My parents had strict rules about dating ... i.e., I couldn’t,” laughs Manasa Reddy. In keeping with Indian tradition (her parents moved from India to the States before she was born), the New Jersey native was expected to hold out for an arranged marriage. But Manasa knew that once mom and dad met Will Thayer—a fellow student at Seton Hall University School of Law—they’d rule in her favor. And right she was: “They were thrilled with what a kind, respectful, and intelligent man Will is, and we started dating.”
One of said dates was a night out to see The Hobbit followed by cuddles on the couch. Suddenly, Will turned to Manasa, pulled out a diamond ring (which he’d been toting around for months and held his great-grandmother’s diamond), and proposed. “Apparently, the sight of me in fuzzy onesie pajamas made him realize he couldn’t wait any longer!” Manasa laughs.
The Jersey residents began scouring venues in New York City but weren’t sold. “We realized it wouldn’t be much of a celebration if our guests took the subway home at the end of the night,” Manasa says. So, they pulled a 180, bought plane tickets to Charleston (one of their favorite cities), and promptly fell in love with Middleton Place, which ticked every box on their must-list: outdoor, capable of seating 200, open to outside catering, and within view of a fireworks-friendly area. “They were flexible and willing to work with us to create the day we envisioned,” says Manasa. And planner Luke Wilson was no different. “If you are lucky enough to have a creative genius like Luke on your team, save yourself the stress and give him free reign.”
The Big Day embraced their blended traditions. After a priestess from the Hindu Temple of Charleston blessed the couple’s union, Will’s father delivered a Christian sermon. Fried chicken was served in waffle cones at cocktail hour, while supper included Indian classics like chicken tikka masala. Afterward, guests flooded the dance floor. “My family from India—who never dance—were breaking it down to Michael Jackson,” laughs Manasa. Not to be outdone, Will’s family threw down to some Indian tunes, as well.
In a word, it was magical. Speaking of magic ... before the ceremony, Will gave Manasa the password to an email address with her new last name, where reservations for a “mini-moon” to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter awaited (the real deal was an island getaway to Mauritius and Seychelles). As the night drew to a close, the newlyweds were Hogwarts-bound—and nobody took the subway home.