At just nine-years-old, Nandini Sharma and Karan Chhabra met when their parents sent them to the same classes to learn Indian dance. As children, neither were particularly interested in forming friendships with the opposite sex, so they mostly avoided each other. A few years later, however, they both ended up attending the same regional high school in northern New Jersey.
“One day in October 2005, Karan approached me to wish me happy birthday,” Nandini shares. “He was a month late, but it was a start. We exchanged AIM screen names and eventually phone numbers. We spent nights staying up late and chatting, and the days sleep-deprived and denying that we were anything but friends.”
“AFTER ELEVEN YEARS TOGETHER, IT WAS CLEAR THE TWO WERE MEANT TO BE HUSBAND AND WIFE.”
The young couple soon learned how good they had it in high school, as they ended up spending eleven years dating while living hundreds of miles apart. Nandini studied in Cleveland, Ohio, and Karan studied in Durham, North Carolina, then moved on to Washington, D.C., New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. By the time Nandini finished dental school, she personally knew the restaurant staff and security guards at Cleveland Airport due to all her trips back and forth.
When Karan was in his first year of general surgery residency, Nandini planned to visit him in Boston. Karan told her she would only need to pack a dress and some nice shoes and took off early from work so he and his then-girlfriend could begin their next excursion together.
“As we got deeper into the snowy Maine woods, I kept asking Karan if he was going to make me go camping in heels and a short dress,” Nandini recalls. “Finally, we got to the Cliff House hotel, overlooking the rocky Atlantic coast. We got pre-dinner drinks at our hotel and Karan proposed.”
Funny enough, in high school, Karan never officially asked Nandini to be his girlfriend – but after eleven years together, it was clear the two were meant to be husband and wife. The next day, the newly engaged pair headed back to Boston, where Karan had arranged for all their friends and family across the country to gather together for a surprise engagement party.
Both the bride and groom’s family were a great help during the wedding planning process, as Nandini was finishing her last year of dental school and Karan was busy with his residency. The wedding weekend began with mehendi ceremonies that were hosted at the bride and groom’s individual homes.
“It was a fun way to get the weekend festivities started,” says Nandini. “We held our main events at the Pleasantdale Chateau. It was the perfect venue for a multi-day affair. The sangeet was held outdoors in the patio and the theme was whimsical. Our décor team was a dream to work with and essentially custom made the entire décor for us. My ceremony was also held outdoors and was designed around the idea of an overgrown garden. The weather was perfect and it was so serene. During our reception, Karan and I finally got to loosen up and stayed on the dance floor the entire night. In fact, we forgot to say hello to the majority of our guests!”
Event Design: Elegant Affairs Fairfield, NJ; Wedding Dress: Sabyaschi