After spending two years in Hawaii, Jeremy Rylan, a computer programmer, moved back to his home state of North Carolina, where he’d intended, Niyati says, to settle down and meet a girl. As luck would have it, the two connected on social media within a month of his return, and after a 13-hour long instant-chat session (part of what Jeremy now says was a “thorough vetting process”—Niyati Patel, a pharmacist, passed with flying colors, by the way) just after New Year’s Day, Jeremy asked Niyati out to dinner. They lived two hours apart at the time, but Jeremy made the drive and the rest, they say, is history.
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The couple dated for about 18 months, but they didn’t follow and “normal” timelines when it came to the proposal and wedding planning, they say. “We picked a wedding venue and date, photographer, and planner all before an actual proposal happened,” says Niyati. In fact, the couple had discussed getting married in 2018, but by April, they hadn’t gotten officially engaged. On an impromptu long weekend getaway at Walden Hall in Reva, Virginia, they were outside “enjoying the gorgeous views,” Niyati says, when they both started talking about how nice it would be to get married there. Before they checked out that weekend, they asked the venue about hosting weddings, and a few weeks later they set a date for that fall. They quickly nabbed photographer Michelle Lieb from the vendors’ preferred list.
A few weeks later, Lieb emailed her clients to let them know she’d be offering last-minute sessions in Phoenix, Arizona if anyone happened to be up for a trip, and Niyati and Jeremy took her up on the offer. “We planned for a couples/bridal shoot at The Lost Dutchman State Park near the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona,” Niyati says. “It was an absolutely gorgeous background for pictures and a totally different landscape than we are both used to living in Southeastern United States.” As the sun began set, Michelle asked the couple if they wanted to change out of their formal attire into street clothes for a second look. “I didn’t think anything of it, so I changed and we started taking a few pictures,” says Niyati. “Little did I know Jeremy and Michelle had other plans. It’s all kind of a happy blur now, but I think Michelle asked us to pose a certain way and that’s when Jeremy got down on his knees and proposed. It was totally unexpected and I feel so fortunate that Michelle was able to capture that moment for us!”
Four months later, the couple got married at Walden Hall in Reva, Virginia, in a two-day celebration with 50 guests, first with a “fun and intimate” ceremony officiated by Niyati’s brother, and then in a traditional Hindu ceremony the next day.
The wedding theme, was “rustic Indian fusion,” and included a neutral/blush color scheme on day one, and a peach-and-hunter-green color scheme on day two. And, says Niyati, is was easy to find available vendors (and save a little bit of money) on shorter-than-average notice, because the couple chose a Monday/Tuesday pair of dates.
The couple’s vision included “an intimate wedding in a countryside setting,” Niyati says, with “a fun, relaxed, and intimate experience for our closest friends and family.” On the first day, the wedding menu included bacon-wrapped dates, a cheese board, seasonal salad, and specialty wood-fired pizzas from Blue Ridge Pizza Company, at a poolside reception with “a very laid-back and causal vibe,” Niyati says. “A henna artist created beautiful designs for any guests who were interested while the DJ kept everyone upbeat.”
For the second day, Niyati says, guests were served a refreshing guava drink and a savory Indian snack (chaat) before the ceremony.” Afterwards, cocktail hour included paneer tikka and mango palak chaat, and for dinner, traditional Gujarati Indian food in the venue’s banquet barn.
Following the celebrations, the couple honeymooned in S. Barths.
Photographer: Michelle Lieb with Lieb Photographic | Venue: Walden Hall | Planning & Design: Bella Giornata Events | Invitations: Minted | Catering: Blue Ridge Pizza Company
(Day One); Rupa Vira (Day 2) | Cake: Haute Cakes Pastry Shop | Hairstylist & Makeup Artist: Yisell Santos Hair and Make Up | Bride’s Attire: Watters from BHLDN (Day One);
Shree Designer Saree (Day Two) | Groom’s Attire: Penguin from Nordstrom | Classic Entertainment | Videographer: Olea Films | Henna Artist: Mehndi with Heena | Alcohol/Bartending: Louie’s Mobile Mixology