A Fusion of Love: Part 1
Philadelphia Airport Marriott, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Twisted Tail, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ami & Anthony’s Wedding
From the first day that Ami and Anthony met it was clear that they were meant for each other. Knowing how in love he was with Ami, Anthony set out to plan the perfect proposal. He worked for several weeks fine-tuning his plan to ask Ami to be his wife making sure to combine both of their personalities and professions into this incredible moment.
Ami, at the time Mayor Michael Nutter’s deputy education officer, thought that she was attending a typical press conference at City Hall in Philadelphia on October 26, 2012. She was under the impression that she was to be attending an education announcement. What she didn’t know was that the mayor and his press office had been helping Anthony to set up a fake press conference to give her a proposal of a lifetime.
After a brief moment at the podium, Mayor Nutter turned the microphone over to Anthony where he began to talk about his relationship with Ami. When the time was right, Anthony left the podium to get down on one knee in front of Ami and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. Through happy tears, Ami said yes propelling them on a year journey in planning what they would both characterize as their Indian-American fusion wedding. Ami and Anthony’s most talked about “press conference” was caught on tape so they can relive this special moment over again any time they wish. ( Check it out here if you love to watch a surprise engagement -> http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/cityhall/A-proposal-in-City-Hall-.html)
In order to incorporate both of their cultures, Ami and Anthony planned a three-day wedding extravaganza that included two wedding ceremonies, a henna ceremony and other special events.
Almost exactly one year later we arrive at the first night of Ami and Anthony’s wedding celebration. The Mehndi took place at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott. The room was set up with a stage in front of a wall that was decorated with brightly colored fabric and garlands. The stage is where Ami would sit as her henna was applied. Soft background music was also playing as the guests enjoyed the evening.
During a Mehndi ceremony intricate henna designs are applied on the hands and feet of the bride. During this celebration, Ami spent the evening surrounded by many dear and loved family members and friends as her elegant henna designs were in progress.
Many other women, and children too, took part in the celebration and received their own henna designs on their palms. Ami’s henna on her hands and wrists was a very intricate design showcasing extravagant peacocks. It is traditional to hide the groom’s name in the design on the palm of the bride’s hand. In keeping with this tradition, the letter A was incorporated in various places throughout the design.
Part way through the evening a wonderful buffet was provided for the guests to enjoy as they relaxed and took part in this special pre-wedding ceremony. As Ami’s henna was completed on her hands, it was very important for her to keep still as the designs dried. While his bride-to-be was up on the stage, Anthony took some time to dance to the music with some of the guests.
Ami was all smiles as she sat with her arms outstretched while her henna dried seeing all of her guests enjoying in this important celebration for her and her family. It was soon time to begin the designs on her feet that would stretch up to part of her shins.
Ami’s mother also had her own intricate design applied to both of her hands. As the henna dries and leaves the elaborate designs on the bride’s skin, it is common believe that the darker the color left the more the bride will be loved by her husband and mother-in-law. As the Mehndi celebration drew to a close, we were getting eager to see the final results of Ami’s henna designs.
With the first of many special celebrations over, it was time to get ready for the events of the second day in Anthony and Ami’s wedding celebration. This was the day of their “American-style” ceremony.
Ami and her ladies started their morning off having their hair and makeup done by Dina Alon Hair and Make-up Studio. Ami was all smiles and filled with excitement over the events that would take place later in the day.
While her hair was being curled and pinned into an elegant updo, Ami was presented with her aunt’s Indian jewelry that she would be wearing for the ceremony. Each piece was gold with diamond, pearl and purple accents in intricate floral designs that drew in more of Ami’s purple into her bridal look.
Dina Alon Hair and Make-up Studio really did an amazing job accentuating Ami’s natural beauty with her makeup. Before applying finishing touches, Ami took a break to give each of the lovely ladies in her bridal party a special gift thanking them for being such a special part of her wedding.
The girls also gave Ami a special gift to open for her wedding day. The gift was a photo book of special memories between Ami and each of them. As the ladies got dressed in their deep purple, strapless David’s Bridal dresses, Ami sat back down for the finishing touches to her makeup.
While Ami and the ladies in the wedding ceremony were being pampered in their hotel room at the Marriott, Anthony was getting ready with his groomsmen eagerly anticipating seeing Ami. The grey tuxedos that Anthony and his groomsmen wore were from Men’s Warehouse. Once his cufflinks were in place and his tuxedo jacket buttoned, Anthony took a moment to relax before it was time to head to City Hall where he and Ami would see each other for the first time before their wedding ceremony would take place.
Back in the ladies’ room, after showing off their henna designs from the previous night’s celebration, it was time to get Ami into her gown. Ami’s gown was a strapless, white gown that she purchased at the Brides Against Breast Cancer Expo in Philadelphia. The gown was elegant and stunning with gorgeous lace detail. Aside from the details the best part of the gown for Ami was that the proceeds from the sale of the dress went to charity.
Once in her gown, those close to Ami helped her to put on her final accessories to complete her bridal look. Ami proudly wore a Baltimore Ravens’ jacket while her birdcage hairpiece was placed in her hair. Her love of the Baltimore Ravens was the inspiration for using the color purple throughout their wedding.
It was finally time to put Ami’s Penn State Nittany Lion garter in place before she put on her vibrant purple Lulu Townsend shoes from DSW. As it drew closer to the time for Ami and her loved ones to travel to City Hall, we took a moment to capture a few formal shots of Ami with each of them.
With anticipation growing, Ami was quite a sight to behold. Her complete bridal look for their American style ceremony seamlessly blended both her and Anthony’s cultures together.
Meanwhile, the men were en route to their transportation that would take them to City Hall. Once on board the bus provided by Philadelphia Trolley Works, Anthony’s excitement started to multiply as it was almost time to see his bride!
Just in case the men happened to be in the lobby when their elevator reached the ground floor of the hotel, Ami’s bridesmaids created a barrier of purple to hide Ami in the back corner. When given the all clear sign the ladies exited the elevator to many more loved ones of Ami ready to take photos of the stunning bride-to-be.
Everyone wore big, radiant smiles as they took photos of Ami. The ladies then boarded the bus to head to City Hall where Anthony and his groomsmen were eagerly waiting their arrival. As they waited, they pinned on their purple and orange boutonnieres from Leaves of Grass Designs. The ladies’ bouquets had already arrived at City Hall and showcased the same vibrant colors of the men’s boutonnieres.
Following a toast with her bridesmaids it was Ami’s time to head outside to the front of City Hall, the place where their journey to their wedding began, for her and Anthony’s first look. Outside, Anthony was building with emotion as he waited for Ami’s approach. With a big smile on her face, Ami tapped Anthony on the shoulder telling him to turn around.
Tears of happiness and a complete look of awe washed over Anthony’s face. You could see the pure love and joy in his eyes as he took in the sight of his beautiful bride. Anthony couldn’t take his eyes off of Ami! He took a quick walk around Ami to see all of the details of Ami’s gown.
The bridal party then joined in to take a couple formal photos outside before it was time for the ceremony to begin inside. Taking advantage of the historic architectural details around the building we captured stunning photos of Anthony and Ami that radiate with the absolute love and devotion they have to each other.
Back inside it was time to get ready for the ceremony that would be officiated by Mayor Nutter. Anthony and his groomsmen took a look around the space as students of the Settlement Music School provided beautiful melodies that filled the entire room.
In front of the ceremony space was a table draped in white linen that held another beautiful floral arrangement and Ami and Anthony’s unity candle. Two tall white taper candles stood on either side of a cylinder glass vase holding water and a floating white candle. Etched on the class was a tree, a heart bearing two A’s for Ami and Anthony and the date.
As Anthony spent a quite moment with his mom putting on her corsage, Ami was hidden away in a room not too far away. Mayor Nutter, Ami’s father and a few others stopped in to see Ami before it was time for everyone to take their places for the ceremony.
With their guests all seated, the bridal party members and mothers of Ami and Anthony entered into the great room. At last it was time for Ami’s father to proudly walk his daughter down the aisle. The room was filled with great love and emotion as Ami and her father walked arm-in-arm down the aisle to where Anthony stood.
Following an opening prayer led by Mr. Robert McDorman, and giving his daughter away, Ami’s father remained by her side throughout the ceremony. Anthony and Ami professed their love and commitment to each other though their vows before exchanging their wedding rings from Golden Nugget Jewelers in front of those near and dear to them.
They then participated in a unity candle ceremony symbolizing the joining of their once separate lives into one. As the center floating candle was lit Ami and Anthony blew out the individual taper candles before the ceremony’s closing prayer again led by Mr. Robert McDorman.. Anthony took Ami’s hands in his as Mayor Nutter pronounced them husband and wife.
They sealed their vows with a romantic kiss before recessing down the aisle glowing with happiness. After each member of the bridal party had exited the room, Mayor Nutter sat down with Ami and Anthony to fill out their marriage certificate.
A few more formal photos were taken at City Hall before traveling to The Twisted Tail, the setting of Ami and Anthony’s reception.
The room was a very intimate setting with two long lines of tables adorned with candles that offered a soft glow and the bridesmaids’ bouquets in the center. Anthony and Ami welcomed their guests and took the time to thank each of their groomsmen before dinner was served. Each groomsman was presented with a special Hello Kitty gift bag containing their gift.
As the night went on Ami, Anthony and their guests mingled and enjoyed dinner celebrating the day of their American style ceremony. While their guests continued to enjoy the night, Anthony and Ami snuck away for the chance to take a few night shots around their reception venue.
Before the night ended, the guests enjoyed a few sweet sopapillas and last drinks. As day two of Ami and Anthony’s wedding celebration came to a close everyone had shared in many laughs while creating wonderful, lasting memories throughout the day.