Call it cultural chemistry. Akshada Dodia and Alex Chiu — whose recent nuptials combined multiple ceremonies, lavish décor, and fusion of ethnic cuisines — met in 10th grade chemistry class, where their bond, if you will, first began.
The gifted students coincidently both enrolled at the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science in Denton the next year, where they finished high school and eventually started dating. (Sweet side note: Alex asked Akshada to prom with a proposal sign created with handmade origami flowers.)
When Alex proposed to Akshada on a rocky beach in Wisconsin during a weekend trip in the fall of 2017, she was “totally caught off guard,” she says.
“We had been discussing engagement for a couple months, but a proposal never came, so I thought it might happen that weekend, but he still managed to surprise me,” she says. “He waited until the last day of our trip while we were on a bike ride.”
Plans for a traditional Indian wedding promptly began, and the two were married June 8, 2019 on the stage of the Founders Concert Theater at Bass Performance Hall.
“We chose Bass Hall for the ceremony and reception because at the beginning of our relationship, Alex would take me on dates to the symphony and theater performances,” Akshada says. “Since we were in college, we only got seats in the back. But for the wedding, we got to be front and center.”
But the Saturday marriage ceremony at Fort Worth's landmark concert venue was just one of several events and rituals leading up to the big day.
Festivities began on Thursday at Akshada’s family home in Coppell with Mendhi, an informal evening in which friends and family watched the bride receive an application of henna to her hands and feet. The designs are said to invite positive spirits and good luck, as well as relieve pre-nuptial jitters.
The next morning, back at Akshada’s family home, Vidhi began at 9 am. The collection of ceremonies involved prayer, processionals, and even a bridal “spa treatment” in which friends rubbed a paste of chickpea flour, turmeric, and rose water on her face, hands, and legs.
Friday night at McDavid Studio across from Bass Hall, guests came together for Garba, an evening of music and traditional Indian dances before wedding festivities the next day.
The main event finally came on Saturday, on the same stage where the blockbuster musical Les Miserables would play to near sold-out crowds barely a week later.
The center-stage marriage ceremony involved numerous traditional Indian rituals before the two were declared husband and wife. These included the removal of the groom’s shoes and a bridal processional.
Festivities culminated with a reception on the back of the stage with dinner and dancing to DJ music.
The decor nodded to Alex's Chinese heritage.
“Since it was a culturally Indian wedding, we wanted to emphasize the Chinese half a little more,” says Akshada. “We strung red lanterns over the open ceiling and used pink tones for our floral arrangements to evoke cherry blossoms, while still embracing the exposed industrial look backstage.”
The couple also incorporated a bit of Chinese culture with the reception cuisine. Catered dishes came from both Sichuan Folk in Plano and Urban Tadka in Irving.
“We really wanted to bring our two cultures together,” says Akshada. “Both of us really enjoy food, especially each other’s. So we decided to have both.”
Of all the numerous intricate components involved in the multiday affair, it was Akshada and Alex’s final reception entrance that the bride remembers most.
“We could hear music and the buzz of people, and the anticipation was killing me,” she says. “I was so excited to finally get out there and celebrate with everyone. Then the emcee announced our entrance, and the rest of the night just blurred into a huge party.”
Ceremony and reception venue: Bass Performance Hall and McDavid Studio
Photography: Bella Lumi
Floral and décor: Prashe
Bridal fashion: Divya at Studio D Dallas
Hair and makeup: Cosmetality
Mehndi artist: KM Henna Artistry
Rentals: May I Serve U
Catering: Sichuan Folk, Urban Tadka, Chuy’s, ShareTea
Cake: Loft 22 Cakes
DJ and lighting: DJ Riz Entertainment
To submit a wedding for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Weddings must have taken place in the Fort Worth area since July 1, 2018.