Shannon Gibson and Ashok ReddyINDIAN AND AMERICAN CEREMONIES TOP OFF A LAVISH BEAVER CREEK WEEKEND
A single wedding day couldn’t hold in all the love for Shannon Gibson and Ashok Reddy. They had an entire wedding weekend. And a total of three ceremonies.
The couple, both former California residents who met in Denver in early 2015 (“my one and only online date,” says Shannon), chose the grand Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch “because we wanted to make it a weekend event in a place where people could enjoy the mountains and not worry about transportation,” Shannon says. “We had two ceremonies, Indian and American, and wanted to utilize two different outdoor locations that celebrated Colorado’s fall beauty.”
The couple’s official wedding ceremony had actually taken place two weeks earlier, so that Shannon’s paternal grandparents could witness it and sign the marriage license. “They meant the world to me. And Ashok had gotten to know them very well because we spent many Sunday afternoons with them in Highlands Ranch.”
Family, friends and fun are important to both Shannon and Ashok, and the weekend at Bachelor Gulch reflected that. The wedding party and other close friends arrived on Thursday, with some women having henna done in the afternoon. Following Hindu tradition, the henna done on Shannon’s hands had Ashok’s initials hidden inside the design, for him to find. Everyone spent that evening talking and relaxing by the fire.
On Friday, about 25 wedding guests went on a morning hike with the Ritz’s naturalist, followed by a welcome party that evening at Bachelor’s Lounge. “It was great because we knew our wedding day would be very busy, so Thursday and Friday gave us a chance to spend time with our family and friends and for everyone to connect with each other.”
Saturday was the big day: In the morning, the couple wed for a second time following Indian traditions. “We wanted to respect each other’s backgrounds and symbolize us coming together. We started out with an Indian ceremony, which we managed to condense to about an hour. The women wore saris. Our family participated through different parts of the ceremony, including helping us walk around a small ceremonial fire seven times while exchanging traditional vows. At the end, everyone came up and showered us with rose petals. We really enjoyed this because we were able to make a connection with each person.”
After a luncheon of Indian food on the patio and an early-afternoon break, “everyone was refreshed and ready for the final ceremony,” Shannon says. This American ceremony was “more country and simple,” and Shannon traded her sari for her grandmother’s wedding dress. Ashok’s sister was the officiant, and Shannon’s brother and sister-in-law gave a reading called “How Falling In Love Is Like Owning a Dog.”
“I was crying from the minute I got to the base of the stairs, all the way up the aisle,” says Shannon. “Having everyone around us—it was just very, very memorable. ”