Hipster South Indian Fusion Outdoor Wedding

Ruth & Raja


My most favorite moment from the wedding… 

There are so many! My childhood minister officiated our Civil Ceremony and one of our close friends sang for us at the Cheese and Cocktail Evening that followed. This made things feel extra special. It was so much more personal.

I had the most fun… 

During the parade from the mandap to the Reception! The evening was fabulous and we danced the night away.

My wedding style was… 

Traditional South Indian with a fusion hipster twist.

It was most important to me that… 

There were two things that were extremely important for us. We wanted our events to be fun and relaxing for all our guests and that the venue allowed us to incorporate our preferred caterer’s.

My advice for future brides… 

  1. Get help early!
  2. Decide on the things that are most important and keep referring back to this when you get caught up in the small details.
  3. Look around at the talents in your friends; we loved that many of our friends were so involved and got to play an important part at the wedding.

About The Couple

How he proposed

In 2012, Raja and I went traveling in South America. We stayed in a small village called El Chaltin, which borders Los Glaciares, National Park. We had a magical day hiking through what many people consider one of the most beautiful places in the world. Surrounded by the beauty of the glaciers, Raja proposed to me and of course I said yes! This place will always be extra special to us.

The Details

Wedding Planning

WEDDING PLANNER: Initially, I found wedding planning to be quite difficult; particularly to find a venue that met our needs. We were focused on finding a place that allowed external catering and styling. We also struggled to come up with a format for our two ceremonies and satisfied both our personal and family desires for this union.  Raja and I were able to work things out in the end and in hindsight, we can see that all the research paid off as the event format flowed beautifully. As we were planning this wedding, we realized we really needed someone with experience to coordinate the events and manage all the amazing suppliers we had hired. Caroline Kennon from The Creative Type was a lifesaver! She helped sort out so many details and the wedding ran so smoothly because of her.

VENUES: The Fitzroy Town Hall worked so well for us. We wanted to keep the wedding in one location so our guests were not needing to move from location to location. It was very important to us that we made the fun of the event and relaxing for all our guests. The style of catering was also very important to us and luckily Fitzroy Town Hall allowed us to have caterers of our choice, as well as the ability to decorate the venue however we wanted.

The Melbourne Museum was close to our other events meaning we could all walk from one event to the next. It was also stunning with amazing views into the gardens and suited Raja and I very well. The wedding events team were very accommodating, creating a package for our long ceremony and varied needs with the setup and takedown of the large mandap.

Key Professionals

PHOTOGRAPHY: Our photographer, Nick Wong, from Fifteen Photography did an amazing job. We were really happy with the way he approached the wedding. The photos reflected all the work we had put into each of the events and showcased our personality.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jesse from Bright Day Films was fantastic. He really captured important elements of our weddings and put the two films together beautifully.

INVITATIONS / STATIONARY:  Our wedding invitations were designed by the very talented Sharon Chen from Miss Envylope and printed privately. We asked for an invite that could be kept as a souvenir art piece by our guests. The invitation design was inspired by the kolam designs that Raja’s Patti (grandmother) creates every day using chalk powder in front of their home in India.

DJ & LIVE MUSIC: DJ Richi Madan played a great mix of English, Tamil and Bollywood music at our Reception. Richi did a wonderful job mixing North Indian and Tamil music along with songs that we had requested both in the lead-up and during the function itself. His dhol added a real ‘live’ feel, as everyone danced the night away

Wedding Events

Our wedding was held over a weekend:

  1. Civil Ceremony – Friday PM, Fitzroy Town Hall (The Reading Room), 170 guests. This was followed by a Cheese and Cocktail Evening.
  2. Hindu Ceremony – Saturday AM, Melbourne Museum (North Terrace),185 guests.
  3. Reception – Saturday PM, Fitzroy Town Hall (Main Hall), 185 guests.

Civil Ceremony Overview & Decor

We had a beautiful service in The Reading Room, Fitzroy Town Hall. Two close friends of mine did all the music before and during the ceremony and my childhood minister and family friend officiated the ceremony. We had readings from both our mothers in their native tongue – my mum in Dutch and Raja’s in Tamil. The ceremony was followed by cocktails and canapes.

The celebrations continued with a Cheese and Cocktail Evening held in the same venue. We had a customized cocktail bar set up by Barmazter and cheese and produce table by Matt Steele from Cornelius Cheese. Our guests danced the night away to live music by the very talented Peppercorn Jazz Band. Raja and I discovered them one afternoon when they were rehearsing on a nature strip in Fitzroy North. They set the scene beautifully were easy to work with. The best part was when my friend Libby also got up on stage with the jazz band and performed a song. This was a very special moment for me.

While the band was playing, our guests also had a chance to have their mehndi done by Neeta of ADA Henna Body Art. She did an amazing job and was so friendly and welcoming. She did all our guests and later completed my bridal henna that evening.

DECOR: For our decor, large displays of orchids were made by my parents who have an orchid nursery by name of Mt. Beenack Orchids. This was important to me as I grew up surrounded by orchids. We didn’t need to do much to The Reading Room as it is beautiful in its own right. Just the two large displays of orchids to frame the ceremony. The bouquets, hair flowers and floral for all the men’s pockets was from Babylon Flowers.

Civil Ceremony Look

RUTH’S OUTFIT: I had my dress designed by the very talented Tamara Bradshaw. Her brand, Wallflower is amazing.

JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: I wore jewellery Raja gave to me for 30th birthday.

SHOES: The shoes for my Civil Ceremony were purchased online from BHLDN.

HAIR & MAKEUP: For my hair, I really wanted a more art deco look and Ten Tonne Goldfish gave me the exact look I wanted. Kate Toscin works with Ten, so I went on her recommendation to have her as my makeup artist.

RAJA’S OUTFIT: A black classic tuxedo, custom made by Exclusive Suiting in Singapore.

BRIDESMAIDS: I thought it would be easy to select bridesmaids outfits for my sisters, but it was quite hard even though I didn’t have any boundaries. The only instruction is given as a unanimous consensus that the dress shouldn’t be a print. In the end, we found dresses from Review. They looked lovely.

GROOMSMEN: They organized their own black suits.

Hindu Ceremony Overview & Decor

We had a traditional South Indian ceremony at the Melbourne Museum on day two. It was a stunning location looking out to the treetops of Carlton Gardens. Raja arrived at the venue in his baraat, accompanied by his friends, family and the Thali Orchestra. They were great and even played soft music for our guests during the ceremony.

The priest was wonderful and made the ceremony a lot of fun for both of us. We also had our good friend translate the ceremony for our guests so they could understand the significance of the rituals.

We decided to parade down from the Hindu Ceremony to the Reception venue. It took some planning but Thali Orchestra led the way, with me, Raja and all our guests dancing and cheering behind them. The parade looked fantastic. All the ladies were adorned in colorful sarees and the embroidered Indian parasols added to the vibrancy. People were pouring out of their houses to see what was happening and I am sure we caused some traffic delays!

DECOR: After scouting a few wedding professionals with mandap hire services, I couldn’t really find what I was looking for. I wanted a wooden structure that was traditional yet modern. In the end, our mandap was custom built by my friend’s father. It was built from solid Victorian ash and beautifully decorated by Babylon Flowers, while I made the cover to go over it on top. It was stunning and complimented the venue and its surrounding nature.

We placed embroidered parasols and jasmine gajra’s for the ladies and scarves for the men who did not have Indian outfits at the entrance. I purchased 50 stunning mixed parasols from India through Panpaliya and ordered the gajras and garlands for our ceremony from Fresh Jasmines.

Hindu Ceremony Look

RUTH’S OUTFIT: For the Hindu Ceremony, I went for a traditional South Indian bridal look. I wore a simple, yet vibrant traditional silk red and gold saree purchased my saree from a boutique in Singapore. We had help from Tachu (sister of my mehendi artist) with tying my saree.

JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: To add to the traditional look, I decided on a simple theme of plain gold with no other jewels or other stones embedded in the pieces. I purchased some online and some were custom made in Singapore. I wore a gold head piece and added a hardy flower to my hair. I think it looked really great in the end.

SHOES: Purchased from Cinori in Fitzroy North.

HAIR & MAKEUP:  A modern yet understated updo. Although I wanted to be traditional overall, I didn’t feel comfortable with having hair extensions for the long plait normally worn in South Indian weddings. I had the wonderful Ten Tonne Goldfish and Kate Toscin create my looks again. They were great.

RAJA’S OUTFIT: Traditional South Indian attire custom made from a store in India.

BRIDESMAIDS: Sarees from a boutique in Little India, Singapore. I found block color sarees with gold trimming. The sarees were quite simple, however, we added some glamour with nice statement jewelry.

GROOMSMEN: Traditional South Indian look, coordinated by Raja’s family.

Reception Overview & Decor

The Hindu Ceremony was followed by a Reception at Fitzroy Town Hall. When selecting our venue, it was important that they allowed external catering as we wanted to be able to experiment with our menu. Food played an integral role in our celebrations as it allowed us to express who we are and certain aspects of our distinctive cultures. The amazing Mischa Tropp of Kerala created customized a modern South Indian vegetarian menu for our guests. We had roving canapes on arrival followed by beautifully presented share plates that were served at the table. We also had a full bar and cocktails thanks to Barmazter. It was an amazing night!

DECOR: This was amazing. Since the room itself was stunning, we didn’t have to do too much in terms of decor. The wonderful Caroline from The Creative Type organized everything on the day and did a great job.

We had long and round tables set up in the hall. Orchids potted into copper Indian pots were the centerpieces, flashes of vintage sarees could be seen between the white tablecloths. We made the table number signage ourselves by printing vintage images of old Indian love proverbs. More embroidered parasols were hung above the dancefloor and more orchid displays on the stage. We had lights strung across the hall for a festive feel.

On stage, a chaise lounge with a drinks cart and lamp hired from Oh Perfect Day were the perfect place for Raja and me to make our entrance (they just pulled the curtains back to see us waving) and a large picture of the Taj Mahal hung as a photobooth for later. Everything looked really special.

RUTH’S OUTFIT: I wore an Indian inspired pink cocktail dress, custom-designed by Tamara Bradshaw of Wallflower and wore the shoes from BHLDN.

Other Unique Details

FIRST DANCE: Raja and I attended dance classes for our first dance. Choreographed by Jhoom Bollywood Dance, we performed on a Bollywood and everybody loved it! Jhoom Bollywood Dance also performed that evening. They even pulled out some guests from the crowd and did a great job of getting people involved as they taught them some new moves.

THE AUCTION: Our MC was an auctioneer by profession and on a whim decided we should auction our wedding garlands and some orchids for charity. This was a huge success and lots of fun raising $,1000 for an Indian health clinic Raja’s family works with.

CAKES & TREATS: For our wedding cake, I had always wanted a classic cake with a henna inspired design. Emily Sharp from Ever After Cake Company did an amazing job at designing our cake and it tasted incredible. To add to the dessert menu, we had an ice-cream street cart by Helados Jauja, who Raja and I discovered while traveling in Argentina. They truly make the best ice cream. The salted caramel ice cream was out of this world! Our guests enjoyed this thoroughly.

TRANSPORT:  The beauty of this wedding was we could walk! I walked from my accommodation to Fitzroy Town Hall with my family and it was a really special and memorable part of the day. It just seemed very right to walk to my wedding. Grounding! We also walked to the Hindu Ceremony and we got lots of good wishes from passerby’s. I would highly recommend it.

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