Faced with a postponement like many 2020 couples, when Michael and Shalini’s beautiful Anglo-Indian fusion wedding finally took place, it was a joy-filled colourful celebration. After a long period of lockdown we were absolutely thrilled to be able to host their day in September and it was so wonderful to see Treseren full of love and laughter once again.
It was an absolute joy getting to know Shalini and Michael. From their initial visit, through the twists and turns of postponing their wedding post-lockdown there were many conversations and we so appreciated their calm and pragmatic approach to what we were all faced with. Perhaps it was down to their professions – Michael is a Lawyer and Shalini an NHS Doctor, so I felt incredibly lucky to be on the journey with them navigating the new territory we were faced with in Lockdown 1.0 – but in all truth it was just down to the lovely warm, wonderful people they both are that we worked through everything and together made sure that this was a wedding that survived the 2020 lockdown. And not only that, it was the most happy and gorgeous day, with lots of personal touches and an incredible bespoke dress! Shalini tells the story best in her own words….
Words from the bride –
How it started
With both our hectic lives and rarely the chance to meet someone new (who wasn’t a client in Michael’s case, or a patient in my case), we finally found each other online through a dating app. We hit it off instantly and never looked back. Michael whisked me away to Rome after 14 months of dating and unexpectedly proposed in my favourite city.
Choosing the Wedding Venue
As soon as we saw Treseren, we fell in love with the venue. Even in the thick of winter, Treseren has a glow of sophistication and is truly beautiful. To be honest, more than that was Emma and her whole team. From the first meeting, we were made to feel welcome and Emma really paid attention to what we exactly wanted from our wedding. We weren’t ever just another cog in a big wheel. She made innumerable helpful suggestions, was able to supply a lot of decorations etc and was always very prompt to reply to emails and telephone calls. I truly cannot thank Emma and her team enough. They made what would have otherwise been a very stressful time, especially with Covid, actually very calm and a lovely experience.
I am a British Indian, having been born here but my ancestry is from north-west India. Michael is half Caucasian, half Malaysian, so we had a multicultural wedding. We were keen to have some elements of a Hindu ceremony incorporated into the wedding day, so we held some prayers and had an idol of Ganesh (Hindu God, remover of obstacles) present. Many of our decorations and attire also had an Indian/Malaysian basis so the event definitely felt multicultural. Everyone at Treseren was so respectful and allowed us to hold our prayers and accommodated our personal touches.
We planned the whole wedding in 3 months under Covid restrictions. A lot of things therefore I couldn’t go and buy and so reverted to making them all myself, from hand-painted canvases with all our guests names on (which was also then a leaving gift for them), to chair decorations and my best mate event handcrafted several vases and candle-holders. My father also designed a “welcome board” with photos from our childhood (of course all the embarrassing photos only!) and my very generous sister-in-law meticulously baked and decorated a two-tier wedding cake which she amazingly managed to deliver in one piece. Really the only thing we didn’t make ourselves were the stunning flowers by Katie from Brookside Flowers and the delicious food by Indulgence Catering.
The dress – well I should start with the fact that I am a size 6 and only 5 feet tall, so finding and altering a dress within 6 weeks was tricky (all the shops were closed until mid-July). Actually, the dress I found (a 4-hour drive round trip away) was a size 12, way too long with a netted back and long baggy sleeves. Of course, my parents couldn’t at all envisage what I could see this dress could potentially be. Luckily, the wedding shop had a fantastic seamstress who removed the sleeves, removed the netted back, sewed a new back as requested from the material taken off the hem, cut the length and fitted it to my waist. 5 trips in total, 20 hours of driving over 4 weeks and I had the perfect wedding dress – almost. I found a lovely necklace that I sewed to the back and the dress was complete. My parents had gifted me a stunning necklace and earring set (they bought it for me a few years back in India specifically for when I got married one day…I hadn’t even met Michael when they made that trip). I wore one of my best mate’s engagement gifts, a bracelet, but due to my slim wrists, I wore it as an anklet. I wore lots of Indian bangles to give an added Indian touch. The only thing left was to cry when my parents saw me in all the attire!
Getting Married During a Pandemic
The worst thing about planning a wedding amidst a pandemic is the not knowing and the change of plans at short notice. Also, with all the shops closed it can be stressful, but I was happy to get creative and do a lot myself which helped. All our guests were also brilliant, they all isolated completely for 2 weeks before the wedding and filled out their Covid track and trace from Emma before arriving. Having some more elderly guests, I wasn’t going to take any chances. What was really comforting is how many friends and family were so supportive if they weren’t invited – they Zoom linked in at various times.
As an NHS doctor…. I would definitely recommend all couples and guests to have the Covid vaccine – not only for their protection but also for all the staff who make your day possible. The best advice I can give is to keep an open mind. We can all hope for the weddings to go ahead but things can change quickly. Emma is excellent at providing new dates if needed or accommodating for changes, you’ll be in very good hands. I definitely recommend a small intimate wedding – it’s much more personal and more likely to go ahead in the coming months.
Highlights of the day
Where can we start? Seeing each other on Treseren’s terrace, the vows and readings from our friends, Michael telling me my fingers were fat as the ring struggled to slip on. Our beautiful nephew as the perfect ring bearer. Receiving the marriage certificate “in a Covid secure way” is one unique memory! The food was most definitely a highlight and having the whole Treseren team around was lovely. They worked like invisible ninjas in the background but it was lovely that they stayed to watch the wedding ceremony. We bought lots of board games for after dinner and entertained ourselves long into the night.