Ours is an across the continents and slightly unconventional love story! Steny is a doc in Kochi and I am a lawyer from London. We met by utter chance in January 2015 when I was vacationing in Kerala (I’m from Kochi, his family are in Palakkad), kept in touch with the help of social media once I was back in UK… somewhere along the way something clicked between us and we decided to take the leap and get married within a year of meeting each other.
Planning Planning a wedding is hard work wherever you are, but having to plan the whole wedding sitting thousands of miles away was a whole new challenge for my family and me. We had two options, either leave it right to the end when we finally arrive in Kerala (two weeks before the big day!) or start planning ahead and take a chance on phone booking/whatsapp designing etc. Being slightly OCD, I just couldn’t leave things to chance and hope that I can scramble together a full bridal trousseau in less than two weeks time in Kochi (factoring in the heat, the tiring journeys - it would mean a v tired me on my wedding day). And I’m not one of those easy going brides who would happily accept the “next best thing” available.
And thus started my shopping across the countries! My fiancé must be the most patient man on earth; he was amazing over the months leading up to the wedding, completely understanding my need for attention to detail and just let me be me! He even took his iPad to a boutique where I wanted to “virtually” check out some outfits and designs and Skyped me from there!!
Mehendi outfit Kerala style Dhavani - Label’M - this is a boutique in Kerala for custom made partywear. For my madhuramveppu (which is akin to a mehendi function but without the mehendi!), my mum was planning a fully Kerala style themed event and had asked all our relatives to dress up in traditional Kerala outfits (kerala kasavu saree for the ladies, mundu for the men). I wanted a kerala style dhavani and wanted a flared skirt, decided to try a custom made one and got in touch with Label’M. They communicated well over whatsapp, offered ideas and I was happy with the dhavani when I got it, it was better than I expected. It’s the green and cream coloured one.
Jewellery As we were going Kerala traditional, I chose green and pink palakka mala set from @kalyan-jewellersjewelrywatches#. It was quite difficult to find a design that I liked, a lot of designs in the mainstream gold shops are garish and don’t have the classic look I was searching for.
Sweetest moment When my dad wrote and composed a lyrical poem about my life and surprised me at my mehendi function!
Engagement outfit: Pranaah lehenga - I had heard rave reviews about Poornima Indrajith’s fashion boutique in Panampilly Nagar and after looking through their selection of photos of customers in their “Pranaahs” on their Facebook page, I decided to take a chance on this. I had once visited their small boutique and was impressed by their varied collection and more importantly with the material they use. I had a fairly good idea in my head about what I wanted in terms of style and colour, so I got a general quote from Pranaah. They are definitely on the expensive side of things but if I didn’t want the type of lehengas churned out by high street fashion stores in Ernakulam so I had to take a chance somewhere. I sent my measurements by whatsapp (got measured by a tailor in London) and then turned up a couple of days before my engagement to see my outfit and try it on!! Some alterations later - it made me a very happy bride to be! I will definitely be shopping at Pranaah again.
Accessories - Footwear from Debenhams
Wedding gown: If I had ever dreamt of my wedding day (which I have to say I didn’t much, as I don’t fall into the category of someone who ever dreamt of a fairytale wedding) it would always have seen me in a dress. So, for the church wedding part of my ceremony, I knew from Day 1 that I wanted to wear a wedding gown and not a saree. I was torn between getting a dress from UK or getting one custom made in Kerala, eventually decided to get one from UK. UK : Pros - much more selection, different styles Cons - more expensive, most designs are sleeveless (which I wasn’t preferring as I was getting married in Palakkad and it’s a fairly traditional community)
India: Pros - Custom made, sleeves built in, cheaper Cons - I had to send measurements online, I wasn’t planning on visiting Kerala in between
We (my mum, sister and I) did a few trials at different bridal boutiques and eventually found the “one” and I knew it as soon as I tried it on :) It was a V neck drop waist style dress with a very soft elegant finish. It needed no alterations at the waist at all and fitted like a glove! The only thing I needed to add were some cap sleeves and reduce the length just slightly. I decided to get this done in India.
I found a very helpful bridal gown/saree boutique in Panampilly Nagar - Althea’s, though they usually only do fully custom made orders, Althea (the owner) was very kind and fitted me into her busy January. She did the most perfect job of doing those alterations, which made my dress even more beautiful. I also got my veil, hair accessory from her cute store.
Manthrakodi: We got this from Seematti. I decided to jazz it up a little and got the blouse designed in Label’M, got some hand embroidery done on the sleeves, which looked pretty on the day.
Bridesmaids and maid of honour sarees - Lulu Mall (Jashn) - I struggled to get identical sarees for my bridesmaids in the last minute (can’t say I didn’t expect it) but somehow managed to get some really nice ones in Jashn at Lulu Mall. Really really nice owner; just understood what I needed and pulled out exactly the kind of things I would like! He was very very good at his job and knew the items he had in his store like the back of his hand! Also about my Vendors:
Wedding Planner: MY FAMILY - a big shout out to my amazing family (including my new family :D) who went to great lengths to make our days very very special!
Decorator: Blackberry team from Thrissur - very happy with the overall decor that they put together, some gaps in communication which I wasn’t happy about but nonetheless a good team.
Catering: KTS in Palakkad - their catering was fantastic but their decoration really let them down, I think they took on more than they could deliver. Hubby’s family were not very pleased overall, I think it’s down to lack of experience.
Makeup Artist: Jaanmoni for engagement, Jeena for wedding - Jaanmoni’s makeup was good for the engagement if a little dramatic, in hindsight it could have been a bit more toned down but anyway looks good in photos. Jeena’s makeup was perfectly matched to the outfit and occasion. Jeena had always been my first choice but she was not available on my engagement.
Photographer: Jackson James was a pleasure to work with, friendly, chatty and got on with our guests which could be seen in his candids. Everyone felt comfortable around him. All the pics that you see here are shot by them. @weva# Photography also shot the wedding. They were professional in all their dealings, happy with the number of people they sent, all were quite friendly and did not try to “manage” the wedding, which I’ve seen many photographers doing at cousins’ weddings