May 28, 2016 // The Westin Annapolis // Natalie Franke Photography
Christina and Justin met at their interviews for graduate school at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. A few weeks later (on Valentine’s Day), they both received their acceptance offers and Justin reached out over Facebook. They ended up living in the same building, would study together, and walk to classes together. It didn’t take long for their friendship to turn into a romance and the rest became quick history.
Christina was preparing to move out of her apartment one summer, packing and cleaning with her parents. Justin was there helping clean, too. They were in the middle of her kitchen when he suddenly pulled out a small box and proposed. Originally, Justin was going to propose on the beach at Cape Cod a few weeks later, but he was too excited and couldn’t wait.
The Planning Process
Christina has fond memories of all of the dreaming and inspiration that went into planning the décor for her reception. Working with Intrigue’s Sarah Campbell “was so much fun.” She loved going to their meetings and seeing what she had put together as a preview for the big day.
The couple chose The Westin for the location and the fact that it could hold a large crowd. “We knew we would have over 200 people at our wedding, so we wanted to find a location that could accommodate us,” Christina explains. “You can transform the ballroom into anything you dream of.”
“Our entire ceremony was the traditional Christian ceremony of the Indian Orthodox church!,” Christina shares. Justin’s grandfather, who is a High Priest, officiated the service along with three other Priests. “The entire service was in Malayalam (the language of the groom’s family who are from Kerala, India) and included beautiful traditional choir music,” shares Christina. The Indian Orthodox marriage ceremony is administered entirely by the Priest, who places the rings on the bride and groom. A cherished part of the ceremony is when the groom stands behind the bride and ties the minnu (a stylized gold pendant) around her neck. The tying of the knot signifies the lifelong inseparable bond established between the couple. “My favorite memory of the ceremony is when the Justin’s grandfather blessed him before putting the wedding ring on his finger. It was such an emotion-filled, sacred moment between grandfather and grandson,” recalls Christina.
The couple wanted to have something Italian and something Indian for their guests to delight in, so they served mini cannolis and gulab jamam. They had both served at the tables so that guests would be encouraged to try the other’s culture. They also had a display of French macarons and wedding cupcakes.
“Since we are both biochemists, we wanted to incorporate some scientific details into our décor, but in an elegant way,” shares Christina. The groom designed our wedding logo to feature a ring of circular DNA around our initials. It was used as the focal point on their acrylic wedding invitations. “We also used this logo on our reception menus and on the bar napkins.“ Also, instead of using table numbers for the reception tables, they used letters representing the different amino acids in biochemistry. The bride’s mom created table letters from photo frames holding a picture of the chemical structures under the glass and bronze letters affixed to the glass. Their designer completed the vision by constructing a gorgeous wall of moss holding tiny test tubes that held the escort cards for guests to find their table. “The wall of moss became the perfect backdrop for photos during the evening!”
“When we started planning, we found that there is a great network of wedding specialists in the Annapolis area where everyone knows each other and they have a smooth and established working relationship already in place. This creates a flawless wedding experience all the way through the planning, so we would suggest that when couples start their wedding planning to ask their vendors for their recommendations for other vendors.”
The Details:Planner/ Designer/ Florist:
Sarah Campbell, Intrigue Designs & Décor | Day/Month of planner:
Kari Rider Events | DJ:
MVPDJs | Caterer:
The Westin Annapolis Cake/ Baker:
Sweet Hearts Patisserie | Bridal gown store:
Kleinfeld Bridal, NYC | Gown designer:
Pnina Tornai | Bride’s hair and makeup:
Behind the Veil Wedding bands store:
Reed’s Jewelers | Wedding bands designer:
Triton | Bride’s other jewelry designer:
Henri Bendel | Bride’s shoes:
INC by Macy’s Bridesmaid dress designer:
Alfred Angelo | Men’s attire store:
Men’s Warehouse | Stationer:
Acrylic wedding invitations by Acrilify.com (NYC) – accompanying paper suite By Invitation Only (Richmond, VA) | Favors/ Gifts:
Custom Cookies by Clough’D 9 Cookies & Sweets | Wedding hashtag:
#TwoPhDsInAPod | Registry:
Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel | Saree Draping:
Nayna from Aveda | Bride’s Henna:
Neha from Mehendi & More | Transportation:
Annapolis Trolley for the Bridal Party; Vintage 1947 Rolls Royce for the Bride and Groom by Lasting Impressions | Indian Food for Reception:
India’s of Annapolis