Bridal Body Confidence with Harnaam Kaur

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Harnaam Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome, which meant she started growing a beard from aged 11. Battling to remove her hair every day, and bullied at school, she started to self-harm and considered suicide. Harnaam is now a body-confidence and anti-bullying activist. She fully embraces her unique look and hopes to encourage others to do the same.

I absolutely love weddings. I grew up attending Sikh, Hindu and western weddings and although each event was very different from the next, each time I would look at the bride in awe, transfixed by her beauty and elegance. Each and every one of them looked like a goddess, and I remember feeling excited about dressing up and being a bride myself one day.

Wearing the most gorgeous dress, carrying the prettiest floral bridal bouquet and marrying the man or woman of your dreams – there is so much to look forward to at a wedding! However I would imagine that for most of you, making preparations for your big day can be quite stressful, not only because you’re concerned about how it will turn out, but because of anxieties about your body or appearance.

Although there are pressures for woman to look a certain way whatever their race, in talking to my friends I have found that Asian women are put under a very particular kind of pressure to look perfect when they walk down the aisle. One of my friends who got married recently spent so much time in the morning worrying about if her make up was perfect (and if her skin looked light enough), whether she looked bloated from breakfast, and if all her body hair was removed properly that she was almost two hours late. I had another friend who told me that her future husband said he would only marry her if she had laser treatment all over her body to remove her excess hair. I’m pleased to say that she didn’t marry him in the end!

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Now, I understand that most brides want to look perfect on their wedding day, but it’s a fine line between wanting to feel happy and confident, and making yourself look a certain way because friends, family or society tells you that you should! Why do so many women feel the need to conform and fit into what other people say is beautiful?

Another added pressure I’ve noticed in Asian culture is the desire for brides to not only please her future husband, but his family as well. Too many times to mention I have overheard Indian mothers saying certain girls were too short/ too fat/ too tall/ too hairy to marry their sons. Every time I am absolutely horrified. I have always been shocked by how much women are judged for the way that they look, and although it happens to men too, it certainly doesn’t to the same extent.

I started growing thick hair on my body and face when I hit puberty. At 11 years old I was diagnosed PCOS which is a condition where there is an imbalance in hormones within the female body. This led me to have more male hormones then female ones which meant my hair grew like a man’s and I developed beard. I used to shave and wax my face but at the age of 16, after years of being bullied, self-harming and feeling suicidal, I thought enough was enough and I let it grow out. Since then, I have never felt more content, happy, and in love with my body.

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Unhelpful Husbands-to-Be

Dear Kat, I’d love some advice on how to get my fiancé more involved in the wedding planning without being accused of harassing him or being a bridezilla!? Essentially, I want to know how we can make it fun for both of us and not appear to be a chore. I’m happy doing most of the organising, but when it comes to the stuff I can’t really do (such as his suit) or things I need his input on (the guest list, the music, the food) he just rolls his eyes, huffs and gets annoyed! Help!

Men are such interesting creatures aren’t they? I have to admit, at first I was completely stumped on how to reply to this because its something I struggle a bit with too! I am very action-oriented. I hate to sit on things that need doing, whereas Gareth will take forever to motivate himself to do something and it drives me fucking insane. Granted, when he does get to whatever the task is, he always does a brilliant job (whereas my penchant for rushing right in sometimes ends up with a bit of a haphazard result!) But sitting around waiting for him to do things is very frustrating. I guess what I’m saying is I totally feel your pain!

Instead of trying to answer this myself, I actually decided to chat to Gareth about this, as he’s much more likely to be able to see things from your fiancé’s point of view. Here’s what he had to say. I hope this helps.

“Well, it’s a tricky one with such little info, because there’s going to be an underlying issue which is causing him to get so easily annoyed. It could be as simple as he’s got something on his mind which is really bothering him (finances, health, work) or it could be more difficult to tackle problem like anxiety or depression.

The trouble is, once a subject like picking a suit is raised frequently enough at the wrong time to cause anger, it becomes a trigger point forever more. So even mentioning it at a good time can lead to a reactionary outburst.

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Rock Themed Wedding in Italy

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Mj and Fab’s wedding took place at the Residenza San Tommaso hotel in Polignano, southern Italy. “Our theme was ‘nerd rock’!” said the bride. “We Just followed our hearts with everything we picked. We had a live rock back and we didn’t care what anyone thought about our choices! Our ‘flower girl’ was our dog that we adopted from a kennel a year ago. She wore wings and carried our rings!”

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“It was a perfect day. It was sunny and everyone was smiling. The best moments were when we first saw each other (I started crying!) and getting our photos taken!”

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Rock n Sparkles: A New Zealand Wedding Full of Surprises

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Whitney and Craig were engaged on their nine year anniversary and married on their tenth. The wedding was held at one of New Zealand’s oldest hotels, The Cardrona, situated between Queenstown and Wanaka.

“Our theme was ‘Rock n Sparkles’,” began the bride. “Those two things pretty much sums us up. We have a deep love of rock music and I have a deep deep love of all things glitter. We also absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE skulls and had white skull confetti up the aisle and scattered on the tables. I randomly stumbled across it five days before our wedding in a Halloween sale and I had to have it! I bought them all up for $1.50 a bag.”

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“One of the more unique things about out wedding was that we had a surprise wedding party of fourteen. Seven surprise bridesmaids and seven surprise groomsmen. None of them knew they were going to be in the bridal party until about half an hour before the wedding! They all wore their own clothes and they looked great even though no-one matched.”

“Another surprise was our ceremony music. As I said we’re both really into rock music so my entrance song was Astronomy by Metallica, the signing of the register song was I am a River by Foo Fighters and our recessional song we left to was The Game by Motorhead.”

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Low Key Wedding at Oxford University

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They met whilst both studying at Oxford University, so when Xandra and Steve got married that’s where they wanted to do it. “We met at the Oxford University Mountaineering Club during our undergraduate studies,” said the bride. “We had just moved to Edinburgh, so our initial plan was to have the celebrations there. Because we were not too familiar with the city, we found ourselves looking at wedding-packaged things, which felt too traditional. We eventually decided on Exeter College as a venue because it is a special place for both of us.”

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“So many people told us that the wedding felt ‘very us’, and that was the biggest compliment”, she continued. “We wanted to have fun, and incorporate things we love, such as Harry Potter, and Disney. We also wanted to pay tribute to our love of rock climbing in some way. We ended up sending our cake makers a sketch of a climbing-inspired cake, with ‘ropes’ of marzipan lining each layer, and 2D mountains on top inspired by a Poosac mountain pillow that was our first purchase for our flat when we moved to Edinburgh.”

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A Tim Walker Inspired Wedding

Inspired by some of Tim Walker’s most famous photographs, this wedding shoot was put together by French photographer Floriane Caux, stylist Madame Coquelicot and florist Poppy Figue.

“As a huge fan of fashion photographer Tim Walker, I secretly dreamed about doing a wedding inspired by his incredible world”, explained Floriane. “We based the shoot on several pictures. We wanted to give a knowing wink to his great art and put it into a wedding day. It was a hard task, believe me!”

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