a sumptuous south bend wedding
Swapna Musunuru and Brian Eisinger’s wedding was a lavish two-day affair combining the bold colors and traditions of an Indian wedding with the history and charm of downtown South Bend.
Swapna, a surgeon, and Brian, a neuroscientist, had met on a blind date while working at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She was out running with friends on a favorite path by the lake when Brian surprised her by waiting at one of the most scenic points with flowers and a ring.
Swapna and Brian envisioned an Indian wedding with an elegant and classy theme. Friday night was a “Sangeet,” which is a night of song, dance and celebration in Swapna’s family’s backyard. Saturday was the main wedding day, starting with a groom traveling to the wedding venue on a white horse surrounded by friends and family. He set off from Century Center and traveled to the Morris Performing Arts Center for the ceremony with the reception following at the Palais Royale.
Rather than having “the dress,” Swapna had three, all from India. The first was a traditional South Indian wedding sari for the ceremony and two “lengha cholis” (two-piece dresses) for both the reception and the Sangeet. The bridesmaids all wore custom pink saris that Swapna and her mom designed.
A Funny Story
The bride explained that in South Indian weddings, the bride and groom both put their hands in a pot filled with water to see who can find the ring first. The idea is the person who finds it is believed to be the dominant one. “All of my friends bet on me since I’m the type A, loud competitive one. Usually the guy will let the girl win at least once but Brian beat me all three times!”
Champagne, ivory, blush, gold, and rose gold were the colors featured at the ceremony and reception. A large elephant centerpiece was located in the lobby of the Morris Civic, and elephants were depicted on the table numbers and menus, and little tiny silver elephants held the place cards. Vibrant orange and pink with green accents made a bold statement at the Sangeet.
The cake was white almond raspberry with stenciled fondant and gold lustre with cascading ivory and rose flowers. If that wasn’t enough, guests were treated to additional chocolate raspberry champagne cake with fresh strawberries.
Ivory and blush roses in crystal vases made up the large centerpieces, with smaller vases containing the other arrangements. Crystal candelabras added to the elegance of the décor.
The traditional Indian ceremony involves the couple seeing each other for the first time when a curtain between them is lowered (Brian’s favorite moment). The ceremony took place under a “mandap,” which contained crystal chandeliers, a circular flower wreath, pink and lace fabric and rose flower accents. The bride and groom placed garlands around each other’s necks as a symbol of becoming husband and wife.
“My goal for the reception was for it to be very elegant and beautiful but at the same time, super fun,” Swapna says. “We did a very quick slow dance only to surprise everyone with a choreographed Bollywood dance with a bunch of friends which then opened the dance floor.”
Swapna was overwhelmed at the Sangeet by all the effort people put into their dance/songs. She mentioned that her mom was sick the week before the wedding but found a way to perform a choreographed dance with her friends. She and Brian were very touched.
What We Love
The use of elephants throughout, especially the tiny ones holding the place cards.
Advice from the Bride
“Relax and have fun!”
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