Stylish Hindu and Christian Sri Lankan Wedding

Abie & Dilshan

Snapshot

Abie and Dilshan’s stylish Sri Lankan wedding combines two different religious ceremonies and a colourful Reception – a beautiful ode to their modern sensibilities and cultural backgrounds. Abie transforms from a classic Tamil bride to a glamorous princess in a white gown for the wedding and is perfectly complemented by Dilshan’s suave groom wear. The Reception at the stunning Leonda by the Yarra, reflects the couple’s personal sentiments with a vibrant purple and fuschia colour scheme and unique DIY touches that include a twist on the old-fashioned wedding guest book and a paper-mache flower wall for the photo booth.

As always, Shevan J Photography immaculately captured beautiful moments of the couple throughout the celebrations and treats us to some breathtaking portrait shots of the two in their classic avatars. The lovely bride, Abie reveals all the details.

About The Couple

How did we meet?

We had mutual friends and met at a Monash University sports event. We kept bumping into each other, and one day hit it off and eventually started dating.

How we are as a couple?

We are pretty laid back and try to make the most of our days off. I’d say we balance each out other really well – Dilshan is quite OCD and I am the opposite; his love of exercise and healthy foods and my love for all things sweet.

What marriage means to us?

It’s about commitment and a partnership. We have known each other for long enough to understand and respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We believe in untrust, honesty and working together as a team.

How he proposed?

Dilshan woke me up really early one morning saying we needed to drop some close friends off at the airport. I slept the whole way and when we got out, I realized we were actually in Yarra Valley! Dilshan had booked us in for a hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley wine region. I’m scared of heights but it was a really fun and crazy experience. We floated over the beautiful wineries and watched the sun rising over Yarra Valley. It was magical.

Afterward, Dilshan took me to Stones of the Yarra Valley, a beautiful winery and restaurant in Yarra Valley. The place was closed to visitors but in their Barn area, there was a picnic set up for us. We sat down and enjoyed some wine and cheese. Dilshan showed me a Where’s Wally version called ‘Where’s Abie and Dilsh’ he had made. Each page was dedicated to places we had been together and included pictures of sentimental items from those places. It was a summary of our journey together in the relationship so far. It was so sweet. The last page had Yarra Valley with a hot air balloon. That’s where we were today! When I looked up, Dilshan got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I cried and said ‘yes’, of course.

The Details

Wedding Planning

The wedding planning took about one and a half years. We weren’t sure whether to have the wedding here or in London (as my family lives there). I wanted a simple, small wedding whereas Dilshan wanted a big one. We compromised and went for a medium/small wedding with about 240 guests. We ended up having a wedding in Melbourne, Australia mainly because we wanted a wedding where all our friends and family would able to attend.

Although Dilshan and I are both of Tamil Sri Lankan backgrounds, he is Christian and I am Hindu. It was really important to both our families that we incorporate both religious traditions into the wedding. We decided to have two separate Hindu and Christian wedding ceremonies.

Once these initial details were decided, we started looking at venues as soon as possible. We researched and visited as many venues as we could and tried to filter for things that were important. For instance, finding a venue that would allow a fire was really difficult and only a few venues would allow this in Melbourne. After the venues were locked in, we booked the photographers and videographers next, as they are often booked out well in advance.

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Shevan J Photography. Dilshan and Shev have been friends for years, so it was always going to be him. We didn’t even look for anyone else. He’s such a nice guy! We wanted to work with someone you can be comfortable with, at the end of the day.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: We used BLVD Media. We were impressed with their work. They were really easy to get along with, chilled and very accommodating.

INVITATIONS & STATIONERY: Ashley Orchard of JayDee Interiors. She is based in Rowville, Melbourne. We looked at a few people online that could do a henna design and while there were few good ones on Etsy, they were either going to take too long to deliver or were inflexible on design and price. We found Ashley of JayDee and loved her portfolio and professionalism. She was just starting out at the time, so I was a lot open to our requests. She did all of our place cards, table numbers, seating charts and also designed the photo booth print. She went above and beyond to design and deliver everything on such short notice.

Wedding Shopping

We went to Chennai, India for 10 days to do all the wedding shopping for the Hindu Ceremony. I was shopping for everyone including my family and Dilshan’s so there was a lot to do in the 10 days! I had to move very fast and wasn’t sure what to expect.

There are only a few well-known places in Chennai for bridal sarees. I ended up buying the two sarees for the Hindu Ceremony at The Chennai Silks on the first day of shopping. I was too scared I would find other sarees I might like, so I went for the first pieces I liked. The Chennai Silks was a good find – it was less chaotic than the other stores. I purchased my Reception lehenga from another store called EKA and Dilshan’s sherwani from Lagan.

Wedding Events

We had our wedding celebrations over the Melbourne Cup long weekend in November 2014:

  1. Hindu Ceremony – Sunday AM, Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, Carrum Downs, 260 guests.
  2. Christian Ceremony – Monday AM, St. John’s Anglican Church, Toorak, 240 guests
  3. Reception – Monday PM, Leonda by the Yarra, Toorak, 240 guests

Hindu Ceremony

The Hindu Wedding Ceremony was held at the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs. It was one of my most enjoyable events. We had lots of people attend the ceremony but had only the closest people sitting up on the stage. We flew in the priest from London (as he is a family priest). He is very close to the priest at Carrum Downs as they are cousins. We had five priests carrying out the ceremony on the day – crazy! It was really lovely to have everyone involved. Guests were served South Indian vegetarian food catered by the Carrum Downs Temple.

DECOR: For the Hindu ceremony at the temple, we went for a red, gold and cream theme and tried to keep it more traditional. Rej of Wed in Style setup the mandap, stage, fountains, and decorations at the venue. Red Temple Events did florals and table décor.

ABIE’S OUTFIT: For the Hindu ceremony, I wanted to go for the traditional Tamil bride look. The saree I got married in was a simple, orange saree with no work on it. The second saree I changed into, had embellishments. Both sarees were purchased from The Chennai Silks.

JEWELLERY: For the Hindu ceremony, it was very hard to find jewellery I liked. I ended up wearing my mother’s gold jewellery that she had been accumulating over the years.

HAIR & MAKEUP:  Sumi of Sayuri Creations did my hair and make up for both days. I had seen her work at a friend’s wedding and was confident she would do a good job so I never even bothered doing a trial with her.

For the Hindu Ceremony, the makeup was a lot heavier than what I would normally wear, but it still looked great. Sumi did an amazing job – she was so nice, professional and considerate. She came to our house at 2:30 am to get us ready for the morning and went out of her way to make sure I had everything I needed. She also did bridal dressing for the bridesmaids and me. She pre-pleated all the sarees from a week before – so organized!

GROOM OUTFIT: We bought Dilshan’s sherwani from Lagan in Chennai.

Christian Ceremony

The Christian ceremony was held the morning after the Hindu Ceremony (it was a public holiday) by the pastor at the St. John’s Anglican Church. This event was mainly organized by Dilshan’s parents. It was a really nice ceremony but also surreal. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes The Bride’. The reality of the wedding really hit me when we said our vows. The guests were served sandwiches, cakes, and drinks after the ceremony; meanwhile, we went off with the bridal party for our photoshoot in Richmond and surrounding areas.

DECOR: Simple florals by our stylists at Vogue Weddings.

ABIE’S OUTFIT: I purchased a gown from the Sydney boutique called The Sposa Group. It’s a friend’s family business and was highly recommended to me. I tried lots of types of dresses and wasn’t sure what would suit the occasion. In the end, I went by what Dilshan would have liked – something more fitted and not so ‘princessy’. I purchased the gown only three months before the wedding and the boutique staff were really accommodating and did an amazing job of getting it organized. I realized I had to get alterations done only two weeks before the wedding, but they made it happen!

SHOES: Gold heeled, Stuart Weitzman pumps.

HAIR & MAKEUP: Both by Sayuri Creations. I went for a very simple look and wanted to look as natural as possible.

DILSHAN’S OUTFIT: He wore a black Hugo Boss suit.

BRIDESMAIDS: I wanted my bridesmaids to feel special so I wanted to get a beautiful outfit for them. I knew I wanted them to wear full-length dresses in daytime colors such as lilac or pale pink. After looking around, I found the perfect set of dresses at Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliot. They only had a few pieces left from previous seasons but were three sizes too big! I bought them anyway and got them altered. The silk was beautiful and the quality was amazing. They turned out perfect. Jennifer Major did the bridesmaids’ makeup and everyone’s hair for the Church Wedding. The bridesmaids went for a minimal makeup look.

GROOMSMEN: They had their suits custom made by Patrick&Co, a Thailand-based corporate suiting company.

Reception

The Reception was held in the evening after the Church Wedding ceremony at Leonda by the Yarra. I had my school formal at Leonda and absolutely fell in love with it. I also liked that it was a blank canvas and we could decorate it how we wanted. It ticked all the boxes for what we were after. Their food was also outstanding – we went for their Spring seasonal menu (Modern Australian).

Although we didn’t have a Reception entrance song, for the Bridal Party entrance, we chose songs that would suit the personalities of the bridal party couples for a bit of fun. Our first dance was to Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran.

My favorite moment at the Reception, realizing how close we are with our friends. It was so nice to see them come together and be a part of the celebrations. It was heartwarming seeing everyone happy and having a good time. It was so much fun

The rest of the night was was just a big party! The Leonda staff were so fantastic and accommodating. Everything went smoothly and ran on time. We stayed and partied till 3 AM thanks to DJ Kikz and his tunes!

DECOR & UNIQUE DETAILS: For the Reception, we went for a more modern, elegant theme. I kind of went Pinterest crazy but in the end, I tried to tie it back to the venue. Leonda by the Yarra has a white, modern setting but being an ethnic wedding, we also wanted to add some color.

Some of my favorite details included:

  • Flowers – We went with lush floral decorations that matched my Reception lehenga colors of pink, purple and white. We looked at a few event styling companies and stumbled upon Vogue Weddings whilst we were looking for centerpieces. Lily and Rob were really down to earth and patient. They narrowed down our ideas to a few different styles. We didn’t want to do too much and keep it very simple. They were quite reasonable in terms of cost and really easy to work with. Guests could take the flowers home after the event.
  • Photobooth & Flower Wall – We had a photo booth set up by One Click Photobooth and our stylists, Vogue Weddings made a paper-mache flower wall in an off-white theme for our photo booth. It was beautiful!
  • Guest book alternative – This was Dilshan’s DIY project for the wedding. Instead of the usual guest book, we wanted to do something different and memorable. Dilshan, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids got an A1 size board and filled it with small purple and pink envelopes on it. Guests took photos with a Polaroid camera, wrote a message on the back and placed it in an envelope.
  • Cake – French Lettuce. It had a floral bottom, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. I had no idea wedding cakes were so expensive. Luckily French Lettuce was able to create what we were after in a reasonable price range.
  • Favors – Fruit cake made by Dilshan’s mother. We put them in little boxes and bags (purchased from a small vendor in India).

ABIE’S OUTFIT: I wanted a North Indian look, so I wore a purple lehenga that I purchased from EKA, a small store in Chennai. Most other pieces I saw were too embellished and too overpriced at the larger stores. I loved my lehenga, it was perfect for the event.

JEWELLERY: For Reception, I purchased some matching costume jewellery from small street stores in Chennai. I bought lots of jewellery and bangles and mixed and matched with the outfits.

SHOES:  I didn’t wear any shoes! I am all about comfort. My lehenga was very heavy and I also get very nervous when it comes to big crowds. I just wanted to keep it simple and have a really good night and not worry about falling over, so this was one less thing to worry about!

HAIR & MAKEUP: Both by Sayuri Creations. I had the makeup redone with heavier eye makeup.

DILSHAN’S OUTFIT: For the Reception, he changed into a purple jacket from Politix to match my lehenga.

BRIDESMAIDS: For the Reception, they wore fuschia colored sarees that my cousins purchased in London. The sarees were draped by Sayuri Creations.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

1. Be organized.

2. Set a realistic budget.

3. Have fun!

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