Rustic Kerala Celebrity Destination Wedding

Catherine & Benny

Snapshot

A quiet love that blossomed despite distance led to an intimate proposal among the spring blooms of Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Despite their celebrity status, the wedding of actress Catherine Thangam and singer Benny Dayal’s destination wedding in Bangalore was just as fun, sweet and understated as them. Case in point, the Moroccan-themed Mehendi evening where the boho-chic couple danced the night away in the monsoon rains. Meanwhile, the glamorous pre-wedding cocktail featured a charming first dance, sung by the talented groom himself. The vintage-rustic Kerala wedding, brought to life with restrained style and elegance as the couple paid tribute to their Hindu and Christian cultures in a combined ceremony. Captured in stunning images and video by the talented Sephi Bergerson Photography and Doodle Studio, we are delighted to share the details of the wedding exclusively on The Crimson Bride.

About The Couple

How did we meet?

A mutual friend who worked with Benny as part of A.R Rahman’s Jai Ho tour introduced us in March 2014. We talked for six months via FaceTime and Whatsapp before he flew to NYC to meet me. He worked with my friends to make it such a memorable night and showed up at my apartment with a beautiful bouquet of two dozen stem lilies. The moment we met, I knew he was the one for me.

How we are as a couple?

Benny and I are very simple people. Due to his work, we are blessed that we get to travel to so many different places and enjoy amazing food and explore different cultures. We are major foodies and love to try anything and everything! In our down-time, we just prefer to be at home, spending time together and watch Masterchef Australia!

How he proposed?

Like most girls, I love flowers! I spent many years in NYC and one of my favorite places was the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It was a small piece of serenity in an otherwise hustling and bustling city. A few days before his birthday, Benny surprised me with a trip to NYC. On the day of, I asked him what he would like to do and he expressed an interest in going to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. With the flowers in full bloom, we spent our time walking around admiring the different floral exhibitions. When we got to a private area of the gardens, he began to talk about our relationship. He discussed our paths and how we came to be in each other’s lives. While talking, I was looking at the guide to see what our next stop would be and then before I knew, he was down on one knee with this gorgeous ring in hand. I was blown away. It was intimate and absolutely perfect.

The engagement ring

I am a very lucky girl in the fact that I have two engagement rings. I have the ring he proposed to me with and I also have the one he presented to me at our engagement. The first engagement ring was a teardrop diamond pave ring from ZOYA in India. He spent a lot of time exchanging notes back and forth with my cousin from the US to help him pick out the perfect ring. The second ring is a diamond solitaire with a gold band. Since I was able to design the ring, I wanted to go with something classic. We have a family friend who is an excellent diamond ring designer and I was able to work with her in creating a really gorgeous ring.

What marriage means to us?

Since the majority of our relationship has been long distance, we have been able to value the time we have spent together since our marriage. We have been committed to each other from the moment we met, so marriage is just a continuation of that commitment and partnership we share. Both of us are also very spiritual so it’s also about creating a bond that is long-lasting and keeping God in the center of whatever we do.

The Details

Wedding Planning

DURATION: Most of the wedding planning was done within 3-4 months prior to the wedding.

APPROACH: Since Benny and I lived on opposite sides of the world, we had to find unconventional ways to organize our wedding. We often relied on social platforms such as Pinterest and websites such as The Crimson Bride for ideas, professionals and alternative ways to make our wedding unique. If it is within your budget, I highly recommend getting a wedding planner, one that understands what you are looking for and works with you to make your vision come alive!

WEDDING PLANNER: It took us some time to find our wedding planners, Divya, and Vithika of Divya Vithika Wedding Planners, but once we did, we knew things were going to be smooth. They had prior experience and knew what would and wouldn’t work with our venue. One major tip is to work with vendors who are honest with you. It’s important to work with vendors who understand your vision and most importantly your budget and knows what can be achieved or give you alternatives.

Wedding Shopping

APPROACH: Except for my mehendi outfit, the rest of my wedding shopping was done in a period of four days one month before my wedding. Due to my prior work schedule, I didn’t have the flexibility to come to India earlier for wedding shopping. Due to my limited knowledge of Mumbai, Benny took the month off to take me around and help me with all my clothes and jewelry.

TIPS: I loved all my outfits but I definitely don’t recommend this approach to any bride-to-be! My tips:

1. Don’t leave the wedding shopping until the last minute. We were very lucky to get our outfits on time and that it was the off-season for wedding shopping but most popular bridal stores do take three-four months to deliver your outfits.

2. HIre a wedding stylist if you feel you are pressed for time. This seems to be very popular with brides lately. They will often send you options that are within your budget and help to find some really unique outfits that you normally wouldn’t be able to find on your own.

Wedding Events

We had our wedding events over three days at Templetree Leisure, Bangalore:

1. Mehendi, Friday PM.

2. Pre-Wedding Cocktail (Sangeet), Saturday PM.

3. Wedding Ceremony and Kerala Sadya Lunch, Sunday AM.

Mehendi - Overview

THEME: Moroccan.

VENUE: Templetree Leisure, 100-150 guests.

OVERVIEW & HIGHLIGHTS: Since this was the first of the three events we had, we wanted just a very relaxed vibe for our guests. We served really cool molecular cocktails and had DJ Shireen start the dance floor right from the beginning. Chef Saha of Caperberry in Bangalore served a Moroccan/Indian blend of food for the guests. About halfway through our Mehendi, it started to rain and is an open-air venue, I thought most people would run for cover but our guests kept dancing with the monsoon rains coming down, Benny and I included!

Mehendi - Décor & Unique Details

All the decor was sourced and executed by Divya Vithika Wedding Planners.

The Moroccan theme was actually Benny’s idea, but our wedding planners did an amazing job bringing it all to life. Some features included:

1. Colorful draping – The venue was draped with colorful fabrics and we focused our color palette on deep colors of fuchsia, cobalt blue, and ochre gold.
2. Low seating – We also incorporated low deewan seating with cushions.

3. Personalized cushions – We also had round pillows with our logos.

4. Lighting – lit up space with Morrocan lanterns and fairy lighting.

Mehendi - The Look

CATHERINE’S OUTFIT: I wore a plain white shirt with an embroidered skirt designed by Tan Kuruvilla of Kavani. I am very lucky to have a stylish husband! A few months before the wedding, I was discussing ideas with him on what to wear and he surprised me and said that he already had an idea in mind and was talking to a designer. When he showed me the outfit he had in mind, I was blown away. I loved the idea of a skirt. It allowed for all the mehendi to be seen and it was something different then I’ve seen worn from other brides at their mehendi. The embroidery on the skirt took three months and three people to complete.

JEWELRY/ ACCESSORIES: I went for a modern Jasmine-inspired look and kept it simple with statement earrings from Aquamarine and a tikka gifted to me by my sister-in-law. My purse was from Cheemo.

SHOES: Charles and Keith, Khar Mumbai

HAIR & MAKEUP: Makeup by Sabrina Suhail.

BENNY’S OUTFIT: Shirt and chinos by Troy Costa.

Pre-Wedding Cocktail - Overview

THEME: Glamorous Hollywood.

VENUE: Templetree Leisure, 300-350 guests.

OVERVIEW & HIGHLIGHTS: Instead of a traditional Sangeet, we opted for a Pre-Wedding Cocktail. This is where we incorporated the cake cutting, father-daughter dance, and the first dance. Guests were served Moroccan/Indian food by Caperberry in Bangalore. We danced the night away to DJ Shireen’s mixes.

One of the highlights of the evening for me was our first dance which was such a special moment. Benny sang “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” to me as we danced in front of our family and friends.

Pre-Wedding Cocktail - Décor & Unique Details

All the decor was sourced and executed by Divya Vithika Wedding Planners.

We wanted to keep it a glamorous evening with a black and gold theme with red roses and hints of pearls. Some of our favorite details included:

Flower wall – Our stage wall was made out of roses, pearls, and fabric doubling as a fun backdrop for all our pictures and a photo-booth for family and friends.

Lighting – We added some fun features such as Edison lights over the bar.

Signage – Fun quotes on signs were scattered around the venue.

Alternative guest book – We had a wish tree that we used in lieu of a wedding book where the guests could write their wishes for us and hang it on a tree.

Pre-Wedding Cocktail - The Look

CATHERINE’S OUTFIT: Akashi Designer Studio. I wanted a lehenga that had more brocade work than embellished embroidery. It was a black jacket with golden thread work with hints of red and blue and a full black skirt. a

JEWELLERY / ACCESSORIES: I coordinated the outfit with statement kundan jewellery by Aquamarine and purse by Cheemo.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Makeup by Sabrina Suhail. We kept my hair in a messy half updo with a dramatic smokey eye.

BENNY’S OUTFIT: Suit and by Troy Costa.

Wedding Ceremony - Overview

THEME: Kerala Vintage.

VENUE: Templetree Leisure, 300-350 guests.

OVERVIEW & HIGHLIGHTS: Our wedding was just a magical event that blended both ceremonies. We had traditional pakkavadhyam music (ceremonial music) play throughout the day which really set the tone for the event. Being of different religious backgrounds, we had both the Hindu and Christian ceremonies one after another. The wedding ceremonies concluded with a traditional “Kerala Sadya”, a feast popular in Kerala that is a variety of pure vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf.

The highlight from the wedding was seeing the companionship between the Hindu pundit and the Christian pastor throughout the ceremony. Benny and I thought they would keep to themselves, but both talked about the love and respect we should have not only for each other but for our respective beliefs which allowed for a blessed ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony - Décor & Unique Details

All the decor was sourced and executed by Divya Vithika Wedding Planners.

Being Malayalees, we had decided a long time ago that we wanted to do a ‘Kerala Vintage’ theme for our wedding. We included our traditional colors of gold and ivory, but added hints of greens and gorgeous pink lotus flowers for a modern take. Some of our favorite details included:

Guest entry – Our guests were welcomed with fresh tender coconut water in the shell and we had showcased our heritage with brass lamps and urlis in the entranceway as our guests made their way to the ceremony.

Mandap – Our mandap for the Hindu ceremony was done in ivory and gold fabric with lotus, jasmine, and greens with a flower chandelier in the center.

Christian altar – The Christian altar which was right next to the mandap entailed a beautiful archway outlined with flowers.

Wedding Ceremony - The Look

CATHERINE’S OUTFIT: I wore a Sabyasachi saree from the Ferozabad collection. Traditionally, Kerala brides wear an ivory and gold sari, but I wanted something that complimented both our Hindu and Christian beliefs. I saw this beautiful cape sari at Sabyasachi and knew it was the perfect outfit for me. From the mandap, it gave the feel of the traditional sari and from the altar, the cape gave a feel of a wedding gown veil.

JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: Jewellery from Tanishq.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Makeup by Sabrina Suhail. Being a morning wedding and a heavily embroidered sari, I wanted to have a minimalistic “no makeup” look to complement the look. My makeup artist did an amazing job of comprising this simple look with mostly base, blush, a light pink lip and some mascara with a maroon bindi for a special touch. My hair was a full updo in a traditional bun covered in jasmine flowers.

BENNY’S OUTFIT: Traditional Kerala ivory kurta and mundu.

Bridal Party Look

BRIDESMAIDS OUTFITS: They wore traditional Kerala Kasavu sarees from Kalyan Silks. I really wanted my bridesmaids to have a soft Kerala look for the wedding day. Since most of them have never worn a Kerala style sari, so they really enjoyed embracing the look. I kept the look simple.

JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES: I kept the look simple with pearl-studded traditional jewellery from Aquamarine.

HAIR & MAKEUP: The girls had a side braid with some baby’s breath for embellishment.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

1. Keep things in perspective: Something my brother told me, “No matter the chaos, that at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that you will be married to the man of your dreams”.

2. Have a family member/friend take photos on your phone during the events: I gave my phone to my brother to hold while I was greeting guests. What I didn’t know was that he took so many great photos of the wedding and was posting it on my social media accounts! I never expected him to do that, but it was great to have instant access to all the photos instead of running after people to send it to me.

3. Look like yourself: Don’t use your wedding day to opt for looks you haven’t tried before. Your husband-to-be fell in love with you so make sure to remind him of that on your wedding day.

 

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