Imagine a colorful procession of dramatic Indian drummers followed by the groom and his close friends and family dancing down the aisle to make a grand entrance into a traditional Hindu ceremony. This was only one of the three unique, cultural and religious ceremonies that Mia Chung and Chetan Abrol had for their wedding to honor their Indian, Korean and Christian heritage. The couple included symbols and rituals of unification from each of these cultures to represent their love and the merging of their two families.
Mia and Chetan, who met through mutual friends, got engaged after four years of dating. Chetan arranged a road trip to the romantic seaside village of Monterey, the locale of their first getaway together. Once they arrived, Mia knew Chetan had planned to propose. "He was undeniably nervous," she explains. Luckily, Chetan overcame his anxiety, dropped onto one knee and proposed to her during a romantic dinner. She accepted the stunning ring and an engraved silver heart that read, "Mia—to my love, to my heart, to my everything."
Before the wedding, guests received a glimpse of the upcoming multicultural ceremony on the couple’s artistic wedding invitation. The fashionable tri-fold invite had two red and blue ducks facing one another–which represents eternity in the Korean culture–set against an Indian-inspired paisley design.
The all-day wedding affair started with a traditional Christian ceremony as both were raised in America. The bride wore an elegant mermaid-style Ines Di Santo gown. "Walking down the aisle and seeing the look on Chetan’s face was the most memorable part of the whole day," Mia gushes. A string quartet serenaded the couple before they recited their time-honored vows. Victoria Lee Schroeder from Coronado Weddings helped create the ambiance. "This ceremony was marked by overflowing vases of white and ivory flowers on top of large pillars. Dozens of candles illuminated the room, creating an intimate and romantic setting."
Shortly afterwards, a vibrant Indian ceremony began with the musical sounds of a traditional Barat–Indian drumming filling the room. The groom led a procession, signifying his "walk into marriage"–from the Fourth-street entrance of the US Grant Hotel–winding through the lobby and into the vibrantly decorated hall.
Once inside, the couple sat under a large Mandap, a sacred structure supported by four pillars and the focal point of every Hindu wedding ceremony. The bride looked stunning in a red and gold custom-designed sari from India, as an Indian priest lead the couple through their Hindu vows.
Finally, a Korean ceremony reflected the bride’s heritage. The Pae Baek ritual involved a tea ceremony for the bride and groom to honor their elders and their parents. This entertaining custom included the parents tossing dates into a napkin held by both the bride and groom to determine how many sons the couple will have based on the number of dates caught. Chetan dressed in traditional Korean attire, and further embraced Mia’s background by giving a traditional piggyback ride to both his new mother-in-law and his bride.
Eating, drinking and dancing continued into the late evening hours as the blended families celebrated together at the American-themed reception. This party included a groove-inducing deejay, a bar stocked with endless cocktails, and an ice luge. Guests left with the bride’s favorite Godiva truffles in hand as a "thank you" favor and a sweet reminder of the day’s colorful events.
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Ceremony and reception location, and catering: The US Grant Hotel, Wedding coordinator: Victoria Schroeder, Victoria Weddings & Events, Flowers: Botanica, Cake: CAKE, Gown: Ines Di Santo, M Bride, Shoes: Manolo Blahniks, Jewlery: Nordstrom, Makeup and hair: Paula Mayer, Groom’s attire: The Gentlemen’s Tux Club, Bridesmaids’ dresses: Lela Rose, Bella Bridesmaids, Korean dresses: LeeHwa Traditional Korean Dress Shop. Officiant: Hong Gwan Park. DJ: Tim Altbaum Productions, . Linens: Concepts Event Designs, Ice sculpture: SoCal Ice, Invitations and paper design: Daydreams Invitations, Photo booth: Epod Photobooth, Photography: Boyd Harris, Videography: Side by Side Video.