Aditya and Amit
[All photos are courtesy of Charmi Patel Peña]

In most South Asian families, the idea of Aditya Madiraju and Amit Shah getting married, two Indian-Hindu men, may not have even crossed the mind, let alone plan a fairytale-like wedding at a beautiful, religious venue with gorgeous matching ensembles. This week, seeing Aditya Madiraju and Amit Shah get married set so many important milestones for our culture and beyond.

 

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My first reaction to the Vogue India story about Aditya, who works for a risk management company and Amit, the founder of award-winning dance company Aatma Performing Arts, was that it focused on the wedding beyond it being a same-sex marriage. The piece goes into intimate detail about how they met through a mutual friend in 2016, their quirky decor, moments from their events starting with mehndi to the wedding ceremony and post-wedding celebrations at New York’s favorite Pondicheri to their matching Anita Dongre kurtas — bought from the SoHo location. This is progress, acceptance, and love at its best. 

[Read Related: Amit and Martin: the LGBTQ+ Wedding That Took Over New York City]

A wedding like that of Aditya and Amit and it’s coverage is a meaningful way for same-sex couples to show the world the range of possibilities when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. The possibility for everyone to not only be able to love who they choose but also to be able to rave about their designer kurtas and epic venue. Wedding planning, the joy of shopping, the mehndi party and the silly-almost-stage-like laughing photos with your friends after the ceremony should not be limited to heterosexual couples. 

 

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The couple definitely didn’t anticipate their intimate ceremony at a mandir in New Jersey would create such a buzz. But we’re all so glad it did, and I am thankful for the two of them for sharing their story, venue, fashion, and love alike.

Here’s what the newlywed couple had to say while in conversation with Brown Girl Magazine:

1. Congrats on breaking the Internet with your love. It’s safe to say, this moment will be cherished for all of us. What was the wedding planning process like? Did you encounter a lot of roadblocks with the temple, parents, vendors?

We got married in January 2018 at City Hall but knew at some point, we’d want to do a proper religious ceremony and throw a party with our friends and family. We actually didn’t plan too much for the wedding and kept things very minimal. At the end of the day, the reason we even did a ceremony or cocktail party was that we wanted to include everyone who has loved and supported us and our relationship. The focus was really on everyone having a good time. 

We actually didn’t encounter any roadblocks during the process. Our parents were always supportive of us and our friends have been by our side since the beginning. If there was anything that was difficult, it was to narrow down our guest list to 100 guests. There have been so many people who have played a huge role in our lives, so it was a challenge to trim it down. 

2. When you chose matching looks, did one of you have more of a say? You’re both creative but who had the final say?

That’s an interesting question! We both have a type-A personality and are very opinionated about fashion. Sometimes we completely agree on things and other times, you cannot get us on the same page at all. When we were browsing online catalogs, this particular collection from Anita Dongre just stood out to us. It was the first time we both said “YES” at the same time.

We had already decided on the venue and knew that we didn’t want to compete with the temple’s existing charm. This subtle florals and pastel color palette looked perfect to us. We went to the Anita Dongre store and loved them even more after trying them on. We kind of went back and forth with different combinations of the same collection and finally with the help of Anita Dongre’s stylists decided on our final look. 

 

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3. Your favorite part about being married in five words.

We can make an impact. 

4. You mentioned coming out to your parents after having met each other. Can you shed some light on what factors made that moment right for you as opposed to doing it earlier?

For both of us, coming out to our parents was at a time when we knew we’d found the perfect partner. There’s no right or wrong way to do it and everyone’s journey is different, but having a partner to say “this is WHO I love” versus “this is WHAT I love” made things much easier for our parents to understand.

At the end of the day, you can’t deny love and our parents wanted us to be happy. If we had to go back in time, we wouldn’t have done it any differently. 

5. Many South Asian families may not know how to starting planning for a same-sex traditional Hindu wedding. Where do you suggest they get started?

Planning a same-sex wedding is the same as any other wedding. There is really no difference other than the fact that there was no one to call the “bride” in our case. Although we didn’t have a huge wedding per se, the entire planning process was the same. Who to invite, where to have it, how to dress, and how to make your guests feel good. There was never a time during the process where we felt uncomfortable or unsure about how to do things. There are many priests who know how to make minor changes in customs to marry a same-sex couple. It’s not as difficult as it sounds!

 

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6. Words of advice for couples looking to tie the knot religiously? 

Don’t be scared to do things differently. Religion is a personal choice and there shouldn’t be a right and wrong when it comes to getting married. A lot of people are intimidated by religion because our generation has many more questions than our parents do about why we do things a certain way. If you don’t know, ask! And if you don’t agree, then do what feels right to you. This moment is about making a commitment and nothing else. 

[Read Related: 5 Books that Portray the South Asian LGBTQIAP+ Experience]

Seeing Aditya and Amit get married this week, the joy with which it was celebrated around the world, and passion and beauty with which it was planned is exhilarating. These two set a new standard for how we cover and celebrate LGBTQ+ weddings in South Asian communities.

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