Real Columbus Wedding: Alekhya Dega & Justin Shum

A multiday, multicultural event united these Buckeyes fans in married bliss.

Peter Tonguette
Alekhya and Justin Shum on Oct. 5, 2019

This story first appeared in the spring/summer 2021 issue of Columbus Weddings, which published in December 2020.

Oct. 5, 2019 | When they first embarked on their relationship, Alekhya and Justin Shum bonded over touchdowns, extra points and end-zone celebrations. Like so many Central Ohioans, they are fans of the Ohio State University Buckeyes. 

“We spent a lot of our friendship watching Ohio State football, and it just developed more into a relationship as months progressed,” says Alekhya, a native of Dublin who was introduced to Justin in February of 2015. 

“Especially at the beginning, it was like: ‘Hey, we’ll just hang out during the next game and get together,’” says Justin, who grew up in Upper Arlington and attended OSU. “We’re both deeply rooted with Ohio State football and the culture that comes with it,” Alekhya says. 

When the couple set their wedding date, Alekhya’s first priority was to identify a date compatible with the couple’s astrology for their Hindu ceremony; she landed on Oct. 5, 2019. Alekhya then checked the OSU football schedule and discovered, to her chagrin, that the Buckeyes were to face off against Michigan State. 

At first, Alekhya was not too alarmed. “Normally, this is a noon game or a 3:30 game—not a big deal,” she says. But then the game was designated as homecoming and scheduled to take place at night. 

“Usually, for Indian weddings, the morning is the ceremony and then there’s a break, and then the evening is a reception,” Alekhya says. “I knew the reception time was going to hit exactly at game time.” 

A Big 10 foe, homecoming, a night game—it spelled trouble. Although Alekhya and Justin were concerned that guests from overseas—she had family in India, he in Hong Kong—would have trouble finding hotel rooms, they decided to proceed with the wedding at Downtown’s Hyatt Regency. 

The traditional, multiday celebration emphasized Alekhya’s Hindu background, kicking off Thursday with a mehndi ceremony featuring the application of henna body art. A Friday morning mass, to embrace Justin’s Catholic roots, preceded the main festivities on Saturday. 

Amid the hubbub, the couple found time for some quiet moments. “At the reception, I had asked the wedding planner: ‘I would like 15 minutes in a room alone where both of us can just have dinner together,’ ” Alekhya says. 

Of course, OSU references could be found in the super-fans’ ceremony. In his vows, Justin spoke about themes of leadership and love that he had encountered in former OSU coach Urban Meyer’s book, “Above the Line.” 

Alekhya and Justin were glad they went ahead as planned. After all, there will be plenty more OSU-Michigan State matchups. “At the end of the day, we looked at it like: ‘Football comes and goes every year, but you get married once,’” Alekhya says. 

The Details

Ceremony and reception: Hyatt Regency Columbus 

Event designer, florist and stationer: B3 Event Management 

Caterer: Moghul Restaurant (Edison, NJ) 

Cake: Yummy Bakery 

Rentals: Connie Duglin Linens 

Photographer: Style & Story 

Videographer: Veda Films 

Music: DJ Mavi Productions 

Bride’s attire: Shyamal & Bhumika sari and lehenga, Sabyasachi accessories, Christian Louboutin shoes 

Groom’s attire: Shyamal & Bhumika sherwani, Sabyasachi accessories 

Rings and wedding party attire: Purchased in India 

Bride’s hair: Lauren Wolff Hair Design 

Bride’s makeup: Kayyee Beauty 

Rehearsal dinner, accommodations and Sunday brunch: Hyatt Regency Columbus