Bollywood and Pine Trees
Brooke & Phani
Maine Meets India and Brooke and Phani's Wedding on Rangley Lake
Story by Reuben Bell III
Photography by Greta Tucker Photography
Brooke and Phani’s family and fun-filled wedding
weekend brought American and Indian traditions to
this lakeside celebration.
You might say that Brooke Carter and Phani Vinod were destined to meet and fall in love. Hailing from opposite sides of the globe, Brooke (from Portland, Maine) and Phani (from Hyderabad, India) met online and had their first date at a local Mexican restaurant. Their shared love of family was the first thing that made them realize that they were a perfect match for each other. “To be honest, I couldn’t see my life without him,” says Brooke. “Family is one of the most important aspects in both of our lives.”
Brooke and Phani’s wedding journey started with a double engagement. “We actually had two engagements!” remembers Brooke. “One was an Indian engagement blessing/ceremony at my parents’ home in Rangeley, Maine. The traditional American proposal happened at Castle Island in Boston. We often go for walks and this one was no different. Phani had a friend filming us and when I turned about he was down on one knee.”
For Brooke, getting married in Maine was a childhood dream. “I have been visiting Rangeley my entire life—both summers and winters. I am the fifth generation of my family in the area and oddly enough, no wedding has actually taken place on the property.” The traditional American ceremony was held under a birch archway at Brooke’s family home with beautiful Rangeley Lake as the backdrop, with 200 guests from around the world in attendance. The highlight of the ceremony was the surprise appearance of Brooke’s father, who was allowed an unexpected escape from Maine Medical Center, where he had been recuperating from a serious illness. Having him present and able to walk Brooke down the aisle was pure wedding magic, and ensured that there was not a dry eye at the ceremony.
The reception was also held in Rangeley, at nearby at Mountain Star Estate, with many Americann and Indian touches throughout. The DJ played Bollywood tracks throughout the evening and according to Brooke “The dance floor was completely full when these songs played and a few of his relatives taught everyone some great moves!” Guests were taken aback when it appeared that something had gone wrong with the first dance. “The entrance of the wedding party and bride and groom was celebrated with cheering and clapping,” says Brooke, “This led right into the fi rst dance, which held a great surprise for everyone. We had choreographed and practiced many times a surprise first dance to a Bollywood song. After about two minutes of “At Last” we had the DJ fade away the song. The expressions on everyone’s faces were priceless. This transitioned into our surprise dance which got everyone excited and energized.” American and Indian cuisine was served, and international music kept guests on the dance floor through the last minutes of the reception. The evening ended with a 250 sparker send-off, a bonfire with s’mores and endless laughter and happiness.
In Brooke's Words
I’m so glad that…my Dad was able to join us for the day.
One of my favorite moments was… our surprise dance! It got everyone excited and ready for dancing all night long!
I didn’t realize…how quickly the day and night would go! It was over in a blink!
I wish…we could do the entire day all over again… like “Groundhog Day.”
I really liked…our sparkler exit!
My advice to other brides is… don’t stress. Everything will NOT go perfectly, but it will all be amazing. Also, take moments to step back and take it all in. There won’t be another day like it.
Photographer: Greta Tucker Photography
Venue: Mountain Star Estate, Rangeley
Videographer: byDesign Films, Portland
Photo Booth: Maine to Boston Photo Booth, York
Caterer: Classic Provisions, Rangeley
Florist: Sunrise View Farms, Rangeley
Hair: Shellie Presby/Salon West, Farmington
Makeup: Elise Pierce, Portland
Wedding Cake & Desserts: Kathy Ferris, Rangeley
Reception Music: Jeff Irwin/Rethink the DJ