Our families have been friends for as long as we can remember. Anand and I reconnected back in January 2017 and had our first date a few weeks after that. It was spent walking the Waitakere Ranges and watching the sunset on Bethells Beach. Later dates varied from walks on Rangitoto Island to dinners in Auckland City. Not long after we began dating Anand and I realised we had something special. Our values and dreams for the future were aligned and we had a shared love of nature, sunsets and the night sky – telling signs.
Almost two years after our first date, Anand organised a surprise weekend away in Opua in the Bay of Islands at a luxury boutique apartment overlooking the harbour. After a day spent walking along the stunning coastline to Paihia, we freshened up and got ready for the dinner Anand had prepared. For the proposal itself Anand left a trail of red rose petals and candles for me to follow which led to him down on one knee.
We chose to marry in Wellington as it’s my hometown, so I have a lot of family situated there. Anand also has a soft spot for Wellington – he spent a couple of years working there and has cherished memories of that time. We heard about our wedding venue through the community – it was an expansive space to hold our large number of guests and permitted a small fire for the Hindu ceremony. Our wedding date was chosen according to the Hindu calendar and based on astrology. We liked that our wedding was at the start of autumn for its warmth and long lit days. It’s also my favourite season so I chose an autumnal colour palette for myself and my bridesmaids for the civil ceremony/reception part of the wedding, following the Hindu ceremony.
Our wedding had a modern Indian theme. We chose flowers that were in season and readily available – the garlands and bouquets had a mix of carnations, chrysanthemums, red and blush pink roses, calla lilies and achilleas with ruscus and eucalyptus leaves for greenery. We wanted a style that complemented the bridesmaids’ outfits and incorporated colour and texture while keeping with the modern, romantic theme.
I chose to wear a red modern-style lehenga (full length skirt, blouse and veil) for the Hindu ceremony. I selected my outfit based on the fabric quality and embroidery style and technique. The embroidery was a floral design embellished with pearl and gold beading. I chose to wear red due to cultural significance and tradition. In an Indian context, red is an auspicious colour connected to the rising sun and symbolises life, prosperity and fertility. I accessorised with ornate Indian-style jewellery consisting of earrings, a necklace, headpiece and bangles. I worked with a close friend of mine Anoushka who is a jewellery designer to design a custom pair of earrings for the reception to pair with my gold dress from ESSK. With her exceptional eye for detail and jewellery making skills, she brought my vision to life.
For the Indian ceremony, my bridesmaids wore off-white and ivory coloured outfits made in India, paired with red bangles and jewellery. At the reception they wore bias-cut, mid-length Shona Joy dresses bought online. I fell in love with the rich, jewel toned ‘garnet’ colour, then went about selecting a style that would suit the girls. The dresses were paired with gold earrings from Lovisa chosen for their bold shape.
Anand wore a Sherwani (groom’s suit) and Safa (headpiece) for the Hindu ceremony, and his close male cousins wore Modi-style suits. Anand and his family took to a trip to Gujarat, India to select and coordinate their outfits which were from Rajoo India. He was really glad they made the trip. At the reception, Anand wore a tuxedo and the groomsmen wore suits. We went for a really elegant, classic look for the groomsmen to complement us ladies.
We fed our guests with buffets throughout the day – traditional Gujarati dishes for lunch at the Hindu ceremony, and classic Northern Indian dishes for dinner at the reception including flatbreads like roti and naan and a variety of curries and lentils. Dessert was gulab jamun, an Indian sweet, along with our wedding cake. We had a cake tasting with Maxine Scheckter, the pastry chef from Sugar Flour, and chose a few of her suggestions for our three-tiered cake – boysenberry chocolate, yuzu mango and apple honey. They were our favourites due to the unique and interesting flavour combinations.
At the Hindu ceremony we followed a custom which involves a veil being held between the bride and groom, symbolising the physical world that separates them. When the veil is removed, it signifies the commencement of the couples lives together. The drop of the veil was our most memorable moment of our wedding as it was the first time we got to see each other on the day. We hope our guests enjoyed both of our ceremonies, and the time they got to spend with family and friends and on the dancefloor. Our wedding was so many things – cultural, colourful, meaningful, emotional and exciting.