Ananda + Cameron by Kelsey Mard

Cameron was by my side every step of the way and made me feel so safe and protected – that was when I knew that we could handle whatever hardship that comes our way in the life ahead.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

We are Cameron and Ananda. Ananda is an attorney specializing in commercial litigation. Cameron is a software engineer and an aspiring entrepreneur. We live in New York City with our tripawd dog, Monty, whom we adopted two years ago. Although we both lead busy lives, during our free time, we enjoy going to the movies, comedy shows, and concerts. We both love art and enjoy visiting the myriad art galleries in New York. We also spend a lot of time with our dog.

We are both motivated by our aspiration to make a meaningful contribution to the world. There’s a part of us that always felt like somewhat of a misfit and a renegade, but we both value our own and each other’s unique individuality. We also genuinely value our family and friends, and we place a tremendous amount of importance on spending quality time with our loved ones whenever we can.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

We met at a bookstore/bar in the East Village in New York City (Book Club Bar). We just had the most comfortable yet exciting conversation, and we both felt an immediate attraction. Cameron saw me at the bar area as I was reading “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck and decided to strike up a conversation. According to Cameron, he knew he would marry me even before he started talking to me. I was impressed and fascinated by the fact that Cameron showed a genuine interest in getting to know me and the book I was reading. I liked the fact that he was reading “My Talented Friend” by Elena Ferrante and seemed to truly enjoy it. The conversation flowed when I mentioned a (somewhat obscure) French arthouse movie I saw recently, and Cameron said he saw it too. I was secretly overjoyed when he finally asked for my number.

When did you first realize that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Cameron would say that he knew from the moment we met. I felt like I knew I wanted to spend my life with him a few months into our relationship when I had a health emergency and was in the hospital for days. Cameron was by my side every step of the way and made me feel so safe and protected – that was when I knew that we could handle whatever hardship that comes our way in the life ahead.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

Cameron proposed during sunrise at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. He brought up the idea that we should go to the Prospect Park Dog Beach because we’ve always talked about bringing our dog Monty there. Even though I’m not an early riser, Cameron knew that I would make the effort for Monty’s sake. I was pretty clueless and thought that we were just going on a family outing, albeit at a somewhat strange hour. Once we got to the dog beach, Cameron got down on one knee and proposed. The sun was just starting to rise. Our dog Monty was super happy and excited (although he certainly had no idea what was going on). Afterwards, we went to the boathouse nearby and had a picnic with just the two of us. Cameron gifted me a first edition of “East of Eden” – the book I was reading when we first met. It was a perfect moment, and saying “yes” was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

We kept most of the elements at our wedding fairly low-key and budget-friendly, but the one thing we “splurged” on was getting a photographer who matched our aesthetics. It was the best decision we made. We are both quite particular with our aesthetic preferences, and I dabble with photography in my free time, so we were both a bit picky regarding how we wanted our photos to look. We wanted our wedding photos to have a candid and natural vibe and to capture the happiness and joy of the big day, and our photographer, Kelsey, was absolutely amazing and exceeded all of our expectations. Her photos have so much heart and warmth, and she has an excellent eye for capturing all the best moments of the occasion in the most beautiful way. We also love the fact that she shot a combination of film and digital photos. She was able to fully leverage the beauty of film vs. digital and knew the perfect balance between film and digital photography. She captured our wedding exactly how we envisioned it! She was also incredibly generous and accommodating, which made the planning process much easier.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

Towards the end of our wedding, we handed out paper streamers to the guests. However, one of the streamers fell on a tea candle on the table and caught a spark. Fortunately, it was put out very quickly, and nothing happened. At the time, it seemed stressful because I was concerned for everyone’s safety, but in hindsight, it was such a minuscule.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

We both just wanted to wear something classy and comfortable. We tried to find pieces from our local / neighbourhood vendors or Etsy as much as we could. I had trouble finding a wedding dress I liked among the many brand-name boutiques I visited. Ultimately I found my wedding dress on Etsy – it was made by a designer based in Ukraine, which I thought was very unique, and it checked all of my boxes perfectly. I also got my veil on Etsy from an artist based in the UK who specializes in headpieces (and who made the headpiece that Kat Dennings wore at her wedding!).

For my jewellery, I wore my mother’s pearl necklace. My bridesmaids also got me a shoe charm with something blue, something borrowed, and a six-pence (which they found on Etsy as well).

It felt very important to me to acknowledge and amplify the talent of artists and smaller-scale boutiques for my wedding, as I feel that this wedding industry space is often inundated by select established brands despite that many smaller vendors offer fantastic, high-quality alternatives.

LOCATION Freemans Restaurant, New York, NY, United States, @freemansrestaurant PHOTOGRAPHER Kelsey Mard, FLORA Neighborhood Flower Shop – Sunny Florist OFFICIANT Judges for Love, @judgesforlove CATERING Freemans Restaurant, @freemansrestaurant ENGAGEMENT RING Lori McLean, @lorimcleanjewelry WEDDING RINGS Holden, @holdenrings BRIDAL DRESS Office Seven, BRIDE’S SHOE Aye, @aeyde VEIL Agnes Hart, @agnes_hart HAIR & MAKEUP CEO Beauty NYC, @ceobeautynyc