Yvonne and Senthu

One of my favourite things about a wedding is how cultures merge. Yvonne and Senthu combined a traditional Hindu wedding with a relaxed, western style reception- honouring both their cultural backgrounds and their life together.

Yvonne tells of how they met. “This is a stereotypical office romance story. The newlyweds met 4 years ago. I was a fresh grad and Senthu was her senior at a top tier accounting firm. To avoid inevitable office gossip, we decided to keep their relationship a secret. It was inconvenient at first but sneaking a kiss in an empty elevator was thrilling and fun! Because their love started off as a secret, we called our wedding a “Public celebration” of our love.”

Tinker Photography captured today’s vibrant and beautiful photographs!

Yvonne and Senthu married at Sri Venkateswara Temple. Yvonne remembers, “While waiting in the bridal waiting area before the wedding, I was approached by two strangers who just happened to be at the temple that day. The temple is still open to the public even during weddings. They walked up to me with warm smiles to congratulate me and told me they saw me from afar and thought I was a reincarnation of the Hindu Goddess of Education so they felt they had to come see me. It was such an unexpected and humbling compliment. What’s more amazing is that Senthu is named after the Hindu God of Learning. It was a beautiful blessing that made me think we are meant to be together.”

“The ceremony was held at one of the largest Hindu temples in Australia to honour Senthu’s Sri Lankan roots. In his culture, you’re not truly married unless it is before the Hindu Gods. For the benefit of our guests we included an explanation of the Hindu wedding rituals in the programs as it is based on sacred scriptures that dates back 4000 years and is full of meaning and symbolism.”

“Both my parents walked with me into the temple. I wanted to honour them both as they played equal parts in raising and nurturing me. Furthermore, I wanted to emphasise that a wedding is a coming together of two people and their families. I did not like the notion of fathers giving away their daughters so having both my parents escort me was just a wonderful touch that breaks from tradition but is true to me and what I believe in.”

Of their photographers, Yvonne says, “Jonathan and Mandi of Tinker Photography are old friends of ours. We heard they started their own business and asked them to be our secondary photographers. The photos they produced were absolutely breathtaking and really captured the beautiful details of both the ceremony and the lunch reception (there were so many details so cudos to them!). It’s not just the portrait shots of us that we love but also the quieter moments of the flower girls or guests interacting with each other that we were too busy to notice on the day. The whole suite of photos painted a picture and told a story, with lovely use of light and angle. They’re truly talented photographers.”

Wagon Wheels Country Retreat hosted the reception. Yvonne explaining, “The reception was held at Wagon Wheels Country Retreat, just 5 minutes away from the temple. The venue is a charming and delightful Aussie country homestead. We wanted our reception to carry a green/rustic/natural theme and Wagon Wheels fit the bill perfectly with its cute little farm house, barn and sprawling bush land. The venue gave us so much room and flexibility to decorate. (flexibility was definitely needed as our original outdoor idea was dashed due to rain so we were very grateful there was an indoor option). But what stole our hearts and made the decision so easy were the 4 legged residents who took the charm factor of the venue to the next level. There were 3 alpacas, a cow, a horse, a donkey and 2 Shetland ponies living on the property with owner Geoffrey Pybus. The venue wasn’t a fancy resort. It was rough around the edges in every single way but we loved it for its character and down-to-earth nature.”

For their first dance, the couple did something a little different. Yvonne explaining, “We wanted to break from tradition (and save ourselves from embarrassment) so instead of a bridal waltz, we opted for a group Bollywood dance performance. Senthu was working overseas for most of the wedding planning so we only did 3 rehearsals before the big day. It was choreographed by a friend, and we also incorporated some moves we learnt as part of a Bollywood dance class I did for my hens day. A total of 5 girls and 5 guys danced to 3 routines with the final one being “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire which was the first movie we watched together at the cinemas. We thought Bollywood would be fun, different and indeed the guests were very impressed.”

“DIY was the key word for our wedding as we were budget conscious and wanted to personalise a lot of the elements as well as stay true to being green and eco friendly.

Elements include:

1. Flowers – we purchased our own flowers from the Sydney Flower Markets at a fraction of the cost of florists. We chose Australian natives to fit in with the venue and also to celebrate our the country we both migrated to and grew up in.

2. Table names – we used left over floor board timber from our home renovations, painted them with blackboard paint and then wrote out the names in chalk with a beautiful tree motif (which is carried through our stationery). The table names are the names of all the streets we both lived in since children. The bridal table name is the street name of our home, our first property purchase as a couple.

3. Menu boards – re-using spare wood from Senthu’s parents’ house, I personally wrote out the menu for our organic, vegetarian lunch buffet to create a rustic, farm market look.

4. The wedding favours – we chose jasmine seedlings as jasmine is used a lot in Sri Lankan decorations and we wanted guests to take away something green with them to kick start their journey and passion for living sustainably. It also represented the continuity of life, and our growth as individuals and a couple in the next stage of our lives.

5. We sourced as many decorations/props on our own as possible. To avoid buying new and in keeping with our eco friendly theme, we found lace and odd jars from St Vinnies to hang in the trees and place on the tables. Vintage books were bought at a garage sale and we used as many existing props around the house as we had.

6. Table names – I chose green apples (again, no wastage as people can eat them!). We hand made each paper leaf to write the guests names and tea stained them to add character.

7. Music – DIY music selection of some of our favourite songs played off a laptop to save costs for a band.

8. Programs – drafted ourselves, printed on recycled paper at Officeworks and assembled with twine.

9. Quotes on each table – of our favourite song lyrics.

10. Guest book – the groom personally created a charcoal drawing of a tree on canvas on which guests were asked to put their finger prints to ‘help our tree of love grow’.”

” My most proud element would be the table names as it represents the amazing miracle that two people born in different countries, living very separate lives finally crossed paths in life. If we were to plot that journey on a map, you would see two dots moving in their own way until finally meeting.”

“From the native flowers and recycled paper invites to the organic vegetarian buffet and sourcing second hand goods, we made sure we were green and nature loving and stayed true to our beliefs. We put a lot of effort into each little detail which meant a lot of work and long hours on our part but it was all worth it because it made our bond even stronger especially the manic 2 weeks leading up to the wedding.”

The wedding was catered by Garden to Plate, Yvonne remarking, “Garden to Plate caterers from the central coast were absolutely wonderful. Not only do they do amazing organic vegetarian food (ingredients are picked fresh out of their own vegie garden), they also helped to do styling for us on the day using materials we provided but also hiring additional ones for us. The weather was not on our side so while the previous day was gloriously sunny and blue skies our wedding day was wet and rainy. Garden to Plate pulled off our plan B indoor option beautifully.”

Yvonne remarks, “I loved knowing my husband and I are a killer team despite difficult circumstances. Senthu was working overseas during the wedding planning process (minus 2-3 weeks) and we had some major home renovations at the same time so the wedding not only symbolised our union but also the end of a very stressful and trying time of our relationship.”

Congratulations on your marriage Yvonne and Senthu! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Tinker Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!