November 18th was most definitely the best Indian/Japanese/Korean Hawaii wedding we have EVER been to! Yes, we know this is hard to believe. Maybe it had to do with Sumoha contacting her guru with a list of wedding dates to determine which number held the best luck. Or Andrew’s sister folding a thousand cranes. But we are thinking it most likely is the result of Sumoha & Andrew being incredible people.
Their story is one we couldn’t possibly tell better, so we will have them share in their own words. First for a little backstory. Sumoha was raised in Texas to Indian parents who bravely came to the US, despite challenges. She journeyed to New York City for college then Teach for America brought her to Hawaii. It was there that she became friends with Claire, Andrew’s mother.
At the time, Andrew, who grew up in Hawaii was off at school in Colorado. When home he happened to meet Sumoha and Claire thought, “No! Sumoha can’t date my son, I don’t want to loose her as a friend! We can’t have girl talk if she is dating Andrew!” However, it wasn’t quite as simple as that! The two became friends, separated by an ocean and Sumoha’s commitment issues.
This is where the story gets tricky. There are two versions as to how the friendship crossed over the point of no return. According to Sumoha…
“We were friends. He gave me an iPod for Christmas. My brothers said, ‘If you are not going to date him, give it back.’ I tried, because…I thought I wasn’t going to date him. The next Christmas he gave me software I needed. Software! You know what that means…he’s into me.”
“One day he asked me what I wanted. I said, “I want to sit in front of a fire.” He built me the most amazing camp fire ever.” Sumoha claims the rest happened naturally.
Andrew’s version: “It took me two and a half years to get out of the friend zone. She kept trying to return gifts that I was giving her, and kept changing her mind – on everything. She invited me to India and then withdrew the invitation, invited me to hang out in Vegas and then changed her mind last minute. When I moved to San Jose for flight school, I told her she never had to hang out with me. We saw each other almost every day for three months.”
When snowboarding together “I sat through a 6-hour conversation with her about commitment. Then it was official – she was my girlfriend. We high-fived. Yep after 2 and a half years…I got a high-five.” This was 8 months after the epic camp fire.
And what began as a slow crescendo, continued with only slightly more momentum as they moved to the same state (different houses), then eventually began living together two years later.
Why was Andrew so determined? Sumoha is the type of person who stays in your life for the long haul. After only knowing Andrew as a friend, he was about to head out of town on a trip and had casually mentioned to her how he forgot to buy more toothpaste. When he got home to grab his bags he found a new tube left by her. She wasn’t trying to impress him, and wasn’t a close friend. She simply cared. So began his journey to make sure she never left his life.
Sumoha may have taken a bit longer to arrive at the same conclusion, but her delay only strengthened her certainty. After the two had been flying back and forth to visit one another, Sumoha realized how much Andrew took care of her. From having her car serviced to cheering her up after a long day, he was the one she began to call whenever she needed someone. He resembled her own father in how he cares for her mother, two people Sumoha so deeply admires.
So after 8 years of knowing one another and five and a half years of dating, the snail’s pace towards marriage finally reached it’s destination at Cafe Julia in Honolulu. All this while Sumoha’s friendship with Andrew’s mom remained alive and well! However, the proposal didn’t go quite as planned.
When all together, Sumoha’s mom exclaimed to her only daughter, “We are so happy!”
Mom: “Andrew asked us if he could marry you!!”
Sumoha: “Were you supposed to tell me that?”
Mom: “Uh-oh…Oops. I’m sorry!”
Awkward silence then laughter.
Dad: “So, what’s our plan for today?”
Four months later the official proposal happens.
From their beginning, Sumoha & Andrew’s relationship has perfectly captured their spirits. From extreme loyalty to adventurousness, their twists and turns spun a web of deep devotion. Not only between themselves, but into a great circle of wonderful people incorporated into their chosen family. And our involvement has both humbled us and given us a sense of belonging.
It’s not every day we get asked to step into such a culturally rich celebration, and we aren’t going to hide the fact that it’s both exhilarating and intimidating. It’s like the fear of being in a foreign country and mispronouncing a word. Two days of ceremony was sure to take us out of our element in some exciting ways. We had visions of the bright and bold colors, dances and traditions. But it was the vibrance of Sumoha & Andrew that made us at once feel as though we were right at home. Sumoha has a way of smiling through her eyes that makes you feel instantly loved and accepted. Andrew’s eyes glow in her presence and his calm can bring balance to an entire room. They seem to be the perfect mix of energy and peace.
Sumoha is a 6th grade teacher. On weekends she dances, hikes, swims, and embraces the world around her. Andrew is a residential contractor by week and restores cars with his dad on weekends. With trips to Maui to hunt deer and pheasants, he has little time to spare. But the two find their way to one another daily. Sharing coffee in their french press, cooking, binge watching Netflix, or seeing friends.
Their Honolulu Hawaii wedding ceremony combined their histories, with a blend of Hindu, Japanese, Korean and Hawaiian elements. It celebrated their past, present and future. Food was abundant with Hawaiian poke, Japanese sushi, Indian samosas & rice and sake. A lion dance, Taiko drummers, henna, Tahitian dance, Garba, Raas, Sunado…and this was all the night before the wedding! It’s quite safe to say that by wedding’s end, we were rather exhausted. Albeit in the most amazing way! We have continued our relationship with Sumoha & Andrew, through hikes, gingerbread making, beachside dinner. And we continue to be amazed by their lack of concern regarding our cultural naïveté, willingness to bring us into their family and friendship.
As author Matthew Kelly so aptly says, “The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standard. They either help us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great.
We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves.” And it’s without hesitation that we say Sumoha & Andrew have selflessly enriched our lives.
Hawaii Wedding Photography Details:
Aloha Bridal Connections – Hawaii Wedding Planning
Cafe Julia – Wedding Venue
Flowers From the Heart – Florist
Saree Palace– Bride & Bridesmaids’ Attire
Chinese Laundry – Bride’s Shoes
Frontier Heritage– Groom’s & Groomsmen
The Wedding Ring Shop – Rings
Bindi Jewellers – Other Jewelry
Kari Mukawa – Hair & Makeup
Hilton Hawaiian Village – Getting Ready Location
Spectrum Entertainment – DJ
FX Studio – Video
Ramananda of Vivaha Hawaii – Hindu Priest
June Dillinger of I Do Hawaiian Weddings – Officiant
Kualoa at Dawn – Live Music
Bombay Palace, Yatai Sushi, Elite Catering – Caterers
Liliha Bakery – Coco Puffs
The Threading Lounge – Salon
Dennis Lewis of Dragon Fly Water Gardens – Mandap creation
It’s On Your Palm – Henna Artist
Ritual By Design – Henna Artist
Aaja Nachle Hawaii – Bollywood Dance Company
Somei Taiko – Japanese Drummers
Hawaii Lion Dance Association – Lion Dancers
Mai Lieu – Tahitian Dancer
Are you looking for a Hawaii Wedding Photographer for your Indian Wedding or other equally epic adventure? Send us a message, we’d love to hear all about your plans.