Meet Shannon and Seema.
This June, they were married in a breathtaking traditional Indian ceremony.
Images of the gorgeous ceremony quickly spread all over the internet.
We are a typical couple, at least to us. We are an interracial couple of Indian and American descent who found love at first sight. Well, let's make that Shannon found love at first sight. The day I met Seema, I was teaching one of my boot camp classes and I turned to another instructor and said "I'm going to marry her." Of course, Seema fell in love shortly after, and six years later it became true.
A month ago, we had a small wedding and invited our very close friends and family. Without our blessing our pictures went viral, and being a very private couple and part of a private culture, we were shocked and taken back that our small wedding had been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Nonetheless, as our wedding pictures spread, we received hundreds of amazing, supportive comments of hope, strength and courage that not only brightened our day, but gave us the strength to continue through this journey and further tell our story.
We have received messages from as close as California, to as far away as India, Germany, Brazil and New Zealand just to name a few [examples]. Each message that we read talked about the love they could see in the pictures or the strength it gave young gay couples throughout the world that didn't have to courage to talk to their families about who they really are. It started to feel as though there is a bigger force working with us to help create change in the world. We feel honored and blessed to have lived our lives as we normally would have, which translated to someone else across the nation into hope and courage.
Since Seema is Indian, one of the biggest things for her was to have a traditional North Indian ceremony. Growing up in an Indian family she only saw Indian wedding ceremonies, so naturally she wanted the same thing. In this culture, there are many celebrations that lead up to the big day and of course we wanted to do as many as we could. My desire was to also portray the American culture as well. So our idea of our wedding was to mend our two cultures, two families and the two of us together for eternity. We knew that we could make this wedding become anything that we wanted it to be. We wanted it to be elegant, classy, warm, loving and of course have amazing food, dancing and a lot of fun. To us, this was our day. A day that would forever be the day we gave our souls to each other.
When choosing the wedding venue we went with our personal style [...] We needed a mandap (temple and stage area) for the ceremony and a dear friend of ours and Seema's brother built it for our wedding. Seema, her sister and I all went down to the garment district in LA earlier in the week to find the perfect fabric for the mandap. The amount of love and help and family that we had for this wedding was incredible.
The actually wedding day was filled with love from the second we woke up. Our maid of honor, Yvonne, brought me to the cottage where Seema and I got ready, making sure we did not see each other before the ceremony. Our friend, Sami, created an amazing, love filled morning. She corralled a group of our dear friends to meet us at our cottage and showered us with love, support, guidance, food, water and massages to start the day off right. My mom was there as well to make sure I had something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue in perfect American tradition.
When we got to the venue, everything was in place. It was perfect. Seema came in with a traditional Indian wedding song playing and was carried on a Doli by her family, and greeted by my mother to welcome her to our family. These traditions run deep in the Indian culture and seeing them firsthand was breathtaking and made me fall in love with her even more. I walked down a flight of stairs to a fun Palo Conte song with a bouquet of flowers and escorted by my mom to see Seema for the first time. During the ceremony, we literally tied the knot and fed each other sweets, to symbolize our first meal as a married couple.
In the Indian tradition there is no "you may now kiss the bride," which was hard for me as an American woman so feeding each other sweets was the equivalent. At the end of the ceremony portion of the wedding the conch shell was blown to solidify our union as the new couple. We walked down the aisle to come to the end of our wedding party to finally sneak a kiss as true to American culture!
The wedding went off without a hitch and we shared the rest of the evening with friends, family and of course lots of dancing! We hope that our wedding story will inspire others to have the wedding they always dreamed of. If you love someone enough to spend your life with them, you can create exactly what you have always dreamed of. Always follow your dreams and create the future you want.
See more beautiful images from the day here.