For many of us who come from backgrounds with strong traditional practices, living in a modern world can be challenging at best. For a soon to be bride this can add unecessary pressure to their special day. So we went looking for a recent bride to answer some of our questions, how does one balance a traditional wedding with a modern one? and why a traditional wedding in a modern age?
Bride : Sheetal Narayan
Groom : Ryan Kumar
Cultural Background : Indian
1.As a modern Australian women of Indian heritage did you feel obligated to have a traditional Indian ceremony as well as a modern one?
I wanted to have a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. I love Indian traditions and clothes. I also love western weddings and always pictured myself in a white gown. So I decided to go with a traditional wedding ceremony in a temple wearing an Indian lehenga then had a reception at Dolton House Jones Bay Wharf and had two outfit changes. That’s when I wore my gown.
For me it was a personal decision to have both the traditional wedding and the modern reception.
2. Was it challenging finding the right vendors and specialists to create the perfect traditional ceremony, and was it everything you’d dreamt it would be?
I am a perfectionist and I wanted to ensure that my vendors understood my vision for the ceremony and reception. Planning is so important, it is important to start researching well ahead of time and locking in the vendors that you want. I communicated with my vendors on a weekly basis and they clearly understood my vision for the big day. My photographer Sidd Rishi clearly understood my expectations for photos and video and worked overtime to meet my needs. I planned with my makeup artist Sana Khawar which looks we were going to go with for the wedding and reception. My decorator Nita Tanna from Decor-a-shaan was very helpful she undoubtedly understood which themes we were going with for the wedding and reception.
3. What was your inspiration for your traditional and your modern wedding dress?
I always imagined myself as a soft pastel bride. I did not want to be the traditional Indian bride wearing red, I wanted to go for something unique. I traveled to india last year and had my outfit designed in Delhi by Chhabrainternational. For my wedding reception I fell in love with an ivory gown by Portia and Scarlett which was sexy and elegant.
4. Let’s not forget the groom what the inspiration for his wedding suits both traditional and modern?
I wanted to look like an indian prince for my wedding, my outfit was made in Delhi by Maharaja Price Saheb. For the reception I wanted to wear a tuxedo as I pictured a grand black tie event at Dolton House. I went for a white tuxedo and vest with black pants from Politix, for me the black tuxedo was too conventional.
5. You had both a traditional reception and a modern reception was that difficult to pull off, and how did you find the right people to help you create your perfect modern reception?
Putting together a wedding and reception whilst working full-time was very challenging. I recommend a wedding and reception spreadsheet for all couples. Ensure all your vendors are on the spreadsheets with the dates of initial deposits and when the final payments are due. Contact some of your vendors a month before the wedding and if you can make their final payment at that time please do so. This avoids you feeling overwhelmed when all the payments are due at once. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors questions and clarify anything that you don’t understand with them. Brides please be very open and honest with your hair and makeup artist, I had a fantastic hair and makeup artist that understood all my individual needs as a bride.
Your makeup artist needs to clearly understand your concerns. For me as a bride at my traditional ceremony I wanted to put my hair up, I was worried as I don’t normally put my hair up in a bun and wanted to ensure my face did not look too long. My hair and makeup artist Sana Khawar created the perfect bun for me with the right amount of volume. Dolton House was very helpful in putting together our wedding reception and our DJ, DJ Bali Sydney organised our bridal entrance along with two dance acts for the night. It is very important to reach out to your vendors when you need help. I found all the vendors that I wanted from Instagram.
6. What was one of your favorite moments of your modern and traditional wedding ceremonies ?
Favorite moments of my traditional ceremony was seeing myself in the mirror as a bride looking exactly like I had envisaged, walking down the aisle and seeing my husband Ryan for the first time on our wedding day and spending time with my parents and bridesmaids before the ceremony these are moments that I will treasure forever. Favorite moments before our wedding reception was spending time with my hair and makeup artist Sana Khawar in our hotel whilst she did my hair and makeup and put me at ease. I also loved practicing our bridal waltz before the reception.
7. Finally what advice would you give someone considering hosting both a traditional wedding ceremony and a modern one?
Plan, plan and plan have a vision in mind for your wedding and reception and themes. Note down all of your ideas. Contact all your vendors ahead of time and lock them in. Ensure all your run sheets are accurate for the big day and hold face to face and phone meetings with all your vendors so that they understand the plan for the big day. Brides and grooms start preparing your skin with facials three months before the big day. Take professional dancing classes for your reception if do not feel comfortable putting together a routine on your own. Matthew at Move With Me Dance Studio in castle hill is fantastic. Brides ensure all your final alterations are done at least a month before the wedding, Altaf Tailor in Sydney did a great job with all our alterations.
Sheetal enjoyed the process so much she has decided to branch out and help soon to be brides throw the perfect wedding, sharing her experiences, contacts and stylish eye to help eager soon to be brides. For anyone looking to contact Sheetal drop her an email at – Sheetalweddingadvice@gmail.com
Words by Arrnott Olssen