This Teal, Orange and Yellow Wedding Celebrated the Couple’s Cultures
The day blended Southern charm, Indian traditions and inclusivity.
Glen Foerd in Northeast Philly is a consistent favorite for wedding celebrations. Couples and their vendors always find unique ways to make the historic property their own for their special day — whether they fill it with ethereal baby’s-breath installations or get Beyoncé’s saxophone player to make a cameo. And this multicultural pair’s celebration was one of our favorites, from the bright, poppy color scheme to the ways they combined Southern and Indian traditions, and inclusivity. Love Me Do Photography’s images beautifully showcase their love story.
Physician Ashley Panicker and nurse Sara Wallace-Keeshen might come from different worlds, but their story beautifully blends their past and future together.
The two initially connected online in grad school and met in real life by happenstance when North Philly-born Ashley, whose family is from South India, took a job in the emergency department at Christiana Hospital in Delaware, where Sara, a South Carolina native, also worked. They became friends and then more after Ashley asked her on a date to a Beck concert. Three years into their relationship, they shopped for an engagement ring at Bario Neal in Queen Village. Then Ashley pulled off a surprise proposal on a trip to Denver.
It was important to Sara and Ashley to work with businesses run by their friends, women, and people of color. It was also important to the pair that their wedding at St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church and reception at Glen Foerd, a landmark estate on the banks of the Delaware, honor their backgrounds.
At their ceremony, they paid homage to Indian Orthodox traditions while being inclusive of their 250 guests. “The Reverend Nikki Kleinberg helped us bridge both worlds by delivering the sermon that addressed cultural, spiritual and gender identities in a ceremony officiated by Father Shibu Mathai,” Sara shares. “It was cool to witness.”
Sara’s outfits were also special. She wore a Willowby gown from Lovely Bride during the union and changed into a saree, the manthrakodi, for the reception. The attire was gifted to her by Ashley’s family; they purchased it in India after ensuring that it was Sara’s favorite color, teal.
Sara’s henna was done by Rashmi Panchal, a family friend and artist.
The attendants wore ensembles from Nazranaa.
Sara and Ashley wanted to create an Indian fusion vibe in the tent, and this installation featuring gold pendants and basket lights did the trick:
Guests found their seats via place cards that looked like monstera leaves.
Gold elephant bottle openers served as favors and topped off each setting.
For the centerpieces, a bright mix of candles and floral-filled vases accented the tables.
A frame of tulips, bleeding heart, peonies, delphinium, ranunculus and marigolds, along with hanging strands of marigolds on the tent, was the backdrop to the couple’s sweetheart table.
13th Street Cocktails mixed the drinks, which included the “Fishtown-tini” and “Kerala Old Fashioned” featuring garam masala.
Nutmeg Cake Design incorporated the couple’s wedding hues — orange, blue-purple, yellow, teal and coral — into the cake and macarons.
The reception featured performances representative of both families — coordinated Indian dances by the wedding parties, and Sara’s cousins harmonizing to the Avett Brothers’ “Swept Away.”
Photographer & Videographer: Love Me Do Photography | Venues: St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church (ceremony); Glen Foerd (reception) | Day-of Coordination: Eventify and Grace Mycek of Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods & Catering | Florals: From Blossoms | Catering: Palace of Asia and Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods & Catering | Cocktails: 13th Street Cocktails | Bride’s Gown: Willowby from Lovely Bride | Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply (tux); Nazranaa (reception outfit and wedding-party attire) | Hair: Meghan Kelly of Emboldened Hair Artistry | Makeup: Jennifer Kochenour of JKo Beauty | Invitations, Signage & Place Cards: Evening Ink | Transportation: Kevin Smith Transportation Group and Philadelphia Trolley Works | Music & Entertainment: Francis Coates (pianist); St. Gregorios Church Chenda Group (chenda players); Gurkurit Singh (dhol player); DJ Taiga (DJ) and Barb Duncan (drummer) of the Remixologists | Cake: Nutmeg Cake Design | Lighting: Lumos Co. Lighting + Rigging | Sweetheart Table Furnishings: Lilac & Lace Co. | Officiants: Nikki Kleinberg and Shibu Mathai | Engagement Ring: Bario Neal | Henna: Rashmi Panchal (family friend)
Published as “Sara & Ashley” in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.
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