An Elegant Contemporary South Indian-Sri Lankan Wedding in Australia | Splendid Photo & Video

I have a real beauty to share with you today! Allow me to introduce you to Abi and Dilshan, an Aussie couple who met at work. Their first meeting may have been a little unromantic, but it culminated in not one but two colourful, joyful celebrations that joined their lives, families, and cultures!

Abi’s family heritage is South Indian and Dilshan’s is Sri Lankan. It was very important to the couple to marry within both of their cultural traditions, Hindu and Buddhist, so they chose to have two separate ceremonies a few days apart.

The first was a Hindu wedding filled with colour and ancient rituals, and the second was a more pared back Buddhist ceremony that included a procession with traditional Kanyan dancers and drummers, and was followed by an elegant reception.

Enjoy these delightful images captured by the appropriately named Splendid Photo & Video and wait till you get to the end, this savvy couple share the most brilliant tips to help you with your wedding planning!

How Did You Meet?

We met in our graduate year at Deloitte. Our first meeting couldn’t have been more unromantic. Despite us having contrasting personalities, we eventually became friends. Our friendship evolved into love, and as they say, the rest is history! We both knew that we had a good thing quite early on into our relationship – we were comfortable around each other, whether it be acting the fool, debating serious topics, or laughing out loud at a good dad joke!

The Proposal

During the year leading up to our engagement, Dilsh had moved to Melbourne for work. At that time, we were starting to discuss the prospect of sharing the rest of our lives together. Our six-year anniversary came and went. We had a romantic dinner reflecting back on our relationship, but by the end of the evening, there was no proposal. A couple of weeks later, my girlfriends organised a long overdue catch-up dinner – little did I know that Dilshan was orchestrating this behind the scenes. Friday night came, and the girls played their roles well – I was on time and they were late. They were routinely texting to say they were on the way, so I was waiting outside. Suddenly I turned around to see Dilshan walk down the pier – he had secretly flown into Sydney that afternoon to surprise me. I was in such a state of shock that I didn’t even register that Dilsh was down on one knee, holding in his hand the most beautiful brilliant-cut diamond ring, set in a rose gold band (exactly like the one I had dropped so many hints about). When it all finally sunk in, of course the answer was yes! I loved the fact that he successfully outwitted me. We had the most romantic dinner at the Flying Fish at Jones Bay Wharf, which boasts uninterrupted views of Sydney Harbor.

Coming Together

It was very important to us to celebrate our wedding in both of our respective cultural traditions – Hindu and Buddhist. Our wedding style was minimal, modern and elegant, staying true to key traditional elements.

We used Pinterest and Instagram as our main sources of inspiration. We also chose experienced suppliers who have seen it all – they were able to provide us with valuable advice.

We secured photography and videography services with Splendid Photos & Video. Splendid sat down with us prior to our wedding days in order to understand the nuances of our respective cultural ceremonies. We were also given a reasonable quote for bundling both photo and video services across two full event days. They were professional and creative and gave us plenty of direction on the day. We would definitely recommend them.

The Hindu Wedding

The Bridal Outfits

Since I had about three wedding events in total, I had quite the task ahead around choosing outfits and changed my mind about 100 times when making outfit decisions.

The traditional silk sarees for my South Indian Hindu wedding were from Sundari Silks. Red is traditionally an auspicious colour in eastern culture and represents the Goddess of Wealth. Zari is the pure gold thread used in traditional Indian garments to create brocade patterns and motifs. It was traditionally associated with the clothing of Gods and royalty.

The Ceremony

Our Hindu wedding at Miramare Gardens was bursting with colour and rituals, which go back centuries. Irene from VIP Decorating did all the styling. She was able to bring to life my vision of reflecting elements of the gardens indoors, with florals and greens decking the top of the wedding altar and delicate crimson drapes edged with vines. Walking down the aisle, catching each other’s eye and grinning ear-to-ear is one of our favourite memories – it was just the two of us in that moment.

The Buddhist Wedding

The Bridal Outfits

For the Buddhist ceremony and reception outfits, I took to Instagram and discovered Carma, an online store based in India which curates bridal outfits and accessories from a wide range of popular Indian designers. They assigned me a dedicated consultant via WhatsApp. They were extremely professional and went above and beyond to help me source the perfect outfit for my reception by liaising with designers and communicating customisation requirements. I wore a soft white net saree with a raw silk border for the ceremony by Shyamal & Bhumika, embroidered with antique gold floral work and paired with a delicate lace blouse. For the reception, I wore a top (also by Shyamal & Bhumika) and skirt by Ridhima Bhasin. The blouse was embellished with S&B’s signature antique gold floral embroidery. The skirt was made of layered lace with all-over floral threadwork and a gold sequin border.

It was so special to be able to wear my mother’s vintage temple jewellery that she had saved from her days as an Indian classical dancer.

The bridesmaids wore purple chiffon sarees edged with pearl borders, paired with gold brocade blouses. I sourced the material myself and had them stitched in India.

The Suit

Dilshan had a much easier time in choosing his suit. Joe Black gave him the best fit and quality with flexible tailoring options. He went with a navy suit and matched his accessories (tie and pocket square, both from Myer), with my red reception outfit.

The Ceremony

Our Buddhist wedding at Sergeant’s Mess had an elegant simplicity, set against the beautiful backdrop of Chowder Bay. Traditional Kandyan dancers and drummers led us to the wedding platform. The procession was beautifully majestic. The bride and groom are treated like royalty on their wedding day.

After our Buddhist ceremony, we released doves over the water. Dilshan’s dove was very well behaved, while my dove flapped about in my face, making me scream. The dove trainer had to rush over to my rescue. All of our family and friends were watching and laughing uncontrollably!

The Reception

The venue we chose was light, bright and airy and we wanted to maintain the same feel. We really wanted classic décor with a vintage touch but overall, we stuck to the adage ‘elegance through simplicity’. I used Pinterest and Instagram extensively for styling inspiration. We also reached out to our décor provider, who talked us through various decorative options, pricing and hardware elements.

Flowers by Drosia dressed up our reception venue with white florals and cascading greens. For the bridal table, we opted for a lush floral hedge. The centrepieces had the vintage touch we wanted – golden candelabras with florals decorating the candelabra stems. The bouquet and the flowers were made up of an eclectic mix of white florals: roses, chrysanthemums, snapdragons and baby’s breath, interspersed with greenery.

As a personal touch, we gave our wedding guests personalised wedding favours from TTotaler Tea, a custom blend of sweet tea with delicious notes of rose and cardamom.

We had so much fun during our first dance.

We chose the song ‘You Give Me Something’ by Jamiroquai, which was a really upbeat way to open up the dance floor for the evening. The choreography incorporated plenty of twirls to show off my layered skirt.

During the dance, I accidentally made a mistake with one of the choreographed moves but, being a dancer, I recovered and quickly moved on, while Dilsh stood there frozen for twenty seconds. We looked at each other and burst out laughing!

Challenges and Triumphs

Initially, we found ourselves in a position where we were inundated with requests from over-excited family members.  We set the tone early in the planning process to ensure we prioritised our own vision and stayed true to our relaxed style as a couple.

Top Tips for Other Couples

  • Take it all in. Your wedding day will fly by in the blink of an eye. Make sure you have meditative moments to revel in the energy, the love and the fun of your wedding day.
  • Look at the bigger picture. There will be things that go wrong, despite all the meticulous planning. On your wedding day, just breathe and let these little issues pass. After all, the day is only as fun as you make it!
  • Communicate your vision with confidence. Don’t be shy to articulate your wish list to suppliers; they’ve seen it all before and can provide valuable advice. Where possible, meet with your suppliers in person. Putting a face to a name will help with all your subsequent dealings

The Talent

Photographer and Cinematographer: Splendid Photo & Video

Venues: Miramare Gardens and Sergeant’s Mess

Bride’s Fashion:

Dresses: Kanakavalli Silks, Shyamal & Bhumika, Ridhima Bhasin

Jewellery: Sukra Jewellers, Carma India

Shoes: Michael Kors

Makeup and Hair: Gather & Stitch Beauty

Groom’s Fashion:

Suit: Manyavar, Joe Black

Shoes: Aldo

Cufflinks: Malebox

The Guys:

Groomsmen Suits: Myer Australia

Personal Touches:

Cake: Paintbrush Patisserie

Flowers and Décor: VIP Decorating (Hindu wedding), Flowers by Drosia (reception)

Food: Surjit’s Indian Restaurant (Hindu wedding), Sergeant’s Mess (reception)

Stationery: Giant Invitations

Custom Printing: Inktank Printing

Entertainment: Systematic Solutions

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