The Best of Both Worlds

This spring, Mera Kathryn Corlett and Kartik Kamat had two weddings to represent both of their cultures: one was a traditional Christian wedding while the other was a truncated Hindu wedding. However, they decided to call them “the Saturday Wedding” (hosted by Mera’s parents on April 28) and “the Sunday Wedding” (hosted by Kartik’s family on April 29). Two weddings meant twice the work but also twice the fun for the couple. Mera Kathryn shared the details from their two-day celebration, which included four choreographed dances and an endless amount of love.

When and how did you two meet?

When people ask, we usually say “through mutual friends,” which is somewhat true. The real story is that Kartik and I have a group of mutual friends who used to host a themed party every month. For the month of February, the theme was a pajama party. The hosts had removed all the furniture in their living room to turn it into a space for dancing. That is where we met – the dance floor – and we have been dancing together ever since.

What’s the story of your engagement?

Honestly, there really isn’t much of a story. After Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house, Kartik said, “So, my parents think we should plan an engagement party.” His parents hosted a beautiful party for us where he presented me with a ring, but he never technically asked me. After we had been engaged for about seven months, we went on a trip to Disney World. When we saw a line for the characters Chip and Dale, Kartik took the ring back and while taking the picture, he asked me. Everyone around us was so excited, especially Chip and Dale (who I’m sure rarely have special proposals happen in front of them). Sure, it was completely planned, but the joy was honest and it’s a fun memory. I said yes – after all, the wedding was in three months.

How did the planning process go?

Perhaps one of the most helpful things we did for ourselves was decide that the wedding was not for us, otherwise we would have just done some destination wedding or elopement. Instead, the weekend needed to focus on those who were there to witness our union. I cannot tell you how rewarding a wedding that is guest-centered can be.

Kartik and I decided we wanted to entertain our guests with a different choreographed dance at each event, plus it is traditional to have the wedding party perform together – so if you are counting, that is four choreographed dances! On top of all of the normal wedding planning, Kartik and I had dance lessons twice a week for two months and practices in other spare moments. Dancing is how we fell in love, so it’s appropriate then that we celebrated our relationship on the dance floor.

Now, it is somewhat expected at Indian weddings for the bride and groom to do a dance at the Sangeet and in the wedding reception program. But most people were not expecting what we prepared for the Saturday wedding. At the beginning of the reception, the band announced that we would enter through the side doors and immediately do our first dance. They played “Unchained Melody,” but we did not come out. The lights then shifted to the stage where we performed a hip-hop dance to Bruno Mars’ music. Later on our honeymoon, we performed that same dance everywhere we visited and compiled a video of it. You can find it on YouTube by searching for, “Couple does ‘First Dance’ everywhere on honeymoon.”

What was your favorite part of the day?

Kartik’s favorite part of the weekend was when all of our hard work came to fruition and we performed the dances. Perhaps what was most meaningful to me was the church service officiated by my mother. Kartik and I decided that we would do something that we had never seen done before but seemed natural for us: we addressed the congregation before the service started. Often the couple does not get an opportunity to talk to everyone at their wedding. This gave us time to express our gratitude for people traveling from places as far as India. There was something very powerful about looking out over a sea of people who care so much about us and seeing their smiling faces.

Did everything go smoothly or were there hiccups along the way?

Because there were three days of events, we basically had to split up a ton of responsibilities. When so many people are working, often independently by necessity, there are bound to be some mistakes. But, the alternative is worse because micromanaging would have made me insane. Instead, you just need to trust the people who are helping you and then say thank you no matter what. Ultimately, what truly makes the day special is recognizing that family and friends are doing their very best and that is because they care for you both. I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank our parents or Kartik’s sister, Deepa, for the countless hours they put in. If there was one thing people didn’t prepare me for it was the sense of indebtedness that would wash over me.

What advice would you give to couples currently planning their big day?

The overwhelming majority of people told me that the wedding would fly by. When the day came, everyone was right. Fortunately, I took this knowledge and did something for myself. I took moments to pause throughout the day. I told people how I felt about them. I expressed thanks. I made sure I was truly present with everyone who was there, especially the man standing next to me. Kartik did the same thing.

If I had to give one good piece of advice to couples getting married it would be just this: most likely, your wedding be the only time in your life when all the people who mean the most to you are in one room together. So, let go of all the thoughts that pull you away from being truly present with them. VT


VENDORS

Wedding Gown: Alfred Angelo in Las Vegas (the dress was delivered one week before they announced bankruptcy)

Alterations: Sew Fitting

Bridal Saree: Made of Banarasi silk, custom design

Bridal Lehenga Choli: Created by Aparna Koparkar Pande

Tuxedos/Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridesmaids Dresses: The Bridal Suite of Louisville. Alfred Sung collection

Hair for Saturday: Mikhail Schulz at J Michael’s Spa & Salon

Hair and Henna for Sunday: Beena Chabhadiya at Yuva Salon

Makeup for Both Days: Thea Sellers, Meera’s matron of honor

Decor, Table Settings and Flowers for Saturday: In Bloom Again

For Sunday: B3 Event Management

Cake: Desserts By Helen

Catering for Saturday: Crushed Ice

For Sunday: Bombay Grill

Photography for Saturday: Todd Pellowe

For Sunday: Lumina Lens Photography

DJ/Band for Saturday cocktail hour: Louisville jazz pianist Todd Hildreth

For Saturday reception: Endless Summer Band from Indianapolis

For Sunday: DJ Mavi from Cincinnati

Transportation: trolley from Free Enterprise System

Venue (Ceremony + Reception)

Saturday Ceremony: Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Saturday Reception: The Henry Clay Grand Ballroom

Sunday Ceremony/Reception: Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center Van Gogh Room

Officiant: Rev. Mera Cossey Corlett (Mera’s mother)

Hindu priest: Shri Rajendra Kumar Joshi

Rings: Davis Jewelers

Photo Booth Saturday: Nathan Mann

Sunday: Mirrored Imagery

Choreographer for Saturday: Josh Ford at Louisville Dance Alliance

For Sunday: Mehru Hassan