Vandana & Virad’s Wedding

Dear Vandana,
Thank you for agreeing to be part of our website wedding blog.

First of all congratulations on getting married! Your lockdown wedding will inspire a lot of couples that are unsure to proceed with the wedding or wait for the pandemic to pass…

Tell us about your proposal?

Virad proposed to me in St Paul’s Cathedral in London! We both work in the City of London, in fact, we both have a view of it from the window at our desks at work, so we are lucky enough to see it every day! Oddly, despite being so close by, neither of us had ever been inside and we’d been wanting to visit it for ages. On the day, we arrived at St Pauls, wondered around and slowly made our way up to the Golden Gallery, which is just above the dome – for those who haven’t been I’d really recommend it! The 528 step climb is worth it, as you have some of the best views in London. Once we got to the top, we did one loop (including finding our office building) he got down on one knee and it was perfect. To most, proposing in the City wouldn’t mean much, but for us, having met at work and spent countless days and nights in the City all around St Pauls over the last 7 years getting to know each other, it was perfect. We then went to Searcys for some drinks and stayed at The Ned – a wonderful and most unforgettable (City) day!

Was your wedding decided pre-covid or during lockdown?

Having got engaged in February, we were planning to get married in late 2020, therefore we had started speaking to venues initially in Italy for a destination wedding. After a few weeks we went into lockdown so took a ‘wait and see approach’. Things then started to open up, therefore our search did as well. We reached out to a number of venues in England, including our dream location which we thought was out of reach. They had our preferred date, 26th September – after a quick family huddle we went for it! Only problem was, we only had 7 weeks until W-Day!

How long did it take to organise a lockdown wedding? What were the challenges you faced?

We planned the wedding in 7 weeks! We found our dream venue quite quickly, so were very happy with that. The biggest challenge we faced was the constantly changing government guidelines for weddings. As this was moving all the time, it was very difficult to plan most aspects of the wedding and actually commit to booking things. Our biggest fear was an announcement that guest numbers would be reduced even further or that wedding ceremonies or receptions would be banned altogether leaving us devastated.

In the end, we were so lucky to have been able to have 30 guests as just three days before, the government announced that the new restrictions would permit only 15 guests for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions would be banned from the Monday after the weekend of our wedding. Having so few guests was such a challenge for us, but thankfully we have great friends and family who were super understanding.

Another challenge I faced was finding my wedding outfits. I was fearing this the most as I would say I’m very particular in what I like and don’t like and what I feel comfortable in! As with lots of Asian brides, the ideal scenario would have been to go to India to do my wedding shopping. Obviously this was out of the question. The search was long and stressful and I had no luck at all until I came across Payal’s shop! Of course, as with all men, Virad found his outfit within 45 minutes and had it fitted the same day! – how do they do it?!

What parts were unexpectedly easy to organise?

Given the timeline and size, everything was difficult but also somehow easier to organize. The time meant we had to make fast decisions and the small scale meant we were able to agree things quicker. Suppliers also were more flexible as they had lower volume of bookings. As with all Asian wedding’s, our families were on hand to do whatever we needed and I must admit Madhu’s, our caterers, were brilliant from start to finish – they helped with the venue, food and all the small details. Also, I know that there is a Supplier shout out section below, but Nisha at Wed-in-Style was also amazing. She was so accommodating and flexible with all our needs and changing ideas!

What did you love most about your dress? How did you choose the ‘THE ONE’?

I loved absolutely everything about my dresses (wedding and civil)! I didn’t want a traditional Indian wedding dress, that was heavily embroidered and very blingy, so the dress I found was absolutely perfect in every way. I wanted to steer away from the traditional colours (reds and golds) so I chose a peach dress (lengha), with delicate hand embroidery over the entire skirt. It had just the right amount of sparkle. The top had fully embroidered sheer sleeves. I instantly feel in love with it from the moment I saw it, and as soon as I tried it on, I knew it was ‘THE ONE’! I always get so stressed when getting Indian outfits fitted as they just never fit me well, but I could not believe it when my outfit fit me so perfectly on the first fitting – it fit me like a glove! My civil dress (a green grown) was a western-Indian style flowy dress. Green is my favourite colour and it was absolutely perfect for me, very much my style! Again it just fit perfectly and I really loved it. Payal was so so lovely throughout the whole process, she helped me so much with choosing my perfect dresses and made me feel comfortable and confident in them both. I truly loved both of my outfits, they were most definitely my dream outfits!

Did you follow the ‘something old, something new…’ tradition?

Funny enough, that didn’t come to mind! I don’t think I had anything old, only new! And nothing blue, so I guess I didn’t follow that tradition!

Who was actually present at the wedding ceremony in person? Did you have a zoom wedding?

For our 30 guest wedding we had my immediate family (x7), Virad’s immediate family (x5) 5 of my aunts and uncles, 4 of Virad’s. 3 of my cousins and 4 of his friends. Then we also had my cousin who was our photographer. The Priest/Registrar also counted as a number.

Yes we did have a zoom wedding. We had family joining and watching online from the UK, Canada, America and India. In total we had 238 people on zoom. It was so lovely for us to be able to share our wedding with people that couldn’t be there in person.

What was the most memorable moment of the day?

The day went so fast and there were so many memorable parts. For me, one was taking photos outside as a newly married couple. The grounds of The Grove are beautiful, with amazing landscapes (Virad is a keen golfer so was also loving it!). I am a keen photographer myself, as are my entire family, which meant my dad was also taking our wedding photos, alongside my cousin. Quite a special and unique thing – in a beautiful outfit, roaming around a stunning venue with your new husband and my dad behind the lens, enjoying his daughter’s wedding day but also his passion for photography. To all that are due to get married, the day goes so fast so be sure to take it all in!

Tips for brides to be in lockdown, what one thing would you recommend?

Go for it! Many brides and Grooms have an idea of the perfect wedding, but you’ll find your bit of perfection in what you do. Yes, we didn’t have the destination wedding but we both agreed we had OUR dream wedding – small scale, intimate family, excellent food and the dream venue. Don’t forget that having a small wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have a big scale reception in a few years or a destination wedding to renew your vows in the future.

What are you both up to now, did you go on honeymoon?

For the friends fans out there – Like Monica says, ‘now I have to live with a boy!!’ – but seriously, we are both lucky that our jobs can be done remotely, so I have made the swap from North to South London, living in Wimbledon in Virad’s (now converted) ex-bachelor pad – working and spending time together in lockdown 2.0.

We did! Again, we were so fortunate with the honeymoon. We originally wanted to go to Bora Bora, but travel restrictions stopped that fast. We instead did an amazing trip around Italy (great for veggies) – eating our way from Lake Garda, to Venice, Florence, Rome and finishing in Amalfi (Sorrento, Positano and Ravelo) – again, I’d recommend people do try and get away after – yes, you can go further down the line but you want the wedding energy to last as long as possible and this is a perfect way of continuing the high!


SUPPLIER LOVE

Photographer: My cousin (who used to do wedding photography – Mepani Photographers)
Videographer: My Uncle (who used to do wedding photography – Mepani Photographers)
Venue: The Grove
Catering: Madhu’s
Florist: Wed-in-Style
Wedding planner: Provided by Madhu’s