A Peacock-Themed Hindu Wedding in Hertfordshire: Poonam Vadher and Kishan Vaja
19 Feb 2016
From opulent purples and greens to deep blues and golds, the rich hues of a peacock played out at Poonam and Kishan’s glamorous wedding reception and ceremony at Manor of Groves in Sawbridgeworth, Harlow, Hertfordshire
How did you meet?
We have an interesting story of how we first met, though we actually spoke to each other in person for the very first time at our cousin’s wedding. Kishan had contacted me through the social networking site LinkedIn. He sent me a private message as he realised we both worked for the same company a long time ago where he did the marketing and I did the PR (at different times). We messaged each other for a while and then met at the wedding a few months later. After the wedding where we spoke to each other, we exchanged numbers and he asked me out on a date. Six months down the line he proposed to me.
Tell us about the proposal.
The proposal was truly beautiful and so intimate, which is what I have always wanted when being proposed to. It was during the Christmas season. Kishan and I had planned to stay in central London for the weekend as we had his work Christmas party. The night before the party he took me out to a restaurant on Regent Street called Inamo. After dinner we headed to the InterContinental Hotel near St James’s Park, where he had already spoken to the hotel staff to arrange the proposal. Of course I was oblivious to it all.
The receptionist escorted us to the main dining area as Kishan had suggested we would like to have a nightcap cocktail. I could sense he was nervous but tried to keep relaxed. After a few moments he got down on one knee and popped the question. I was absolutely shocked and tears started to fall down my face.
Then from the corner of my eye I spotted the waiter bringing out a Build-A-Bear teddy dressed in a tuxedo, kneeling down on one knee on a silk pillow with the ring tied to its hand on a red ribbon. When Kishan and I were dating the Build-A-Bear teddy was the first present her brought me so it represents our relationship. It was the best moment in my life, like a fairytale.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
I have always loved peacocks as they are the most beautiful creatures in the world. I even have a peacock feather tattooed on my back. My wedding was designed to be all things peacock and the colour scheme we chose represented the peacock colours of vibrant purples, greens and blues.
When did you know when you’d found your dress?
I had my dress custom-made by a talented fashion designer called Mira Taylor. She also designed my engagement outfit the year before. I have known Mira for a long time as she’s a friend of my sister’s and when she started up her own fashion design company, I fell in love with her outfits and had mentioned to her that I wanted her to make me my dream dress when I got married.
Where did you find the groom’s suit?
Kishan’s suit was tailor-made in a boutique Indian shop based in Leicester. I wanted his outfit to match mine so we kept the colours the same as well as the fabric and accessories. He went for a traditional outfit rather than an English suit as we had planned to have a traditional wedding.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
The company I had used for my mandap (the canopy we got married under) also arranged the flowers. We chose Gayatri, a specialist company that deals with mandaps and wedding arrangements. The team arranged all the décor including table décor where I chose to have small birdcages with a candle, as well as the back ties for the chairs and the aisle. I wanted the flowers to be simple and intricate so I chose white roses and freesias with greenery leaves.
Tell us about the details of the day.
As the theme was peacock, I wanted everything to replicate the colours and style of a peacock. My signage at the front of the venue had a peacock with our names printed on the board with a direction pointing towards the venue. Sparkle Paperie designed the sign and it was just gorgeous.
The boutonnieres were made especially by my sister-in-law. Again she wanted to keep the theme of a peacock so used the feathers to wrap each one in a silk ribbon in colours of green, purple and blue with a gold leaf and a pearl pin to seal it all together. I bought vintage birdcages, which were situated near the front entrance where guests could post their cards. Each one had our names printed on it and hung on a peacock ornament that had been clipped onto the cages.
My mandap was made of rich organic wood with a stunning level of carved details of a peacock. It was very beautiful and the first time I saw it at the Asian Wedding Show, I knew it was the one.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
In the morning I was absolutely fine and in high spirits. I was laughing with my bridesmaids, make-up artist and the photography crew. However, as soon as I walked up to the aisle way and heard my entrance music played by Indian wedding musician Shiv Gopal, the nerves kicked in and I started to panic. My uncles were walking me down the aisle and they were both holding my arms tight as I felt like jelly and my heart was beating fast. I had a candle in both my hands, which represented my beloved grandma as I knew she would have liked to have been there on my big day. As soon as I sat down I was fine and all I could think about was seeing my new husband.
What was your most memorable moment?
Seeing Kish was the most memorable part as he was hiding behind a shawl. He looked amazing and from that moment I felt truly blessed that we were about to share our lives forever.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Listening to both sides of the family as everyone wanted to share their opinions and have an input in the wedding. It was compromising with each other and making sure everyone was happy. A wedding brings families together and we were lucky to have a lot of support from both sides.
What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
To be honest everything that we had booked for the wedding day was an important investment. We wanted our guests to enjoy the day and share the most memorable day with us.
We had the talented Rahul Khona from F5 Photography as our photographer and H.O.M Productions to do the videography. It was really important for us to have a great team that would be able to capture our day and resonate those memories through pictures and videos.
Food and drink also plays a big part, as our families are big foodies. The caterers we chose were called Annapurna. We had used them for the engagement too and they were fantastic. Their team was so co-ordinated and friendly, not to mention the food, which was delicious. We received so many compliments from all our guests, that we decided it was just right to book them for the wedding too.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Michael Jackson’s Rock With You. It’s the first song Kishan and I danced to when we were dating and from then onwards it became our song. We love MJ as well, so this song was perfect for us.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
I chose Cake Box to create my wedding cake, as they only make eggless cakes. I had a three-tiered cake with chocolate and vanilla sponge with butter cream icing. I had green icing piped throughout the cake with fresh flowers. It was simple but absolutely delicious.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I don’t believe in regrets to be honest. Kishan and I worked really hard on making sure the wedding was just perfect. On the day we didn’t notice anything go wrong and if anything did had happen, our families made sure it went unnoticed. We delegated tasks to each of the sides, so everyone knew their roles and responsibilities. At the end of the day we received such positive feedback on the wedding from our guests as they all had a wonderful time.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
My honeymoon was a surprise to the Caribbean islands of Grenada and St Lucia. Plus we had our civil wedding in Grenada on the beach too. It was all so romantic and beautiful as it was just the two of us. Both islands were breathtaking and we had the best time of our lives.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
The most important advice I can give to couples that are planning their wedding is to listen to each other. Wedding planning can be stressful but always make sure you make it enjoyable and delegate tasks to friends and family members who can help with the little jobs.
Steal their style:
Photography: Rahul Khona, www.f5blog.co.uk
Venue:Manor of Groves, Sawbridgeworth, Harlow, www.manorofgroves.com
Bride’s outfit: Mira Taylor, www.bibilondon.com
Cake: Cake Box www.eggfreecake.co.uk
Catering: Annapurna, www.annapurnacaterers.co.uk
Venue décor:Gayatri, www.gayatriweddings.com
Signage: Sparkle Paperie www.sparklepaperie.com
Videographer: H.O.M Productions www.homproductions.com