If there was a way that Ayesha would describe her wedding day to Max, it would be this. “The atmosphere was pure magic! A feeling of warmth & love was all around being with all our friends and family. The Mehndi day was super fun and upbeat with lots of dancing and music.”

And magic it was indeed because there were two jam-packed days of celebrations, and not only that, but these two wove their Fijian & Indian cultures throughout it all. From the attire to the drinks (kava out of coconut bowls!) to the way that they made sure family and friends were a part of not just the celebration, but the putting of it altogether (speaking of photographer Samantha Heather Photography who captured all of the beautiful images, who is of course, Ayesha’s very dear friend!). “Our favourite part of it was planning it with our family! Because it was DIY we had a lot of help putting it together and it was fun to talk about it and plan it all with my family.”

And if you’d didn’t believe in magic before, let me just say, the way that Ayesha and Max met? Serendipitous! Tells Ayesha “It was a chance meeting. We were meant to pass each other in the street at a crossing. The light to walk across the road was red and once it turned green the rest is history!”

The proposal, a complete surprise for Ayesha! “We were travelling to Sydney to visit family and friends and decided to stop in the Southern Highlands on our way there. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. After a delicious lunch and a browse in a bookstore (one of our favourite things to do together!), we decided to take a walk and look around. We were surrounded by stables and beautiful green fields. I decided I wanted to take some pictures of the beautiful landscapes. While I was taking a picture of a lake, Max suddenly tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. When I turned around he was on his knee asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was completely taken aback and had tears flowing immediately! It was the most beautiful surprise, such a surprise that I don’t think I even said yes for a good 5 minutes”.

The celebrations kicked off with a Mehndi (henna) ceremony. Both the Mehndi and Nikah ceremonies were held at Ayesha’s family home. She shares “Both the Mehndi & the ceremony was held from my family home in Sydney. My Nani (Grandma) is 92 and it was very important for both Max and I to have her at both events, as she isn’t able to travel and be out and about for too long, we didn’t even need to consider other venues. My family home has also definitely been the centrepoint of keeping me connected to my culture, and because we were having a huge Indian celebration it felt right!”

Of course, the flowers were put together by friends! “The flowers were a labour of love and all done DIY by my beautiful sister Naz & best friend Ayumi” explains Ayesha. “The three of us hit up Sydney flower markets with a few ideas. For the Mehndi, we just wanted heaps of vibrant colours and for the ceremony we wanted to go for blue and white colours to match the overall colour theme of the lunch, my favourite was the Blue thistle. It stood out to me and felt different, just like my navy blue Lengha (outfit).”

The lehenga (two gowns, one pastel, one deep azure blue!) and Max’s attire were all handmade for the couple in India.  “For the Mehndi outfit, I wanted something pastel and filled with lots of different intricate colours. For the ceremony outfit, I had no idea! I never thought I would go for a navy blue & silver outfit, but as soon as I saw it I fell in love! It was a non-traditional colour which I also loved” explains Ayesha. “Both outfits (and Max’s outfits) were orchestrated by my dad, it was his wedding gift to us. There was a lot of effort put into having them made and then sent over from India to Fiji and then eventually to Australia.

My dad spent a lot of time coordinating with many people in India to carefully design and curate each outfit for both Max and me, there was so much attention to detail in each piece, starting from the jewellery, even down to the shoes, which were all made to fit the outfits. The outfits quickly became the centrepiece of both days. They were so spectacular and once we had a chance to see them in the flesh, everything else about both events changed! We styled the event in accordance with the colour and style of the outfits. The outfits are very special to us.”

Culture, family and tradition were really at the core of everything about this day, says Ayesha. “The cultural traditions were the most special details of both days. The tradition of having my henna done and also the ceremony the following day were what made it so special. And of course, having those Fijian elements throughout it too, an example of this is having the traditional Fijian drink Kava served in a large bowl called a tanoa; we even had coconut shells to serve them in!”

“There is a tradition that the sister of the bride applies henna to the bride’s hand and family members place money down, as a sign of good fortune. Max, my sister and I could not stop laughing while she was applying the henna, she had some questionable artwork! In all those photos everyone is so happy, dancing and smiling. It was lovely. There is a fun belief that the darkness of the henna determines how much your husband-to-be loves you ;).”

“My mum and Max’s mum were both so emotional after the ceremony. That was also a special moment too.

It was actually the first time both our families have met as I’m originally from Sydney and Max is from Victoria. Lockdown had kept me away from my family for 2 years, and our families didn’t have the opportunity to meet, so it was super special finally being able to have them all together. There is one photo where we have both of our families together and we are laughing before the ceremony, we are all laughing and just genuinely enjoying each other’s company.”


“Having our loved ones coming together to celebrate us was amazing. So many of my friends were telling me stories throughout the day of the times they spent in my family home while we were all growing up and how special it was to now see Max and me celebrating our love in the same place! That was super special.”

Day two, was all about the Nikah ceremony.

Being a backyard wedding, the decoration and setup were all done by Ayesha, Max and their families. Tells Ayesha “Both events were a total DIY, we were lucky to work with the most incredible vendors and had a lot of support from friends and family in the process of setting up. It made the feel of the event personal without family and friends making the space feel like magic.

Some of my favourite personal touches were the menus which were designed and created by my sister, they were individual to each person with a special message. The bonbonnieres for our guests were also super special! They were small gift packs from Pure Fiji (one of my favourite spas!) wrapped in a traditional Fijian tapa print designed by my dad.”

Not only were Ayesha and Max lucky enough to have Samantha Heather as their wedding photographer, but it turns out Samantha has a bit more of a role to play in their lives! Tells Ayesha “The photographer is one of my closest friends! I have known Sam since I was 16 years old, we went to high school together and we were giggling about how we used to talk about our weddings in high school!! I couldn’t think of anyone better to capture our day.

There are so many amazing things I could say about Sam, I mean her photography portfolio is incredible! She is unbelievably talented and pays so much attention to detail. She was so warm and calm throughout the day which made having our photos (something both Max and I are super awkward with!) really easy and fun. Having one of my best friends capture some of our most special moments, on one of the most important days of our lives, was something I will never forget, it was so heartwarming and special.

All our vendors were AMAZING! We couldn’t have put together our event without them. I can hand on heart say they all went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed.”

Congratulations to you both Ayesha and Max. Thank you for sharing the beautiful details of your day with us and to Samantha Heather Photography for sharing this story!