I’m fairly certain the only thing more exciting than one wedding is… two weddings! The beautiful Anna and Amit chose to celebrate their wedding in two different venues, and in both cases wanted the occasion of their union to be a heartfelt celebration of family and cultural harmony.
The first gathering was an intimate one held in Manchester, for just 16 of their closest friends and family, in a relaxed urban atmosphere perfect for taking in the start of this exciting new chapter of their lives. Though the second wedding at Styal Lodge in Cheshire was the larger and more traditional of the two celebrations, the couple still wanted it to feel intimate, relaxed, and modern – as a reflection of their own laid-back natures. The day unfolded through the vibrancy of the colours, the authenticity of the Hindu rituals, and the gathering of loved ones from all corners of the earth, creating something truly breathtaking.
The floral design in particular tells the story so beautifully: from the large bespoke Mandap of silver birch trees, flowers, and foliage, the spotlight on exotic pink Proteas, and the wonderland of berries, pine cones, and delicate white, blush, and peach roses of the table arrangements – all highlighted by Indian brass and warm candlelight. We adore all the personal touches, like the stationery designed and hand-finished by the bride and groom, the sacred photographs of loved ones afar, the personalised seed packets, and the bangles and bindis supplied for everyone to feel welcome. Then, amidst wisps of orange smoke, late night pizzas, and camper van photobooths, the day came to end – all hearts the richer for it.
For some seriously heart-warming inspiration, have a browse of the stunning captures by Emilie May Photography. Enjoy!
In 2014 Amit surprised Anna with a trip to the Lake District for a weekend away to celebrate their 7 year anniversary, which falls on the 6th November.
Being over bonfire night weekend Amit arranged a stay at a beautiful boutique hotel, the Rum Doodle in Bowness on Windermere, and proposed while watching fireworks (including getting down on one knee in a muddy puddle) over at Kendal Castle.
We wanted to have a big celebration with family and friends, but are huge fans of keeping things small and intimate. We decided to have two days of celebrations and wanted them both to be relaxed and unique to us.
The first (the small one); a low key wedding at Manchester registry office with 16 of our immediate family, no bridesmaids or best men, just us and no fuss. We wanted a relaxed wedding breakfast and dined at Jamie’s Italian in Manchester inside an old bank vault. We aimed for a bit of a 1920’s theme to our stationery and favours to reflect the style of Anna’s dress which worked really well with the architecture of the building.
The second (the big day); ‘Bow ties and Bindis’ – as it said on our invite!
We wanted to celebrate with a merge of two cultures and traditions with a vibrant and relaxed feel. Amit’s family are Hindu so having a Hindu blessing was to be a large part of our day. We wanted to understand what we were partaking in, enjoy it (as well as our guests) and for the ceremony not to be too lengthy. We were really aiming for a modern accessible twist on a traditional Indian wedding, of course with Indian food.
Our colour scheme was one of the first things we thought of, liking navy blue and gold, with a range of pinks thrown in, from dusk pinks of the bridesmaids shawls to hot pinks in Anna’s Indian outfit.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
Once we knew we wanted two days of celebrations and realised how we would incorporate two ceremonies (the legal and the Hindu ceremony) we started by finding the venues. Styal Lodge jumped out at us and everything else fell into place from there.
We used a ‘wedding spreadsheet’ to predict and log our budget as we went along and made an epic list of ‘To Do’s’ with jobs for each of us to do and ones that both of us could enjoy doing together.
We did a lot of research on Pinterest and read the odd wedding magazine.
For the first wedding, we used Manchester registry Office, Jamie’s Italian, and King Street Townhouse Hotel. For the second, we celebrated at Styal Lodge in Cheshire.
THE READINGS & MUSIC
We didn’t have any readings from guests but our Hindu priest was wonderful at lightening the mood with jokes as well as conducting the ceremony with readings in Gujarti, Sanskrit and English.
We had two Dohl drummers bring Amit into the Lodge, a traditional entrance without the elephant or horse!
We chose to have Lauren Charlotte play violin for a few hours after playing us out after our ceremony, while guests enjoyed canapés and drinks. Lauren Charlotte studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and I was already aware of her wonderful repertoire for classical violin, and what we chose for her to play, classic Bollywood.
Our first dance was Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments.
We created our own playlists but in the evening we had Dan Soulsmith from Wedding Jam start the party. We worked with Dan to create a 20 minute non-stop Bollywood inspired ‘megamix’ including traditional Indian circle dancing ‘Garba’ music. This was a real highlight and unexpected for many guests. Everyone was up on the dance floor!
Stone coloured slim fitting three piece suit was from Reiss with classic tan / brown brogues from Loake. Floral navy bow tie was from Mrs Bow Tie.
Indian suit was from from Preetis on Soho Road in Birmingham.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
Amit designed all of the wedding stationery being a designer and photographer. We had the invites, menus, save the dates, table numbers, seating plan, Hindu ceremony guide and signage for the day printed, but then stamped and pieced them together ourselves. Anna works in exhibition design so was hands on with the finishing touches too.
So that all family could celebrate with us we positioned a ladder shelf in the entrance to our venue with two Ganesh statues and framed photographs of our grandparents on it. We also made personalised sweetie bags, seed packet favours and supplied bangles and bindis.
We worked with Sian from Didsbury Flower lounge for all of our floral needs at Styal Lodge and for both bridal bouquets. Sian created a large bespoke Mandap (a four posted structure that we were married under). This was made using silver birch trees, flowers and foliage. Flowers were a large part of what gave our wedding its vibrant and exotic colours, using pink Protea as our main flower, mixed in with berries, pinecones, delicate whites with blush and peach roses. We had 15 tables and on all of these small arrangements were positioned on a tree slump with in antique glass vases or Indian brass that Anna had scoured charity shops for.
Our cake was made by Pink Pepper Catering. We asked for a lemon and poppy seed cake with an understated look. It was perfect.
We found the lovely navy blue Jenny Packham dressed and clutch bags at Debenhams and were comfy for both, considering that one bridesmaid was nursing a 1-month-old baby! Their bouquets were smaller versions of the bride’s.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
Bridal gown – Monsoon
Veil – The White Closet, West Didsbury
Beaded clutch bag – John Lewis
Accessories – Vintage finds and tiara from Issac Charles, Poynton.
Shoes – Charlotte Mills
Bridesmaids Dresses and clutch bags – Jenny Packham
Shawls and jewellery – Handmade detail on John Lewis items.
Anna’s Indian outfit was bought from Leicester, while the blouse was pieced together by Anna’s mum and the Lengha (skirt) was fitted by a local seamstress.
I wanted a dress that I would be able to wear twice, for the first wedding day and in the evening of the Indian wedding day at Styal Lodge. I had been looking at pictures of beaded dresses and slim fitting Jenny Packham styles.
The first time I went shopping with my mum and one of my bridesmaids I tried on a dress in the sale, it was the last size and was gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting to buy a dress that day and not from Monsoon but the beading was so lovely, wonderful quality and a bargain, considering I was also purchasing a second wedding outfit! This also meant I was able to splurge guilt free a little bit on shoes, accessories and a veil from boutiques.
Wedding Day 1: Bec Lupton
Wedding Day 2: Emilie May
A week long visit to Croatia dipping from one island to another and a few days discovering Dubrovnik.
For the Bride; choosing my white dress with my mum and bridesmaid and then having a day with Amit’s mum and sister-in-law choosing my Indian outfit. And of course, seeing my groom at the top of the aisle before he saw me.
For the Groom; having all of our family and friends under one roof was amazing. We had guests travel from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and even Dubai.
Getting our photographs back!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
It’s never too early to get planning, get a folder and a book for all of your notes otherwise you WILL loose them.
Make your wedding unique to you. You don’t have to follow a rule book or trends, It’s your day.
Enjoy the family moments you have in the run up to the day, planning outfits, make-up test days, food-tasting etc. You will love looking back on these opportunities to bond.
On the day, make sure you take a moment as a couple away from the guests to enjoy your time as newlyweds alone. It’s easy for time to whiz by.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Emilie May Photography
The White Closet
Didsbury Flower Lounge
Thank you so much Anna and Amit for sharing your beautiful story with us. Val xx