Shah, whose wedding inspired the LGBT community, talks to the American Bazaar about loving without barriers.
When New Jersey-based Indian American gay couple Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju tied the knot in an elegant ceremony, they weren’t really thinking about the society and what would people say. They were, instead, making official the strong foundation the two were setting up based on love and cementing it through a traditional ceremony that reflected their roots.
Shah and his husband, Madiraju, not only got married in public, but also chose to celebrate the way weddings are celebrated in the subcontinent – in a temple, with all the traditional rituals, amongst friends and family and intricate ethnic wear, as the world looked upon their unique and inspiring wedding for LGBT community.
“We came out to our parents about our relationship, about a year and a half ago,” Shah tells the American Bazaar, in an interview. “We had dated and decided to be together. We are exceptionally lucky as our families were supportive.”
He adds, “We chose to come out to them before our court marriage so that we have all of their blessings and love with us.”
Perhaps his upbringing in the United States may have played a part in it. Shah was born and raised in New Jersey and his Indian family never pressured him into believing or behaving in a way that didn’t come naturally to him.
Shah is a choreographer and founder of the award-winning dance company Aatma Performing Arts, based in New York, with chapters in New Jersey and California.
His husband, Madiraju, works at a risk management company.
Madiraju came to the country only about a decade ago. He lived in Chicago to complete his master’s before moving to the New York City, where the two met.
“We met at a party and were introduced through common friends,” Shah says. “There was a connect in our first meeting itself and we continued meeting. We knew we had to spend the life together as we perfectly complement each other. After about a year of being together we decided to come out to our parents, who then embarked on this journey along with us.”
The two got married in a civil ceremony at the New York City Hall in January. But when Madiraju’s parents, who live in India were coming to the US for the first time, they thought the time was just right for a traditional Hindu ceremony. Choosing the venue, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville, New Jersey, for a private abhishek ceremony was a natural extension of their and their families’ faith.
Asked if the thought of society, relatives and people ever crept in their minds, and whether they were concerned about what people would say, Shah says, “Of course that thought was there in our minds. But my mom decided to support me through out. She maintained that she would do anything for her son’s happiness and was in fact loud and proud about it.”
Having supportive parents served as a major boost for both of them.
The two are also very practical and are carefully planning their lives together. After a wedding that is being toasted across the globe, are the two looking to a get-away and have a cozy honeymoon? Shah responds, “We are not doing a honeymoon right now. We built a new house together in New Jersey in January. We live together and have already built a life. We also have a dog together and are a happy little family.”
The couple’s wasn’t just a routine temple wedding. They had an elegant sangeet in their backyard, complete with marigold decorations and angrakha kurtas. They also had a cocktail party in New York to celebrate the place where they would often meet when they were dating.
About their future plans, Shah says, “We travel a lot and we are looking ahead to go to Italy in August. We will be blogging and working with a lot of brands and designers. By fall we are also launching our own clothing line, so all this is keeping us very busy but very much in love.”