MEMORABLE WEDDINGS – Rachel & Roshan
Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by Kelli Durham
Seven years after meeting in graduate school, Rachel Callahan and Roshan Gummattira finally began dating. Eventually their long-distance relationship led to two lovely wedding ceremonies, each with a different cultural theme.
Rachel attended Lamar High School in Houston, earned a BBA in marketing at the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from University of Texas-Austin. She’s an investment advisor at Callahan Advisors. Roshan attended Taylor High School in Katy, earned a BS in chemical engineering and a master’s in electrical engineering at Rice University and an MBA from University Texas-Austin. He is managing director of Gulfstar Group.
The couple enjoyed spectacular wedding celebrations at Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond, St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Houston, and the ballroom of the Omni Hotel.
In the Beginning
In 2006 Rachel and Roshan first noticed each other in the same MBA class at UT-Austin. They remained friends after graduation and talked on the phone, occasionally bumping into each other at weddings, football games and holidays in Houston.
Their friendship grew into a long-distance romance. Rachel lived in Dallas and Roshan lived in San Francisco. Both were ultimately drawn back to their Houston roots, with Rachel relocating in 2013, joined by Roshan in 2014 (he is a No. 1 fan of the city of Houston.) He soon knew that he wanted to marry Rachel.
Roshan suggested a pre-Valentine’s weekend trip on Feb. 6 to Austin — the city where they first met. He made reservations at the Hotel Ella and treated Rachel to a huge bouquet of roses and a bottle of champagne. She had no clue that he planned to propose and was caught off guard when he popped the question on the balcony! They quickly called their families to announce their engagement, and everyone acted surprised at the news. Little did Rachel know that everyone was in on the proposal, and the next morning she walked into the Four Seasons-Austin for brunch and spotted all their family members waiting at the table!
Over the next eight months, the couple planned their wedding. Rachel’s brother proposed to his girlfriend, leading to joint wedding excursions, bridal shows and dress shopping in Dallas. The incredibly busy year included double engagement parties, wedding showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties. Rachel and her mother also worked on wedding projects together.
The Hindu Wedding
The groom’s mother and father are from southern India, and the whole Gummattira family was essential in recreating traditional wedding elements. The Kodava ceremony started early Friday morning at Safari Texas Ranch, followed by a celebratory lunch and dancing. The groom’s family had shopped for wedding attire in India, including a beautiful red and gold sari for the bride and jewel-toned saris for the bridesmaids. Family members also wore saris as well as the traditional men’s Kodava dress, reflecting a military tradition. Cherished rites such as Baale Birud, Ganapathy Puja, Dampathi Muurtha and Ganga Puja were incorporated in the ceremony.
Since another full wedding awaited the next day, the rehearsal dinner was skipped. Instead, out-of-town guests experienced a Texas fajita party at Wild West.
The Catholic Wedding
The bride envisioned classic and timeless elegance, as though the elements of her wedding would look like they were still in style 50 years in the future. The full Catholic mass featured a cantor, organist and trumpeter. As the bride and her father walked to Trumpet Voluntary, she smiled at her groom as a beam of light shone down on him at the altar.
Attire: The Carolina Herrera dropped-waist ball gown was made from a silk Mikado with a jewel-embroidered mesh illusion neckline and a tailored pleated skirt. The bride carried an embroidered handkerchief in one of the pockets. She wore a satin-edged, cathedral length veil and Kate Spade shoes with ivory bows and sparkly heels. “Something old” was her Mother’s pearl earrings, “something new” was her dress and veil, “something borrowed” was a family heirloom tiara that would transform into a necklace for the reception after-party. “Something blue” was a handkerchief with blue embroidery. Bridesmaids wore Bill Levkoff navy long chiffon gowns with a pleated sweetheart neckline, sheer cap sleeves, key-hole back with bow and A-line skirt. The groom and groomsmen wore black tuxedos with ivory vests and bowties.
Wedding Party: Father Alvin A. Sinasac officiated as parents of the bride, Thomas and Francis Callahan, and parents of the groom, Kaveriappa and Pushpa Gummattira, watched their children exchange vows in a double-ring ceremony. The bride’s sister, Sarah Callahan, served as maid of honor. Bridesmaids included the bride’s cousin Kathleen Ackerman, sister-in-law Malori Callahan, the groom’s sister Rashna Gummattira, and friends of the bride Kathleen Harken, Virginia Russell and Suzanne Winters. Teresa Schmidt, cousin of the bride, was flower girl.
Daniel Arizpe served as best man. Groomsmen included brother of the groom Thomas Callahan Jr. and friends Kenneth Brunette, Jamie Kerr, Paul Megler, Jonathan Sarley and James Rapp.
Floral and Décor: The church was decorated with two arrangements of white lilies on either side of the altar. The bride carried a bouquet of white calla lilies and freesia. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of calla lilies, freesia, anemones, Queen Anne’s lace and peonies.
Top wedding moments: The couple sat next to Father Al during the ceremony and looked out at the smiling faces of the audience. Father Al gave a wonderful homily and incorporated elements of the Hindu ceremony from the day before, which he had attended in full Indian attire. The bride and groom received a round of applause after exchanging rings and kissing.
It was pouring rain after the ceremony, but the wedding party piled into a bus and drove to the groom’s alma mater, Rice University, for photos under a beautiful covered archway while holding umbrellas. The skylight in the bus started leaking and rain flowed in until the groomsmen fixed it with towels and T-shirts. They made a quick pit stop at Chick-Fil-A and received stuffed cows as a parting gift.
A “tailgate party” for guests filled the gap between the ceremony and reception in the Palm Court of the Omni. Televised football games, sliders, hot dogs, candy bars and a popcorn machine entertained guests. High tea was also served at 4 p.m. with a wide selection of crumpets.
Floral and Décor: Guests received welcome bags with an “R & R” sticker as they checked into the hotel. Each contained snacks, Dr Pepper, a note from the bride and groom, and two different types of tissue paper (one with shamrocks representing Notre Dame, and one with owls representing Rice). Guests were also treated to toffee favors from Lambrecht Gourmet Toffee in Little Rock, Arkansas.
A slide show of the couple’s childhoods and a guest book set amidst many family engagement and wedding photos were displayed in ballroom, which was transformed into a tropical paradise with 33 tables displaying unique arrangements. Orchids hung from the bride’s and groom’s chairs and the room was awash in special lighting. Gold chargers sat on tablecloths of eggshell Waldorf damask. The head table was covered in an ivory Italian crush cloth. Cake tables and high boys were covered in champagne sequin cloths. Guests sat on gold Chiavari chairs with ivory cushions.
Several bars were set up throughout the room and a GoPro camera was attached to a champagne bottle so that guests could stop and leave a message.
The Cakes: Five round and hexagonal tiers were iced in white buttercream with gold “pearls” covering the top layer and dripping down the side, with a few shamrocks tucked in. For the pre-reception cocktail hour, guests stopped at the groom’s cake table to pick up escort cards containing a glittery toothpick flag emblazoned with their name. They placed their toothpick flags in the cake (decorated with the State of Texas), and by the end of the cocktail hour the groom’s cake was full of flags from all over the world.
Top Reception Moments: The best man toasted “Two Aces who should never be split.” The groom, a blackjack player, got a kick out of that. Guests were treated to prime rib, paella, an entire buffet of Indian food and campechana served in martini glasses. The bride slipped into her pink “wedding” Toms and waltzed with her groom to Anne Murray’s Could I Have This Dance? Father and daughter waltzed to When Irish Eyes are Smiling. Then the band invited fathers and daughters onto the floor, including the groom’s father and sister, for a rendition of James Taylor’s How Sweet It Is. Guests danced to Frank Sinatra and modern pop. Children, the bridesmaids and the bride were invited up on stage and band members went out on the dance floor. By the end of the night, they were playing music and dancing on the tables!
Guests threw orchids during the grand exit, and the couple went upstairs to change clothes for the after-party. They took the elevator back down to the lobby expecting that most guests would have left, but everyone was having a lot of fun, and the party eventually moved to the bar.
The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon that included flights to Fiji and New Zealand before returning home to work and live in Houston.
MEMORABLE WEDDINGS – Rachel & Roshan