Your London Wedding - January/February 2023 (Issue 87)

Bhavina and Priyam met at university when they were placed in the same study group. “Unfortunately, nobody wanted to partner with Priyam on a group project as he’d chosen the most difficult piece to cover so I was stuck with him and the rest is history,” says Bhavina. “I loved how determined and passionate he was, and he’s not too bad on the eye either!” she says. A few years later, after six months of planning, going back and forth with a ring designer and deciding on a location, Priyam proposed. “We were planning a small getaway and Priyam suggested Treetop Hideaways. He tried his best to not seem interested in the trip to not raise my suspicions, as usually he’s terrible at keeping a surprise a secret,” Bhavina says. “His plan was to go out on a boat on the lake and to come back to the treehouse where he’d propose, however it started raining,” she explains. “I was feeling lazy that day and despite his best efforts to try to get me to go out to dinner I was adamant I wanted to have a Co-op meal deal, so we set off to get our sandwiches. When we drove back to the treehouse, I saw something set up on the balcony and he walked me over to the lake,” she recalls. “He’d hired Kyron, a steel pan player who I loved, to play Bollywood music and a photographer to capture the moment. When he asked me to marry him, I was so surprised and taken aback that all our photos are of me crying uncontrollably,” she says. KING OF THE INDIAN ROADS When it came to finding the perfect venue, the duo fell in love with Busbridge Lakes. “We’d seen a few indoor venues up to this point and there was something about having an outdoor ceremony that really resonated with us. As we walked around, we came to the large cedar wood tree with a small treehouse, which sealed the deal. It tied in with our proposal, it was so fitting,” says Bhavina. Priyam chose to travel to the venue in a pink Ambassador – an Indian classic! “This went down really well with the kids and became a photo opportunity for our guests,” says Bhavina. “I’d planned Priyam’s entrance into the ceremony as a surprise. When he was brought in by our families, I hired a violinist to play movie scores like Austin Powers and Jurassic Park. It sounded epic in the venue because it was echoing around the grounds and the guests loved it. I also planned with the violinist to play his favourite song alongside my cousins playing the dhol for his aisle walk,” she says. BESPOKE BRIDAL “My family and I love arts and crafts, so we customised a lot of our outfits,” Bhavina says. “My dad had made a pact with me a long time ago that he would wear traditional village wear (a Kediyu) for my wedding and when it finally came to it, he really wanted to chicken out. I held him to it and in the months before the day, I spent many hours hand-embroidering his outfit. It was really special to see him in it and he went all out also making himself a cane and an earring,” she recalls. Along with her mum, Bhavina also made her veil with some material they bought from India. “I love traditional Kutchi mirror work so I embroidered the mirrors to the veil and mum added the borders. It turned out exactly as I’d hoped, and it was extra special working on it with my mum,” she says. Bhavina wore an Anita Dongre half saree for the civil ceremony, a Debyani lehenga for the Mehndi, and an Anita Dongre lehenga for the wedding and reception and looked stunning throughout. “I’ve always loved Anita Dongre’s designs as her foundation works with rural women to develop livelihood opportunities by providing skill training. The workmanship’s outstanding, and I’ll cherish every piece,” says Bhavina. For the civil ceremony Priyam’s outfit was by Shyamal and Bhumika, he wore Anita Dongre for the Mehndi, Jatin Malik for the wedding and a suit by Suit Supply for the reception. “I know that Priyam loves a bit of extravagance so for his garland we decided to use the biggest dahlias we’d grown that year from our garden,” says Bhavina. “My mum was worried he wouldn’t take it well having to carry them in, but he loved it and didn’t want to take it off!” she adds. SETTING THE SCENE Bhavina and Priyam’s Hindu ceremony took place under a mandap, and they chose a wooden frame to fit in with the background that was beautifully decorated with flowers and greenery to create the perfect focal point. “We placed this in 35 REAL WEDDINGS