DIY Sri Lankan Fusion Beachside Wedding

Shazrina & Nik


Shazrina and Nik’s beautiful wedding in Melbourne was a personalized and intimate affair and included a fusion of cultures and religions which best represented the couple’s backgrounds. The celebrations took place over multiple days, starting with a Mehendi night, Nikkah, Sri Lankan Reception and finally a Civil Ceremony and Reception. The attention to detail at each event is phenomenal, with a myriad of personalized and DIY touches provided by the talented and crafty bride herself. We absolutely love a bride, who amongst all the wedding planning, takes time out to create unique details herself (with the help of family and friends of course)!

From the personalised bouquet, napkins and table numbers to a delicious dessert bar and an elegant and detailed wedding dress, there is so much to love about this wedding. Prepare to be inspired as the lovely bride, Shazrina, shares with us the details of her celebrations.

About The Couple

How did we meet?

We met back in 2003 when we worked at the same company together. From day 1 for some reason, my colleagues would tease me about Nik and soon after dubbed him my “fiancé”. Both Nik and I were reserved and quiet people (back then!) and because we got teased, we didn’t really talk to each other unless we needed to for work purposes. This continued for about a year and a half before we officially had our first date – followed by two more before we officially became a couple.

How we are as a couple?

We share similar interests but are different in personality – Nik is relaxed and loves to be cheeky and I am usually very excitable and fun-loving. We really do compliment each other and bring out the best in each other. We are different in some ways, yet similar in others and are passionate about different things – Nik with footy, and me with food. At the end of the day, we are each other’s best friend, support base and life partner.

How he proposed

Nik whisked me away to Barossa Valley for my 30th birthday and picked the most amazing, romantic accommodation overlooking the Barossa Valley. On the first morning, he made me breakfast and proposed to me. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I am a huge foodie so the proposal could not have been more perfect. Of course, I said yes! The rest of the day was spent at different wineries and finished up at a Lavender Farm followed by a romantic dinner.

What marriage means to us?

Marriage to us means a lifelong commitment and partnership to love each other unconditionally. It means taking that next step in life and having someone around to always share everything with – be it the good, fun times or the sad times – all whilst keeping the fun, cheekiness, respect, and appreciation of each other along the way. We cannot wait to start a new family and create new adventures, memories, and experiences together.

The Details

Wedding Planning

PLANNING: Prior to being engaged, I already had a wedding folder on my phone and whenever I saw something I liked or color combinations I thought worked well, I would save those images. I had about 10 months to plan our wedding and since we were going to have two main functions it was almost double the work. I used Excel spreadsheets for a lot of the planning. I wrote out all the areas that I needed to cover for both functions and worked my way through the list.

The first thing I started with was locking in a venue. I knew that our Sri Lankan Reception had to hold around 400 people and the Civil Ceremony and Reception, 150. My parents planned the Sri Lankan Reception and Nik and I focussed on the Civil Ceremony and Reception.

Once the venue was sorted, it was down to the fun bits of working out what flowers, styling, and features I wanted. There are so much information and so many ideas out there, especially with the world of Google, Pinterest, and Instagram.

THEME: Our Sri Lankan style reception had a traditional feel and our Civil Ceremony and Reception had a modern feel. My favorite color is blue so I had a blue and silver themed Civil Ceremony and Reception. I am a stickler for details and wanted to personalize our wedding as much as possible.

SHOPPING: Wedding shopping for me consisted of googling a lot of places and then adding them to my spreadsheet so I could keep track of them all.

Photography & Videography

PHOTOGRAPHY: Lahza did our photography. I had seen their portfolio of work and when we went to meet them they were just lovely. Zahrah and Ahmed are each unique and have amazing personalities. They work brilliantly together! They were so accommodating with our requests, especially since we had the two functions to photograph.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Zephyr Productions did our cinematography I struggled to find a cinematographer that I liked. I was looking at cinematography portfolios online and always wanted a mix and match of certain things in our video. We also needed to make sure that our cinematographer and photographer worked well together. Our first meeting with James of Zephyr Productions was great. We met at a café and he was so down-to-earth and super friendly that he made us feel comfortable straight away. He was really excited about our two functions and once again very accommodating with filming over two days.

Wedding Events

Our wedding events were spread out over a few weekends in June 2015 in Melbourne:

  1. Mehendi Night – Saturday PM, Bride’s Home, 90 guests. It was a Moroccan-themed night with focus colors being purple and gold.
  2. Nikkah Ceremony – Friday PM, Bride’s Home, 30 guests. We had an Imam come to our house to officiate our Nikkah ceremony. This is where we legally got married and signed our Certificate of Marriage.
  3. Sri Lankan Reception – Sunday PM, Manor on High, 400 ppl.
  4. Civil Ceremony and Reception – Sunday PM, Encore, 150 ppl.

Sri Lankan Reception

The Sri-Lankan style Reception was held at Manor on High in Epping. We needed to cater to a large number of guests and also wanted external catering which cut down the number of venues we could pick from. We chose Manor on High as I had previously been to weddings there that were really nice and I love the fountain entrance that it has.

We exchanged rings as well as a necklace. We then cut the cake which was made by Vindya Boutique Cake Studio and was lucky enough to have a Bollywood dance performance from a few of our close friends. There were speeches from my dad and sister who were emotionally followed by a joint speech by us. It ended with lots of eating and dancing!

DECOR: We had a mandap set up on stage with a couch and flowers.

UNIQUE DETAILS: Traditionally at Sri Lankan weddings, the favors are Sri Lankan wedding cake. This cake is almost like a Christmas cake with a layer of marzipan on top. I knew that I wanted my cake boxes to be different so I had a look online and found hexagonal shaped boxes with a flower on top from Pen and Favor’s Etsy store. We assembled each box, put a cake inside, placed a thank you tag, that I handmade, and tied it together with a bow. This actually was a fun experience where all my family got together one night and made all 400 boxes.

Sri Lankan Reception Look

SHAZRINA’S OUTFIT: Finding the perfect lehenga was hard work. My mother and I went looking at all the stores in Melbourne but couldn’t find anything I liked. My aunty back in Sri Lanka was also looking and found one that she thought would be appropriate. We had a Skype session with the store and I loved the overall look of the lehenga, so we ended up purchasing that one. I only saw the actual lehenga less than a month before my wedding and luckily fell in love with it!

SHOES: Stuart Weitzman ivory heels with personalized decals for the soles of the shoe to say – “Every love story is special – Ours is my favorite”

JEWELLERY: My Indian jewelry was from Aashika’s Boutique. I really loved the detail of the necklace – especially the drop piece of the necklace as it matched perfectly with the sweetheart neckline of my lehenga.

HAIR & MAKEUP: I went with Sumi from Sayuri Creations. We both have mutual friends and went to the same high school together. She has done hair and makeup for many of my friends in the past and I really love her work. The look I wanted was soft curls placed to one side as I thought this look tied in nicely with having the lehenga dupatta draped over my head. I wanted a very natural look for makeup with the focus on the eyes. Sumi was brilliant and knew exactly what I wanted.

Civil Ceremony & Reception

The following week we had our Civil Ceremony & Reception at Encore St. Kilda. We attended an open day at Encore and really liked it at the time. Additionally, they provide halal food which was a major plus and they were quite flexible in accommodating certain things we wanted. I also loved the idea of having a beach wedding in the middle of winter.

Our Ceremony was timed for the sunset and provided us with a really nice backdrop against the beach. At the end of the Ceremony, guests lit sparklers on the beach. Once everyone was seated for the reception, the bridal party entered to a Jackson 5 song followed by us.

We then cut the cake and had entrees, which was followed by speeches from my father, Nik’s father, my bridesmaids/sister, the best man and finished up with us doing a joint speech (where I of course cried).

We then did our bridal waltz to Spend My Life With You by Eric Benet ft Tamia which was sung live by our brilliant band, Afrodescia. The dessert table opened up at 9 pm with the night ending with dancing, lots of photos and a farewell circle.

Civil Ceremony & Reception Decor

I was very hands-on with my wedding and organized most of the decorations for the Civil Ceremony & Reception. I knew how I wanted everything laid out and drew pictures of how it should be on the day. I was lucky enough to have my friend Ngoc from The Dessert Parlour to help set this up for me and trusted her to make changes as she saw fit. Some of the highlights included:

  • Florals: I used a combination of Balwyn Events and Good Grace and Humour for florals and table decor. I knew from our first meeting that I wanted Megs from Good Grace and Humour to be part of our day. She was friendly, bubbly and so enthusiastic. Megs did my table centerpieces, which consisted of jars and bottles in various shapes and sizes, filled with flowers in peach and pink tones. I always wanted a hanging installation of baubles with tea light candles inside them, together with flower strands. Megs helped create this and also did a flower arrangement for the dessert table. Balwyn Events did the floral arrangement at the entrance.
  • Photos and signage: Lahza provided me with a picture from the Sri Lankan Reception and I had it framed and placed along with a picture from our Engagement shoot on two high tables with an “Mr&Mrs” wooden sign. Next to these tables, I had a sign that said, “And so the adventure begins”. We also had letter lights with the letters N&S which really stood out on the dance floor.
  • Canvas: I had a table where guests could sign a thumbprint canvas, and also leave a message for us on wooden hearts placed in a wooden box. My favorite part of this table was the miniature doll versions of Nik and I.
  • Dessert table: I had a dessert table for guests that opened at 9 pm. The sweets were provided by my friend Ngoc from The Dessert Parlour. Ngoc can tailor her desserts to your style and taste. All the desserts were handmade and delicious.

Unique Details

We had a number of personalized & DIY details we included as part of the Civil Ceremony & Reception:

  • Cufflinks: I also had personalized cufflinks made for both Nik and my Dad from Alexa Lane. My dad’s cufflinks said “Father of the Bride” on one side with “Daddy I Love You” on the other side. For Nik’s I had “From this day forward” on one side and our initials “N&S” on the other side.
  • Bouquet: One detail I loved from our wedding was the personalized ribbon for our wedding bouquets that said “Shazrina & Nikki June 2015”. This was wrapped around the flower stems.
  • Labels: I made personalized labels for bottles of water and chocolate that we handed out to everyone that came to the hotel in the morning to get the bridal party-ready.
  • Cake: The cake was made by Splendid ServingsI went with a cake that had a birdcage on the top. This was the highlight of the cake as it had our initials as well as peach roses mixed with tiny blue flowers to match our theme. There was also intricate lacework on each of the layers.
  • Napkins: I also had blue personalized napkins embossed with “Mr & Mrs” followed by our names and date underneath.
  • DIY wedding stationery: I made Instagram cards that were placed on each table with our hashtag #nikandshaz and #nikshazwedding2015. I also made the Thank You tags for both events. I really liked the idea of having “Mr & Mrs” behind our chairs so I made these as well out of blue glitter paper and hung them up with blue ribbons which turned out very well.
  • Sparkler holders: After our ceremony, I had organized for everyone to go outside onto the beach and light sparklers. I handmade the sparkler holders which said, “Let Love Sparkle,” along with the matchboxes which were also personalized. I really loved the look of the sparklers out on the beach against the night sky.

Civil Ceremony & Reception Look

SHAZRINA’S OUTFIT: I already had an idea of the style that I wanted for my dress. I knew I wanted something with sleeves and something with lace in a fitted style. The first place I went to try on dresses was at Raffaele Ciuca. I tried on 4 to 5 dresses but it was the first two that I liked the most. I looked at a few more stores around the Brunswick area but ended up going back to Raffaele Ciuca and chose a Kenneth Winston Kingston dress. My favorite part of the dress would have to be the detailed lace backing with the silk buttons all along the back as well as the scalloped train of the dress. I also loved the fact that it didn’t feel like I was wearing a wedding dress when I walked – it felt so simple and easy!

JEWELLERY: My parents had gifted me a white gold and diamond set especially for my wedding. It included a necklace, earrings, bracelet, and ring. I wore all of these pieces on the day (except for the ring). In place of the ring, I wore rings with the initials N and S.

HAIR & MAKEUP: I used Jenny from Jeda Vu Makeup Artistry. Once again I wanted a natural makeup look with a focus on my eyes which is exactly what Jenny delivered. I wanted my hair in soft curls again but let loose with a hairpiece on the side.

BOUQUET: Balwyn Events created my flower bouquet consisting of peach and ivory roses along with my bridesmaid’s bouquets, which were similar to mine but in a smaller size. They also did the floral arrangement at the entrance.

NIK’S OUTFIT: Nik wanted a navy three-piece suit with a textured fabric. We ended up finding a Ted Baker suit that was just perfect and had all three pieces to match. What sealed the deal for Nik was the detail in the lining of the suit jacket – it was a Great Dane sitting in front of a fireplace (Nik loves anything and everything to do with dogs). Nik wore a white shirt from Ted Baker with a paisley tie and pocket square from OTAA. He paired the navy suit with tan shoes from Aquila, a belt from Ben Sherman and a tan watch from Baume & Mercier.

Bridal Party Look

BRIDESMAIDS LOOK: I got my bridesmaids dresses online from JJs House. I was very specific about the color and style I wanted, a sky blue dress that wasn’t too pale with short sleeves. I also wanted something that the girls could wear again for another formal function and something they would feel comfortable in. It took me a long time to find it. I was a bit hesitant to buy online as I have heard some horror stories but my experience with JJs House was great! I saw the dress that I really liked, I especially liked the short at the front, long at the back look, and ordered a color palette to ensure the color I wanted was right. I then ordered just one dress to see the quality and fit and once I was happy with that, I ordered the remaining dresses.

My bridesmaids had their makeup done by Jenny from Jeda Vu Makeup Artistry and their hair done by Kim from KimAndBobbyPins. They all had varying lengths of hair and I was quite happy for them to pick their own hairstyle, but in the end, we all decided on half up half down look with soft curls. I thought they all looked stunning!

GROOMSMEN LOOK: We wanted the groomsmen to wear navy suits as well although in a different shade and with a different texture to Nik’s. After looking almost everywhere we ended up getting the Tommy Texture suit from Roger David which fitted all of them perfectly. Getting them from Roger David worked well for us and our groomsmen since they were located all around Victoria and one in Sydney, so it was easy for them to get fitted at their local Roger David store and then have us pick up the altered suits at our local store.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

  1. Don’t get overwhelmed with everything that is out there for weddings online. Just pick things that you like and are important for you and go with it
  2. Take time out during the night with just you and your hubby to take it all in and ENJOY!
  3. Be organized and set a realistic budget. This will help you stay calm throughout the whole planning process
  4. Identify what you really like and what key features you want for your wedding and stick to that. Otherwise, you find yourself getting really confused and wanting a mish-mash of everything.

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