A mixed-race wedding including both the civil ceremony, Indian ceremony and reception all in one day. Several pre-wedding events during the week, to combine the serenity and emotion of an English wedding with the craziness, fun and colourfulness of the Indian wedding. With so many different aspects to pack in, Sonal & Richard were keen to make sure that it was relaxed, fun and the energy was kept up for the entire day.
The day started in the early afternoon with a civil ceremony, with beautiful music being played by a string quartet who were dressed in traditional saris. They really set the vibe for the civil ceremony and after ceremony was over, they continued to play music whilst an an informal buffet-style Indo-Chinese lunch was served outside on the patio. After lunch, there was a change of outfit into our Indian outfits and Richard’s entrance was electric with the dhol players working their way from the long driveway at the front of the venue to the side of estate in order to take in the view of the Chess Valley. Once inside the venue, the string quartet switched to playing Indian music and there were some traditional pre-wedding games played e.g. girls side “stealing” the groom’s shoes unless he pays them! We ensured there were leaflets explaining the different parts of the Indian ceremony and the priest also took his time to explain the meaning behind some of the traditions. After the Indian ceremony we had some celebratory drinks and left some time for people to catch-up, take photos and walk around the grounds. We then both got dressed back into our civil ceremony outfits and we had a mixologist serving lychee and mojito cocktails with canapes for the cocktail hour on the patio again, whilst a magician made his way around the guests showing them his card skills, before making our entrance into the reception with the dhol players (I didn’t want to miss out on the dhols!). We had speeches conducted in between the 2 remaining courses with music playing throughout and there was then some entertainment for the guests in the form of a dance by some family friends, which Richard and I also took part in. After our own first dance, it was clear that everyone was itching to get on the dance floor and just have a boogey after a year of not being able to go out and dance!
We wanted to stay away from traditional Indian wedding colours and chose more pastel shades so that both weddings linked into each other seamlessly and because it would keep to the more elegant theme we envisaged. My family were wanting me to have 3 different outfits, this being the typical thing you would do for an Indian wedding i.e. as many outfit changes as possible! However, I was conscious that I would rather have 2 key amazing dresses and make the most of both of them.
I already knew I wanted to wear my civil outfit for the evening reception also. With that in mind, I had a look online for dresses to see what styles would look right. At Indian receptions, the outfits are normally much heavier, therefore, I knew the civil outfit would need to be something that fitted in well for both the daytime and evening also. I was looking for a very particular look and all of the dresses I liked online were incredibly expensive or just not the right look for the evening, and that’s when I decided bespoke was the only way I would get the look wanted without paying a crazy price. Initially I was scared about the possibility of paying for something I hadn’t seen. I was looking for embellishment on the dress, but I was also quite particular about how I wanted the embellishment to look.
I provided Lisa with a couple of photos of dresses that I liked and that was all that was needed to make my perfect dress. She asked my opinion on changes to the dress and most of the time I relied on her to tell me what would look best. She understood the criteria and the look I was going for immediately. I had so many compliments on the dress and most of my friends said “it was very you”.
I have been to several weddings where people start to waver by the evening and the idea was to keep people from wanting the day/evening to stop. We were mindful that most of our guests had been in lockdown for an entire year and for some of them, this was the first big event they were attending since Covid and they had high expectations as they told me so several times! The DJ got the music spot on and the dancefloor was full the entire evening, to the point where there wasn’t enough space and people were dancing around their tables also. When the music stopped at 12am, there were several people still belting out their own songs as they just weren’t ready to go to bed despite it being such a long day. That was amazing to watch.
We had several guests who had never been to an Indian wedding before and they all had such fun and many mentioned how included they felt in the day and in the pre-wedding events. Similarly, we had some guests that were family friends of my parents who had only even been to traditional Indian weddings, which typically are quite disorganised, timings go out of the window and everyone is doing their own thing throughout the day. They all said what a great event it was and what a good time they had.
It felt like the day went very fast and considering there was so much to pack in, everyone had a lot of energy throughout the day.
We used a number of suppliers. For the accessories to my outfits, I went for classic Jimmy Choo sparkly heels, BobbyPin for my hair pins and Kristina Gasperas for my hair and make-up, including also the bridesmaid’s hair and make-up. These accessories worked for both the civil and Indian ceremonies and I just had to change some of the jewellery for the different outfits
Photo Credit: Lighttrapper Photography