Okay so we feel REALLY cool because we finally got to connect with Charlotte couple Tess and Arjun. Their wedding highlight video on YouTube has over a million – that’s right, a MILLION – views. And talk about a cute couple! We were so moved by every emotion while watching it (seriously, you guys, that video exudes love!), from the way that Tess describes her first time seeing Arjun to seeing their super adorable interaction towards the end of the video (“And…I love you!”).
Suffice to say that we were really excited when Tess and Arjun agreed to be interviewed by us so we could pick their brains about their two weddings, their viral video, and what life looks like for them now. Dive in with us below to get to know our local celebrities!
How Their Love Story Began
First thing’s first – How and where did you and Arjun meet? Was it love at first sight?
Arjun and I met while [we were] both in the MBA program at Wake Forest University. We initially met at a wine club event, although I’m pretty sure neither of us know anything about wine beyond “red” and “white.”
How did you know that Arjun was the man that you were going to marry?
This is going to sound insane, but I say that I knew early on in our relationship when 1) I found out he liked the same milkshake as me at Cookout, and 2) I used to sign my name as a kid and incorporate a smiley face. I found out Arjun used to incorporate a sun in his signature. I mean if that doesn’t say it was meant to be, I don’t know what does!
Meeting the parents – what was that like? Were you nervous to meet his family?
Arjun actually met my parents before we were officially dating since they live in Winston-Salem where we were in graduate school, although my mom does claim she knew something was up the second she met Arjun. As far as when I met Arjun’s parents, I have never been so nervous in my life! I first met Arjun’s parents when they were in town for Arjun’s MBA graduation and fortunately my parents were with me at the time for back up. I remember when Arjun’s mom asked me if I cooked Indian food thinking it was the start of an interrogation but when I said “no but I would like to learn!” she responded with “me neither really. I like to make things like chowder and pizza.” I’ve never breathed such a sigh of relief.
How much time did you guys have between getting engaged and your weddings?
About five minutes after Arjun proposed, he told me that we would be getting married in India during an already planned trip. We had about 9 months in between getting engaged and our wedding in India. Our US wedding happened about 5 months after our Indian wedding.
Was it difficult planning two weddings, one of which was to take place in India?
Fortunately, my in-laws planned the very vast majority of our Indian wedding. Being so far away made it difficult to have a whole lot of input. I do remember waking up extremely early to facetime my mother-in-law who was lehenga shopping so that I could pick out which one I wanted. The video was very grainy, and I was very sleepy, but I ended up with a beautiful lehenga, so it worked! Once we landed in India, it was a mad dash to get all the different outfits I needed including my wedding sari and to do hair and makeup trials. I think I got 8 items tailored in 24 hours…
For South Asian brides, we can experience a TON of drama when we plan our weddings. Did you experience any of that from your family?
Honestly for me most of the drama came from the travel. I had never been to India or anywhere near as far away from home. I also had a major passport drama which involved calling a US senator to get my passport back from the visa agency. Fortunately, my parents had been to India once before and about 20 of our friends and family from the US came for our wedding which was essential in making me less anxious.
What was your favorite part about the wedding planning process? What was your least favorite?
Honestly the wedding planning process was wildly time consuming, at least more than I expected. I liked finding my dress and incorporating sentimental aspects (like using my parents wedding vows) but the minute details like table clothes were just painful, if I’m being honest.
Where in the US and India did your weddings take place?
India – Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu at Jenney’s Club. USA – Winston-Salem, NC. The wedding ceremony was at Home Moravian Church and the reception was at The Graylyn Estate.
With two weddings I imagine you had a LOT of events! Did both weddings take place right after the other?
Fortunately, the weddings were about 5 months apart and I would definitely recommend having a good amount of time between the two!
In one of the reception speeches given in the video, someone mentions how long your journey to India was. What was that experience like, traveling so far with family and friends for the wedding?
The experience was honestly dream-like. It was my very first trip to India or anywhere east of Europe. Preparing for the trip was quite stressful with not knowing what to expect and I also had some passport/visa issues but once we were on the plane, it was an experience I wish I could do over!
What was your favorite part or moment from each wedding ceremony?
India – our favorite part was walking into the ceremony. It was a parade of people with musicians. So much energy and colors everywhere. For the US ceremony, my favorite part was when Arjun and I both shared something short we wrote for each other. It really personalized the ceremony, and I am so glad we thought to do it!
Your video went viral which is SO cool! How did you find out about it?
We honestly had no idea until random people started saying that they had seen our video. I remember I got an email from a job candidate we had interviewed at work telling me she thought she had seen our wedding video. It was such a surprise!
What about your wedding video do you think people respond to the most?
I think people enjoy the fact that we are two very different people on the surface who found love with each other. I also think the involvement of our families made it unique.
How do you feel when you watch it now?
We love it so much. I think we will be playing it at family get-togethers for years to come!
How long has it been since your weddings?
We celebrated our 2nd Indian anniversary in December and will celebrate our 2nd US anniversary in June.
What does life for you and Arjun look like now?
Not much has changed! We are enjoying being semi-newlyweds.
For those about to take the plunge, is there anything about married life that surprised you?
The amount of teamwork required to be successful.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about marriage?
Favorite – always having a team mate! Least favorite – always having a team mate! You always have the make the decisions that are in the best interest of the team and not just one individual.
If you could offer some advice for a bride who feels anxious and overwhelmed by the planning process, what would it be?
Ask for help! A lot of people have done this before you and have lots of lessons learned. Also, focus on all the good things that come along with your wedding instead of stressing out about picking table cloths.
Who was your favorite vendor that you worked with for either wedding ceremony?
For our US Wedding, I would have to say Vesic Photography. I will never forget leaving the ceremony and seeing Hooman on the roof of the vehicle taking pictures. For our Indian wedding, I’d have to say our photographers and videographers, Coconut Weddings.
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