In her last year of medical school at UNC, pediatric cardiology fellow Suma Potiny met the man she would marry while having a drink with friends at the iconic Chapel Hill rooftop bar and restaurant Top of the Hill. Sujit, now a project manager for Microsoft and brother of the now-husband of one of Suma’s friends, was in town from Washington, D.C. for just two months. But that didn’t prevent the couple from continuing their relationship long distance before they shared the same locale. They dated for five years, but Sujit had been planning to propose for some time – seven months before he popped the question, to be exact. The fateful day happened during a trip to Hawaii, while the couple had dinner on a boat. “Sujit seemed really nervous and was scarfing his food down as the sun was setting,” remembers Suma. “I didn’t really understand why he was acting so strange.” Then, as the sun hit the water and the light was just right, Sujit pulled out a diamond ring. “I had been looking at some chocolate pearl pendants earlier that day, but decided not to buy them,” Suma explains. “Sujit started asking me if I was disappointed that I didn’t buy the pendant, and as he pulled out the box, I was just about to yell at him and tell him he shouldn’t have bought it for me! But then he opened it and there was a beautiful diamond ring. I was completely shocked.” The couple began planning a wedding filled with both contemporary American and traditional Indian elements with the help of Carrie Ann Drinnen from Serendipity Weddings & Events. “I got overwhelmed planning a wedding from D.C., so I chose a wedding planner first,” says Suma. Following the recommendation of her wedding planner, Suma chose Kristin Vining as their photographer for her signature style. “She was one of the best decisions we made planning the wedding, as far as vendors,” Suma notes. After a traditional ceremony with some Americanized elements such as the exchange of wedding rings – his from Diamonds Direct – guests danced to Indian and American music, while Kristin Vining and Vittorio Video captured it all on camera. Classic Party Rentals provided chairs and linens for the peacock-themed reception, and Nona’s Sweets created a white cake topped with cream cheese icing complete with a custom henna design that far exceeded the bride’s expectations, Suma adds. But the most important thing to the bride and groom was being able to share the moment with family and friends from across the world. “It was the first time our families had a complete reunion in a very long time – people even flew in from India,” Suma says. “It was great to see everyone so happy and just let loose.”
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