Photography by KRISTYN HOGAN
Sarada Kolli and Kaleb Tilton met during their junior year at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tenn., after Kaleb transferred there from a school in McMinnville, Tenn. They did not really know each other until they went to Italy on a class trip for spring break their junior year. During that trip, Sarada and Kaleb became really good friends. This friendship continued thru their senior year, even after Sarada rejected Kaleb the first time he tried to ask her out. He remained persistent, however, eventually winning her over on February 13, 2012.
Since then, the relationship continued to evolve and take on new challenges. They graduated from Webb in May of 2012. The next adventure was college. Kaleb went to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Sarada attended Oxford College of Emory. Even with the distance between them, they became stronger and closer. Through road trips to see each other, surprises, and vacations, they quickly realized they wanted to take the next step in their relationship.
On June 13, 2015, Kaleb brought both families together, along with Sarada’s best friends from school to surprise her with a proposal. The proposal took place at Kaleb’s house, where he had a trail of memories leading up to him in his backyard. After some nervous pacing, Sarada finally turned the corner to see him. After popping the question, he surprised her by opening the door to all of their family and friends waiting to congratulate them on their engagement. The day was spent reminiscing, sharing stories, and taking photos.
Kaleb graduated with a degree in Accounting and a minor in Economics followed by a Masters of Accounting at The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in April 2016. Sarada recently graduated with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology with a minor in History in May of 2016.
Very quickly after their graduations, the wedding took place on August 13, 2016, in the backyard of the Kolli family here in Murfreesboro. It meant a whole lot to the Kolli family, being able to have it at their home and to create more special memories there. They were also excited to blend the cultures of both Sarada’s Indian heritage and Kaleb’s American heritage together to make a perfect combination for the young couple.
The cultural ceremonies began with a Mehendi, or henna, party held before the wedding. The wedding party, along with other women close to Sarada, joined together to decorate their hands and feet with traditional Indian designs to adorn themselves during the ceremony.
Sarada wore a wedding dress from The White Room, and she also wore traditional Indian jewelry including a belt commonly worn by South Indian brides. Kaleb wore a custom-made suit from Prince Bbogies, which is also a common custom in India for the bride to give new clothing to the groom. Sarada changed into a lengha (an Indian dress), ordered from India, for the reception. During the reception, the cultural experience was extended also to the food selection, a healthy fusion of southern and Indian food.
The Kolli ladies rave about Meredith and Shannon from Sage Nine Events, the wedding planners! They helped with the wedding in its entirety --from the wedding invitations, flowers, to a very unique tent. You name it, they could do it!
After the wedding, Sarada and Kaleb honeymooned in New Orleans --followed by a cruise. The couple then moved to Chattanooga, Tenn. for a year where Kaleb will begin his career as an auditor at Elliott Davis Decosimo, and Sarada will continue her applications to medical school.