The Arecibo Observatory is a place of scientific discovery and wonder. It is also a place of personal connection and love. This was evident on the day of Pia and Ivan's Indian fusion wedding, which occurred at the Observatory just months before it was closed down.
Pia is the daughter of radio astronomers who dedicated their life's work to researching at the Observatory. She grew up surrounded by the world of aerospace sciences and was soon dubbed "the child of the Observatory."
A few towns away from her, another girl was growing up, Cami. Throughout my teenage years, I spent my days daydreaming about space and astronomy. Although I was initially on a path for aerospace sciences after going through my first year of engineering physics in college, I decided to focus on more applied, mechanical ones.
That little aerospace fascination always stayed with me, even as I graduated from mechanical engineering and unexpectedly moved on to build a much less science-y business in the world of wedding photography.
The History of the Arecibo Observatory
The Arecibo Observatory is a radio telescope located in Puerto Rico. It is the third-largest single-dish radio telescope in the world. The Observatory was built in 1963 and has been used for various scientific research, including the search for extraterrestrial life.
The Observatory was severely damaged in a collapse in 2020. It was determined that the Observatory was not repairable and closed out in 2023.
The Arecibo Observatory was a significant scientific landmark. Its loss is a blow to the scientific community. However, the memories of the Observatory and the work that was done there will live on.
When Pia and Ivan met in the UK, they quickly bonded over shared hobbies and an ever-growing fascination with the world and people around them. Pia knew they had to send off the Observatory on a high note: their wedding could happen nowhere else but in a place so dear and magical as themselves.
Pia and Ivan's wedding was a day so chock-full of emotion. I was afraid I'd feel intimidated by the sacredness of the space. But the minute I walked into Pia and Ivan's getting-ready rooms, I felt at home.
Their event was full of incredible people from all over the world, as diverse as can be; still, they all felt like family. There was excitement, love, grief, thankfulness... There were so many emotions at play.
The wedding was a fusion of Pia and Ivan's multicultural upbringing. The ceremony took place with the Observatory as a backdrop.
Fusion Indian Wedding in Puerto Rico
Multicultural weddings are a growing trend in the wedding space as society learns about the importance of celebrating cultures. Indian fusion weddings combine elements of traditional Indian weddings with aspects of the other partner's culture.
Besides the Henna and traditional Indian attire for the couple and wedding party members, the couple performed several Indian rituals during their wedding ceremony. They exchanged the garlands, or Jai Mala, performed seven walks around the ceremonial table, and the Sindoor, a red dot administered to the bride's forehead by the groom.
Besides these Hindu-inspired traditions, the ceremony featured readings from humanistic and Christian literature. It was a beautiful, awe-inspiring ceremony for everyone present, no matter their cultural background.
After the ceremony, we did family and group portraits, after which Pia and Ivan's friends gave us a ride around the grounds of the Observatory. We explored different areas as the sun set and ended up at the coolest location: the Observatory's 60s-era control room.
The reception was lively, with heartfelt speeches, yummy Puerto Rican food, and dancing. The wedding was a beautiful and moving event. It was a celebration of love, science, and culture. It was also a fitting farewell to a beloved landmark.
Pia and Ivan's wedding at the Arecibo Observatory was beautiful and moving. It was a celebration of love, science, and culture. It was also a fitting farewell to a beloved landmark.
The Observatory may be gone, but its legacy will live on. The memories of the people who worked there and the discoveries made will never be forgotten.
I am so incredibly grateful to have witnessed such an important, greater-than-life event as we welcomed Pia and Ivan to a new adventure together. At the same time, we bid farewell to a magical place with such historical, scientific, and social importance. For many decades, the radio telescope focused on outer-worldly celestial beings. Still, that night, we only had eyes for two. Congratulations to the lovebirds.
Puerto Rico Wedding Vendors
Wedding Planning Sonia Gregory Weddings
Venue Observatorio de Arecibo
Photographer Camille Fontz
Videographer Capture Moments PR
Wedding Cake Kefi Patisserie
Music & DJ DJ Broken Nights
Hair & Make-up Glam by Gio R
Officiants Natalia and Carlos (friends of the couple)
Designer/store for couple and wedding party attire Depop, customized by Sherlie Divine
Caterer Chef Reyk