The Couple:
 Usha Mishra and Shannon John Clark
Wedding Date:  November 26, 2011
Photography by Lexigraphics Photography
Tell us a little about you and your beloved:  Like many couples today, we met on an online dating site and realized that we had a handful of mutual friends. Shortly after “meeting” online and exchanging a few emails, we met for our first date over coffee, and tried to figure out if we had met before given that we had friends in common. We had such a great conversation (we were both smiling the entire time over coffee) and before we parted ways, we made plans for a second date the following week.
When we met, we both had very flexible schedules, so it was a lot of fun getting to know each other while doing everyday things like running errands, going for long walks in the various neighborhoods of San Francisco, cooking meals together, and hanging out with each others friends. We soon became inseparable and quickly became each others best friend, and never did figure out whether we had met previously!
What was the most amazing part of your day?  Seeing all of our family and friends gathered in one place to celebrate us was elating.
What else would you like to share about your big day?  We carefully weighed the pros and cons about getting married over Thanksgiving weekend. We decided to go for it, since Thanksgiving is one of our most favorite holidays – we love gathering with family and friends, sharing a meal together, and being reflective of what we’re thankful for. To be able to celebrate our anniversary during that particular time of year will help us develop our own combined family tradition.
The long weekend also helped us extend the time we got to spend with our guests who came in from out-of-town. We modified the Indian tradition of having a Mehndi party (where the bride and her close female friends have decorative henna applied on their hands) and invited our out-of-town guests and some close friends for dinner at a restaurant the night before the wedding, and had a brunch on the morning after the wedding for relatives. Because many people were spending one or two nights at the hotel near the wedding, we made welcome bags with a few items inside, and a 2-page guide to things to do in San Francisco.
We also created our own ceremony, combining our multicultural traditions and writing our own vows. Family is extremely important to us, so we each had both of our parents walk us down the aisle, had our barely-walking nephew as our ring-bearer (escorted by his dad, brother of the bride) and our 2-year-old niece was our flower girl. Bridesmaids were sisters of the bride, and our rings were designed and handmade by the groom’s sister.

Ceremony Site & Reception Venue:  Bently Reserve
Photographer:  Lexigraphics Photography
Videographer:  Legacy Films
Day of Event Coordinator:  Rolando Mafnas
Caterer:  Betty Zlatchin Catering. In addition to their amazing food, they helped us with all of the lighting, draping, flowers and table settings for our day.
Cake:  Beaux Gateaux
Flowers:  Hunt Littlefield
Favors:  Boxes and tags were handmade by the bride, inserts by C.J. Olson Cherries.
Wedding Dress:  Sari Palace
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Sagar Exclusive
Hair:  Donnelle Malnik
Makeup:  Sheila Patel
Invitations:  eInvite with calligraphy by friend of the bride and groom
Ceremony & Cocktail Reception Entertainment:  String trio from San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Dinner & Dancing DJ:  DJ Jeremy Productions
Honeymoon location:  Las Vegas, South Beach Miami, Caribbean (Seabourn Cruise)
Any other of your wedding vendor(s) you’d like to call out?  Mehndi (henna) by Neeta Sharma. Indian sweets by Amber India. Rings from Hannah Clark Jewelry.
First Dance Song:  “Happy Together” the Mel Torme Version
Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now?  A few tidbits of advice:
It doesn’t matter how long your engagement is, you will have a flurry of activity as the wedding approaches. I (the bride) wanted to have a longer engagement to work on all the details, but he (the groom) kept saying that there’s no point in drawing out the stress and frenzy. Wow – he was right! It all fell into place and we had a perfect wedding, and only a 5-month engagement.
After you announce your engagement, everyone will offer to help. If it seems overwhelming, accept gracefully by saying, “Thank you! I can’t think of anything I need help with right now, but I know I’ll probably need some help in a couple of months. Can I reach out to you for some help then?” And make sure you keep track of people who offered to help! You can go back to your list (we kept it in a spreadsheet) when you need something specific, just be sure to give your friends plenty of notice for what you need. And don’t forget to write a thank you note!
Figure out which elements of your wedding are the most important to you. Yes, you want everything to be perfect, but what really matters? For us, we love to cook and wanted our wedding to feel like the ultimate dinner party that we would never be able to pull off by ourselves. So, we found an excellent caterer who was aligned with our style of food and made sure we found a venue that would accept outside catering. We also wanted a warm, festive feeling with personal touches that our guests would remember, so we hand-made our favors, left a note on each table explaining why they were seated at that particular table name (we used names instead of numbers), and I also made our escort cards and the ring pillow.
Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance?  I would have practiced moving and walking around a while in my wedding dress before my wedding day. I had never tried dancing in anything like that before my wedding!

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

Photos courtesy of and copyright Lexigraphics Photography.

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