inspired by this couple’s nontraditional wedding...which was packed with multicultural traditions.
“My mother and her dear friend, Jamie, who has a love and talent for all things floral, chose our garden roses, carnations and wax flowers at the Flower Market in Chelsea. As our wedding gift, Jamie handmade all of the center pieces in jade green mason jars, and my best friends made the bouquets with garden tape, satin ribbon and pins the night before the wedding (before we had a sleepover!). We stored them in the fridge at the hotel until it was time to leave for the venue.”
“I found my dress at Our Story Bridal, an adorable consignment boutique filled with dresses that had been walked down the aisle before. The dress itself is a Pnina Tornai and had an ivory blush underlay. I found it on my first day of dress shopping, and it was love at first sight!”
“I wore only my mother’s Indian inlay gold bracelet, which was a wedding gift to her from my father’s parents. It means so much to me, and I always dreamed of wearing this bracelet as my parents walked me down the aisle. It also felt special to be wearing a gift from my father’s parents, who are no longer with us. I wanted to make sure that each grandparent we had lost was present in some way.”
“My mother, Jael, my sister, Shikha, and my grandmother, Flower, all live in India. We are a unit of three generations of women who are all close, and I remember at this exact moment my mother was beaming about how special it was to be holding onto us both, since there are usually so many miles between us. My grandmother was just a few feet away, prepping for her close-up.”
THE MAIDEN ATTIRE
“In India, brides normally wear red—so we decided to go with different red tones for our bridal party. Outside of the red or red-wine guidelines, we let each person take it from there. So each bridesmaid/man chose an outfit that they felt most beautiful in—whether that was a jumpsuit, a sari dress or a suit with a red wine tie!”
“Evan (with the last name Marcantonio!) comes from an authentic Italian family, who loves Italian food! We decided to get married at Frankies 457, our favorite Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, so that we could be sure that his family would enjoy every last bite of the meatballs and butter sage cavatelli. Furthermore, we both were sentimentally attached to this gem of a restaurant, where we often put all dinner conversations aside so we can narrate each dreamy bite of food. Bonus points: No rentals necessary."
“Walking down the aisle with my mother and father was a moment I dreamt of my whole life. Better still, Evan and I didn’t do a first look, so this was the first time we saw each other. I was so excited to see him.”
“Our ceremony was put together by one of my closest friends, Mirelle, who recently started her own business, Honeybreak Officiants. She led us through a personal ceremony that outlined our love story, followed by Jewish blessings by my mother and grandmother. We brought up my grandfather’s chuppah for the Jewish blessings, which was held by my cousins, Evan’s brother and my sister.”
“Right after smashing the glass, Evan really went for it with a full on movie kiss! Thank goodness I had been working on my yoga back the last few months leading up to the wedding.”
“We were so excited for our guests, many of whom were traveling to America for the first time in many years, to get to experience truly delicious Italian food. We decided to do a family-style buffet because we were so excited about our guests from opposite ends of the world being able to mingle and break bread together. We knew that for many family members, this might be the only time they would meet, and we wanted to create as many opportunities for connecting as possible.”
“Evan first told me he loved me seven years ago at his family’s happy place—the beach in Fairfield, Connecticut. When we were visiting Fairfield this summer, we decided to collect shells for each one of our guests from a place that meant so much to us both. I used a blue paint marker to write on each one and did about ten a night for a couple of weeks to get them all done.”
THE OUTFIT CHANGE
“Here we are dressed and ready for part two of our wedding extravaganza! My talented friend, Bhasha, designed our outfits (Lehenga and Sherwani) and had them made for us in New Dehli. Evan and I both love to dance, so we decided to wear matching gold sneakers to make sure we could spend as much time on the dance floor as possible.”
THE INDIAN CEREMONY
“Our second wedding incorporated many beautiful parts of a traditional Indian ceremony. Flower garlands serve as offering to the gods and are symbols of devotion in Hindu culture, and so, we exchanged garlands that my mother brought with her from Kolkata, my second home.”
“One of the best parts of the night was when my mother, aunties and Evan’s mother did a surprise dance number to one of my favorite Bollywood songs from childhood. I cannot believe they made this happen over WhatsApp videos. It was so touching to see Evan’s mother right up front, slaying all of the Bollywood moves!”
THE FIRST DANCE
“Instead of a traditional first dance, we picked one our favorite songs, 'May I Have This Dance,' by Francis and the Lights. We started off with what looked like a slow dance, but busted out the choreography from the music video at the chorus! Evan took me by total surprise once more, and closed out the first dance with a trumpet solo that blew everyone away.
THE MIDNIGHT SNACKS
“With such a long day of festivities, we knew our guests from both sides of the world were going to need some sustenance at the bar. Our midnight snacks were samosas from a neighborhood Indian restaurant and pizza from Rosco's, our favorite spot for late night dollar slices. In a pretty wonderful metaphor, Evan’s family cleared off the samosa trays, while all of my Indian family savored each bite of New York pizza!”