Alpa and Amit, Essex, England
Vintage architecture, deep emotion and special memories came together at the marriage of these childhood sweethearts.
A decade may be a long time but when you have your sweetheart by your side, time sure flies. Alpa and Amit dated each other for 11 years and filled with sweet memories and emotional moments, their story tugs at the heartstrings.
Alpa tells us about their journey and their big day.
How We Met
We met at 14 and married at 27. We were best friends instantly but started dating two years later. Amit doesn’t believe in fate but every path in our lives has led us back to each other.
When my dad was very ill, Amit and his family came to visit and to ask for my hand in marriage. My dad passed away and I had no idea this had happened. Only when Amit proposed to me did he tell me and I hold the memory dear. I’m told my father was extremely happy and pleased and had absolute faith that Amit and his family would look after me. I had an unbelievably special bond with my father so this meant a lot to me and really solidified our relationship.
On New Year’s Day, 2017, Amit and I went to dinner to a French restaurant at London’s Tower Bridge. Our first holiday together was in Paris so our choice of the cuisine that night bore significance to us. As we left, it started to rain and we decided to watch the Thames and London’s twinkling lights. In this serene and peaceful setting, as the stars shone above us, Amit popped the question. I couldn’t stop smiling.
We had our civil ceremony at the lovely manor house, Hylands Estate, Essex. We wanted something vintage and we were so excited to exchange our vows at such a beautiful venue. The crisp snow against my white dress made our white wedding all the more romantic.
Our Indian wedding and reception were held at Boreham House, an exquisite English heritage house with ample character. The bare winter trees and cold breeze made our wedding picture perfect. From start to finish, Gemma and her team were at the venue and made us feel loved and special. We had attended other weddings at this venue after our engagement and Gemma remembered us every time she saw us there. I find this level of attention so crucial for keeping the bride and groom at ease.
Our civil wedding was simple, intimate and classic. A violinist played an acoustic rendition of John Legend’s ‘You and I’ as my brother walked me down the aisle. It was bittersweet and seeing Amit waiting for me was a moment I will never forget.
I had a shower bouquet filled with baby blues to match the groom’s suit and my bridesmaids’ dresses. Their bouquets also matched mine and were tied with an elegant ivory ribbon. We chose both our mothers as witnesses to the signing of the registry and had our bridesmaids and groomsmen escort our guests to the staircase for the confetti. After photos, we had a seated Lebanese lunch in the venue’s stunning ballroom. It was so perfect, I didn’t want to leave!
The mehndi was a week later and it was something I was really looking forward to. For me, mehndi is about the quality and not the quantity. I didn’t want it up my legs or arms but just enough to look elegant with a very intricate design. They say the darker the mehndi, the more your husband loves you… I felt super lucky as my mehndi was practically black and stayed for a full 2 weeks! I wore a pink-mirrored anarkali and had fresh flower earrings and a tikka made. This was one of my favorite looks as I genuinely felt like a bride.
For our Indian wedding, we went for a mandap decorated with fresh blooms to match our outfits. Pastel peonies were a must. We paired this with Ganesh statues and charming flower arrangements lining the walkway. I’m a firm believer that Ganesh is the remover of all obstacles so respecting this was really important to me. Our garlands fit the theme and I chose large-headed baby pink roses with green-tone carnations. I’m so pleased with how these turned out as I knew I wouldn’t feel bridal enough if I had a skinny garland! Just like diamonds, the bigger the better! Dressed in a Sabyasachi lehenga, I felt like a queen that day!
My brother and I had designed a personalized wedding programme for our guests to read during the Hindu wedding ceremony. We made it informative yet funny and I know a lot of guests took these away with them. It is a nice touch for those who aren’t familiar with the order of the ceremony. I also had a pre-recorded speech played right before my entrance – this had the whole room in tears and had an exceptional response. I spoke about my mother, father, in-laws, and husband and it was quite an emotional moment. I love a good scene-setting and I’m so happy I did this. It’s not customary for the bride to give a speech so I ran with this chance to tell my family how much I appreciate them.
For our reception, we re-used the flowers from the top of the mandap and paired this with blossom trees and candelabra for our centerpieces. The candelabra were smothered in orchids which was a very elegant touch. We had two large trees besides our head table which was made of perspex and again, decorated with flowers.
Our 7-tier cake had a pink and gold luster and was embossed with the same personalized logo I had printed on my wedding invitations. I love personal touches and although no one else would have noticed, it was extra special for us.
Dressed in my grey gown by Archana Kochhar I felt like an Asian Barbie doll that was at long last marrying her Prince Charming!
Advice For Couples
1. Plan ahead and start early. The best suppliers get booked well in advance and it’s a shame to lose them if you have your heart set.
2. Budget smartly and set your mind to stick to it.
3. Share the workload. Let your husband work out the maths whilst you choose the flowers or vice versa.
4. Let your loved ones have their say; your day is just as special to them as it is to you!
5. Enjoy the process and remember above all else, you’re marrying the love of your life and if a few things don’t go to plan, it’s not the end of the world.
Venues: Manor House (Civil Ceremony), Boreham House (Indian wedding)
Décor: Sincere Events, EM Designs London (Mandap)
Caterers: Annapurna & Shayona, Vasudev Mehta (Maharaj)
Bride’s Outfits: Pronovias Barcelona (Civil Ceremony), Archana Kochhar (Mehndi ), Payal Singhal (Vidhi), Sabyasachi (Pheras), Archana Kochhar (Reception)
Groom’s Outfits: MOSS Bros (Civil Ceremony and Reception), Ralph Lauren (Mehndi), Desi Groom, London (Vidhi and Indian wedding)
Makeup: Samihah Makeup (Civil Ceremony), Ambreen and Sophia Afreen
Hairstylist: Shamalah (Civil Ceremony)
Mehndi: Kiran Sahib
Entertainment: Shiv Gopal (Music), Jessie May Smart (Violin), Girl on Sax (Saxophone)
DJ: AK Musik
Cake: Rohima’s Cakes
Bar: Single or Double Events
Photography: Anthony Chok
Videography: Paskali Films