You know how much we love a wedding, so imagine our delight when we get to share, not one, but two of a couple’s wedding days. Deb and Andrew honoured both of their cultures, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast on two beautiful wedding days, The first, a private Bengali wedding, honouring the Indian Hindu culture, before a traditional western celebration, with their favourite people unfolded the next day and with the talented Adriana Watson Photography behind the camera for both. Deb explains “For the Indian Hindu wedding we wanted an explosion of colours, with our clothes, the venue and the decorations. The colours chosen were gold, red and white to balance it all. Our mandap (Hindu altar) reflected this choice very well with lots of sparkles and flowers. We were both blown away when we saw our mandap for the first time.”
It was on OkCupid that Deb and Andrew’s paths first crossed, Deb taking a punt and uprooting her life in India to be with Andrew, “We met on an online dating app called OkCupid, while Andrew was residing in Australia and me in India. After three months of daily correspondence over WhatsApp and audio calls, I decided to fly halfway across the world to meet Andrew for the first time. We spent a week together before I flew back and we immediately arranged for me to visit again. During my second visit in January 2020, I had to postpone my flight because of covid, and since that day I’ve never left the country.
The Sunshine Coast it turns out is a bit of a special place for these two, also the spot where Andrew asked Deb to marry him. “Andrew invited me to Mt Coot Tha one evening under the guise of an eight-month anniversary. We tried to go to the restaurant at the top of the mountain to relive one of our first dining experiences, but the restaurant was closed. I thought we were driving back to Brisbane, but Andrew pulled over by one of the walking trails on the mountain. When I saw the sign I realised it was one of the first places we went to during my first visit, and it was also the location of the first time we mentioned marriage.” Settle on in for both of their wedding day stories.
Standout vendors for Deb include her chosen hair & makeup artists Dot and Birdie. “They were my bridesmaids on the wedding days and were accommodating of every one of my needs.”
Deb wore a brilliant red and gold lehenga for the Bengali wedding which she had made by By Elora. She tells “My hands were adorned with mehndi and I had adorned myself with jewellery from head to toe. My lehenga was red, which is a common colour for Indian brides and I always associated that colour with a married woman’s colour.
It was difficult during Covid but I managed to have my lehenga completely handcrafted by By Elora who is in Sydney. All of the measurements and planning were done over the internet. Even though we never met in person, I got exactly what I wanted and I was thankful to get such a personal outfit made to my specifications.”
Andrew also wore traditional dress says Deb “Andrew chose to wear a traditional groom outfit called Sherwani. His colour scheme was gold and burgundy.”
The couple met before their ceremony for a first look. “I will never forget Andrew’s look when he first saw me dressed as an Indian Bride” remembers Deb. “You could tell he wasn’t anxious but rather happy and calm.”
Deb and Andrew held their Bengali wedding at Clouds Montville Resort “Clouds Montville (our venue) went above and beyond to do everything we asked. We had a lot of changes and requests and they were positive and helpful with everything. Nothing was too difficult for them and we were so grateful for their cooperation.
We were initially going to have the wedding outside on the deck which would have fit the mandap. We became a bit hesitant over time as our wedding would be in the middle of winter, and Bengali weddings take place after sunset so it would be quite cold. We would also have to bring in extra lighting.
Eventually, we decided to move the ceremony into a function room inside. The room size was perfect for the mandap and the number of people there, which was practically none. The lighting inside the room was also perfect and made the mandap and wedding photos look amazing so we were very happy with our choice in the end.”
Deb’s Bengali procession included the traditional “peeking”. She tells “As per the Indian Bengali tradition, I held two betel leaves in front of my face to cover it as I entered. I was keen to see Andrew and the mandap for the first time so I might have peeked through the leaves a few times. My peeking was also captured on video and Andrew made sure to keep that part in when editing a short version of our wedding.
My entrance song was ‘Din Shagna Da’. I always imagined playing this song at my wedding, and Andrew edited it for me so it would start at the right part. It made me happy when he took such an interest in it and wanted it to be perfect.”
“That it was just me and Andrew. The entire day and ceremony felt very intimate and personal. We felt very comfortable and had no other concerns to worry about. We were truly together on that day and not having to worry about outside influences let us enjoy the day much more.”
The couple chose to keep part two of their wedding, very intimate, explains Deb “Due to the international border restrictions my parents and friends could not attend our weddings. Therefore, we decided to not invite anybody else to our Indian Hindu wedding. My parents were still able to watch it over Skype, and we managed to arrange a videographer a couple of days before the wedding so we can show everybody in the future. The only people present at our wedding were the Hindu priest, photographer and the videographer.”
The rituals of the wedding were full of tradition. “We had a traditional Hindu ceremony where garlands were exchanged and vows were read in Sanskrit. A Holy Fire was lit as the witness to our union and we promised ourselves to one another by walking around the fire 7 times as mantras were being read by the priest. Andrew used his wedding ring to place sindoor on my forehead (symbol of a married Hindu woman) at the end. It is considered good luck if some of the powder ends up on the bride’s nose, and sure enough, it happened on the first attempt.”
The couple celebrated with a private dinner, and an impromptu dessert. “Since it was just me and Andrew, we had our dinner in our room after the ceremony. After we ate, we were feeling cheeky and wanted to go out for dessert. So we drove to Montville and went to the Montville Café Bar and Grill, still dressed in our full traditional Hindu wedding clothes. They were closing but they let us in to have dessert. That was one of my favourite parts of the day.”
The next day, with just a few more guests on their guest list, the couple celebrated in western style, with a ceremony at The Chapel Montville. The Bengali wedding, however, remains Deb’s favourite. “By contrast our traditional white wedding the following day felt like a lot more effort, moving guests around and making sure we completed all of the tasks one must do at a wedding.”
Deb has this advice if you’re yet to tie the knot. “Don’t invite certain guests just because you think you need to. In the end, we found that it feels just as real no matter how many guests you invite. And having fewer people to deal with meant we got to enjoy our time with each other and appreciate the day. Spend that money on yourself and your partner. Andrew & I chose to spend our wedding budget on our hair, clothes, makeup and an amazing photographer to capture us.”
The couple worked with photographer Adriana Watson to capture both of their r wedding days, Deb sharing “Adriana was an absolute delight to have at both of our weddings. She was patient and had an abundance of energy throughout the day. You could tell she was excited for us. She listened to us carefully on what we wanted to be captured on our special days and ensured it was done. Her style of photography is natural and she wanted to capture the raw moments rather than just have us pose. I loved this as my favourite photos from the day are the ones that she captured of us looking at each other and laughing.”
The biggest of congratulations to you Deb & Andrew. How honoured we are to share your beautiful day. Thank you both and thank you to Adriana Watson Photography for sharing today’s stunning celebration with us.