Gabriella & Shumon

You might look at Gabriella and Shumon’s day, which included a Sanskrit ceremony conducted entirely in Sanskrit and think it was completely traditional, but somehow, these two still managed to make their very own distinct mark on the day. “I was 32 weeks pregnant with our now 8-month-old daughter at the time of our wedding,” laughs Gabriella. “It was pretty special and pretty taboo considering it was an Indian wedding.”

Sandie Bertrand Photography captured the day, which was an utter feast for every sense, and still remarkably personal to the bride and groom.

This was a proposal that Gabriella admits was not a complete surprise to her. “Shumon and I designed the engagement ring together and Shumon planned to propose on our trip to India whilst visiting the Taj Mahal.

All was going according to plan until in a nervous panic Shumon forgot the ring which he had left in the car with our driver. Shumon, however, hadn’t realised he’d actually left the ring until we were inside and he went to get it out of my backpack.

Naturally, he freaked out thinking it had been lost or stolen going through the security checkpoint. We didn’t get our Taj proposal photo, however, in the end, I think winning over my ring in a game of cards on the grimy Indian train back to Delhi the next day makes for a much more memorable story.”

The bride dressed in traditional outfits for the day, sharing “For the ceremony I was dressed in a Banarasi silk saree purchased in India in burgundy with gold embroidery. I also wore a traditional Bengali Indian headpiece (Mukut) and LOTS of jewellery. For the reception, I changed into a Lehenga, which is a long skirt and blouse, which is much easier to wear and get down and boogie in.”

The entire day took place at Mosman Park Golf Club. “We wanted to roll straight into the party” explains the bride. “The venue has an incredible view over Perth’s Swan River and is a relatively small venue, perfect for a less formal cocktail style reception which is what we wanted.”

Gabriella notes “Shumon really appreciated that his groomsmen went to a big effort to learn a dance for his entrance at our wedding ceremony. It was something different and a great show for the guests.”

The couple’s golden retriever Ted was a special guest at the wedding.

“Shumon also wore an Indian outfit matching the colours of my saree. A top (kurta) and harem style pants (dhoti). He also wore a traditional Bengali headpiece (topor) and totally cool Aladdin shoes.”

For her walk down the aisle, the bride remembers “My two brothers walked me down the aisle to Kina Grannis’s cover of the Elvis classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love…” Total tear-jerker.”

“I’ve never been a great planner, nor do I find enjoyment in planning” admits the bride. “Thank goodness for Shumon, he is an exceptional planner. He really took the reigns on this one with his mad excel spreadsheet and budgeting skills. I just managed the styling.”

The ceremony was completely traditional says Gabriella. “We had a traditional Hindu ceremony, with Pandit Sri Subrahmanya Bhat the officiant. The ceremony is conducted all in the Sanskrit language and so Shumon created a ceremony program so that guests to follow along, and to understand the meaning behind all the different rituals. The most memorable part of the ceremony for me was when Shumon applied a red powder (sindoor) to my hair, which in India symbolises a married woman. What is great about a Hindu ceremony is that family members also get to participate in many of the traditional rituals, which is pretty special.”

For a day steeped in tradition, Gabriella isn’t ashamed to admit even a few surprised her. “Indian weddings involve heaps of traditions and ceremonies. But an interesting one is that in Bengali culture which is where Shumon’s family are from, it is a tradition for the family to gift the bride and groom fish… Yep, raw dead fish, and it gets better, the fish are dressed up as a bride and groom, jewellery and all.”

The bride offers up this advice. “Elope… Just kidding. But seriously, spend the money where it matters and that is on the experience. Think about what will add value to the day and create lasting memories.”

The Bohemian Flower Collective styled the stunning floral arrangements for the day. “Alisha at Bohemian Flower Collective was our florist. She did an incredible job styling our floral arrangements for both ceremony and reception. I sent her a colour palette of burgundy, blush pink and white/ivory and a few inspo’s and just let her go for it, giving her permission to use her full creative licence. We reused the floral arrangements from the ceremony to decorate the reception area which Alisha seamlessly styled whilst we were off having photos, we also saved a bunch of $$ by doing so.”

Of their photographer Gabriella and Shumon were thrilled. “Our photographer was Sandie Bertrand, she was fantastic and I totally love her style. I’m all about more candid style photography rather than the traditional over staged photos.”

The bride was painted in traditional henna. “Two days before the wedding I spent most of the day having my bridal mehndi applied, with Shumon’s name hidden in the design for him to find before the end of the wedding night. We also had a Turmeric (Haldi) ceremony. Where family and friends got to paint turmeric paste over us and give their blessings.”

Innovations catered the cocktail reception. Gabriella noting “The chef was really flexible and happy to make many things not included on the menu and their grazing platters are incredible.”

Groove Night Avenue was worth every penny says Gabriella. “It was absolutely worth spending the $$ to have him MC and do acoustic solo’s and DJ.”

There was no doubt the dancefloor for these two was always going to be epic. “Shumon and I both love to tear up the dance floor. If we’re at an event with a dance floor you’ll be sure to find us there most of the time and so for our 1st dance we choreographed a short Bollywood dance which was super fun, light-hearted and memorable.”

Gabriella and Shumon worked with Life Atlas to capture this beautiful film of the day. “Can I just say WOW. Her eye for detail and how she captured our wedding and pre-wedding ceremonies just tells a story that you don’t get from photography. If anyone is wondering whether it’s worth spending the money for a videographer, it TOTALLY is.”

A big congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Thank you, also to Sandie Bertrand Photography for sharing such a stunning celebration with us.