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The wedding of the year

A lavish two-day celebration joins Greek and Indian traditions

On the day she married Gregory Evangelis in a hilltop chapel on the Greek island of Mytilene, Patricia Aivalikles was far from her Medford home. A girl of modest means, she wore a plain, unpretentious mini dress and clutched a tangle of wildflowers.

"We'd forgotten a bouquet, so Gregory went out to the field and picked some flowers," she says. "It was beautiful, like a fairytale."

Now, 35 years later, Patricia and Gregory's daughter is getting married, and this second-generation wedding also has a strong storybook appeal, though for a very different reason. Unlike the parents' spartan ceremony, the daughter's is an ultra lavish affair the likes of which even seasoned wedding planners do not often see.

Taking place Saturday and Sunday at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, the union of Theane Evangelis and Teddy Kapur will be nothing if not opulent, with two ceremonies -- one Indian, one Greek Orthodox -- designer dresses and jewelry, flowers from around the world, international food and music, and even a white horse.

"It's sort of like Cinderella without the royalty," says Patricia, who lives with her husband in Andover now. "It's the wedding Gregory and I never had."

The bride and the groom, who live in Los Angeles, say their marriage is so extravagant in part because they are merging two great cultures -- not to mention some 250 guests -- and want to acknowledge the rituals and traditions of both. But also, since they're getting hitched on New Year's Eve, the pressure's on to throw a spectacular party.

"We both love the holidays," says Evangelis. "And with all of our family and friends around us, we want to make this a very special occasion."

Judging from the weekend's exhaustive itinerary and elaborate arrangements, it will be. From an ice sculpture of intertwined T's -- Theane and Teddy's monogram -- to the pomegranate martinis that'll be the signature cocktail at Sunday's reception, there isn't much the couple has overlooked.

"We want a real 'wow' factor," says the bride.

A graduate of Medford High School and Georgetown University, Evangelis, 30, met Kapur, 29, in law school at New York University. Kapur, whose parents emigrated from northern India, grew up in Houston and graduated from Rice University before going to NYU.

The interfaith couple has been together for three years. Their first date was to a movie, the cross-cultural "Bend It Like Beckham," about an Indian Sikh girl whose interest in the Western sport of soccer disappoints her parents. A year ago, Kapur proposed to Evangelis as they were gazing out over the Boston skyline from the plush Cloud Nine suite on the 19th floor of the Nine Zero Hotel.

Evangelis, who finished first in her class in law school and clerked for former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor, works as an entertainment lawyer at an LA firm whose clients include A-list actors, directors, and musicians. Kapur practices corporate law.

The wedding guests are arriving now, and the festivities officially begin tomorrow with a candlelight rehearsal dinner in the Governor's Ballroom at the Four Seasons. William Mizuta, the high-end, private florist who helped design the weekend, said each of the events will have a distinct look, with special attention paid to light, color, taste, and even fragrance.

"Theane and Teddy not only have a strong attachment to their ancestry," said Mizuta, whose clients include Governor Mitt Romney, former advertising executive Jack Connors, and Citizens Bank CEO Lawrence Fish, "but they also have a real sense of style."

That style is evident in the couple's exquisite clothes: Evangelis is wearing an outfit by Diane Von Furstenberg to the rehearsal dinner; a custom dress by Boston-based Indian designer Shelley Chhabra for Saturday's Indian ceremony; and a stunning, hand-sewn Lyon-lace gown by Vera Wang at Sunday's Greek Orthodox ceremony. (Did we mention that her shoes are Stuart Weitzman? Or that she'll be ornamented with Indian jewels purchased for her in New Delhi by Kapur's mother?)

"Theane has it all together," says her mother. "She's a very stylish girl. She insisted that I buy a dress I'd never buy -- it's by Domo Adami and it's beautiful."

Kapur, meanwhile, is wearing a slate-blue suit by Ermenegildo Zegna to tomorrow's dinner; a custom, cream-colored Indian ensemble with stitched maroon and gold beading to Saturday's ceremony; and a John Varvatos tux on Sunday.

But what will make this wedding more fanciful than merely fancy are the many rituals. Saturday morning, for example, Kapur will be fitted with a traditional Hindu headdress and floral veil before riding on a white mare, trailed by his family and friends, from the Park Plaza Hotel to the Four Seasons. There, the noisy procession, which is called a Baraat, will be greeted by the Evangelis clan, and the two families will embrace and give each other garlands.

"The horse is an Indian tradition everyone seems to enjoy," says justice of the peace Amrutur Srinivasan, who'll officiate the ceremony. "I performed a wedding in Philadelphia where the groom, who was an MIT grad, wanted to come in on an elephant, but the zoo was closed so he couldn't get it."

The ceremony will be conducted entirely in Sanskrit and last up to 90 minutes, after which guests will sit down to an Indian-inflected vegetarian spread. Floating, raspberry-hued lilies will adorn each table.

Sunday, guests will be shuttled to the Greek Orthodox Church of New England, at Parker and Ruggles streets, where no fewer than four priests and a Byzantine cantor will again marry the couple. Guests may be struck by the similarities of Indian and Greek services, which both involve crowns, sacred flames, and ceremonial walks.

"I had no idea," says the mother of the bride. "The more you're exposed to in this world, the less ignorant you become."

Finally, guests will return to the Four Seasons for a rack-of-lamb dinner and a red-letter rave that'll feature a Greek band, the Makredes Ensemble, and a Turkish DJ , Seyhan Duru. Chartreuse and burgundy flowers -- peonies from New Zealand, orchids from Singapore, and hydrangeas from Chile -- will bedeck the ballroom, and guests will be given goodies, including a tiny crystal bell to ring at midnight.

Evangelis and Kapur have taken four dance lessons in LA to prepare for their first twirl together -- it'll be a ballad from "Moulin Rouge" -- but they wonder if anyone will be watching. After all, it's Greek custom to wave money over the newlyweds as they dance.

"They actually shower you with hundreds of $1 bills," says Evangelis, laughing.

So what's the price tag for such pageantry? It's steep to be sure, but the parents are enormously proud of their children, and have no qualms about the high cost. (They won't say just how much they're spending.) Gregory Evangelis, the bride's father, opened a service station in Chelsea soon after moving to the United States from Greece, and still works there six days a week. And Kapur's father, who came to this country from Punjab in 1971, is an administrator at the University of Houston.

"This is just a great American story," says Mizuta, the florist. "A true American story."