What comes to mind when you hear the word tradition? Boring? Uncreative? Obligatory? It doesn’t have to be any of that. When planning a wedding, […]
I have another scrumptious real wedding to inspire you today!
Meet Priya of Sri Lankan heritage and her Indian sweetheart Umesh. I love a couple who are all about being laid-back, down-to-earth and authentically themselves – from proposal to reception that was these two all the way!
They planned three different wedding celebrations: a Hindu ceremony, a civil town hall ceremony, and a reception at refined rustic venue Firle Riding School. Each was unique and special in its own way, and represented the fusion of two families as well as two lives.
It all culminated in a huge party at the final reception, with the groom rocking a velvet tux and the stylish bride a slinky black dress. Just like Cinderella, Priya lost her slippers, but instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, she got to go home with Prince Charming!
The wonderful MIKI Studios captured all the colour and love, and I’m so excited to share it with you today.
Over to Priya!
How Did You Meet?
We met at a friend’s house party in Manchester.
Our proposal was at the Southbank. Before we lived together, we would meet at the Southbank and sit on a bench, catch up and people-watch for hours. When we moved into our flat, we still would go to the Southbank for Sunday or evening walks, get some food, go and sit on our bench and people-watch. That weekend, Umesh had just returned from a long trip away, so on the Sunday we went to the Southbank, did our usual stroll, and ended up on the bench, where he proposed after we ate our sushi (my favourite!).
I really wanted our wedding to be simple – nothing too dramatic, but with a really romantic, warm feeling. We are very chilled, easy-going people who just wanted everyone we love to have a good time eating, drinking and dancing.
We did all the planning ourselves. For the Indian ceremony, the temple sorts out all the decorations and seating etc. for you, and our reception at Firle Place Riding School I did myself with the help of the lady who runs the venue. I told her my vision of how I wanted the ceiling to look, of a romantic, cozy vibe, of fairy lights and lanterns, and she knew exactly what I wanted. Because the beams were so high, she sorted this out for me and made my vision come true. It looked amazing. We sourced everything else ourselves.
MIKI Studios were our photographer and cinematographer. Would we recommend them? ABSOLUTELY YES!
My make up artist Marium Khan listened to what I wanted and made sure I was 100% with every look. We had such a good time; she really relaxed me before each ceremony. I would recommend her to any bride!
We would also recommend our cake maker, Clare Holloway, A friend’s daughter-in-law, and one of the most amazing cake makers I have ever come across, she makes the cake taste amazing and look incredible! She is amazing and her name needs to be put out there! Her cake service is called Cake Blanket.
Finally, our florist The Wild Orchid. Such a lovely service. Again, Jeanne really listened to what I wanted with both my bouquets and table decorations (simple and elegant with a personal touch) and did exactly that. She is so lovely and I would use her again for any flower decorations I needed.
The Bride’s Outfit
My Indian wedding outfit I found in Wembley, on sale. I didn’t want to spend a lot on this as I will never be able to wear It again. It was hard to find as I wasn’t sure what really wanted. I’d never pictured having an Indian wedding, so I found it quite hard to know what I was really looking for, but with the help of Umesh’s family I found it. I tried it on and knew straight away. It wasn’t your usual red wedding outfit, it was a hot pink, and anyone who knows me knows I’d never usually go for pink!
My civil and reception outfits were easy. I knew I wanted a long sleeve simple white wedding dress with a small trail, and for the evening I wanted to wear a dramatic long black dress. My civil wedding dress I found on ASOS and got it tailored by my amazing tailor in Brighton at the back so it tied with a ribbon. My reception dress was from Virgos Lounge. They have so many amazing outfits, it was hard to choose which one to get, but again as soon as I tried the one I chose on I just knew!
Umesh’s Indian suit was from Green Street (Ilford). Like me, he didn’t want to spend a lot on something he wouldn’t wear again. We got so lucky and found everything in the sales. His daytime three piece suit was from Boggi, and this was his favourite outfit. It was really something special to him. His evening tux was from Amazon, and included a purple velvet tux jacket.
We had two wedding ceremonies, a Hindu ceremony and the civil one.
The Hindu ceremony was amazing, although it was on the hottest day of the year, which was a bit of a struggle. I feel so lucky we were allocated the most amazing priest from the temple.
My family are English and were worried they may do something wrong during the ceremony, but they were made to feel so relaxed, and we were able to meet before the wedding so my family could get to know our priest and understand what the ceremony means and why we were doing the different rituals. The wedding day was so special, as our priest explained each part to our guests and made sure it wasn’t too long. It lasted an hour and a half, and afterwards we ate an amazing meal from the temple. Their food really is incredible !
Our civil ceremony was at Brighton Town Hall. I had always wanted a laid-back ceremony with only our nearest and dearest there. I didn’t really want many pictures during the day as I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy it. It was very quick and simple – just what we wanted.
I looked a lot on Pinterest for ideas and fell in love with the lantern and fairy light look. When we got engaged, we’d had a Hindu engagement ceremony and all the colors including my saree were peachy tones, so I wanted to keep to this theme. My favorite flower is baby’s breath (Gypsophila) so I knew I want a lot of that around the room. When I met with our florist she came up with personal touches like milk churns full of baby’s breath, as well as each guest having a sprig of that on their napkin. I just really wanted a simple but elegant look for the evening.
Our first dance was Jhene Aiko. When we lived in Manchester, we would listen to her on our long drives, and this song brings back so many fond memories of when we first met. During the first dance and at other times during the reception, my family friend Sarah, who is an incredible fire dancer and came from South Africa for the wedding, performed with her LED hoola hoops.
After that, we danced the night away with our loved ones. Our feet were so sore because we partied all night! The stories from after the reception included guests being lost in fields of sheep, nearly missing coaches, waking up in the fields, and two of them waking up in the coach station. I think these are signs of an excellent night! I even lost my wedding shoes!
One of the funniest moments was my dad’s amazing speech, where he told our guests about the first time he met Umesh. Another memorable moment was getting lifted up by our guests to dance to Punjabi MC.
Challenges and Triumphs
Our caterers were a big problem, and we were very let down by their service. You want your wedding day to run smoothly, and we understand that there can be hiccups, but the caterers were an hour and a half late, meaning our tables and chairs were only ready a few moments before our guests were seated, our canapés were late, our bar staff had not been briefed so had no idea what they were doing, and the main course was an hour late as well as having things missing and being cold coming out. We had made special requests due to members of our family having to leave early for personal reasons, and because of this they missed out on some of the courses and our speeches. The manager wasn’t communicating with us and as a bride I felt I shouldn’t have had to run around trying to find out what’s happening. Luckily our guests had no idea, the booze was still flowing and they were having a great time.
Top Tip For Other Couples
We were told by friends and family who have got married to enjoy every moment as it goes so quickly, and it really does. Don’t let anything distract you from why you are there and what the day is about. Enjoy every single minute. Leave lots of time to plan, and most of all party hard!
Photographer: MIKI Studios
Cinematographer: MIKI Studios
Venues: Watford Temple, Brighton Town Hall and Firle Riding School
Hair and Makeup: Make up by Marium Khan
Groom’s Suit: Boggi
Shoes: Barker Shoes
Bridesmaid Outfits: ASOS
Cake: Cake Blanket
Flowers: The Wild Orchid
Entertainment: The Karizma Road Show, Sarah Cummins aka Tribal Hoops