Much like their wedding, Dharsha and Thomas met in the most unforgettable of ways. “We technically met surrounded by dead people” admits Dharsha. “He was my anatomy tutor in the cadaver lab back when we studied Physiotherapy. 12 years later, we were introduced by our mutual friend when attending another mutual friends’ band gig.” The two were smitten and despite COVID-19 changing their plans planned a beautiful day that honoured Dharsha’s strong Sri Lankan heritage.
Inviting Eric Wang Photography along for the ride, the pair orchestrating a traditional Hindu ceremony at the bride’s home before celebrating with their guests in a fairy light-filled reception.
Thomas completely blew Dharsha away after a romantic morning swim with a surprise proposal. “We went up the Sunshine Coast on the 21st September 2019. We went for an early morning swim with a breakfast picnic. When September by Earth, Wind and Fire came on, Thom mentioned he had a treat for me. I thought it was a croissant, but it was my beautiful engagement ring. I of course said yes! Thom chose the ring without me and I was in love with it as it wasn’t a traditional diamond ring, but it centred around a Ceylon sapphire. (My background is Sri Lankan)”
With COVID, the couple chose to hold their ceremony at home “We were grateful that my parents were able to host our ceremony in their home after our initial venue closed due to covid. As we couldn’t fit our guests there and had a lot of overseas and interstate guests who couldn’t fly to Brisbane, we Zoomed our wedding from my parent’s (home).”
Dharsha and Thomas opted for a full, traditional Hindu ceremony, the bride remarking “It was a traditional Hindu ceremony that went for just over an hour. The various aspects were interactive and involved both Dharsha’s and Thom’s families.”
Beautiful blooms were incorporated throughout the ceremony, says the bride. “We only had flowers at our ceremony. Thousands of carnations were imported to assemble our garlands. These garlands were made by hand by a friend of the family who I have known from a young age.”
Says Thomas “I’d only been to one Hindu ceremony before this, so I had to do my research to try to understand what was going on. One thing we both wanted to include was the part of the traditional games to ‘break the ice’ between two people who in times gone by may not have really met before. We are both competitive and saw the funny side of the ring game Dharsha mentioned above, and the stakes were high! Coming away with the victory made my day – not so much for the winning side of it, but I wouldn’t have heard the end of it if I lost!”
The ceremony held all the tradition “During the ceremony, there is a tradition called the ring game. A ring is placed in a pit of water for us to find. It is best of three and it is said whoever wins, rules the roost for the entire marriage. After Thom and I winning around each- our priest kept the ring on the third attempt. Thom ended up winning because he asked for it- I’m still not thrilled!”
The couple opted for a private photo session post-ceremony and loved every moment of working with their photographer Eric. “Eric was great to work with, on the day capturing the moment instead of trying to get us to awkwardly pose. It was a pleasure spending our day with him. We loved Walking down Jacaranda Lane at UQ in nearly full bloom. A beautiful spot and a homage to where we originally met.”
As the sun set, guests gathered at Hillstone St Lucia for the reception. “Hillstone was a fantastic venue- so picturesque from the Mango Tree Terrace and the Grand Ballroom. The team at Hillstone were amazing and helped make our day very special – Donika, Hayley and Lauren.”
Pre-dinner drinks on the terrace under sparkling fairy lights remains a highlight of the day for the bride, “Hillstone did such a fantastic job ensuring our reception ran smoothly and accommodating to our requests including spending more time on the Terrace so we could enjoy our guitarist whilst the sunset.”
The groom’s sister and mum embraced the couple’s “nature” theme and handmade the place cards, including growing all 100 sprigs of rosemary themselves.
COVID may have meant absent guests, but certainly not the absent spirit, says Dharsha. “Thom’s guest list was the more affected by COVID travel restrictions, including his sister, niece and nephew in the UK, one of his groomsman stuck in Melbourne, and several other interstate and international friends. He had no idea that I and my bridesmaids had organised the video messages from some of them, which we played at the reception. It really was a special surprise that brought a tear to his eyes.”
“Sounds cliche, but the day flies. We had some time to ourselves at the reception which we enjoyed, but it truly flies” notes Dharsha. “You need a strategy for how you are going to see/speak to your guests as you’ll find yourself ending up with only five minutes each. This was challenging as due to covid restrictions we weren’t able to catch up with a lot of family and friends face to face during the year.”
Time for the fun to begin! Dharsha and Thomas made sure their first dance was completely upbeat and perfect to kick off the dance floor. “It was a mashup between a slow dance and an upbeat Bollywood song” remembers the bride. “We chose a Taylor Swift version of the song “September” and mashed it up with a Bollywood song called “Kala Chashma”. My bridesmaid Niru choreographed that part of the dance. We had a lot of fun.”
Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us. Thank you also to Eric Wang Photography for sharing today’s celebration.