This Pearl River Wedding Honors Cultural Traditions

A New York City couple heads to the Hudson Valley for a weekend-long affair to honor their dual cultures.

Like many couples during the pandemic, Jane and Giri fled New York City for more open pastures — in their case, a pastoral lake house in Washington State. “I knew I wanted to get engaged while we were out there, going to parks and camping,” explains Giri, who decided to pop the question at the scenic Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. Jane said yes among the rich, green view, and when the couple returned to their lives in Brooklyn, nature remained at the center of their relationship.

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Hudson Valley’s Pearl River Hilton was the perfect host for their 400-person wedding, thanks to its tree-filled grounds and convenient location between New York City and New Jersey (Giri’s home state). The nuptials spanned several days, with multiple ceremonies and celebrations to honor both Jane and Giri’s Korean and Indian heritages, respectively. They pulled it off deftly by making their own playbook, Giri confirms: “We were trying to incorporate traditions from both of our backgrounds, and as far as fitting it together, we made it up as we went along.”

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Thankfully, they weren’t alone, and seasoned event planner Gina Maloney (of her eponymous Woodstock firm) was there every step of the way. “We had to consider how to create two culturally different ceremonies — an Indian ceremony and a Korean ceremony,” she confirms. “We wanted each to reflect the beauty of its culture and the personalities of Jane and Giri.”

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The run of show included a small Mehndi party on Thursday; Hindu wedding ceremony with close family at the temple Friday; and on Saturday, a large Hindu ceremony to bless the wedding, followed by a Korean Pyebaek ceremony and a reception with the whole guest list.

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“We weren’t so precious about it. It was important to us that our families felt like the celebration was a reflection of them and that they had a part in it,” Jane explains. “Honestly, the most important thing to us wasn’t that a particular part of the day went a certain way but that everyone had a great time.”

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The couple left the aesthetics to Maloney, for the most part. “Jane and Giri had a strong love for exotic flowers, unique arrangements, and visually interesting textures and shapes,” she notes. “They, as a couple, have a wonderful sense of humor and are beautifully playful with each another, so I also wanted to incorporate that sensibility into the vibe.”

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To start, Maloney reached out to Jane’s favorite florist, Ren MacDonald-Balsia of Renko Floral in Los Angeles. “I had never seen flowers or arrangement styles like this,” she says. “Truly unique, artful, and textural.” Flying Renko’s team across the country posed a budget challenge, so Maloney kept searching for someone who could fulfill her vision for the couple on the East Coast. Finally, she connected with Corrine Bryson of Flora Good Times in Beacon. “She totally got our vision and her artistry was the perfect match,” the planner says.

wedding ceremony in Pearl River

The team came together to create a 24-foot, exotic, free-flowing, hanging installation over the stage for the Hindu ceremony. “We brought in flowers from India, Hawaii, and local farms,” she says. “Marigold garlands from India, palm leaves, and birds of paradise were hanging across and down, outlining the ceremony stage, which later turned into the dance floor.” Maloney extended that playful aesthetic onto the dinner tables, where unique flowers, fruit, and stones combined with tapered candles in hurricane sleeves for a sophisticated yet whimsical design.

ceremony setup in Pearl river

The fusion extended to the food, where Moghul Caterers and Jin Go Gae Catering (both out of New Jersey) provided signature Indian and Korean dishes.

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Alongside the ceremonies to pay homage to their respective cultures, Jane and Giri wanted something along the lines of traditional American vows. “We wanted to have something that was meaningful to us in our own language,” Jane says. “At the beginning of the reception, dinner and dancing, we gave speeches to each other in lieu of vows, and that was my favorite moment of the day.”
wedding ceremony in pearl riverGiri says that their speeches was a favorite moment of his as well, and the couple both cited crowd-surfing at their after party in the wee hours of the morning (to Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down Swinging”) as a close runner-up.

The Details

Photography
Quyn Duong
quynduong.com

Design & Planning
Gina Maloney Events

Venue
Pearl River Hilton

Flowers
Flora Good Times

DJ
74 Events

Red Sari
Tulsi Silks

Green Sari
Kanakavalli

Reception Dress
Galvan London

Hair & Makeup
Vicky C5

Caterers
Moghul Caterers and Jin Go Gae Catering

Musicians
Thavil played by K. Thisan Nathaswaram played by M. Nadarasasuntharam

Related: Wedding Color Schemes to Make Your Hudson Valley Ceremony Special

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