Fairytale Indian Palace Wedding
Shaana & Uraaz
Ever since we saw the "Happily Ever Laughter" highlights reel by The Wedding Filmer, we have been in awe of this fairytale wedding in a beautiful art deco palace in Jodhpur. The sheer grandeur of the wedding coupled with the classy decor and custom made outfits by Sabyasachi for the bride and groom had us swooning from the get go. Shaana and Uraaz wanted joy and laughter to take centre stage on their special day and it is clear that the weekend long celebrations provided just that. Many of the wedding professionals that supplied the florals, cakes/sweets and entertainment were hand-picked by the bride and groom and flown in from overseas which added a lovely personal touch to the events. The attention to detail and effort gone into each of the events shows just how much love the couple have for each other and their family and friends. We have no doubt that the celebrations made for an unforgettable, fairytale weekend not just for the bride and groom but also all the guests.
We were lucky enough to get the radiant bride Shaana to share some of the details from her big day as well as some useful tips for planning a destination wedding.
About The Couple
How we met
I remember spotting Uraaz at a Christmas eve party in Mumbai when I was 16 and he was 23 however he has no recollection of ever seeing me there! It wasn't until 10 years later that we met properly through a mutual friend and fell head over heels for each other.
We had a small four day mini-moon right after the wedding in the Maldives to rest and recuperate. We planned our two week honeymoon for the end of June in Italy. We started in Rome, then went to Capri, Ravello, and ended in Florence and Tuscany. It was bliss
How he proposed
Uraaz proposed to me 11 months after we officially started dating, on my birthday, in Tanzania. We had just completed the trek to Mount Kilimanjaro on the eve of my birthday and were both exhausted, however, Uraaz was adamant to bring in my birthday at midnight. Once we got back to our camp we dined in the company of candles and had dessert beneath the stars. We then returned to our tent, changed into our PJs and played backgammon until the clock chimed 12.
The tent opened, revealing cake and hot chocolate in champagne flutes! I was amazed at Uraaz's sweet forward planning and finally understood why he was so adamant on staying awake. Uraaz gifted me a watch that I had been swooning over but I was completely shocked to receive such an extravagant gift! Once I had calmed down from my surprise, Uraaz asked me to turn the watch around. I turned the watch over and engraved on the back were the words "Will You Marry Me?". Silence, followed up by an avalanche of tears and shrieks ensued. "Ssshhhhhh you'll wake the lions!" whispered Uraaz. I couldn't believe it but the answer was always 'yes'!
We had a little over a year to plan our wedding celebrations. We wanted to have a destination wedding for all our family and friends from around the world. My mother and I planned and designed the wedding with the help of wedding planner Vandana Mohan of The Wedding Design Company. The planning went into overdrive six months before the wedding - that's when the bridezilla stress and hair loss started!
The most enjoyable part of the wedding planning was definitely working with designer Sabyasachi and creating my bespoke ivory lehenga. Also ideating with our floral designer, Shane Connolly was a dream. My mum and I had a vision and he one hundred percent understood it and executed it to perfection.
Wedding Location & Venue
LOCATION: One of the hardest parts of planning the wedding was choosing a location. I had always wanted a beach wedding and Uraaz was keen to show all his college friends from abroad, the best of India. After looking at Bali, South Africa and dreaming of the Maldives we decided to go on a tour of Rajasthan. Uraaz's family was quite set on Udaipur but we also wanted to check out to Jodhpur.
VENUE: The moment I walked into the dome of the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, I knew. I felt such a visceral, strong intuition at that moment - I knew this was the place I wanted to take my vows and celebrate with my friends and family. After that, no other place we went to could compare to that feeling we had at the palace.
That being said, I had made life infinitely more complicated. No one had ever been married inside the dome and there were lots of rules and regulations that the palace made us follow. We ended up shaping the wedding around the rules set out by the venue e.g. we were only allowed a maximum of 250 people inside the dome, no fire, no drinks, only certain colors allowed etc.
The hardest part for us was definitely getting our guest list down to 250 people. Looking back I wish we could have had so many more friends and family with us to celebrate with us.
The wedding celebrations spanned a few days at the end of February 2013. We had a few pre-wedding events in Mumbai in the lead up to the destination wedding in Jodhpur:
- Puja - Saturday AM, The Oberoi Mumbai, Mumbai.
- Welcome Dinner - Saturday PM, Private Residence, Mumbai.
- Pew-Wedding Puja - Thursday AM, Temple in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur.
- Wedding Ceremony & Dinner - Friday PM, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, 250 ppl.
- Sangeet & Reception - Saturday PM, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, 250 ppl.
All guests who were in Jodhpur for the wedding received a survival/emergency kit put together by me. The notes that were in the room were designed by Shirin Neterwala Malkani.
A super casual puja before the celebrations started. It was just with the girls side held at my mother's hotel suite at Hotel Oberoi in Mumbai.
SHAANA'S OUTFIT: I wore a simple pink saree I already had.
Uraaz's aunt, Parmeshwar Godrej hosted a lovely black-tied Welcome Dinner at her spectacular home in Mumbai to kick off the celebrations for our friends from abroad.
SHAANA'S OUTFIT: I made a trip to NYC to look for a gown for the black-tie dinner. I went to college in New York, so I had all my best girlfriends in the city to help me with my search. We went everywhere from Vera Wang, Barneys, Bergdorf's, Monique Lhullier, J Mendel etc.
I knew I wanted to wear color and not black, blue or grey. As luck would have it, I still ended up trying on a black J Mendel dress that fit like a glove! I completely fell in love with it but was adamant about the color. The sales assistant was incredible and called their London store as she remembered Harrods had commissioned the same dress but in red. It was a match made in heaven! They put the dress aside for me and I knew where my next trip was going to be.
JEWELLERY: Family heirlooms.
SHOES: Jimmy Choo.
HAIR & MAKEUP: Namrata Soni
URAAZ'S OUTFIT: He wore a black Tom Ford suit.
Held on day one of arriving in Jodhpur, the day before the wedding. As part of any wedding tradition, the royal family always go to the temple in Mehrangarh Fort before the wedding. We were able to get permission to do a special puja and receive blessings for the wedding. Most of the guests hadn't arrived so it was only close family and our friends from abroad.
SHAANA'S OUTFIT: I wore a red lace saree for the puja. A lady called Amla in Mumbai specializes in lace - I got her to dye it red for me. I wore it as a saree with an old Sabyasachi blouse I already had.
Wedding Ceremony & Dinner
I wanted to do things differently and have our wedding as the first function rather than the last. Guests attending destination wedding are always excited and party the hardest on day one. I wanted to make sure none of my guests (including husband-to-be) would be hungover and tired for the wedding.
The day started with a private marriage registration ceremony with friends at 3pm, prior to the wedding ceremony. The wedding started with safa tying for the men, then our-east-meets-west wedding ceremony, cocktails, fireworks, dinner and speeches followed by dancing.
HIGHLIGHTS: For me, walking down the aisle towards Uraaz with my parents on either side of me was one of the most memorable moments of my wedding. The feeling of walking into the palace dome and seeing all my loved ones cheering and supporting us while we took this massive step together, was an incredible feeling.
DECOR: We kept the decor for the Ceremony simple and let the venue's beauty stand out. Floral stylist Shane Connolly had filled the palace with tuberoses, and now that aromatic smell always reminds me of my wedding day.
For the post Ceremony dinner, I had taken inspiration from the Chanel Bombay-Paris Couture Fashion Show set. The ethereal, glamorous and indulgent quality of the tables they had decorated was stunning and I loved the subtle color scheme of creams, white, ivory and dull golds. The Wedding Design Company helped bring my vision to life exactly as I imagined.
SHAANA'S OUTFIT: For the Registration, I wore an ivory Emilio Pucci dress that I had purchased in London. For the Wedding Ceremony, I knew I wanted to combine both my Indian and Swiss cultures and tradition in my bridal outfit. I decided on a lehenga but had it made in white like a traditional church wedding dress.
The minute I told Sabyasachi my idea of this fusion outfit, he loved it. He embellished it with the grace, talent and the incredible vision that he is blessed with. I was so confident post our meeting, that without even seeing a swatch, I have him the go-ahead to make the wedding outfit. He was an absolute dream to work with!
JEWELLERY: Family heirlooms.
SHOES: Christian Louboutin.
HAIR & MAKEUP: Namrata Soni.
URAAZ'S OUTFIT: He wore a black Sabyasachi sherwani with gold buttons.
Sangeet & Reception
We kept the day free so people could sightsee or sleep in. In the evening, the guests were treated to cocktails, Bollywood performances, Latin beats, barbeque and dancing beneath the stars.
DECOR: For the Sangeet / Reception, inside the fort we wanted to use local flowers and to contrast the wedding, we chose to go with orange marigolds. Shane Connolly made thick gorgeous curtains of marigolds and created abundance with the simplest techniques. When you have such dramatic architecture around you, less is definitely more!
- Live Music: We flew in an incredible sax player and DJ team that my father had found in Zurich while he was smoking cigars with friends. Freddie, the sax player was incredible and knew exactly how to get the party going! The Gypsy Kings performed at the Sangeet / Reception. They defy age and all our guests, no matter where they came from or how old they were, loved dancing to their music.
- Cake & Dessert: Sprungli from Switzerland.
- Favours: I bought my closet girlfriends a handbag from Bungalow 8.
SHAANA'S OUTFIT: The outfit for this event was the most difficult to decide on. I hadn't fallen in love with anything and time was running out! Two months before the wedding, I had gone to the Sabyasachi studio for trials and have clothes made for my parents and it all sort of came together. I literally saw a blouse I liked, and paired it with a border from another lehenga and dupatta from another outfit. It was a mixed and matched outfit, but I was happy with it! Definitely one of strangest shopping experience ever.
SHOES: Kolapuri flats by Joy Shoes to make sure I could dance the night away. Luckily my lengha covered my feet!
HAIR & MAKEUP: Namrata Soni.
URAAZ'S OUTFIT: A Tom Ford black nehru suit.
Tips For Brides-To-Be
- Make multiple trips to your destination wedding location. If you are planning a destination wedding, make sure you make at least two trips to the destination in question and one trip just before the wedding. There are always things that come up and need your attention!
- Become good friends with the hotel General Manager. That really helps make things go smoothly.
- Delegate responsibilities. Plan your wedding in such a way that when your celebrations begin, you can literally switch off your phone and stop worrying about all the details. This requires you to delegate! Your wedding goes by so quickly and you need to relish every moment and not spend it planning and stressing.
- Pinterest is your best friend. In preparation for what looks I liked and wanted - Pinterest was my best friend for inspiration. I became a pinning expert during my wedding planning. I have no idea how brides planned a wedding before Pinterest was around!