Hold onto your hats, Daryl and Suni had an amazing three day wedding with about seven different ceremonies, including a traditional church service, a rice throwing ceremony, a red bangle ceremony and a traditional outdoor Hindi ceremony, all in glorious technicolour!
The main hub for their bright wedding was Middle Stanley Farm in the Costwolds, a beautiful collection of barns and out buildings surrounded by the picturesque English countryside.
A truly beautiful, fun filled day full of sentimental touches and traditions, I especially love the shoe stealing ceremony where the Grooms shoes are taken and he has to bid to get them back!
Suni The Bride: Having dated for 11 years (eeekk!), we finally decided it was time to take the plunge! Daryl is catholic, and his family all live in Ireland, and I’m Hindu, with family in the Midlands and abroad. With both of us living in Berkshire, we had to decide where we wanted the wedding to take place, and what type of Irish/Indian wedding it might be. So we started to decide on the following key principles:
- Incorporate both of our cultures. It was important for us (and our families) to incorporate both Irish/Catholic themes, as well as the Indian/Hindu ceremonies.
- We wanted the families to mingle and get to know each other. With Daryl’s family in Ireland we have had limited opportunities to have both families ‘get together’ over a nice Sunday roast.
- With Indian ceremonies happening over several days, we wanted to make the Wedding into a mini country break for our guests
- We also wanted the wedding to be unique, but also as personal as possible. We had our family helping out with everything. From our decorations, favours, wedding cards (bunting, flowers etc) all being made by us and our families, Meena my Sister made all of our many wedding cakes all by herself!! Our family then helped with the decorations and homemade wedding favours!
- We love the bright colours of an Indian wedding and we both love the countryside, as a result we really wanted to theme the Indian ceremony around the green English countryside, to really show the fusion of our cultures.
- Food is REALLY important at an Indian wedding and we love food! We had 3 days of ceremonies and wanted to make sure that we provided a great mixture of Indian food, English afternoon teas, and BBQs throughout the weekend… i.e. all the amazing food we love!
3 days…4 dresses… can it get any better?
There was a lot of dressing up and outfit changing during this week…oh yes!
My Mom had kept her Indian wedding outfit from the ‘70’s, which her Aunt had hand made for her. I knew straight away that I wanted to wear it and my Mom did get quite emotional about it.
Having said that…I tired it on and I just about managed to fit in it! I cannot understand how my Mom did in the first place – it was so tiny!!
My Mom helped do a few alterations (e.g. the hem of the top). It was perfect, simple and elegant and meant so much to both my Mom and I that I was able to wear it.
For my white wedding dress you could probably call it fate! My super Sister, Meena, was helping me look for wedding dresses. We booked an appointment to go and see some dresses, and in the meantime decided to look around online. After many sites, we came across a dress that we both loved. The following day (over the Christmas period) we went to our appointment to view/try on dresses and the dress we saw online was in-store!! It was the first dress I tried, on and I loved it! Given it was the first dress and first shop, we decided to go into another shop. We found the same dress there and it was at a lower price! That was the decision made for me!
Choosing shoes was an easy one for me! I’ve never really been a heel or shoe kind of girl (I’m all about the handbags!). Outside of work, and on weekends I’m all about my Converse trainers, for long comfy walks. So, much to my Mom’s despair, I decided on a pair of white Converse to go under the dress… I think they were a perfect match AND I didn’t have sore feet all day… RESULT!
The Grooms Attire
Unlike my experience with my ‘fateful’ dress shopping, Daryl’s approach was much more straightforward! We popped into Reading’s Moss Bros suit hire, and tried on a handful of options. He almost chose the ‘Newbury’, just because we live there… but settled on the “Royal Ascot’. Done.
For the Indian suit, we went shopping in Southall (there is a serious amount of Indian shops to pick from!) and chose a cream coloured suit with some dark red trimming that would match my Indian wedding dress.
As mentioned earlier, we really wanted a picturesque English countryside wedding venue as we both love the countryside and I wanted this combined with the amazing fun and colours of an Indian/Hindu wedding. We also wanted to choose somewhere fairly accessible from Berkshire (friends) and the Midlands (family) and then for family travelling from abroad, Ireland, India and America. Given we had a 3 day wedding, it was really important for us to have somewhere we could have all our friends and families flying over in a single place. We also wanted them to be able to explore the area during periods where we didn’t have any wedding ceremonies. Cotswolds was the perfect countryside location for us.
After seeing lots of traditional venues (hotels etc), we knew that this wasn’t what we wanted, it didn’t give us the option to be as creative as we wanted!
We took out a weekend to look around the Cotswolds and came across Winchcombe, and just feel in love with the town and area. Middle Stanley farm in Gretton (just a few miles from Winchcombe) was perfect for us. It was the blank canvas we wanted, and somewhere we could co-ordinate our various ceremonies, meals and parties. And above all else, it had beautiful hillside views of the surrounding countryside. The various barns, and accommodation for 28 people allowed close family to stay on-site, and had plenty of space to host meals, parties and a marquee (from Mudway Workman) for the main reception.
It also had a beautiful lakeside spot to host the actual Indian wedding ceremony outdoors. We did end of up having an outdoor Indian wedding and we were very lucky! Given we didn’t have a back-up plan the weather on the day was perfect!
Oddly, we didn’t actually have a specific colour scheme. The decorations for the marque were mainly bunting and paper flowers which were all hand made by my whole family (under strict supervision by Meena). We really just wanted a burst of the bright colours against the amazing backdrop of the farm and lake and I think we achieved that perfectly with all of the outfits/colours of our guests, family and friends. We did manage to match the Groom’s cravat with the Groomsmen’s Indian suits (Royal Blue) and the pocket square with the Bridesmaids Saree’s (bright pink).
We left our flower choices quite late, and dumped our problems onto the team at Winchcombe Flowers. We sent them some photos of the Indian bridal party and Grooms party outfits to give them an idea of colours, and let them decide on the arrangements. They were amazing, and provided beautiful flowers for the main day:
For the Bride: a posy of roses, gypsophilia and other seasonal flowers in shades of pinks, blues and white (cornflowers. nigella, sweet peas, larkspur etc.)
For the Bridesmaids: posies of gypsophilia and other seasonal flowers
Ivory rose buttonholes
Selections of cut flowers for vases.
As mentioned all other decorations for the reception were created by Meena my Sister (beautiful bunting and paper flowers).
The Wedding Party Fashion
To really show the fusion of our cultures, our Bridesmaids and Groomsmen wore Indian outfits in the church during the ceremony. The bright colours against the backdrop of a traditional English church was stunning. We got both the girl’s Saree’s and the guy’s suits in Diya in Luton.
During the ceremony, we chose a few hymns that people probably wouldn’t normally associate with Weddings, but we really wanted familiar songs that people from both families could sing along too. We also chose readings that supported both cultures, so the 1st reading was from the Bible (Philippians 4-9), and the 2nd reading was a selection of separate quotes from Mahatma Ghandi about the effect that love can have in the world.
A really special moment was when our Reverend Julia Hook tied together the messages from both cultures in her address, quoting both the Bible and Mahatma Ghandi throughout it was beautiful and very personal.
As we had 3 days to get through, we tried to ensure we kept the guests entertained. On the Thursday, we had a number of Indian ceremonies, some of which included everyone scrubbing turmeric into the Grooms face – yes, that is a tradition! Afterwards, we served dinner, followed by dancing the night away, MC’d by Ace Sounds.
On Friday, we held a Mendhi night, where the guests could get henna designs painted on their hands/feet. We held an evening BBQ, and a karaoke night with plenty of drink to loosen everyone’s vocal chords.
On Saturday in the afternoon, people were served afternoon tea, and had some time to explore the farm, and in the evening we had Ace Sounds working as MC again, and a dhol player accompanying the Bride & Grooms entrance, as well as some of the songs on the dance floor!
Our many cakes (no less than 5) were made by my amazing Sister, Meena and really kept the countryside theme. The table was co-decorated with just a few beautiful tulips. Meena even hosted a surprise Afternoon Tea party in the lead up to the wedding. Since our wedding, she has actively been catering for other Weddings and Parties.
Our main Indian meals (feasts) on the Thursday and Saturday evenings were catered by Taggar Sweet Centre, West Bromwich. My family have used these caterers since as long as I can remember and hence I knew I wanted them at our wedding. The team setup in the catering tent, and cooked everything from scratch on site. From fish tikka & lamb kebabs, to chicken curry and daal, the food was amazing!
On Friday evening, the BBQ was catered by Pig on the Hill.
On Saturday afternoon, between the Church ceremony, and the outdoor Indian ceremony, a beautiful Afternoon Tea (sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea) was served by Hedleys Tea and Coffee House who stepped in with fairly short notice, after another caterer had to cancel the booking.
Our most wonderful, amazing photographer was none other than Bethan Haywood Jones. Between Bethan, and her husband, we had plenty of talent (and lenses) capturing the celebrations from all angles. We are not particularly fond of very staged photos (as Bethan quickly learned by the awkward uncomfortable stances we adopted when asked to stand still) and so we wanted a photographer who could capture the fun and happiness of the celebrations, and we couldn’t be happier with Bethan’s photo’s! She managed to really capture the colour, warmth and fun of the Wedding!
If anything is worse that knowing you’re being photographed… it’s knowing that you’re being recorded!! Rebecca Reville did an amazing job of appearing to be invisible while capturing everyone naturally enjoying themselves throughout the weekend (no awkward glances at the camera!). The trailer and wedding videos that she created are breathtakingly beautiful, and an absolute joy to watch.
Photography by Haywood Jones Photography