For their beautiful summer nuptials, Natasha and Nikesh honored their cultural traditions while making unconventional choices that reflected their unique personalities.
First, they planned their wedding in three months. They got married on a Monday morning and exchanged vows in front of about sixty family and friends in a beautiful historic courthouse. They decided to forego a traditional wedding party and decided to only to have their sisters serve as “women of honor.”
Natasha recalls, “Our wedding was an intimate, multicultural family affair. I am an African-American southern woman. My husband is a first-generation Indian American who grew up in the Midwest. We both come from huge families, but we knew we wanted our wedding to be intimate, laid-back, and reflect both of our cultures and backgrounds in a meaningful way. My father officiated the ceremony, and Nikesh’s father conducted the Indian part of the ceremony where we exchanged a matrimonial necklace (called the mangalsutra) and walked the 7 steps (called the Saptapadi). Since we couldn’t have an open fire in a historic building, we used the unity candle as “fire” that we circled to complete the Mangal Feras (Hindu wedding vows). We then ended with traditional Christian vows and a kiss!”
After the ceremony, guests walked across the Decatur Square to the couple’s favorite restaurant, the Iberian Pig. Their reception menu included a mix of Spanish and Indian cuisine. Guests listened to Motown music as they ate lunch served family-style. It felt like a big dinner party with close friends.
Everyone loved the personalized feel of the wedding. Natasha shares, “We live in Atlanta, Georgia, so wedding favors were mini Coca-Colas and peach jam from a local farm in beautiful gift bags from India. It was a super hot day and the Georgia sun can be unforgiving, so we gave the ladies colorful parasols that we also imported from India. We planned our wedding ourselves, so our “getaway” car was a U-Haul that we used to transport all the items we needed for the wedding!”
Read more about Natasha and Nikesh’s love story and unique intimate nuptials below.
- Couple: Natasha Bell and Nikesh Desai
- Occupations: Lawyer (Natasha); Management Consultant (Nikesh)
- Wedding date: July 29, 2019
- Wedding location: The Old Historic Dekalb Courthouse (aka Dekalb History Center)
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts: We gave gold necklaces with their initials.
- Ceremony entrance song:
- For the prelude, we had a mix of light classical and sacred selections.
- For the bridal party procession, our musicians played Pachelbel: Kanon in D.
- For the bridal entrance, we started with the first few bars of Here Comes the Bride just to alert people to stand for the bridal entrance, then went into Bach: Prelude in G Major
- First dance song: “For You” by David Ryan Harris
How did you meet?
Tell us about the proposal.
Nikesh proposed to me at the same place we had our first date – the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. One Saturday, he asked if I wanted to go to the High, which I thought was a little odd since we had gone a few weeks prior, and I didn’t know of a new exhibit. But, he said that he had gotten a “hookup,” which I thought meant free tickets. In front of a beautiful painting, he took my hand and got down on one knee. He had a photographer photographing everything from a distance, and afterward, we took engagement pictures all around the museum.
Describe Your Wedding Style
I wore a dress. Nikesh wore a suit. We got married in less than 3 months from the time we got engaged, so I had to really act fast to find a dress. I followed a couple of designers on Instagram, so had an idea of the designers I liked. I went to the largest bridal salon in Atlanta, looked at dresses from the designers I liked, and chose a dress. There was only one left in my size in the entire country, so I purchased that day! The entire process took an hour.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
I am an African-American southern woman. My husband is a first-generation Indian American who grew up in the Midwest. My father officiated the ceremony, and Nikesh’s father conducted the Indian part of the ceremony … where we exchanged a matrimonial necklace (called the mangalsutra) and walked the 7 steps (called the Saptapadi). Since we couldn’t have an open fire in a historic building, we used the unity candle as “fire” that we circled to complete the Mangal Pheras (Hindu wedding vows). We then ended with traditional Christian vows and a kiss!
We live in Atlanta, Georgia, so wedding favors were mini Coca-Colas and peach jam from a local farm in beautiful gift bags from India. It was a super hot day and the Georgia sun can be unforgiving, so we gave the ladies colorful parasols that we also imported from India.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
My 90 year old grandpa saying grace.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
When planning a wedding, focus on how you want your wedding to FEEL, and if something you want doesn’t get you to that feel, nix it. Also, don’t forget to focus on the marriage – we decided to invest in premarital counseling and it was a wonderful experience!
- Photographer: Envisioning Freedom Photography
- Ceremony Venue: The Old Historic Dekalb Courthouse, aka the Dekalb History Center
- Wedding Cake: Sugar Spun Fun
- Day-of-Coordinator: Unique Events by Shollah
- Flowers: Hall’s Flower Shop
- Wedding Gown: Morilee by Madeline Gardner; Purchased at Anya Bridal
- Reception: The Iberian Pig
- Invitations: Paper Innocence (Etsy)
- Rentals: It’s All About the Centerpiece!
- Videographer: Fizer Wedding Films
- Cellist, Pianist: Marla Majett Cello Studio
- Makeup Artist: Makeup By Kimaris