How we met
Aditya and I met at a friend's wedding in Langkawi but it was a friendship that grew organically, albeit with a lot of help of technology (Skype, Viber and Facetime). We're similar and yet so different that it came as quite a surprise to everyone. I'm extremely sociable, a shopaholic and a real energizer bunny. Aditya on the other hand, is a lover of all things quiet and is happy with books and sports channels for company. Our long distance relationship could have been difficult because it meant that one of us would have to relocate. It was fraught with a lot of changes and decisions about renewing our lease agreements, gym memberships, and other practical choices that come with not knowing where you're going to be in a few months. However, when you know it's the right person, there's such certainty in making those decisions that there's neither confusion nor any resentment about it. I was fortunate that my organization agreed to relocate me to India so it didn't feel like a complete upheaval.
Since I had only 4 months to plan the wedding and relocate, we decided against a destination wedding because we had more control over things in Mumbai. Given my exhaustive list of friends, we could either go all out or keep it really small and special. I'm glad we opted for the latter. And for all my friends from Hong Kong and other countries, coming to Mumbai was a 'destination' in itself.
Our wedding festivities kicked off with a small Mehendi function for family and close friends.
The wedding ceremony was held at the Chinmaya Ashram Temple in Powai. I had attended a friend's wedding at this temple 13 years ago and somehow the memory stayed with me. We did consider other temples that could also provide accommodation for the family visiting from out of town, but when I learned that I could book the entire temple, I had no doubt that this was where we will tie the knot! It's so peaceful, spiritual and set amidst lush green trees that one has to be reminded that one is still in Mumbai.
Post the wedding, we didn't want a typical formal reception, so we organized a more casual, fun affair at Tote on the Turf in Mahalaxmi. Choosing Tote as the venue was a no-brainer because we were assured of the ambiance, the quality of food, drinks and the excellent service.
The finale function was a brunch for my friends who stayed in India until the weekend after our wedding, at Salt Water Cafe in Bandra. I’m glad we picked this venue- the location and food are both great and they have a private section so it was just the perfect venue for an intimate celebration.
Wedding Outfits and Jewellery
Because of the paucity of time, I did some research online on websites like Pernia's Pop-Up Shop, etc but I knew I wouldn't be able to buy anything online (or off-the-rack) and that my outfits would have to be customized to my style and requirements.
So we visited many designers and stores, especially multi-designer stores like AZA. Aditya got a bandgala and his kurta set from there while I picked some clutches-- they offer a good range and very good service.
I purchased all my traditional outfits i.e. Mehendi outfit and wedding lehenga from Delhi-based designer Amrita Thakur. I like her style, she's a young and talented designer who has a real flair for colors and her clothes are perfect for brides who want a vibrant, young look.
My traditional Kerala style white saree with the gold zari border was from Karalkada, a store in Trivrandrum.
For the Reception, I wore a draped saree gown by designer Sonaakshi Raaj. I'm very petite and therefore I didn't want to wear something voluminous. So I thought a saree gown was an ideal option, I mean just zip and button and you're ready to roll!
For the brunch, I wore a quirky and a super fun hand-woven dress by Debashri Samanta.
With regards to jewellery, I'm not into gold and diamonds. I'm more into costume jewellery and silver, so I relied on my friends to help me navigate in this area and it was a real education! What made it easier was that I knew what I didn't want. So I opted for a Polki set because it's so easy to mix and match with other outfits and is timeless according to me. My other set was a temple jewellery set in a style I prefer, dull gold finish.
Makeup Artist- Pakkhi Pahuja
I had signed on a very senior and well-known Makeup Artist from Andheri because he was highly recommended by a friend and has 18 years of work experience. Unfortunately, I get a text from him 2 days before the wedding informing me that he's stuck at a shoot in Mauritius and will be unable to come. Initially, I was too numb to react. However, he put me in touch with an artist Pakkhi Pahuja. I met her for the first time on the day of my wedding, but I guess I was destined to work with her because I really liked what she did without transforming me completely.
I wanted the no make-up just dewy look and for my hair I wanted something that is 'me'. In fact, I didn't even want hair extensions but Pakkhi insisted and I'm thankful to her because it definitely did look more dramatic for my big da
Photographer- Payal Kumar
I logged on to WeddingSutra, and discovered that a former colleague of mine, Payal Kumar is now a photographer. I'm so glad I chanced upon this information because not only did I get to see her work, but I also got the opportunity to connect with an old friend. Payal makes her clients feel very comfortable and manages to capture some rare moments in the most non-intrusive way. Aditya dislikes being photographed and I was worried that my album would only be solo shots of me beaming into the camera instead of the newly minted couple, but she coaxed him into submission.
Advice/Recommendations for brides-to-be
- India offers such a wide range of options for clothes and jewellery that it can get overwhelming. Hence, know your body and what styles and colours suit you, instead of following trends blindly..
- Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop is a useful website to see the work of emerging designers and to learn about what's trending.
- Don’t hesitate to ask family and friends for help and suggestions. My friends were a huge support and it's through them that I learnt about Amrita, Sonaakshi and Debashri. Had it not been for my friends I may have ended up wasting money on more expensive clothes which I wouldn't have loved as much.
Photographs Courtesy- Payal Kumar