Likhita Kommidi and Steven Ronning were both freshmen when they met at a local Durham Bulls baseball game during orientation week for Duke University.
“I was supposed to meet my roommate,” Likhita recalls, “and while asking for directions to the dugout (or maybe to the bullpen – I still don’t know baseball very well), we fell into easy conversation and exchanged numbers. After a few days of nonstop texting, we met up again in a group of friends on the last day of orientation week. As it got late, everyone else began to file out until it was just us left; we ended up staying up the whole night talking and playing our favorite songs back and forth for each other.
“OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS FLEW IN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO EMBRACE BOTH NEW AND OLD WEDDING TRADITIONS.”
When morning came, we went outside to greet a muggy Durham sunrise and had our first kiss. Ten years later, Steven wore cufflinks with the latitude and longitude location of that first kiss.”A couple weeks later, the two were sitting under an old tree on campus when Likhita asked Steven to be her boyfriend. “And that was it for us,” says Likhita.
After spending the next nine years together, Steven proposed during a trip to Portofino. “We were on the penultimate day of a two week long Italian vacation and I was enjoying my pesto lunch while Steven – who was trying to time the proposal to the moment of our first kiss, down to the minute – urged me to wrap it up. (He had already scarfed his meal and drank most of our bottle of wine.) Miffed about being rushed, I reluctantly finished my meal and pouted as he led me to the garden outside our hotel where two young musicians appeared to be practicing chords.
Concerned about crashing what looked like someone else’s very romantic event, I turned to Steven, who was already down on one knee with a ring. It was a truly magical moment, and after many tears, we popped a bottle of prosecco and were serenaded with our favorite songs over the last decade.”
As soon as the couple set foot back on American soil, the wedding planning process began. With Likhita’s family being Hindu and Steven’s family being Irish Catholic, it was important for them to celebrate both faiths and ensure the two families had an opportunity to experience what they love most about their cultures.
On Likhita and Steven’s ten-year anniversary, they hosted a traditional South Indian Hindu wedding ceremony – complete with the groom making his entrance on a white horse down the streets of Manhattan – followed by a beautiful Christian ceremony officiated by one of the couple’s best friends from college.
“Although the venue was a ballroom, we wanted the wedding to feel almost like it was happening in an enchanted forest,” Likhita describes. “So even as our brilliant team of vendors worked hard to ensure that each of our many wedding events felt unique (from the pre-wedding Hindu rituals, to the two wedding ceremonies, and finally the reception), they still maintained an overarching aesthetic throughout that we loved with tons of greenery, floating candles, and dramatic neutral florals. We could not have been happier with the final outcome.
More than anything, we were so thrilled with how our families and friends flew in from all over the world to embrace both new and old wedding traditions. From the amazing dance-off during the baraat, to the symphony of silver bells during the Christian ceremony, to the packed dance floor at the reception, we count ourselves incredibly lucky to have had all of our loved ones to celebrate with us as we begin this new chapter in our lives.”
Location: The Wagner at the Battery, New York, NY; Floral & Event Design, Rentals: Elegant Affairs
Planner: Events by Vaishali; Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld Bridal, New York, NY; Groom's Attire: Tom Ford