Asheville Destination Wedding: a Two-Ceremony Celebration at the Grove Park Inn
Many of the engaged couples we work with lead lives full of adventure before choosing to get married. Manisha and Brian are no exception to this. During their wedding toasts, Manisha's sister said "Manisha, you weren't waiting to get married. You were waiting for Brian." That has stuck with me ever since.
Manisha and Brian weren't waiting for life to start when they met. They were each leading full, busy, meaningful lives. Manisha, a dermatologist at Johns Hopkins and a Wake Forest graduate, spent weekends in the Blue Mountains outside Asheville while in medical school. As a Fulbright Scholar, she completed a fellowship in Germany. Brian, a Duke graduate, is an avid cyclist and software developer who had just returned from Antarctica with National Geographic when I met him.
Over one of our meetings we had the following conversation:
Aimee: "Manisha, how many dates did you have before you knew you wanted to marry Brian?"
Manisha: "One. But he took longer than I did."
Aimee: "How long was it for you, Brian?"
On the six month anniversary of their first date, Brian proposed. It also happened to be Valentine’s Day.
For their destination wedding, they wanted a place to get away with their family and friends with amazing food and craft beer. Manisha's memories of Asheville made it one of their top locations. While the Biltmore is a popular Asheville choice, the OMNI Grove Park Inn offers an intimate setting with breathtaking mountain views. The first time Manisha walked into the lobby, she envisioned all of her family and friends relaxing around the fireplaces in the lobby.
Manisha and Brian wanted the Asheville location to be a focal point of their wedding celebration. They chose The Market Place Restaurant for their rehearsal dinner where they could commandeer the top floor and eat seasonal, locally sourced food. For their welcome bags, they included seasoned pecans and cashews made by Chef Aaron of the Grove Park Inn and a selection of Indian spiced chocolates made by French Broad Chocolates.
Locally brewed craft beer was featured at their cocktail hour and reception. As a nod to their Southern location, they incorporated magnolia leaves in garlands, centerpieces and wreaths.
To honor Manisha’s Indian (specifically gujarati) heritage, they chose to have a Hindu ceremony in the morning including a baraat. Where Manisha’s father had ridden a horse to her mother’s village in India, Brian opted for a classic car from the Grove Park Inn.
Manisha was able to watch the baraat from the hillside with her cousins and sisters.
Halfway through the baraat, he “dismounted” from the car and was carried on shoulders to Manisha’s mother where he was welcomed with ceremonial rituals.
The guests all paraded through the resort to a canopied terrace for the pooja. Petals lined the aisle for Manisha’s processional and garlands were shipped from Boston for them to exchange.
Immediately following the ceremony, picnic lunches were available for the guests to enjoy throughout the terrace at the Grove Park Inn. Served in wooden apple baskets with white and gray chevron cloth napkins, the lunches included Manisha's favorite Indian soda, Limca, cumin seared tofu wraps, a North Carolina apple, and homemade kettle sweet potato kettle chips from the Grove Park Inn.
While both could agree on the importance of exquisite food, Brian wanted color in the wedding and Manisha wanted to stick with a white and gray palette. They compromised with pinot noir accents that brought an elegant autumn touch to the decor. Pinot Noir became the color of small wedding design elements- their wedding logo, her shoes and his socks, the ribbon on the welcome bags, and the color of the table numbers.
The evening featured a Christian-American wedding to honor Brian’s background and Manisha’s upbringing in the States. During a Protestant ceremony on the terrace under the shade of a tent, Manisha and Brian exchanged vows and rings as the sun dipped behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Guests were treated to a cocktail hour of charcuterie, Asheville craft beer, and signature cocktails handcrafted by a local bartender, who named the drinks PaLoss after Manisha and Brian’s last names.
The reception incorporated both of their backgrounds. Rather than a guestbook, guests signed bottles of Dom Perignon and locally purchased wine for their first, second and third anniversaries. The table numbers were written in both gujarati and English. Traditional Indian sweets were served immediately following the seasonally inspired meal.
A live band, the Royal Suits, kept the dance floor busy with soulful vocals and incredible instrumentals of music from Motown to the present. The evening ended with Manisha and Brian relaxed on the terrace, feeding one another s’mores right before their sparkler send-off.