A Multicultural Berkshires Wedding at Gedney Farm
There was no shortage of color at Megan Rose and Rajal Sharmaâ€™s wedding in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, at least when it came to their outfits. â€śThe vision was an elegant, sophisticated, organic wedding with mostly neutrals as a background to our colorful outfits and guests,â€ť Megan says of putting the focus on the peopleâ€”and incredible cultural attireâ€”instead of the dĂ©cor.
After getting engaged in Santa Barbara, California, on a weekend trip, the New York City-based couple spent the following autumn taking trips to Catskills and the Berkshires looking for a wedding venue that would tick all the boxes for their Korean-Indian celebration. By honoring these heritages as well as their American culture, theyâ€™d have a lot of moving parts. When they happened upon Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts, they knew it was the right fit.
It would be there that the couple would host their two-day celebration, which included a Korean tea ceremony, sangeet, baraat, Hindu and Western ceremony, and a reception for more than 200 guests. â€śSince heâ€™s Indian and I am Korean/Portuguese, it was important to us and our families that we incorporate traditions from both our backgrounds,â€ť Megan says. â€śWe wanted to show unity in multiple cultures.â€ť
As a graphic designer herself, Megan took charge of the paper goods, including the invitation suite. She made the save-the-date with a silkscreen and designed the invitations before having them printed by a letterpress shop.
One big theme of the celebration was honoring the coupleâ€™s family heritage. Rajal and Megan dressed in Korean hanbok to kick off the festivities, but even with the traditional look, you could see Meganâ€™s mehendi.
â€śI had seen a hanbok that I just loved on Instagram so when I was in L.A. I went by the shop that had made it,â€ť Megan says. â€śEven though I knew exactly what I wanted, the process was so much fun, they had me pick the fabric for every little part of the dress.â€ť
The couple partook in a Paebaek, a Korean tea ceremony, where they served chai and green ginseng tea along with Indian sweets and Korean rice cakes. â€śWeâ€™re both tea lovers and wanted to show unity in multiple cultures,â€ť Megan says. â€śThis theme continued through the weekend, with music, food, and outfit choices.â€ť
Megan describes the hand-painted skirt of her hanbok as â€śperfect for me.â€ť Since the couple started dating on a group trip to Santa Barbara, California, Rajal popped the question in the coastal town six years later. â€śHe proposed overlooking a gorgeous beach and some surfers took some pictures for us right after,â€ť Megan says. â€śWe spent the day getting fish tacos then visiting several vineyards in the area.â€ť
Rajal wore a navy sherwani jacket and floral-print shoes to the sangeet to coordinate with the colors of Meganâ€™s hanbok.
Megan and her bridesmaidsâ€”plus one bridesmanâ€”got ready in floral robes.
Megan was disappointed she didnâ€™t have time to go to India to shop for her wedding looks but did have a great experience at a shop in San Francisco during a business trip. In fact, she says selecting her outfits ended up being one of the easiest parts of the planning process. She landed on this red and hot pink lehenga from Anushree Reddy for the wedding ceremony, knowing red is a classic color for Indian brides.
She accented her lehenga with traditional jewelry: an armful of colorful bangles, statement necklace, and a tikka. â€śWhen I was at the shop I tried on a lot of red dresses but this one stood out to me because of the beading and the scalloped edges of the skirt,â€ť Megan says of the red and gold lehenga. â€śThe funky hot pink touches also really spoke to me.â€ť
For the Hindu wedding ceremony, Rajal wore a custom made pale green embroidered sherwani with a pink dupatta and gold safa. Despite tradition, the couple met for a first look before the Hindu ceremony.
In fact, to keep the day easier on guests, the couple threw a luncheon before the festivities kicked off with Rajalâ€™s baraat. â€śWe are so happy we did that too because the lunch ensured everyone was on time for the baarat,â€ť Megan says. â€śIt ended up being huge and a lot of fun.â€ť
Megan wanted the wedding party to look elegant, so they coordinated in light-colored lehengas and white kurtas. The bridesmaids carried modern arrangements of pink and white blooms attached to brass hoops.
After lunch, the wedding ceremony began with Rajalâ€™s baraat, which involved him riding a white horse, lots of dancing, and even the kids getting in on the action.
The couple incorporated many traditional elements of the Hindu ceremony into theirs. After Meganâ€™s mother welcomed her new in-laws to the ceremony space, she joined Megan and her father to escort the bride down the aisle to an instrumental cover of â€śHallelujahâ€ť by Leonard Cohen.
Megan and Rajal fused elements of the traditional Hindu ceremony with a western one, including the exchange of floral garlands and sharing their own personal vows.
â€śIt was one of the most special parts of that whole weekend for us,â€ť Megan says of exchanging their own vows with one another as part of the ceremony.
A decorated golf cart served as a getaway car for the newlyweds after the wedding. There was a short break for an outfit change before the reception.
The bride reappeared for the reception with not only a new outfit, but also a new hairdo. â€śI cut my hair from fairly long, mid-back length to a short bob,â€ť she says. â€śPeople were really surprised!â€ť To complement her new look, Megan wore a navy blue Sabyasachi lehenga with a tulle skirt and dupatta featuring small stitched stars, while Rajal donned a classic black tuxedo and bow tie.
The newlyweds sipped sparkling wine at the cocktail hour, but also served two signature drinks: an old-fashioned with spiced sugar syrup for a bit of â€śIndian flair,â€ť and a "Last Word" with Mezcal instead of the customary gin.
The coupleâ€™s reception took place in a barn on the farm, but Megan didnâ€™t want it to feel too rustic. They kept the table settings on the formal side, with bud vases and wildflowers, pale blue taper candles, crystal glassware, and navy blue Louis Sherry chocolate tins for each guest.
Megan also designed the menus and did the calligraphy for each guestâ€™s place card, a marble tile embossed with their name in gold.
â€śMy main focal point was the wall of greenery behind our sweetheart table,â€ť Megan says of the dĂ©cor. â€śThe florist did a great job creating an organic focal point that even incorporated the floral hoops the bridesmaids carried.â€ť
There was plenty of food and dancing for the two days of celebration. After a multicourse meal at the reception, the couple hit the dance floor, where the DJ played a mix of Bollywood hits, bhangra music, K-pop, and hip-hop classics.
The first dance ended up being more eventful than the couple expected. After a freak allergic reaction during the ceremony, Megan took a dose of Benadryl before the reception. It kicked in around the time they started their choreographed first dance to a mashup of Leon Bridgesâ€™ â€śBeyondâ€ť and Beyonceâ€™s â€śCrazy in Love.â€ť â€śThe medicine mixed with nerves made me mostly forget the choreographed first dance we had planned for months,â€ť Megan says. â€śLuckily my husband remembered it and led me through most of it.â€ť
At the end of the night, Megan and Rajal cut into a semi-naked chocolate and caramel cake decorated with fruit. â€śWe made sure to make it the kind of wedding we would like to attend,â€ť describes Megan of their wedding.