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Ceremony & Reception


Sharon Burns & Neelan Choksi

May 5, 2001



The wedding ceremony was a late afternoon affair held at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missourri. Just as the marriage was a union of two cultures, the wedding ceremony consisted of mix of Indian and western traditions as well as specifics chosen by the bride and groom.

Graham Chapel During the Spring

Maid/Matron of Honor Best Man
Laura Gericke - Sharon's sister
Mike O'Connor - Neelan's friend from college
Bridesmaids Groomsmen
Diane Burns - Sharon's sister
Nicole Bryan - Sharon's friend from college
Jennifer Logeman - Sharon's friend from college
Eric Andrew Ask - Neelan's friend from college
Kyle Jay Stokley - Neelan's friend from Corpus Christi
John Vernon Ward - Neelan's friend from college
Speakers Ushers

Bharat Mehta - Neelan's uncle from Bangalore India
David Burns - Sharon's brother

James Cazamias - Neelan's friend from Corpus Christi
David Burns - Sharon's brother

Many people have asked for a copy of the wedding ceremony, and in particular the speech given by Uncle Bharat. We'll put the ceremony on the website shortly but for the time being, here is the text from Uncle Bharat's speech:

Mr. and Mrs. Burns, my sister Geeta, my Mother, friends and relatives of our two families and Neelan and Sharon in particular,

When I was asked to say a few words on this occasion, I felt honoured for this opportunity extended to me. However, this initial exuberance soon gave way to butterflies as the magnitude of the task began to dawn on me. I schemed a way out of this and wondered if a one liner would do. So here it is, "if you want your marriage to succeed, don't do what I did." But wait a minute, the next speaker will not going to be ready for another 6 minutes, so bear with me as I try to share what the school of hard knocks taught us, my wife and I.

The single most important factor we decided upon was to give our marriage the maximum weightage and the top most priority. Everything else was subordinate to it. This was not easy. Hitherto we were used to taking decisions based on our personal likes and dislikes. This had now to be replaced, with our new status as husband and wife. Instead of saying that I am going to the movies, we found ourselves saying that, "come lets go to the movies." I became we. This changed even further when we entered our new role as father and mother. So you can see, our individuality slowly started taking a back seat and we found ourselves increasingly taking collective decisions in the greater interest of our marriage. Do this always. Do this everytime, till it becomes your second nature.

As responsibilities increase, continue to find time for one another. Household duties, career matters and parental responsibilities will leave apparently no time, but look and create these openings. Hold hands as you walk up to your car on your way to work. Share a thought that appealed to you as you drive along. Take pictures of happy moments. Step back every now and then to relive those joyful cherished memories. But this does not mean that everything is going to be hunky dory. There are bound to be occasional differences of opinion. So what. Actually, if you ask me Neelan, differences enrich a marriage. But don't let that make you go looking for differences. There's also no point in pretending to agree with the other on everything. In that case, there is no need for one of you.

A rich child will always say that a banana is yellow. A poor child who has only eaten the discarded and over ripe ones will say it is black.s Neither is wrong. Both are correct from their individual point of view. So never conclude hastily. Keep an open mind and try to understand what prompted the other to make the statement.

Another ingredient that we have come to accept is that there is strength in resilience. When a storm blows over, the mighty oak lays shattered on the ground, but the blade of grass has survived. It allowed itself to bend and allowed the storm to pass. So don't stand up rigidly. Learn to compromise and reconcile. Bend. You can bend easily only when your ego is in check. As you lie down at night, within arms reach of each other, your ego can actually take you miles apart.

So work at your marriage everyday. Be alert and agile to weed out unhealthy influences. Constantly look for moments that will help you strengthen it. Remember infatuation is short lived. Look for something that is beyond the ravages of time. Show concern, care, respect, appreciation and communicate freely. I am sure you will agree that the secret of a good marriage is no longer a secret.

I hope this has not sounded as a sermon. But don't blame me if it did. The ambiance has had a little to do with it and my enthusiasm to help launch Neelan in his married life.

I would like to end by paying tribute to my Father and Neelan's Father who are no longer with us. I know they are smiling down on us, proud of the man Neelan has become and proud of his choice in a wife.


The reception was held at Cafe DeMenil on May 05, 2001 6:30 PM - 11:30 PM.

The reception menu featured Indian (recipes from Neelan's mother) and American food, and the wedding cake was chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. The reception entertainment was by Mystic Voyage.



We held an event for all of our out-of-town guests on Friday night, May 4th from 7 - 9 pm. It was at a restaurant called Harry's. There was a buffet of heavy appetizers and a cash bar. We rented a private party room and part of the patio, which is to the right when you enter.


On Sunday, we will have a casual breakfast/brunch in the hospitality suite at the Hampton Inn from 10:00 - 12:00. The emphasis is on "casual." We just want to have another opportunity to hang out with everyone who has traveled from around the world to come to our wedding. We will probably bring in bagels, fruit, juice, etc. Feel free to stop by at any time.

Hampton Inn, Union Station
2211 Market St.
St. Louis, MO 63103