Dear Shital,

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…

Back in November 2019 we had been together for about 1.5 years and we decided to take a trip to India and toured around North India. I have always wanted to visit all the palaces that Rajasthan had to offer; not to mention the iconic one of all love stories the Taj Mahal. So we set off for 3 weeks to India embracing all its history and love stories that came with it. Unknowing that our love story was going to become an ever lasting one. After visiting one of the most famous palace in Jaipur; City Palace and a long day of touring we went back to our hotel, tired and ready for food. Once back at the hotel we got ready and went down for dinner, and straight after went for a long walk around the hotel grounds. The Hotel we stayed at was called Shiv Vilas and had the most beautiful architecture I had ever seen and in the evening it was even more beautiful, all lit up. It was then when wondering around he got down on one knee and asked me to Marry him!!!!

Tell us about your proposal and initial wedding plans?

As soon as he proposed I was already planning our wedding for February 2021 for that, a destination wedding too. On our trip we could see how romantic and beautiful India was which made our decision to get married there easy. Originally we had decided on a wedding in Udaipur as it was known as the ‘city of lakes’ for a perfect wedding and a back drop that immersed our love story. However after visiting Goa for my cousins wedding we decided that Goa was the perfect location; sun, sea and sand and also mimicking the Raja’s palaces we found Resort Rio, which had everything we wanted for our perfect destination wedding, with a intimate civil wedding back in the UK.

What was your first reaction when you found out about the lockdown? What encouraged you to go ahead with the wedding plans?

Unfortunately our plans soon came to a halt when COVID-19 struck the UK and the rest of the world stopping travel, weddings and other gatherings. We were so disappointed and upset but still optimistic that everything will be okay, and so we decided we would postpone the wedding to allow us to carry on our plans. Again our plans were interrupted by COVID-19 and this time it seemed that planning any kind of destination wedding would be impossible.

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

Due to all the delays and the uncertainty of COVID we decided we ‘just wanted to get married’ simply for the fact that how long do you wait? How long do we keep waiting to do all the things that come after marriage. Getting married and planning a wedding is only a small part to what is the beginning of a life time together. As the guidelines changed and 30 people were now allowed to attend weddings, we immediately jumped to do our ‘Legal’ wedding simply as we do not know when we could do our Hindu ceremony and didn’t want to wait any longer for the things that were actually in our control. It was all a bit of a spare of the moment decision, and so I called the registry office. Again we hit a stumbling block many registry offices and venues were fully booked after calling several places around Manchester….. We finally managed to secure a date in Crewe, only one problem, we now only had 4 weeks to plan the civil wedding and after party!!!

What did you love most about your dress? How did you choose the ‘THE ONE’? Did you have a colour theme?

My Dress- the one thing I could have a little control over when everything was going pear shaped! Originally I had decided I wanted a white wedding dress with a Indian fusion twist. With limited time and many places not open or open by appointment only, I came across Payal and her couture shop in London! She was amazing immediately made me feel comfortable and looking around her shop I was totally in love with the design and detail of all the dresses that were on show. I tried on about 5 dresses; when my sister and bridesmaids pointed out a sparkler, a fully embellished dress which was the total opposite of the ones I had in mind. I immediately tried it on and completely fell in love. I felt (sorry for the cheesy quote) but truly like a princess! It actually fit like a glove, like the dress was made for me, the only thing was it wasn’t a one piece which is what I originally wanted. Payal did not hesitate to offer suggestions to make it perfect and so we decided to make a belt which made the dress complete and also offered me alternative ways to wear the dress! The dress I picked wasn’t even my colour scheme of a traditional white wedding dress but a champagne dress with a Lillic mesh blouse and scarfs completely embellished. Luckily this all matched the outfits I had picked for my bridesmaids, Mum and Aunty!

Who was actually present at the wedding ceremony in person? How did you manage your guest list?

I decided to go with local vendors and friends who have hidden talents, as we only had 4 weeks left and many people especially the wedding industry have been hit hard by the pandemic. My Family and I got to action in booking a restaurant for the wedding breakfast, flowers, table decorations, the cake, photographer and of course sorting out the guest list of 30 (which did not include vendors and the bride and groom), the most important thing above all this was where was I going to get my dress and will I get one in time!!! Low and behold much to our surprise we hit another stumbling block when guidelines changed and only 15 people were now allowed to attend the ceremony and the uncertainty if our wedding on the 10.10.20 would go ahead. All vendors had to go on standby, but they were all so understanding. The guest list had to be changed at the last minute and so we decided to only have our immediate family present and 1 friend each (this included parents siblings and our aunties, uncles and grandparents) luckily this made the 14 people. We also had around 70 groups of people from around the world join in on a zoom call so they could watch the ceremony! Which made it even more special!

What was the most memorable moment of the day?

The most memorial moment of the wedding was seeing his face when he saw me in my dress and the sparkle in his eyes, which made all the stress and uncertainty go away. In my head I was like we made it we are getting married, and actually it was not what we had wanted but it was still perfect, everyone we wanted was there either in person or virtually no one really missed out!

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

I would say COVID isn’t going away so instead of letting it ruin plans and lives I would say just go for it, no matter what you plan it will be perfect for you! And getting married isn’t about pleasing everyone its about making a promise to be with someone for the rest of your life. Planning and having the civil wedding during COVID actually was less stressful then what I had originally planned and we actually remember it, there was no hustle and bustle worrying about if you had spoken to that aunty or remembering that uncles name. It was just so nice to be able to do such a intimate wedding!!!

What are you both up to now, what are your plans for the future?

Since our wedding we have now decided we will now be doing our Hindu Ceremony in the UK and use the lessons learnt from our civil to make it a small and intimate using local vendors who have suffered through this pandemic and they are much more understanding! I will be doing my outfit shopping through Payal too. We are also hoping once COVID allows we will be able to do our honeymoon. We are currently just settling in to our home as a new married couple.


Supplier love

Photographer: Gurveer Birdi Photography and Lucy Robyn Photography
Venue: Crewe Municipal Building
Restaurant Venue: K2H Creative Indian Kitchen (Sandbach)
Florist and table decorations: Beautiful Creations by Kanta
Cake: Heenycakes
Make up and Hair: Sujata Patel MUA

Shital & Kishan’s Wedding

Dear Shital,

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…

Back in November 2019 we had been together for about 1.5 years and we decided to take a trip to India and toured around North India. I have always wanted to visit all the palaces that Rajasthan had to offer; not to mention the iconic one of all love stories the Taj Mahal. So we set off for 3 weeks to India embracing all its history and love stories that came with it. Unknowing that our love story was going to become an ever lasting one. After visiting one of the most famous palace in Jaipur; City Palace and a long day of touring we went back to our hotel, tired and ready for food. Once back at the hotel we got ready and went down for dinner, and straight after went for a long walk around the hotel grounds. The Hotel we stayed at was called Shiv Vilas and had the most beautiful architecture I had ever seen and in the evening it was even more beautiful, all lit up. It was then when wondering around he got down on one knee and asked me to Marry him!!!!

Tell us about your proposal and initial wedding plans?

As soon as he proposed I was already planning our wedding for February 2021 for that, a destination wedding too. On our trip we could see how romantic and beautiful India was which made our decision to get married there easy. Originally we had decided on a wedding in Udaipur as it was known as the ‘city of lakes’ for a perfect wedding and a back drop that immersed our love story. However after visiting Goa for my cousins wedding we decided that Goa was the perfect location; sun, sea and sand and also mimicking the Raja’s palaces we found Resort Rio, which had everything we wanted for our perfect destination wedding, with a intimate civil wedding back in the UK.

What was your first reaction when you found out about the lockdown? What encouraged you to go ahead with the wedding plans?

Unfortunately our plans soon came to a halt when COVID-19 struck the UK and the rest of the world stopping travel, weddings and other gatherings. We were so disappointed and upset but still optimistic that everything will be okay, and so we decided we would postpone the wedding to allow us to carry on our plans. Again our plans were interrupted by COVID-19 and this time it seemed that planning any kind of destination wedding would be impossible.

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

Due to all the delays and the uncertainty of COVID we decided we ‘just wanted to get married’ simply for the fact that how long do you wait? How long do we keep waiting to do all the things that come after marriage. Getting married and planning a wedding is only a small part to what is the beginning of a life time together. As the guidelines changed and 30 people were now allowed to attend weddings, we immediately jumped to do our ‘Legal’ wedding simply as we do not know when we could do our Hindu ceremony and didn’t want to wait any longer for the things that were actually in our control. It was all a bit of a spare of the moment decision, and so I called the registry office. Again we hit a stumbling block many registry offices and venues were fully booked after calling several places around Manchester….. We finally managed to secure a date in Crewe, only one problem, we now only had 4 weeks to plan the civil wedding and after party!!!

What did you love most about your dress? How did you choose the ‘THE ONE’? Did you have a colour theme?

My Dress- the one thing I could have a little control over when everything was going pear shaped! Originally I had decided I wanted a white wedding dress with a Indian fusion twist. With limited time and many places not open or open by appointment only, I came across Payal and her couture shop in London! She was amazing immediately made me feel comfortable and looking around her shop I was totally in love with the design and detail of all the dresses that were on show. I tried on about 5 dresses; when my sister and bridesmaids pointed out a sparkler, a fully embellished dress which was the total opposite of the ones I had in mind. I immediately tried it on and completely fell in love. I felt (sorry for the cheesy quote) but truly like a princess! It actually fit like a glove, like the dress was made for me, the only thing was it wasn’t a one piece which is what I originally wanted. Payal did not hesitate to offer suggestions to make it perfect and so we decided to make a belt which made the dress complete and also offered me alternative ways to wear the dress! The dress I picked wasn’t even my colour scheme of a traditional white wedding dress but a champagne dress with a Lillic mesh blouse and scarfs completely embellished. Luckily this all matched the outfits I had picked for my bridesmaids, Mum and Aunty!

Who was actually present at the wedding ceremony in person? How did you manage your guest list?

I decided to go with local vendors and friends who have hidden talents, as we only had 4 weeks left and many people especially the wedding industry have been hit hard by the pandemic. My Family and I got to action in booking a restaurant for the wedding breakfast, flowers, table decorations, the cake, photographer and of course sorting out the guest list of 30 (which did not include vendors and the bride and groom), the most important thing above all this was where was I going to get my dress and will I get one in time!!! Low and behold much to our surprise we hit another stumbling block when guidelines changed and only 15 people were now allowed to attend the ceremony and the uncertainty if our wedding on the 10.10.20 would go ahead. All vendors had to go on standby, but they were all so understanding. The guest list had to be changed at the last minute and so we decided to only have our immediate family present and 1 friend each (this included parents siblings and our aunties, uncles and grandparents) luckily this made the 14 people. We also had around 70 groups of people from around the world join in on a zoom call so they could watch the ceremony! Which made it even more special!

What was the most memorable moment of the day?

The most memorial moment of the wedding was seeing his face when he saw me in my dress and the sparkle in his eyes, which made all the stress and uncertainty go away. In my head I was like we made it we are getting married, and actually it was not what we had wanted but it was still perfect, everyone we wanted was there either in person or virtually no one really missed out!

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

I would say COVID isn’t going away so instead of letting it ruin plans and lives I would say just go for it, no matter what you plan it will be perfect for you! And getting married isn’t about pleasing everyone its about making a promise to be with someone for the rest of your life. Planning and having the civil wedding during COVID actually was less stressful then what I had originally planned and we actually remember it, there was no hustle and bustle worrying about if you had spoken to that aunty or remembering that uncles name. It was just so nice to be able to do such a intimate wedding!!!

What are you both up to now, what are your plans for the future?

Since our wedding we have now decided we will now be doing our Hindu Ceremony in the UK and use the lessons learnt from our civil to make it a small and intimate using local vendors who have suffered through this pandemic and they are much more understanding! I will be doing my outfit shopping through Payal too. We are also hoping once COVID allows we will be able to do our honeymoon. We are currently just settling in to our home as a new married couple.


Supplier love

Photographer: Gurveer Birdi Photography and Lucy Robyn Photography
Venue: Crewe Municipal Building
Restaurant Venue: K2H Creative Indian Kitchen (Sandbach)
Florist and table decorations: Beautiful Creations by Kanta
Cake: Heenycakes
Make up and Hair: Sujata Patel MUA

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

Neha & Scott’s Wedding

Dear Neha,

Thank you for agreeing to be part of our website wedding blog. We think your wedding was a very romantic affair ….one could feel the love in the photographs and it looked so colorful and well coordinated!

It will be a good read for couples that are planning to have a destination wedding…

Tell us about your marriage proposal?

I knew the proposal was coming as we’d already finalised the wedding destination! I also knew that whatever Scott had planned, it would be sentimental. On the day, I thought we were just going for dinner so I was not dressed for the occasion at all. On our way, we drove past our old university (which is where we first met), and he suggested popping in just to see how things had changed. As we were walking around the grounds, he got down on one knee and took out the ring.

Why did you decide to have a destination wedding and what made Portugal the destination you picked particularly special?

Scott and I both wanted a destination wedding because we wanted an outdoor wedding and taking a chance on the unpredictable UK weather wasn’t an option for us! Lisbon in Portugal was a perfect choice – it’s a vibrant city and not too far for most of our family and friends to travel to. It’s also home to a large Indian community which made it easy to source all the intricacies that come with a Hindu wedding. We were easily able to find a planner, caterer and people to do our décor. We also incorporated the Portuguese culture in our celebrations through the food and entertainment.

Did you pick up any tips during the planning stage?

We picked Penha Longa, a Ritz Carlton resort in Sintra (just outside of Lisbon) for our wedding venue. One of the things I found really useful was researching online and checking Facebook & Instagram for other couples who’d also used the same venue for their wedding. It was interesting to see which parts of the hotel they’d utilised for each event and it gave our planner a point of reference when deciding on our décor. After the wedding I had 5 brides contact me (all of whom had seen my pics online) to ask my advice on getting married in Portugal so it’s really valuable if people are willing to share their experiences.

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

I’m quite experimental with my fashion choices and not afraid to try new styles so I ruled out anything too traditional. I knew I wanted my bridal outfit to be fun and different. Payal had the most amazing material which was on a different outfit in her showroom, it was the right colour scheme and had the exact level of detailing I was after. It started with using that as a foundation for the skirt and then Payal designed a blouse to match incorporating the style I wanted. The end result was a gorgeous bright floral pink and coral lengha with gold embellishment and pearl accents.

How did you plan your outfits and jewellery for each event? Which was your favorite outfit?

For each event, we planned the outfits to depict the theme or complement the venue. The mehndi night was the start of our celebrations; the theme was ‘bright colours’ and we didn’t hold back. Payal created a funky, multicolored party lengha for me with mirror work.
The wedding ceremony took place outdoors in a rustic venue that dated back to the 16th century, it felt a bit like Game of Thrones in a modern day setting! So for our outfits, we opted for light colours to match the scenery and landscape of the Sintra hills.

Did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?

The instrumental version of Jashn-E-Bahaaraa from Jodhaa Akbar.

What about your first dance song and did you practice your dance or completely wing it?

This is one part of the celebrations I was secretly dreading and even though we tried to practice, I knew we’d forget it all when the time came.
We picked an acoustic cover version of David Guetta and Usher’s ‘Without You’ by Boyce Avenue and asked our DJ to mix it with the original version which is faster. It meant our first dance was only 45 seconds long before we made our friends and family join us on the dancefloor!

Most memorable moment:

The fun! It’s not every day you can get all your friends and family together in the same hotel relaxing by the pool!

What advice would you give to other couples planning an Indian destination wedding?

Don’t get stressed over the small details because most of the time the guests won’t even notice!


SUPPLIER LOVE

Photographer: Geeshan Bandara Photography, Sri Lanka
Videographer: The Wedding Diary by Ruwin Fernando, Sri Lanka
Venue: Penha Longa Resort, Portugal
Catering: Details Event Planning, Portugal
Décor: Passage to India, Portugal
Wedding planner: Lisbon Wedding Planner, Portugal