All the joyous parades of color are exactly what we need while winter rolls in. Sarah and Somit threw the most vibrant Anglo-Hindu London wedding and we don’t even know where to start with all the incredible details. For example, who else wants a parade of Indian drummers from venue to venue, we do!
So much of their day was filled with personal details. Whether it be their dedication to including ceremonies and traditions from both cultures, or marking the spot of their first encounter, we feel like we know Sarah and Somit after reading their words and seeing photos of their day, so vibrantly captured by Parrot & Pineapple.
With a classic English church venue, and colorful Indian Marigold decor, this wedding looks so eclectic, colorful and fun.
Our Love Story
We were introduced through our friends. Somit’s school friend Peter had married Sarah’s friend Sian from sixth from college. We originally met at their wedding, but it wasn’t until we went for dinner with Pete and Sian the following February that we got together. When I arrived, Somit jumped out the restaurant and helped me out the cab on the corner of Columbia Road and Ravenscroft Road. It was after that night that the rest was history!
Later that year, Somit moved to Hong Kong for his job and so the future of our relationship was threatened. We stuck it out, and by February 2012 I had found a job and moved out to Hong Kong to join Somit. We lived in Hong Kong for a year and a half and traveled to Japan, China, Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand until Somit was accepted to study for an MBA at Berkeley in California. I secured a job in London that allowed me to be travel with work to California and eventually spend 6 months there in 2015. We both moved back to London in 2015.
The proposal happened in July 2016, after a cycle ride along the Canal Somit popped the question on Primrose Hill and I said yes! But the surprise wasn’t over yet, in Regents Park Somit had organised all our friends and family to be there for a summer picnic to celebrate our engagement. It was one of the most happy days we’ve ever had (apart from our wedding day since!).
We wanted a fusion wedding which combined a traditional English church wedding and a Hindu wedding and we agreed early on that we preferred to have the two ceremonies on the same day, rather than prioritising one over the other. We also agreed early on in our planning that we wanted to get married in East London – which is where we live now and met on Columbia Road. Naturally having two ceremonies and a large Indian wedding we knew we would need multiple venues.
Our parish church was St.Peters Church Bethnal Green which is located at one end of Columbia Road, and the Shoreditch Tabernacle Baptist Church (the Tab Centre) at the other. As soon as we’d visited the venues we had this vision of a procession between the two venues accompanied by Indian Dhol drummers which would result in a fun transition between the two cultures. As it so happens, we met at Brawn, restaurant on the corner of Columbia Road and Ravenscroft Road and so the route for the procession would take us past the location that we first met.
Our church ceremony was relatively traditional. Our Vicar Heather Atkinson was wonderful and created a relaxed and joyful ceremony. I wore gold and diamond jewelry gifted by Somit’s Aunty, purchased from P.C. Chandra in Kolkata.
Our hindu ceremony was a swift 50 minute cut down version of a Hindu Begali wedding ceremony. The Bengali Hindu wedding is an elaborate ceremony rooted in Vedic tradition. Every step signifies a different aspect of life that Sarah and Somit will experience as a married couple.
Sarah wore a traditional Banarasi Silk Sari purchased in Kolkata and was adorned with gold and jewellery gifted to her by Somit’s Mum and Aunties. A Hindu Bengali wedding it is tradition for the mother in law to gift her new daughter in law a gold bangle, mine was from P.C. Chandra Jewellers in Kolkata (this jeweler is somewhat of an institution in India).
The best moment had to be my Dad chanting in Sanskrit having had no preparation or practice at all. Everyone was so impressed.
On the corner of the street where we met we decided to get a blackboard to we could mark the spot where we met and it all began. Somit in particular wanted balloons so we bought giant orange and blush helium balloons from the Giant Balloon Company. We also had these in the Tab Centre for our Hindu ceremony to fill the space up to the high ceilings.
It had been a mini heatwave in the week before our wedding, and so we knew the walk from the church up Columbia Road might be hot. We ordered Kulfi ice creams from Taj Stores on Brick Lane and our ushers handed these our to guests along the way.
After our Hindu ceremony, we needed to transport our guests to Hackney Town Hall for our reception. We opted for a London red bus from Traditional Travel – a somewhat institution now for London weddings. Our guests absolutely loved it, and it made for perfect photos.
The Design and Details
Our colour themes and decor for the wedding developed from our choice of flowers. The orangey colours of Marigolds are common in India and you often see strings of marigolds. Taking fusion to heart, but wanting a classic look for the church wedding I opted for orange ranunculas with white peonies for our church wedding and marigolds for their hindu ceremony.
Our bridesmaids wore blush and we carried the combination of oranges and pink colours through to the Tab Centre for our Hindu wedding. On the backs of the chairs we hired from Dress It Yourself, we tied lots of colourful orange and pink ribbons to bring some vibrancy to the Hindu ceremony, and we tied bunches of orange and yellow flower arrangements which my Mum created to end of the rows.
At the Tab Centre, we wanted a beautiful backdrop for our Hindu ceremony and liked the idea of introducing strings of marigolds that often find in Indian weddings. We found Daisy Ellen Floral Design our florist and she absolutely nailed it! We loved the flowers on the day and we so happy with the backdrop for our ceremony. We also liked the fact that the orange colours against the white dress, and Somit’s green suit also looks like he Indian flag!
Our yable plan we create our selves – a world map was perfect to represent our the journey our relationship took around the word, and for the table names we choose the street addresses of every where we lived, from Hassard Street in London, to Robinson Road in Hong Kong to Cherry Street in America. The table names themselves included a series of photos of us in each country.
On the tables, we bought and created lanterns using terrariums bought from La Redoute, and added small cactus and strings of fairy lights. Our friend Casey made some beautiful origami elephants in orange and pink. Our favours were homemade too, Sarah’s Mum created traditional favours for the girls which consisted of a hand sewn bags tied with ribbon, containing 5 sugared almonds to represent Happiness, Health, Long life, Wealth and Fertility. For the boys, we made small origami spice envelopes using original Bengali newspapers from Kolkata and we filled them with Somit’s Mum’s Garam Masala spice mix (a family secret recipe!)
Our cake was handmade by Somit’s Aunty Pishimoni. The flowers on the cake were all sugar work and took more than 6 months to make – it was absolutely incredible!