After connecting through a mutual friend, Neeral and Anu decided to meet up in Chicago in the summer of 2006. “Things clicked immediately,” they said. “Anu had to return to Boston, but we decided to give long distance a shot.” The couple dated for several years, graduating from college and making it through medical school before settling in Chicago together. There, the couple spent two years together and “acquired a cat and a dog” before Anu popped the question.
“Both of our parents immigrated to Chicago from India in the ‘70s,” Neeral and Anu said when asked why they chose Chicago. “It’s where they put down their roots and built their American dream. It felt like the natural place to have our wedding.” While looking for venues, the couple fell in love with Salvage One. The antique warehouse fit perfectly with their theme: a subtle homage to 1960s vintage Bollywood. The couple’s wedding was breathtaking and unique from start to finish, befitting of the fact that it was a same-sex Hindu wedding – a rare event that’s still outlawed in India. “We didn’t expect the outpouring of love and genuine interest from our extended families and family friends,” the couple said. “It was such a powerful experience for both of us.”
Neeral and Anu headed down the aisle to an instrumental version of Beyonce’s “Halo” that was played on a sitar, and their officiant explained their traditional vedic vows in English so that all the guests could feel included. Following a beautiful cocktail hour in the gardens behind Salvage One, the grooms and their guests spent the rest of the night enjoying heartwarming speeches, a delicious mix of American and Indian food, an incredible cake decorated with an intricate mendhi design, and hours of dancing to Hindi and English music.
By: Christina Oddo
Officiant: Hersh Khetarpal of Yog Sadhan Ashram of Chicago
Event Planner: Big Day Easy
Hair & Makeup: Appease, Inc.
Henna: Unnati Shah of Unnati’ZArt
Formalwear: Bar III
Cake & Sweets: Alliance Bakery
Catering: Entertaining Company
Stationery: Customizing Creativity
Floral & Decor: Ashland Addison Florist
Entertainment: DJ Harsh
Videographer: R.E.M. Video & Photography