A Multicultural Wedding That Takes Center Stage — Literally

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater served as the perfect venue for Pooja and Phil.

Photography by Mari Harsan Studios

Pooja Mehta, a lawyer and social enterprise advisor, and Philip Martin, a higher education policy advocate, share a passion for giving back to their community. So, when the two got engaged, it was no surprise that they wanted to exchange vows at a charitable venueeven if it meant bumping up their wedding date. “We planned to get married in fall 2020,” the couple recalls. But, once they found Arena Stage, “a nonprofit and the first racially integrated theater in DC,” adds Pooja, they knew it was the perfect setting and agreed to move their wedding. “They offered one day in June 2019, and we said sure, let’s do it!”

The celebration was planned in just ten months and was filled with multicultural details, like Pooja and Phil’s traditional Indian attire, and charitable donations that not only reflected the couple’s different backgrounds, but also incorporated their nonprofit work. Another priority for them was “choosing vendors led by women and people of color,” says Pooja. At the ceremony, 200 guests gathered around to witness the couple exchange vows on stage, which was Pooja’s favorite moment. The ceremony was even officiated by one of Pooja and Phil’s best friends. The celebration concluded with a sit-down reception dinner where tabletops were decorated with lush tropical plants and menus featured a delicious international cuisine, including Goan curry chicken and spiced lamb chops. Check out their theater wedding below to see more of their memorable event.

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The Details

Photographer: Mari Harsan Studios | Venue: Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater Planning & Design: Engaging Affairs Florist: Blue Vanda Designs | Catering: Spilled Milk Cake: Buttercream Hair Stylist: Kristen Thomas Makeup Artist: Beauty ‘n the Bride Bride’s Attire: Payal Singhal from Studio East 6 (ceremony dress); Anita Dongre (reception dress) Groom’s Attire: Studio East 6 (ceremony attire); JC Lofton Tailors (reception attire) | Music & Lighting: DJ Stylus with DJ D-Mac & Associates | Ceremony Music: Nistha Raj & Tabla Avi Shah Transportation: A Touch of Class | Printing: BaseCamp | Henna: Naseem’s Henna & Arts



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Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.