Swati and Jake – Udaipur, Rajasthan
Swati and Jake travelled from their home in London to tie the knot in Udaipur at a cultural-fusion, destination wedding with guests from all over the globe! The bride tells us how it all came together.
They say you don’t marry a man you can live with- you marry a man you cannot live without. For me, that man, without a doubt, is my husband Jake. I realized this a long time ago, but truly understood what unconditional love, trust, hope, passion and gratitude meant when we started planning our wedding.
The planning was always going to be a highly complex and emotional journey. We come from two cultures, so different on the surface, but so fundamentally alike in tastes and preferences. An English wedding is expected to be a one-day, sophisticated, well organized affair. Imagine the looks I got when I told my in-laws about all the functions Jake and I wanted to have!
Jake and I met at work, in London, which is also where we live. We always knew we had to have our wedding somewhere between the UK and Singapore, where my family lives. So, we decided to make it mutually inconvenient for everyone!
Wedding Venue and Functions
After a flying visit to Udaipur, we booked the whole of Chunda Palace for the duration of the wedding. We chose this venue because we could use any space we wanted in the whole palace, even the beautiful Jhoola room where we started the festivities with my Mehndi ceremony. It was a beautiful celebration with all the ladies from my family singing and dancing Punjabi folk songs, keeping me company whilst I got my hands and feet painted with henna. When you have lived abroad for so long, these are the little traditional things, which make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
After the ladies got their mehndi done, we started off the night with a frenzy of bholiyaans, an essential at a Punjabi wedding! I think everyone was caught off guard, including us! I cannot express how thrilled I was to see all our English friends participating and having such a gala time! For me, this was definitely one of the most unforgettable moments of the whole wedding. The event was held in the main courtyard of the palace, which was completely lit up. Everything was so colourful! We had a Mela theme with live candy floss stalls, ‘mehendi’ cupcakes, live food stations serving chaats, pani puri and all the other street food India is famous for! We really wanted our guests to be able to enjoy the delights of Indian culture especially the street delicacies.
The night concluded with a fun-filled and utterly crazy neon-lights pool party. We had glow paint, glow-in-the-dark accessories, lots of cocktails and a gorgeous pool set in a royal room (the walls adorned with intricate traditional Rajasthani artwork) with blue mood lighting. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for everyone!
We had our Starry Nights Sangeet evening at the Ramada Hotel the next day. Our friends and family put on such a great show, and my brother-in law Nirav Shah, who also runs his own events company, hosted the whole event faultlessly, leaving all of us in such high spirits that night! I wore a custom made Rose Room Couture Dhoti-Sari by Isha and Namrata Rajpal. The concept caught my eye at Aashni & Co’s Summer Affaire at the Dorchester (London) and it immediately resonated with me. Dhoti Saris are fun, comfortable and allowed me to party the night away. I never wear much jewellery and wanted to look and feel like myself at my wedding so I kept my jewellery to the minimum; just chandelier crystal earrings by Swarovski.
My hair and make-up for all functions was done by the amazing Tejasvani Chander who I cannot thank enough for making me look natural! Our friends and family put on such a great show. It was definitely the most emotional yet enjoyable and stress-free night for both Jake and I.
The third day began early with an intimate Chura and Haldi ceremony. Even the groom participated! Then it was time to get ready for the big day.
For the wedding ceremony, I wore a fishtailed lehenga custom-made in Delhi. I wanted something non-conventional so chose a deep purple over the usual reds and maroons. The lehenga, designed to my specifications was a unique combination of gold and silver threadwork, Swarovski embellishments and I chose to accessorize with a shimmery beige veil in net (like an English bride but with an Indian twist) with the same green and purple borders as the lehenga. I wore a classic platinum and diamond set and a simple crystal headpiece.
The mandap overlooked Lake Pichola and The Udaipur City Palace in all its grandeur. It formed a totally surreal, yet breathtaking backdrop for the wedding ceremony!
Our Rooftop Romance themed wedding dinner had a gold and blue colour scheme. I wore a gold and black lace and net saree by Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
This function was overwhelming and emotional and I was in bits by the time Jake and the best men gave their speeches. Our wedding celebrations concluded with a grand finale of the cake cutting, our first dance, and a spectacular fireworks display!’
I can’t thank everyone enough for making our wedding so special, for travelling from all the corners of the world to be there for us and for loving us unconditionally. We worked so hard in planning this wedding, and things did go wrong (hopefully no one noticed!) but given a choice, I would do it all over again (with the same groom, of course!).
The Wedding Makers
Wedding Co-ordinator: Neha Chauhan from Back2Culture, Delhi
Photographers: Katia Peshakova and Chandni Dua
Cinematographer: PhotoTantra, Delhi
Hair & Make-up: Tejasvini Chander, Delhi
Emcee: Nirav Shah (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DJ: DJ Kavish, Udaipur
Wedding Stationery: Customizing Creativity, Mumbai
Mixologists and bar team: BehindBars 24X7, Delhi
Photos courtesy: Katia Peshakova Photography