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

front of the cedar tree, and it created such a stunning backdrop,” says Bhavina. “For our mehndi our theme was ‘Kutch,’ a region of Gujarat that I’m from. As such, we chose floor seating decorated with traditional Kutchi printed fabric. In the villages in India you often see a tree with seating around where the community gets together and we wanted to bring that into our day, so we placed a tree at the centre of the Orangery,” she says. Sai Mandaps did the decoration for the mehndi and wedding. “Our mehndi theme was niche, and they went above and beyond to find items to fit. Even on the day they added some extra touches like little puppets, so we really appreciated their effort.” The meal on the wedding day was a traditional Gujarati Thali. “Usually, the wedding meal would be a buffet style however we decided on a sit-down meal where the food is served, which is no mean feat when there are 15 different components and 300 guests!” she says. THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC When it came to entertaining their guests, music played a huge part throughout each event. “We both love music so this was a big element for us. We had Kyron play at our engagement and wedding and we had so many compliments, I’m sure he will be at many more of our parties. My talented cousins from Rhythm n Bass played dhol. They created the most epic entrances and reception performance for us, everyone was up on the floor in seconds,” Bhavina says. They hired a band, Kay Kay & Co, to play alongside the female priest to create a special atmosphere at the ceremony. “They were also fantastic for the reception as they blended English and Bollywood music together so everyone of all ages enjoyed it,” she says. “For the mehndi we were surprised by Priyam’s family and our work friends who had spent the last few months putting together and learning a dance for us. They picked our favourite songs, and we couldn’t believe the hard work that’d gone into it – it’s something we’ll never forget.” The family has a charity named Husti, which was set up in 2014, to help disadvantaged children with complex societal issues. “To help empower the young girls we purchased bracelets and necklaces made as part of the charity’s art classes to give as gifts for the mehndi,” Bhavina says. For the reception Bhavina and her cousins surprised their guests by performing a dance number. “We used to perform together as children and it was so nostalgic putting it together,” she says. “There was also a point at our reception where the band came into the crowd for audience participation. The mic came around to me and by some miracle it wasn’t just my favourite song but one that I knew all the lyrics to. I somehow ended up on stage singing, badly might I add, and super out of character for me, but it’s something that everyone now brings up to me when they see me.” CHERISHED MEMORIES Priyam’s dad wrote a heart-warming speech for the evening celebration that had everyone laughing and in tears. “We also had a surprise speech from Priyam’s aunt, who’d travelled over from Australia, and we were so touched that she’d put together something so beautifully composed for us,” Bhavina says. “There are so many cherished memories from the day. We have a tradition where the bride’s family steal the groom’s shoes from him and demand money or presents before they return them,” she explains. “Usually there’s a little playful back and forth but for us both sides took it very seriously,” she says. Priyam came in with croc sandals and my cousins stole them just before he entered the mandap. His best men started a chase to get them back and it ended up in a little scrum at the back of the venue with my poor cousin hugging his sandal at the bottom of the pile. Luckily it was caught on video and every time we watch it, we can’t help but laugh.” After a year in the making, their celebration came together perfectly. “Our families and planners worked so hard. It felt really special being surrounded by our favourite people and those who’d travelled far and wide to celebrate with us,” says Bhavina. “It’s not often you get to see everyone you love in one place, and this was one of those events. We’re so thankful people took the time to celebrate with us.” 37 REAL WEDDINGS