“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
The world is too full to talk about.”
Gina Whittington, the talented designer and planner behind The Whitt Experience, called us early last year and informed us that she had a client that looking for something special for their wedding film. Shonu and Julio are a sweet, funny, and community-focused couple that met and fell in love along the course of a campaign trail. Because they had so many people coming in from all over the world, they didn't want their wedding film to feel like a music video--they wanted it to truly reflect the personalities and interactions they would share with family and friends over the course of the weekend. We crafted this custom, extended length wedding video for them - focusing on documentary style moments that highlight the joy, the goofiness, and the sweet moments celebrated in the finest locations in Austin's arts district. With events at Hotel Saint Cecilia, Sway, and South Congress Hotel, the Austin vibe was just as strong as the couple's devotion to their South Indian and Mexican heritages.
Friday evening, the families gathered for the Sangeet at Shonu and Julio’s favorite local restaurant - Sway. As guests arrived, they were greeted by beautiful visuals of greenery draped across low hanging chandeliers presiding over large family style tables. They were served an exquisite array of appetizers and foods, including pineapple miange, satay grilled eggplant, and tom aha gai. Dinner included green curry with tofu, pad thai jay, miso sweet mash, and charred asparagus with harissa. The night was full of many delightful moments, heartfelt speeches from the Bride’s relatives and a surprise dance performance in honor of Shonu and Julio.
The wedding day was cheery and bright, and as cars busily bustled by past the South Congress Hotel, Julio, accompanied by his baraat (wedding party), arrived to the ceremony on a scooter for the traditional Milni. Greeted by the bride’s “sisters,” Shonu’s dearest friends and female cousins escorted Julio carrying pots on their heads and Julio’s family was greeted ceremoniously by Shonu’s family. The Hindu ceremony was often conducted in the sacred language of Sanskrit (along with English), linking Shonu and Julio to one another and reinforcing their connection to their families, ancestors, friends, nature, the planets, and the creative forces of the universe. The ritual stage (Mandap) represents the universe, and Shonu and Julio's was designed with beautiful white drawn curtains laced with a garland filled with vibrant purple, blue, and fuchsia flowers. During the Mala Vinimaya, Shonu and Julio exchanged garlands as a form of deep and mutual respect.
Mayor John Destefano (at whose campaign the couple met) gave a moving welcome to the gathering, and later that evening, he treated the crowd to a hilarious toast that recounted the political and romantic journey of the couple. Their Hindu ceremony was conducted both in the sacred language of Sanskrit and English for the attending crowd. The Mandap was decorated with beautiful garlands and stood tall throughout the entire evening - a reminder of the ceremony that linked Shonu and Julio to one another.
As guests entered the reception, they walked through a psychedelic video wall that featuring Julio’s spirit animal, a wolf. The groom’s cake was that of a large snake, based off of a traditional South American artifact that Julio had seen - and connected with - in a museum on his travels. Guests heard more beautiful speeches from the couple’s family, and our favorite highlight of the evening was watching Shonu and Julio cheerfully dance to “Me and Julio down by the school yard” in front of their family and friends.
Witnessing such pure moments of joy, love, and celebration in the lives of others is one of the biggest perks of this job, and we are privileged to be reminded weekly of the best parts of humanity.
Shonu and Julio,
Your family's delight at your union is so apparent as they speak of you with respect and with joy. We hope you always continue to enjoy life's journey together, and we join the Mayor in wishing you a life of love for forever and 100 years.
The Mason Jar Team
Event Planner + Designer: The Whitt Experience @thewhittexperience Photographer: Q Weddings @qweddingsphotography Kurant Events @kurantevents Wedding Venue: South Congress Hotel @southcongresshotel Sangeet Venue: Sway @swaythai Mendhi and brunch venue: Hotel St. Cecilia @hotelsaintcecilia DJ Chino Casino @scullytime Band: Sauce @wearesauce Bakery: The Cake Plate @cakeplateaustin Photo Booth: Capture Photo Booth @thecapturephotobooth Late night desserts: Voodoo Donuts @voodoodoughnutaustin Lighting: Ilios @ilios_lighting Henna artists: Nisha Henna Arts Rentals: Loot Rentals BBJ Linens Premiere Marquee Birch and Brass Flowers: Margot Blair Florals