Romantic Garden and Dockside Indian Wedding

Reshma & Aniket

Snapshot

Reshma and Aniket’s beautiful wedding in Sydney had all the hallmarks of a classy, intimate celebration of a couple’s love. Each event was filled with meaningful details that told a story about them as people and their journey together as a couple. We are still in awe at the level of detail and effort the couple went to in making their celebration as true to themselves as possible.

The highlight for us was the wedding ceremony at the elegant Oatlands House, followed by a chic Reception at Dockside Darling Harbour – a gorgeous little venue we are loving at the moment. Everything from the couple’s sophisticated designer outfits to the decorative details and the live music at the events spoke to their individual style and felt authentic and genuine. And of course, we can’t go without mentioning the exquisite photography by Deus Photography that beautifully articulated their celebrations. Each photo has a timeless elegance and evokes emotion in every frame – it’s hard to believe this was their first Indian wedding. We truly hope to see more of them in the coming years!

We catch up with the bride, Reshma, who has generously taken the time to take us through all the details of her wedding and the planning experience. She has provided some fantastic tips for the wedding shopping and planning process – a must-read for all brides-to-be.

About The Couple

How did we meet?

Aniket and I first met at Transit in Federation Square at work drinks. We were introduced by one of our good friends. We just said a quick hello that night and then became Facebook friends (as you do these days!). After a few long chats over Facebook, we eventually organized a dinner date and since then it’s been an amazing journey!

How we are as a couple?

We balance each other out well! We have similar interests, we love the outdoors, travel, movies, and books.

How he proposed?

We had planned to go to the beach for a picnic one weekend in October. It was a typical amazing Sydney spring day! We were relaxing on a beach on the southern NSW coast when Aniket popped the question. In retrospect, I thought it was strange that he was carrying a backpack to the beach but it all became apparent once he proposed!

The Details

Wedding Planning

We had about a year to plan the wedding. After we got engaged, we didn’t do much planning for the first month, but soon realized that we would have to start booking things about 12 months before the wedding! We organized the entire wedding ourselves.

Overall, the wedding planning experience was so much fun! Initially, after we got engaged, we were flooded with ideas for venues, decor, outfits, etc. It took a couple of months of research to really narrow down the sort of wedding that we wanted.

VISION: We wanted the wedding to be a celebration of our love and to bring together the people closest to us to celebrate and share this experience with us. We really wanted to bring out our personalities and imagination in the wedding details and decors. We wanted different events to have their own unique touch to it and represent our likes and quirks.

RESOURCES: Being true to our personalities helped the ideas flow. I used Indian wedding blogs such as The Crimson Bride and Wed Me Good to help me with wedding decor ideas, hair and makeup tips and showcases great designers and weddings. The designer that I chose for most of my wedding outfits was actually recommended to me by Mehak from Wed Me Good. The advice that I received from my friends regarding planning a wedding, especially an Indian wedding in Australia was priceless. Pinterest was also a fantastic resource for everything and anything wedding related and also a great source for procrastination!

PHOTOGRAPHY: Since our events were split over two cities, we had to choose different photographers and cinematographers for each. Deus Photography covered the Wedding and Reception. They did an amazing job on their first Indian wedding. Their enthusiasm and vision were incredible! Lucas Kraus Photography did the Sangeet photography and Storybook Productions covered the Melbourne event.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: For cinematography, we chose Rolling Canvas Presentations for Sydney events. We had seen their work online and really enjoyed meeting them in person! Not only were Rolling Canvas friendly, flexible and good communicators but Rishi from Rolling Canvas also gave us great advice about wedding day logistics which was really valuable. Our two videographers from Rolling Canvas, Mandeep and Luca, were so much fun to work with during our wedding week. We worked with White Heights Media for the Melbourne ceremony.

INVITATIONS & STATIONERY: Invitations were by Ikon based in Mumbai.

Wedding Shopping

I shopped in Mumbai for one week and then went to Bangalore for a week to buy silk sarees. I would have loved to have gone to Delhi as well, but unfortunately, I ran out of time. Since I only had a week in Mumbai to shop for all of my outfits (eek!), it meant that I had to do a fair bit of research into different shops/shopping areas prior to our trip. Wedding blogs such as Wed Me Good and The Delhi Bride were very useful in providing tips.

After a frustrating first half of the wedding shopping week, I made an appointment with Chamee and Palak, an up and coming designer duo in Mumbai. They had been recommended to me (by Mehak from Wed Me Good) and within an hour I had bought my mehendi, wedding and reception outfits! I absolutely loved their collection.

I also purchased a few things online including lovely cotton silk saree from Indian Roots for one of the pre-wedding functions and some jewellery (earrings, maangtikas, necklaces and a few pairs of haath phool) from CraftsvillaPernia’s Popup Shop and Exclusively. The customer service was quite good, but I would recommend keeping in mind that items may take up to four weeks to arrive in Australia.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Mumbai was a shopper’s paradise. The range, styles, and accessibility were great. Good shopping suburbs include Santacruz, Colaba, and Dadar. I would also recommend checking out designer stores as well as multi-designer stores like Ensemble, KimayaSeasons and Kalki in Santacruz.

My favorite designers included Anita DongreJyotsna TiwariAnushree ReddyManish Arora. However, I really loved the work of other up and coming designers, like Chamee and Palak and Arpita Mehta. In Bangalore, I would recommend Mysore Saree Udyog for anything silk. Other good stores include Tamanna, Aanchal Bridal Gallery, and Soch.

TIPS:

  • Allow at least two weeks for wedding shopping. Also, if you’re going to India to shop, plan your trip around 5-6 months before the wedding to allow for any extra items to be made/posted.
  • Due to traffic, it often takes quite a while to get from one shopping district to another, so have travel logistics in mind.
  • Being ripped off in some stores and alterations not being done on time are quite frustrating (especially when one only has a few days to get everything!). Just be firm, and take your mum or an aunty to help out!
  • If you forget to buy certain things, there are some great online websites like Pernia’s Pop Up Shop, Exclusively.in and Craftsvilla (I had to use them a couple of times!).

Wedding Events

We chose to get married in December 2014. Since we had family arriving from overseas in the weeks leading up to the wedding, the wedding atmosphere really kicked off at the start of December.

Overall, the wedding festivities were so much fun, exhilarating and slightly stressful all at the same time! I had an absolutely brilliant time and enjoyed every second of it, even the stressful parts! We wanted this wedding to be a celebration of our love and to bring together the people closest to us to celebrate and share this experience with us.

As Aniket is from Sydney and I am from Melbourne, we chose to split our wedding events over the two cities:

  1. Sangeet – Saturday PM, Private Residence, Sydney
  2. Mehendi – Thursday PM, Groom’s Home, Sydney.
  3. Wedding Ceremony – Saturday AM, Oatlands House, Sydney.
  4. Wedding Reception – Saturday PM, Dockside Darling Harbour, Sydney.
  5. Civil Ceremony & Reception – Sunday PM, Roselyn Court, Melbourne.

GUEST ACCOMMODATION: It was a big challenge organizing accommodation for 30 people for the wedding week in Sydney, given that my family was traveling from Melbourne and relatives were arriving from overseas!

We booked 5 large serviced apartments in Parramatta (Parkside Apartments), close to the wedding venue. It was very handy staying close to the wedding venue as it reduced the stress levels in the morning! For other guests (friends and family friends) traveling from Melbourne and overseas, we organized rooms at ParkRoyal Darling Harbour, which was a three-minute walk from Dockside (the reception venue).

We also organized buses to ferry guests to and from the wedding venue and the city.

Sangeet

The Sangeet was hosted by Aniket’s family friends in Sydney. I really enjoyed the Sangeet, it is an event where you really get to have fun without having the formalities of a wedding.

RESHMA’S OUTFIT: Lehenga from Seasons, Mumbai.

JEWELLERY: Online stores.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Mehnaaz Beauty.

GROOM’S OUTFIT: Telon, Mumbai.

Mehendi

The Mehendi was held at Aniket’s family home. Guests were treated to our favorite Indian street food with chaat and paani puri stand. Women were given out payals and bindis as favors.

DECOR: The decor was simple and mainly DIY. We strung up rows of golden kaleerey with cream lanterns on the ceiling,

RESHMA’S OUTFIT: A yellow lehenga by Chamee and Palak.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Fareha Bridal Studio.

MEHENDI: Fareha Bridal Studio.

GROOM’S OUTFIT: Telon, Mumbai.

Wedding Ceremony

The Wedding Ceremony was held at Oatlands House. Since we had our wedding during the Sydney summer, we opted for an indoor wedding with garden views. We loved Oatlands House for its beautiful gardens and serene and calm atmosphere. The celebrations kicked off at 8.30 am with the Baraat including live dhol by Platinum Dholis. After the traditional welcoming of the groom by the bride’s side, the formalities started around 9.15 am with an hour-long ceremony.

I entered to live dhol music by Platinum Dholis which helped create an energetic vibe. We also had a live shenaai, sitar, and tabla provided by Sash Studio during and after the morning ceremony. Pandit Ram Sivan along with another priest conducted our wedding ceremony.

DECOR: The color theme for the wedding was cream and gold. Decor-A-Shaan arranged the mandap and ceremony garlands. The wedding florals were arranged by a good friend’s very talented mother-in-law.

RESHMA’S OUTFIT: A beautiful red lehenga with a green blouse custom made by Chamee and Palak.

JEWELLERY: All from India and from Soranam by Sonia Malhotra, purchased online from Exclusively and Pernia’s Popup Shop.

Also, don’t forget to shop for jewellery and get bangles matched to your outfits. Definitely buy more than you need just in case.

SHOES: Silver heels from Novo Shoes.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Fareha Bridal Studio. It took a couple of trials for me to decide on a hairstyle that I liked, that would suit my outfit. I would definitely recommend getting a make-up trial as well to gauge what you’re comfortable with, especially if you’re inclined towards make-up that isn’t too heavy.

ANIKET’S OUTFIT: Sherwani from Kora by Nilesh Mitesh, Mumbai.

BRIDESMAIDS: Lehengas from Seasons. Jewellery from small stores in Santa Cruz, Mumbai.

GROOMSMEN: Custom made cream kurtas from Mumbai, India.

Reception

The Reception was held on the same day as the Ceremony (it was a very long day!) post photo shoots with the bridal party. The Reception started at 6 pm and was held at Dockside in Darling Harbour, Sydney. The venue offered an amazing location and easy access for interstate guests. They were also very flexible with our requests – it was a pleasure working with them. Catering was in-house by the venue cake was provided by Casa Del.

We had live music by Press Club Band throughout the evening which created a fun and festive vibe. The also performed our Reception entrance and first dance songs. We entered the Reception to Happy by Pharrell Williams and our first dance was to Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Michael Buble.

Our friends surprised us with a flashmob dance performance to Afreen by A.R. Rahman from the movie Hundred-Foot Journey

HIGHLIGHTS: One very special moment was watching the Darling Harbour fireworks during the reception with our friends and family and a flash mob during the reception. Loved it!

DECOR & UNIQUE DETAILS: We had lots of interesting fun and DIY elements for our decor. Some highlights include:

  • Floral and bauble decor – Blooms by Janet provided simple florals and baubles above the bridal table.
  • Marquee letter lights – We hired marquee letter lights for the Reception from Event Haus. They transported the letter lights from Newcastle for the event.
  • Favours – Pot plants, boxes of sweets and donations to two charities: Lost Dogs Home and Movember. We donated to these charities in memory of a close family friend. We also gave each guest an Indian lamp/diya as a wedding gift from our parents.
  • Table numbers – Making our own table numbers from vintage 7-inch vinyl records that we sourced from second-hand record stores in Sydney
  • Wishing well – We had a custom-made oak wine barrel from a cooperage as our “Wishing Barrel” instead of a wishing well
  • Photoboard – We made a wooden frame for polaroid pictures.
  • Stationery – For other stationery, we hired For The Love Of Stationery, a freelance graphics designer who designed the menu cards, name cards and a fun Star Wars-themed wedding poster for the Reception.

RESHMA’S OUTFIT: A blue and silver lehenga from Chamee and Palak.

JEWELLERY: From India and purchased online.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Sara from ‘Looks by Sara’ provided hair and make-up touch up for the event.

ANIKET’S OUTFIT: Black suit from Roger David.

GROOMSMEN: Black dinner suits with bowties for the reception. Suits were from Roger David.

Civil Ceremony

A week after the Sydney celebrations, we had a small Civil Ceremony followed by a luncheon Reception at Roselyn Court in Melbourne, as my family lives there. We were lucky to get lovely weather that day!

The Civil Ceremony was officiated by the lovely David Schneider, it was very heartfelt and we chose a couple of readings for the ceremony. We had two violinists from Yarrabach Strings who played Avé Maria as I walked down the aisle. Guests wrote us messages on a vintage typewriter and were given jars of jam in burlap bags from Hank’s Jams as wedding favors.

RESHMA’S OUTFIT: I wore a beige and red lehenga with lace overlay from Seasons India.

JEWELLERY: Purchased from Craftsvilla.

HAIR & MAKEUP: I did my own.

GROOM’S OUTFIT: Black suit from Roger David.

Tips for Brides-to-Be

Immediately after your engagement – This is such a happy time and I really would recommend taking a little while to enjoy being engaged before the wedding planning begins.

During the wedding planning stage –

  • It is very important to brainstorm and decide the way YOU want to celebrate the happiest day of your life. Take your time with this and the internet is such a valuable resource. Look at as many blogs, pictures, and wedding videos online as you can to get an idea of your likes and dislikes.
  • Making a guest list early will help with shortlisting venues based on the minimum and maximum capacities.
  • Choosing a good photographer and videographer is priceless! Their work will be one of the ways you remember your wedding day, so invest well in a good photographer and videographer.
  • With the traditional fire/havan at Indian weddings, talk with your priest about what their practice is. You will have to balance this up with the Fire regulations at your venue of choice. Sometimes, you may be able to have a diya as opposed to a larger fire.
  • Always plan a wet weather option for an outdoor ceremony and any outdoor activities like photoshoots etc.
  • Make sure you allow plenty of time for photos between your ceremony and reception.
  • Mehendi and Sangeet nights are lots of fun and set a great energy level for the upcoming wedding. Decor ideas and fun activities really add to the atmosphere.
  • Chasing RSVPs can be a long and tedious task, set an RSVP date well before the wedding (around 6-8 weeks before).
  • When planning your wedding day timetable, don’t plan the schedule too tightly. Things often get delayed and allow for this in your schedule.
  • Being organized goes a long way especially closer to the wedding day when jobs start to pile up (Time to fire up the old Microsoft Excel!).

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