The wedding of Sheela and Gary was so lovely and their love story is even sweeter. I have two versions, one from the bride and the other from the groom. When I first saw their wedding, I was excited to share it on the blog.
From the bride:
He proposed in an Indian restaurant on his birthday in December 2013. Sound tacky? Not when the said restaurant was in Le Tousserok hotel in Mauritius! I asked if he’d massage my feet every day. He said yes and we were engaged!
Prior to that we had been having fertility tests and in January 2014, we were told that I couldn’t conceive, I was 43 and we were both devastated. A little ray of hope came following an appointment with an IVF specialist, with a 7% chance of having our own baby.
In March my parents returned from their annual break in India and Gary asked them for my hand. We also told them we were expecting; I had become pregnant the good old-fashioned way! We were ecstatic which is very much an understatement and much to my surprise my folks were over the moon, surprised because they are traditional Hindu parents! Gary was the first man I’d ever ‘taken home’, he is very much an English atheist!
My Mum consulted her astrological calendar and the favoured date for the wedding was 24th May 2014. We had seven weeks! As much as I wanted to be married, the wedding became secondary to the pregnancy. We wanted it to be done within a day and decided on a civil ceremony without the rigmarole that goes with a traditional Hindu wedding.
The first venue we saw was two doors away from our home, the Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden which is beautiful, our concern was that it was the same weekend as the Chelsea Flower Show and parking would be a nightmare as most of our guests would be travelling to London, hotels would be at a premium and the weather can be unpredictable to say the least! Our concerns were mitigated, as we were unable to get a registrar for that date.
Our second and final venue was Nonsuch Mansion (recently featured in the O2 advert); I had lived in Cheam for three years and liked it’s setting and it was close to my brother and sister-in-law’s home (we took them along together with our three-year-old nephew to check it out) and pretty much booked it there and then. My brother, Sai, booked the registrar for us, two things ticked off the list!
My cousins own a printing press; Unity Press in Leicester and their gift to us was the wedding stationery. They couriered the invites and place settings within a couple of days of my request. My sister-in-law, Dips then wrote out my invites and Sai posted them for me.
I always knew that IF I ever got married I would wear a saree. I had brought one during a holiday in India with the folks in 2005, hadn’t worn it but loved it. I had to unpick the blouse, as I’d put on a bit of timber! Sorted. My jewellry for the day was given to me by my family; my necklaces were from my folks, bangles in the past belonged to both my grandmothers and the earrings were a wedding gift from my aunt and her family.
My day shoes were from the LK Bennett’s outlet store on the Kings Road and my evening ones were from Gina at 70% off, brought on the Internet, but were still around £300! Gary suit was from Ted Baker, shoes from Kenneth Cole! I love the Internet, we ordered the ties from The Tie Store; the younger bridesmaids’ dressed from BHS and their shoes from Next.
For the florist we looked up the closest one to Nonsuch – Wild Things, they did a grand job on the bouquets! We also decided to provide buttonholes for everyone and petal confetti so Gary and I went to the Covent Garden Flower market the day before – we also did our own centre-pieces, gerberas were the order of the day! The night before, whilst I was having my hands henna’ed by Arti Amin, Dips, Tina, Nisha, Kalps and Malti sorted out the buttonholes. We saved lots of pennies… lots!!!
We had a lotus cake from The Pretty Gorgeous Cake Company, Cynthia was brilliant, we had different flavours for each layer and at very-last minute she arranged an 80th birthday cake for my aunt. We only went to one caterer, Green Leaf – you can’t beat an Indian! They also provided fishfingers, chips and peas for the kids! The food was amazing and I particularly enjoyed the tasting! Booze from Asda!
Sai suggested Verity from Rabbit and Pork photography as our photographer as we didn’t want stuffy formal pics. She came around to see us and within half an hour it was like having a mate come to visit! The results were better than I expected, she has a knack of capturing the details without contrived poses – perfectly captured our day!
I tried to source someone to do my makeup but there was nothing under £350 (by this time I was thinking that could pay for the pram!) so my cousin Tina and I went to the local MAC shop and had a make-up trial a couple of weeks before, we brought the ‘stuff’ required to make me look decent and Tina plastered it on for me on the day – and a small miracle she performed!
Our rings were from Cartier darling! A little extravagant but they give you champagne whilst shopping, yet to be beaten! The DJ was my best friend’s (Reza’s) brother, DJ Strong who is just plain cool! He had everyone dancing, kids and pensioners and all between, there was also a mix of Pop and Asian music to suit all.
On our wedding day, my niece Tanika read Pam Ayres ‘Yes I’ll marry you my dear’ and Dips read a Bob Marley quote which begins ‘Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around’; both of which summed up how I felt about Gary, one somewhat lighter than the other! Sai did the speech on behalf of my Dad, which made me laugh immensely! Gary’s speech consisted of how we first met, how I was his boss and still am!!! Tina did one in the evening which was both sentimental and hilarious, she even provided Gary with a survival kit!
I loved the day; it’s such an overwhelming feeling to have our nearest and dearest under one roof celebrating with us. We couldn’t have done it without Tina, Sai and Dips and I couldn’t have done it without the blessing of my parents.
Gary no longer massages my feet every day as we have a new boss in our home… Our son was born 12th November 2014. My only advice is don’t let life pass you by whilst you’re busy making plans, savour the moments. If you asked me now what more I wanted, I’d struggle to find an answer. I’ve become a wife and mummy in the space of six months and couldn’t be happier. I feel complete and ecstatic still!
From the groom:
“I am the luckiest man in the world’, my wife tells me this every day. Our wedding took place at Nonsuch Mansion near Sutton. The morning of the wedding we woke to torrential rain! Friends and family had travelled from Cheltenham and all over the Midlands. We all prayed for the rain to stop before the wedding ceremony at 4pm. 3.30pm the sun came out, amazing!!!
I stood in the beautifully prepared wedding room (prepared by the Nonsuch staff, including Helen the wedding planner) waiting for my bride!! The room was filled with friends and family, from near and far, wearing some amazing, colourful outfits. The music began (Higher Love by James Vincent) she was late (brides perogitive!!)
The beautiful bridesmaids strolled down the aisle scattering petals, I turned to see Sheela looking more stunning than I’d ever seen her before, in a bright red and orange sari, brought in India years before the wedding was even planned, which she loved but had never worn, her proud father at her side. As Sheela arrived at my side, I did feel like the luckiest man in the world, just as I had been told by Sheela many times over the previous years we had spent together.
The ceremony went well, followed by moving readings from Tanika and Dipti. Ceremony complete, we left the room to “Call me Maybe” (a cheesy song from our early times together) and the fun began!!! Children playing in the gardens, adults drinking and performing!!! All captured brilliantly by Verity and her assistant Sophie on cameras, (Rabbit & Pork Photography).
The wedding breakfast was cooked and served by Green Leaf catering and was amazing!! Sai made a very and informative and funny speech followed by a few words from myself. Into the evening the drink flowed!! The children played and some adults joined in!!!!
Before the cake cutting Tina and Kaya made another amazing and funny speech, telling me what to expect from life with Sheela!!! The first dance!!!! We had had lessons to dance to ‘Born to love you’ by Freddie Mercury, but when the music began (DJ Payman) it was a different version, with a totally different beat!!!! We were lost completely and must have looked stunned!!!! We had been asked for the song list by the DJ weeks before, but it never made it to him!!!
The dancing and drinking continued till the end of the night, then a few hard core drinkers managed to return to the hotel we were staying in with a crate of alcohol for the night to continue into the early hours!!! Amazing day, thanks to all involved in setting everything up and to my beautiful wife Sheela for turning up!!!
Thanks to everyone for all the lovely flowers, money and gifts, special thanks to Sofia from Cartier, Sloane Square (supplied the wedding rings) for the beautiful roses she sent and especially to Tina, Sai, Dipti and Shiv for all their help.
Photography: Rabbit and Pork Photography
Location: Nonsuch Mansion
Shoes: L.K.Bennett / Gina
Groom’s suit: Ted Baker
Groom’s shoes: Kenneth Cole
Ties: The Tie Store
Bridesmaids dresses: BHS
Bridesmaids shoes: Next
Flowers: Wild Things
Cake: The Pretty Gorgeous Cake Company