Destination I Do

The Best of Both Worlds

Words by Sarah Padilla
Photos courtesy of Amanda Julca

Known as the quintessential American city, Columbus, Ohio might not come to mind as an exotic destination wedding locale. However, Kanika and Shaheen couldn’t think of a better place to blend their Indian and American backgrounds with not only one, but two breathtaking ceremonies.

While the couple lives in upstate New York, Columbus is close to Kanika’s family and was a central location for their 175 guests who traveled from more than ten states and from as far away as India and Bangladesh for the July 2011 event.

The metropolitan city also offered resources to make their intricate vision a reality. Kanika and Shaheen, both born and raised in the U.S., chose to honor their Indian heritage with a traditional Sikh wedding in the morning, followed by a non-denominational ceremony in the evening. A feat, says Kanika, possible only with the help of wedding planner Kasey Conyers of Bliss Wedding & Event Design.

“When we couldn’t be there, she could – working out the kinks often before we were even aware there was a wrinkle,” says the bride.

The result was an unforgettable, albeit somewhat complicated, day.

Because it required a large indoor space with room for guests to sit on the floor, the Indian wedding was held at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel. Ultimately, the couple transformed a nondescript ballroom into a makeshift gurdwara, or Sikh temple, complete with rich imported fabrics.

Within hours, though, the bridal party which had been decked in colorful Indian attire was practically unrecognizable. The bridesmaids wore slate gray dresses; the bride’s intricately embroidered Indian gown was replaced by a sleek ivory Cymbeline number and a pair of gold Jimmy Choos.

And although he had already married Kanika once that day, Shaheen admits seeing her emerge in this dress was his favorite part of the day. “She was stunning, a dream come true,” he recalls.

Following the second ceremony in a courtyard at the Center of Science and Industry, the couple entered their reception to Lady Gaga’s "Bad Romance," kicking off a dance party  which flowed from Top 40 to Punjabi without missing a beat.

For Kanika and Shaheen, it was, literally, the best of both worlds.

Photographer: Amanda Julca, Ceremony/Reception Site: Morning:  Columbus Renaissance, Evening:  COSI (Center of Science & Industry), Wedding Planner: Kasey Conyers of Bliss Wedding & Event Design, Gown: Cymbeline, Florist: Flowers on Orchard Lane, Groom’s Clothing:  Mark Thomas Apparel, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens' Clothing:  Jenny Yoo NYC, Mark Thomas Apparel, Invitations: Momental Designs, Cake/Cupcakes: Piece of Cake, Ice Cream: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Paper Bouquet/Place Settings: Christina Norris Designs, DJ: DJ Kahn
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