MEMORABLE WEDDINGS –
Natasha and James

| September 1, 2017

A red carpet awaits the newlyweds.

A red carpet awaits the newlyweds.

Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by Weva Photography

Houstonian Natasha Dara met En­glish­­man James Langridge overseas in 2010. The couple fell in love, and after four-and-a-half years of courtship exchanged vows in a dream wedding on July 25, 2015 amidst family and friends from all over the world. They were married at the Little Flower Church in Elamkulam, India, followed by a lavish reception at the Ramada Resort in Kochi.

Natasha attended Kingwood High School and graduated from the McCombs School of Business Master of Professional Accounting Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Last month, she graduated from IESE Business School with an MBA. James attended Ardingly College in West Sussex, read French at King’s College London, obtained a master’s degree in legal translation at City University London, and is a commercial solicitor specializing in international intellectual property law.

 

Courtship

While working together at the Inter­national Accounting Standards Board in London, Natasha and James hit it off. Their mutual love of travel led them to climbing adventures on a Norwegian glacier and a South African mountain. Over a period of a year, they hiked 156 miles along the North Downs Way to the top of the White Cliffs of Dover, where they became engaged.

 

Proposal

The couple exchanged a “temporary” ring and a wristwatch atop the White Cliffs overlooking a breathtaking scenic view of the Strait of Dover, followed by a celebration with friends at Tower Bridge near Natasha’s flat in London. They headed to the U.S. soon after to attend an engagement party in Houston. The official engagement ring, made later by James’ mother, is white gold with tree motifs and an aquamarine stone to commemorate the couple’s first meeting during the month of December.

 

Engagement

While stateside, Natasha took James on a tour of her college town of Austin. They floated the Guadalupe River, climbed Enchanted Rock, and dined on plenty of BBQ and Tex-Mex. She also took him on his first trip to New York City, and they enjoyed a bit of gambling in Atlantic City. Over the next year they attended birthday parties in Yorkshire and Madrid and weddings in Scotland and Braxted Park (northeast of London). They punted (boated) on the River Cam, went on safari at Longleat Park and attended the South of England Agricultural Society charity show.

Natasha was treated to a bridal shower in Houston and a “henarette” (a bachelorette “hen party” as they’re referred to in the UK) while James attended a stag do in Granada. The couple began planning their move to Barcelona, Spain, where Natasha would begin her MBA soon after the wedding. All the while they planned their wedding long-distance with Natasha’s parents in Texas and coordinators in India. They designed their own crest consisting of a Canadian Maple leaf in honor of James’ mother’s Canadian roots, an English rose in honor of his father’s roots, an Indian peacock in honor of Natasha’s lineage, and a Lone Star in honor of her Texas home. Natasha and her family also flew to India to shop for wedding attire.

 

The Wedding

The couple were married exactly 364 days after their engagement in a traditional Catholic Indian ceremony in Kochi. The bride had long wanted to get married in India, surrounded by her close-knit extended family, and was happy that James was fully on board. The Little Flower Church was decorated with orchids, peach roses and ferns down the aisle. The local church choir and a family friend from the UK played the music for the bridal march and psalms during the mass.

Bridal party: The ceremony was solemnized by four priests who were either family or friends, with Father Antony of Beaumont as the main officiant. In attendance were parents of the bride and groom, Drs. Anil and Bina Dara of Houston and David and Dilys Langridge of Newick, East Sussex. Maids of honor and sisters of the bride Karishma and Meghna Dara stood with bridesmaids Versha Sharma, Sarah Geisman, Becca Snowden, Lena Kwan and bridesman Eric Crowell. Ammu Zacharia and Evelyn Ranjit served as flower girls. Best man Josh Matheson stood with groomsmen Dorian Parker, Kekeli Amankwah and Rob Chung. The bride’s cousins Adarsh and Ashwin Tatavarty served as ring bearers.

Attire: The bride wore a beautiful custom Label M off-white georgette sari with a hand-embroidered border of pearls, white stones and cut beads, and a jute blouse in gold with shimmery sheer three-quarter-length sleeves and a teardrop shaped opening in the back. A long gold-trimmed veil of the same shimmery sheer material and gold stone-adorned open-toe heels completed the ensemble. The bride’s gold wedding ring was shaped from her maternal grandmother’s ring, which had been melted down and customized. She wore bangles belonging to her mother and paternal grandmother, as well as a 22-carat necklace and earrings designed like a peacock, and a gold crucifix and ring gifted by the groom and his family.

Bridesmaids wore variously styled gold blouses paired with blue and green saris. The bridesman wore a blue kurta. The groom wore a dark grey morning suit with an off-white tie and a handkerchief from the same cloth as the bride’s wedding veil, and a wedding ring passed down from his maternal grandfather. Groomsmen wore light grey morning suits and teal ties.

Top wedding moments: The Sangeet – a traditional party thrown before the wedding – was celebrated two nights prior to the wedding with lots of singing, dancing and drinks from the toddy shack, and all the guests enjoyed mehndi (henna) artfully placed on the palms of their hands. The next morning everyone blessed the couple by coating them in a turmeric and sandalwood paste during a traditional haldi ceremony. After vows and rings were exchanged during the wedding ceremony, the groom tied the traditional thaali around the bride’s neck, which was intertwined with the threads of her manthrakodi sari. The couple exchanged red rose petal garlands after the mass. The next day the bridal party and family enjoyed a houseboat trip.

 

Reception

The couple made a grand entrance aboard a quaint houseboat bedecked in flowers, and then walked onto a dock lined with friends and family.

Floral and décor: Peacock hues, gold tones and red roses filled the Ramada Resort. Tables were named “I love you” in various languages from the different countries the couple had visited during their traveling adventures. Their guestbook was a set of postcards they had collected from various travel destinations placed on each table, on which guests wrote their messages to the bride and groom. Guests enjoyed a dinner of local specialties and an open bar, as well as an extremely popular freshly fried fish station. They received jute bag favors containing an umbrella embellished with the couple’s crest.

The cake: The five-tiered fruit and cream filled cake was trimmed with fresh red roses.

Top reception moments: Speeches were made by the couple’s parents and siblings. The couple danced to Sam Cooke’s You Send Me. Father and daughter danced to Mammy Blue by Roger Whittaker, which the bride’s father used to sing to her when she was younger. The bride’s sisters parodied Taylor Swift’s You Belong with Me, and guests enjoyed additional dances by the bride’s sisters, cousins and attendants. The bride sang Sara Bareilles’ I Choose You to her groom, accompanied by a family friend on acoustic guitar.

C64A0628

The bride displays her long, gold-trimmed veil and exquisite sari.

 

The Honeymoon

After a wonderful, but hectic, few days of wedding celebrations, the newlyweds headed to Kovalam beach in Kerala, India for five days of rest and relaxation.

 

The couple pose in the red rose petal garlands they exchanged after the mass.

The couple pose in the red rose petal garlands they exchanged after the mass.

 

The gorgeous bride wore a hand-embellished georgette sari.

The gorgeous bride wore a hand-embellished georgette sari.

 

Lovely bridesmaids in blue and green saris surround their bride.

Lovely bridesmaids in blue and green saris surround their bride.

 

A majestic elephant transports the groom to the ceremony. •

A majestic elephant transports the groom to the ceremony. •

 

Handsome groomsmen await the big moment with James

Handsome groomsmen await the big moment with James

 

A grand entrance to the reception aboard a flower bedecked houseboat.

A grand entrance to the reception aboard a flower bedecked houseboat.

 

A song for her new husband sung by the talented bride.

 

The groom takes a moment to attach a boutonnière to his father’s lapel.

The groom takes a moment to
attach a boutonnière to his father’s lapel.

 

Five tiers of fruit and cream-filled cake decorated with fresh red roses.

Five tiers of fruit and cream-filled cake decorated with fresh red roses.

 

Gold bangles belonging to her mother and paternal grandmother adorn the bride.

Gold bangles belonging to her mother and paternal grandmother adorn the bride.

 

A thaali – a gold crucifix on a gold chain –was gifted to the bride by the groom and his family

A thaali – a gold crucifix on a gold chain –was gifted to the bride by the groom and his family

 

The couple exchanged vows in an ornate ceremony at Little Flower Church in Elamkulam, India.

The couple exchanged vows in an ornate ceremony at Little Flower Church in Elamkulam, India.

 

The groom shares a joyous dance with his mother.

The groom shares a joyous dance with his mother.

 

Let the festivities begin! The couple leads with a dance

Let the festivities begin! The couple leads with a dance

 

C64A1747-eye-fixed

A red carpet awaits the newlyweds.

 

A proud father shares a special dance with his daughter.

A proud father shares a special dance with his daughter.

 

Guests enjoyed a dance performance by the bridal attendants.

Guests enjoyed a dance performance by the bridal attendants.


Tags:

Category: More Features

Comments are closed.