On 13th March 2014, Delhi based Heena and London based Declan tied the knot in a stunning royal themed wedding at the Neemrana Fort-Palace in Rajasthan, India. With guests flying in from all over the world, this traditional Sikh wedding was full of their closest family and friends, a mix of cultures, and a riot of colours!
In the Bride’s Words
How they met
Four years ago, I was completing my MBA and working in an investment bank in London. I met my husband at work the day after my birthday, and I think it was the best birthday present from the powers above.
Venue and Theme
We both knew we wanted the people we love in a magical place on the big day. My mother suggested Neemrana, we went to see it and I fell instantly in love and knew it had to be there. Our friends and family are very important to us, and since our loved ones were coming to celebrate with us from around the world we wanted to pick a stunning location that would allow us to not only create a beautiful wedding, but also a memorable experience for our guests- many of whom were coming to India for the first time and travelling a long way from home. We imagined a traditional Sikh wedding; one of the first things that we could visualise when we visited Neemrana was the area we chose for our pheras.
My mother was the dream wedding planner. She made every dream I had for my wedding, and more, come true. I was very involved in the planning and incredibly lucky to have so much support from my family.
The theme we used throughout our wedding was a ‘Royal Wedding’- we wanted our loved ones to have an amazing royal time with us in the fort, and Neemrana as a venue made that truly possibly.
Declan was in London, I was in Delhi, and our wedding was in Rajasthan with guests coming in from many cities around the world. I think it would have been easier if we were both in the same city; but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing about the entire experience.
While there were moments of wedding planning stress, when I look back I really just enjoyed every moment. I treasure all of our family trips shopping, the multiple trips to Neemrana, the meetings with florists, designers, stylists, make-up artists, photographers- because they were all moments we spent together. I also think planning your wedding is truly that one opportunity to put your heart into a project and know it’s for a special reason.
In the Groom’s Words
The Best Part
Obviously, the fact that we got married was the best bit- but there were so many other amazing parts that I can’t really do them justice, including simple things like my family to be able to be there, meet with Heena’s family, and greet each other as family for the first time. For my friends to have given up their time to travel many miles to be there; for so many things!
The Indian wedding from my experience is such a celebration of joy, love, family, God’s blessings, colours, and dancing! To put on stunning clothes, to seeing my friends in sari’s colour coded to the Mendhi theme, to dance to Indian music! But most of all the feeling of two families coming together…really, there is no best part, rather the sum of all the parts makes it into what it is.
One evening we all did dance performances. Heena and her brother did one, her parents did one, her Maasi and mother did an emotional one, Heena’s friends did some, and I “attempted” one with my best men – I call it “Wollywood”- “White man doing Bollywood”! I think for everyone that was really one of the times when everyone was part of the same thing.
The wedding ceremony will always be something I will remember. From having my turban tied tightly around my head that was suffering from a few whiskeys the night before, getting on a horse for the first time ever for the Baraat, the Milni greeting of the families, seeing our brothers greet each other in hugs and laughter, to seeing Heena come down the stairs under her veil- she really looked like a princess and made me feel like her prince. I also loved the small stolen moments like secretly holding hands at the ceremony, to walking Heena around the Guru Granth Sahib four times.
Everyone came away saying how amazing it was – for a lot of the non-Indian people, they came away saying it was not “one of” the best weddings they had ever been to, but THE BEST. People had flown from around the world to be there and it was quite simply a fairy-tale wedding. And I agree with them- it was the best wedding I have ever been to too.
Venue: Neemrana Fort-Palace
Wedding Planner/Decorator: Nancy Randhawa (Bride’s mother)
Photographer: The Creative Lens
Make-up Artist: Vinita Kahol
Mehendi: Ravi Mehendi Green Park (Delhi)
Bridal Outfits: Ritu Kumar vintage finds
Groom Outfits: Heritage (South Extension – Delhi)