A Backyard Ceremony in Durham Goes Global

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Aastha Garde and Katie Jacobs held a backyard ceremony in Durham on Aug. 22, 2020, with their close friends and family watching virtually

backyard ceremony in Durham – Aastha Garde and Katie Jacobs

By Chiara Evans
Photography by Mick Schulte
, mickschultephotography.com

Wedding Date August 22, 2020

Occupations Katie is a genetics and genomics Ph.D. student at Duke University studying cell navigation. Aastha is also a Ph.D. student at Duke and studies cell biology and cell invasion behavior.

Crossed Paths The two met in 2015 in their Ph.D. program at Duke. They became friends through classes and bonded over their love for contra dancing. They’ve been together since 2016.

The Proposal After three years of dating, marriage came up in one of the couple’s regular “deep chats.” While there was no official proposal, they both felt they were heading toward marriage, so they decided to move in together first. Exactly one year after living together, they were ready to take the next big step.

backyard ceremony in Durham – Aastha Garde and Katie Jacobs

The Big Day COVID-19 shifted the couple’s wedding plans, but they found a way to share the day with friends and family across three different continents. The 50 guests they planned to invite joined via Zoom; only an officiant, two witnesses and their photographer attended in person at the backyard ceremony in Durham. “Going virtual made it so that some of our family members who would’ve been unable to attend in person could be there,” Katie says. “It was really special to have them see us get married.”

Favorite Moments Aastha, who grew up in India, wanted to include traditional aspects of Hindu weddings. The ceremony featured a garland exchange, which Aastha calls “the perfect little nod to the Big Fat Indian Wedding,” and handmade outfits made by Aastha, who crafted her own dress and Katie’s top with materials from The Scrap Exchange. She also thrifted Katie’s skirt from Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel. “There’s nothing more comfortable than getting married in clothes you’ve made for yourself and your wife,” Aastha says.

Are you a recently married couple living in Durham? Want to share your big day in the magazine? Send a note to hannah@durhammag.com to learn how you can feature your wedding in an upcoming issue!

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