Describing their wedding as “Mod meets Moghul – a theme based on the sharpness of the Mod culture coupled with the glamour and colour from the Rajasthani era in India”, Aelia & Stuart were married at Kedleston Hall in Derby. They chose this space because it perfectly encompassed both of their cultures, which was really important to them. Aelia explains, “Asian weddings are notorious for being huge, but we didn’t want that. We wanted everyone there to truly feel part of the wedding. This was going to be a party for our nearest and dearest. We set out to find a unique venue to capture both our sides, tall order! We looked everywhere: gallery spaces, sculpture gardens, castles – the lot. We were losing hope until we came across a beautiful National Trust site in Derby. It was stunning and we fell in love with it straight away. Not only could we pretty much use the whole house for our ceremony, reception, dinner and dancing but it was closed to the public and it had a history steeped in the Rajasthani era as the owner was the Viceroy to India. Perfect! I had the Indian side covered and Stu had the design and architecture by Robert Adams covered. We couldn’t believe our luck.”
“Our inspiration stemmed from our two cultures: India and the Mod scene of the 60s”, Aelia continued. “Our profession as graphic designers also played a huge roll in making it a well designed wedding. My religion is Islam and Stu’s is, well… Jedi! We actually asked the string quartet to learn the ‘Ceremony Song’ from Star Wars so I could walk down the aisle to it! We both also have a love for geometric forms, and coincidently Islamic art is full of it so this naturally became the motif for all our stationery and paper goods.”
“Our next step was to secure the food. There was no question about it, we were to have curry for dinner. It was pretty much demanded by my friends and family. An Asian wedding isn’t complete unless you have a good curry. Five Rivers surpassed all our expectations. But this was a wedding of two halves, and instead of having canapés with drinks at the reception, we decided to have a tea party with copious amounts of cake, finger sandwiches and posh tea. This was kept a secret and I wish I’d been there to see everyone walk into the great kitchen to see a table running down the centre of the room with a mad hatter style party and a Choccywoccydoodah cake.”
Gosh where does one begin with a wedding like Bex & Piyush’s? This is pretty much what wedding bloggers dreams are made of… at least mine are anyway!
Bex & Piyush wanted to celebrate the heritage of both families in their wedding. The wedding was an Indian/Western fusion celebration at Heaton House Farm near Macclesfield. Unlike many mixed-background couples, they opted to have just one ceremony incorporating both a Western civil ceremony alongside Indian traditions. Bex & Piyush didn’t want to have two separate ceremonies, preferring to represent both their heritages together. ”Our wedding was a bright, colourful, inclusive, multicultural and non-religious, light-hearted day, providing an alternative to the inherent narcissism of traditional wedding”, began Bex. “We had the wedding on an English farm, complete with views of rolling hills, wellies and rain showers.”
“We ate vast amounts of curry – South Indian during the day and North Indian in the evening. We drank tea (of the marsala chai variety), we had a traditional fruit wedding cake complete with slightly more exotic ingredients: crystalised pineapple, papaya and pistachio, and not very traditional icing. We tried to make it a financially neutral event for our guests by providing transport, camping and a free bar. Our inspiration was colour, lace, doilies, henna, jam jars, lentils, roses, daisies, tin cans, books, swans, ladybirds, drumming, postcards, Mills and Boon, stamping, candles, camping, singing, caravans, curry, friends, family and dancing…”
We don’t get to see a whole lot of alternative Asian wedding inspiration, so I was thrilled when I received this bridal shoot with an edge from School of Rock graduate Rabbia Ali Shah from the Asian Wedding Ideas blog.
“Seeing the same Asian bridal images can start to get a little repetitive”, wrote Rabbia, “and the idea of something a little edgier is one that I had been thinking about for a while. Getting people on board wasn’t the easiest of task but getting in touch with wedding photographer Priti Shikotra, changed all that. She had similar thoughts about a shoot.”
“So we both set about drafting some mood boards and Priti found a location that would give us a contrast to the usual beauty and formality of Asian weddings. The concept was to inspire modern Indian brides and to show that looking gorgeous, didn’t just mean following conventional styling.”
“We wanted to keep some bridal elements of course like the dress and the henna, but by hitting the grimy streets of Manchester and experimenting with the hair and make up we fused the traditional Asian bride with an urban element.”
Tam & Rob had a wedding in three parts. Firstly a ceremony at Michelham Priory, East Sussex. “Michelham Priory is gorgeous”, began the bride. “We got married in a beautiful medieval barn.” Their reception was then held at Hawthbush Farm. They set up a marquee for an afternoon tea and then used the barn for a festival style party late into the night! “The farm is absolutely stunning. We felt very lucky when we found it. We had looked for a wedding venue for about 6 months and found it really hard to find somewhere that would let us do our own catering and didn’t charge ridiculous corkage. We also really wanted somewhere that our friends could camp. Hawthbush Farm is such a beautiful place and Toby and Lisa who own it are brilliant hosts. We stayed in the Cowshed and Piggery on the farm for a week before the wedding with loads of friends which was great fun. Lots of late nights preparing and making quite a big dent in the wedding wine!”
“We really wanted a fun wedding which guests would enjoy”, Tam continued. “Rob & I decided we would split the day into three, so we had the ceremony, the afternoon tea with games then an evening party. I think having three different venues with lots of entertainment was fun for the guests and us!”
After the ceremony, the couple actually had a second one – a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. “My dad is Indian so after the wedding ceremony everyone had a glass of Pimms and then gathered round for a traditional Parsee ceremony called a ‘Mado Soro’. The ceremony is a blessing for the couple to wish them good fertility and a fruitful marriage. My dad explained what was going on to all the guests and what the ceremony meant. We were presented with the most amazing fresh flower garlands that my cousins had bought over from Thailand. A fruit tree was planted by my brother while prayers were said by other relatives. An egg was passed round Rob’s head three times then thrown to the ground and broken. A coconut was then smashed on the floor. Everyone then threw rice and confetti.”
Back in February 2011 I was at exhibiting at the first Designer Vintage Bridal Show, Birmingham. Luckily for me the organisers plonked my stand right next to one of my ultimate besties, wedding photographer Emma Case. On the second day of the show in walked bride-to-be Aneesha, who had decided she wanted Emma to capture her 2012 wedding. After chatting about wedding planning, blogging and photography Annesha went upstairs to try on wedding dresses. Always one to get excited about this part of wedding planning Emma & I followed to see what the bride-to-be would pick. Aneesha & Ed were having a traditional Indian ceremony in the morning, but for the evening reception they wanted to change into western wedding attire. As soon as Aneesha tried on the slinky Yevonde by Jenny Packham the tears started to fall and we all knew it was the dress for her (photos nearer the end of this post).
I’m honoured that I was allowed to witness this experience and I’m even more thrilled that today I get to share their full wedding story with you.
The ceremony was held at Shri Ravidass Temple in Walsall, with the after party/reception going down at Berrow Court, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
“As our day was a mixed cultured wedding it was so important to us that our guests felt comfortable at all times”, Aneesha told me. “The only way I could do that was to keep them well informed. I did this by our wedding website, emails and Facebook messages. We also invited friends and family to the temple before the wedding day so they knew what to expect, I even had printouts made about what the meanings were was behind each parts of the ceremony.”
After the festivities of their Hindu ceremony, Lucy & Vish woke up on the Saturday morning ready to do it all again – this time in a Catholic church. The ceremony was held at St Patrick’s RC Church, Manchester, with the reception that followed back at St Peter’s Hall.
Their Catholic wedding has very British influences – from high tea to bingo! Lucy wore a vintage wedding dress from Elizabeth Avey. “I knew I wanted a vintage Betty Draper-esque dress, as the 50s is my style era! Elizabeth’s was my first stop, which was ideal as it was only up the road from where I live in Kentish Town. Although I didn’t find the dress straight away, Elizabeth knew exactly what I wanted and told me to return in a few weeks as she was due to get in more pieces. I’m so glad I went back as when I returned she pulled out THE dress, which was an original 50s number, fresh from LA! Although she needed a clean she was in pristine condition for her 60 years! It was originally a drop waist dress but the lovely ladies at Designer Alterations raised the waist to make it more prom style and lowered the neckline at the back, other than that she is exactly as she was the first time around!”
“I am obsessed with tea and cake, so my china tea-sets had to have a starring role, we had a tea-station serving masala chai, home-made cakes and Indian sweets on both days! We were able to supply all our own booze so we had a seemingly endless supply of Prosecco, which I drank from a tea-cup all night! On the Saturday night, the wedding guests actually drank the bar dry twice which led to our caterers having to go out and buy more booze! This led to many, many drunken guests, which is exactly what we wanted.”
“Apart from the flowers, we didn’t really need to do much to decorate the building as the space itself was so impressive. I did make a few meters of Bollywood bunting out of Indian sari material to hang and we used Indian flower garlands to decorate the tea and cake station. My Dad found the vintage typewriter in the garage and spruced it up so we could use it for a guest book. We hired the Neon Light from Neon Creations and Vish also bought a Carrom board, a Indian board-game crossed between drafts and pool which kept the kids entertained for the weekend!”
“Although all the details above were important, we tried not to get caught up in all of this,” Lucy concluded. “Quite a few things went wrong over the course of our wedding days, but tried not to let it get to us as they were only minor glitches that now make for funny wedding stories to be told in the future! The most important thing to us was that all our close friends and family were able to share in our special day(s)!, especially my Grandparents who are both in their 90s and we weren’t sure if they were going to be able to travel to Manchester or not. Thankfully both Nan & Grandad made it and were the guests of honour! We had the most amazing 2-days with all our favourite people so we couldn’t ask for more than that!”