By Henry V. Thiel
Photos by Meredith M. Carlson
The first time Sugar Land residents Nelvin Joseph Adriatico and Avinash Shyam Thadhani met at Guava Lamp in 2002, the bar’s owner and mutual friend Woody Gould tried to step in and play matchmaker.
“He was not attracted to me, and the feeling was mutual,” notes Adriatico with a smile.
“I was not ready to be in a relationship,” confesses Thadhani. “I was in the closet at the time, and still in my early 20s. I was more interested in partying than a relationship,” he adds with a wink.
Fast-forward 10 years, and on December 26, 2012, they found themselves back at Guava Lamp. When Adriatico walked in, he saw Thadhani on the other side of the bar. “He was wearing a white-and-blue-stripe shirt. I didn’t even recognize him at first, and then we got to chatting.”
This time, they hit it off big-time, and in no time at all they decided on the perfect wedding date—March 14, 2015, a date deemed perfect because of the numeric significance of 3.1415, which Adriatico explains for those who are not up on their geometry: “It was the only time in our lives that we would see a ‘perfect PI’ day.”
When asked who proposed to whom, they respond in unison, “We both did!”
“I am a planner type of guy,” admits Adriatico, principal/owner and Realtor with CORE Realty. He spent three months planning his proposal. “I wanted every moment to be memorable. I wanted it to be unique. I wanted it to be perfect!
“With my son AJ’s help and input, we came up with the idea of ordering various items that would spell out Avinash, will you marry me? So I got a notebook with Avinash on it, a T-shirt that read Will, a cap (Marry), and mugs (You and Me). I also ordered a card. In it, I wrote a poem, and towards the back there was a ‘Certificate of Marriage Proposal’ embedded in the card.
“Christmas is hard for Avinash because it’s the month of his mom’s passing,” Adriatico explains. “I decided that I wanted to create a new memory for him, without discounting the memory of his mom. So I decided to propose on December 25. I asked my friends Ricky and Ella to help me surprise him by hosting a lunch get-together for all of us.
“After lunch, I started to unbutton my shirt to expose the T-shirt I was wearing that says Will,” Adriatico continues. “Then Ella served us coffee in the mugs I had made with the words You and Me on them. My son AJ put on his cap which read Marry. I then handed Avinash the notebook that had his name on it, along with the card as part of my Christmas gift. As he was reading the message and the poem I wrote to him, I noticed he was still unaware of all the messages I was trying to convey, so I went down on my knees and I popped the question. I was already a nervous wreck and had started to cry at this point. His response to me had me crying buckets.”
Instead of answering with an excited affirmative, Thadhani replied with a disclaimer: “On one condition.”
Thadhani then dropped to his knee, reached into his own pocket, and pulled out a ring, presenting the condition: “I will marry you, if you marry me.”
“I was in total shock,” says Adriatico. “I later found out that he had been carrying the ring in his pocket for almost a week, and was just waiting for the right moment. So I guess December 25 was the perfect moment for both of us.”
“When we started planning our wedding, we knew that we wanted to have back-to-back Indian and Christian weddings to honor both of our families,” shares Thadhani. “And since we both have family in Los Angeles [and same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Texas], we decided to get married in L.A. We spent a long weekend checking out venues, and when we saw the Beverly Hills Greystone Mansion, we both said at the same moment, This is it!”
“Getting to and from the wedding venue is a story we will tell our grandchildren,” Adriatico points out, “and anyone else who wants a laugh.”
“We wanted a very traditional wedding,” says Thadhani, principal and managing partner at CORE Realty. “So we decided to ride to the Greystone Mansion in separate limousines with our groomsmen. On our way, our driver became lost in the hills, and the car started smelling of gas. Then there was a loud sound like an explosion, and smoke started billowing from the hood. We all piled out of the limo, scared that it would blow up.”
As the wedding party walked up the hill, all dressed in their Indian wedding finery, passing drivers slowed down to gawk at what they must have thought was a casting call for a Bollywood production. But the best part was yet to come: the grooms followed Indian wedding tradition and rode into the ceremony on horseback, to everyone’s delight.
After the wedding ceremony, everyone rushed back to the hotel to get ready for the reception, leaving Thadhani and Adriatico waiting for their getaway car—which, true to form for the day, never came. Their wedding planner and personal photographer came to their rescue by ordering Uber to take them back to the hotel.
Six months after their wedding, the couple honeymooned in an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico.
“Hey,” admits Thadhani. “We had to recover from the wedding.”
Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist.