Nimisha and Darshan’s exotic Meghalaya wedding shoot

Outdoor shoots can produce absolutely stunning results if they are done right. Meghalaya (a state in India), provided the backdrop for the pre-wedding photos of Nimisha and Darshan. The locations included Krang Shuri waterfalls, Shnongpdeng and the Double Root Bridge.

The background certainly has a “wow” factor and has put the state on my radar.

Weddings are always a colourful affair in India and one comes to expect the usual colours and styles being used by the couple and the guests. Nimisha selected a peach coloured lehenga and me thinks this is right on trend. No to to mention that it suited her very nicely and she looked absolutely gorgeous!

Darshan’s colour choice for his sherwani was a tone of pearl / white, which I think worked very nicely with his bride’s Peach. While white is become more acceptable and common for Indian wedding celebrations, I like the fact that the groom took the lead on this one.

Lovely pictures of the wedding courtesy Into Candid Photography 

Wedding Venue: Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai

Rachna and Gopal’s Dubai Wedding

Rachna and Gopal’s outdoor Dubai wedding makes me want to take the next flight to the city and get away from all the cold and greyness of London 🙂

Outdoor weddings are always a tricky affair because there can be so much that could go wrong. But in Dubai, where temperatures and weather are far more predictable, it is perhaps the best thing to do.

The couple are both from Chicago, so a lot of the planning was done online. They certainly did a good job if the pictures are any indication. The locations look picturesque and just the right backdrop for a wedding shoot.

If you had not previously considered Dubai as a destination for a wedding, these pictures will make you re-think your decision!

Photographs – Candid Wedding Stories

Wedding venue:  The Address Montgomerie, Emirates Hills, Dubai

Special shout out for the bride Rachna’s dress – I just absolutely LOVE the colour and the detailing on her lehenga. One does not see a lot of velvet fabric lehengas in recent times, so this nod to the traditional was so refreshing to see. Rachna also got the accessories and jewellery spot on I would say – heavy enough, and not too overwhelming at the same time.

Rachna wore a very stylish outfit for the reception. Slightly un-conventional in that it was a Lehenga and a Jacket combination. But she pulled it off beautifully!

Abhimanyu & Ananya’s Beautiful Bengali Wedding

Abhimanyu and Ananya hail from a design background and planned for most of the wedding themselves. The results are absolutely stunning as you will see in the pictures.

The celebrations took place at Rajbari Bawali which is rooted in Bengali heritage. All the events took place at the same venue and were attended by close family and friends.

As individuals, both Abhimanyu and Ananya had strong views on the design and they even had clashes about the decor with Abhimanyu walking out of Ananya’s place! Thankfully, they resolved the design issues and created a style that worked for them as a couple.

Bengali Dinner

With 60 family members in attendance, the celebrations started with a Bengali themed dinner in the Rajbari’s courtyard. The dress code was traditional bengali and the details were planned by the meticulous couple themselves. Gorgeous touches included each family member printed on the beautifully wrapped menu atop the spotless silverware.

The Bengali dinner was followed by family members dedicating performances amidst a flaming bon-fire and heart-warming music.

Engagement

The Engagement was donned in vibrant hues of the open lawn. The ceremony was met with a variety of emotions as Abhimanyu and Ananya officially announced there togetherness in the presence of their near and dear ones.

In the middle of the celebrations, Abhimanyu greeted Ananya with a surprise flash mob. 30 people gathered to the tunes of popular Bollywood music to celebrate their official union. No particular theme for Engagement. They wanted to use local relevant materials hence it was a mix of handcrafted shola and jute.

Party time

The DJ took control at Rajbari and the energy flowed through the celebration. Drinks and the colourful dance floor just added fuel to the celebration fire!

Photography : Framed
Engagement Lunch Couple Outfits

Abhimanyu – Manish Malhotra
Ananya – Raw Mango

Dinner Couple Outfits

Abhimanyu’s Kurta – Rohit Bahl 
Ananya’s Saree – Anand Kabra
Both wore Jamewar shawls belonging to their family lineage.

Executed by Fahd Ali and Santosh Singh

Make up (Ananya) – Vatsala Bhagat

Poonam and Balwinder’s Gorgeous Punjabi Wedding

I had a look at the gorgeous pictures from Poonam and Balwinder’s wedding and two words stuck with me: vibrant and elegant. Photographs are courtesy Sunny Mathur – http://www.photographick.com

I love that Poonam wore a beautiful vibrant blue coloured dress with loads of gorgeous embroidery including Phulkari. I love the riot of colour and the nod to the traditional embroidery technique from Punjab.

Poonam and Balwinder’s wedding outfits were more traditional in colour and tone. The gold necklace complemented the embroidery and the red coloured lehenga very nicely. And Balwinder’s use of red in his outfit surely got him loads of brownie points 🙂

Special call out to the bridesmaids who wore punjabi style suits in beautiful purple and orange. I love the colours!

The reception screamed of elegance and style. The table setting featured a minimal and extremely chic setup. I love the crystal and floral on the table, which I think complemented the decor very nicely.

Poonam’s outfit is one to love – especially the colour themes. The choice was chic and I think it suited her extremely well.

Sonia and Arjun’s Fun Wedding

I love a lot of things about Sonia and Arjun’s wedding, but the standout feature for me are the gorgeous colour co-ordinated outfits of the groomsmen and bridesmaids.

The bridesmaids opted for the same saree and the group look absolutely stunning. The contrast against the bride Sonia’s outfit makes the group photo look absolutely stunning.

Not to be out-done, the groomsmen had similar style, if not the same colour of kurtas and the same colour of red dupatta. I like the muted tones for the kurtas because it looks so timeless and elegant.

The baraat procession looked like loads of fun

and the wedding venue looked so elegant. I especially loved the tasteful use of colours and lights. All photos courtesy Sunny Mathur – Photographick Studio

How I Helped Plan an Off Beat Honeymoon to South India

I helped a friend plan her honeymoon in India and I thought it would make the perfect topic for a blog post. While I have helped plan honeymoons in the past, this experience is particular unusual because the couple want to go off the beaten path, on their honeymoon – go figure!

One could argue that a honeymoon is one of the most important holidays for a couple and so it deserves to be well planned. This post is meant to provide some tips on how I helped to plan this off beat honeymoon in India. I suggest you can take away the process or simply see the destinations I considered for my friends.

Getting to know the couple

When I start to help a couple to plan their honeymoon, I take the time to get to know the couple individually and then together as a couple. This might sound obvious, you’ll be surprised how many times I discover that couples do not always have a clear understanding of their partner’s travel wishes.

In most cases because I am helping friends, I know at least one of the persons well. But all the same, I still meet for coffee with a very clear agenda around the honeymoon – trying to understand what they absolutely love and what they absolutely hate. The intention is to understand the type of things each of them would like to do or not. At this stage, I simply try to understand the types of activities or locations, rather than specific destinations. I also like to understand about previous holidays they have had which they really enjoyed or are particularly memorable.

Then I meet the couple together for a coffee to understand the things they enjoy together as a couple. Most of the times the individual preferences tend to get adapted as a couple. This stage is crucial to establish some basic understanding of what kind of places the couple is likely to enjoy together while respecting individual preferences.

Making an Initial Plan

With a clear understanding of the couple’s preferences for places and a sense of the type of things they like to do, I then do some initial planning for the type of honeymoon for the couple.

For my friend, it turned out that the couple both wanted to do something unusual and off beat. Their personalities were different, but what they agreed upon was that they’d like to not be sitting on a beach sipping coconut water. Phew, that made life a lot easier for me because it meant that I can focus on the destination rather than trying to get them to agree on common ground 🙂

Since they are getting married in India, I thought of starting with India as a honeymoon destination. I broadly broke down the country’s regions into 4 parts,

  • North India: Cooler, Mountains, Nature, Activities
  • West India: Warmer, Palaces, Historic
  • South India: Green, Cultural, Relaxation
  • East India: “Rugged”, Nature, Un-explored

Narrowing down options

This very broad brush classification is just that, a generalisation for me to start thinking (and tell them) about the locations and activities in each of these parts. I did this classification to structure the thinking for everyone rather than stereo-type any region.

  • West India (Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc.) is usually the first stop for tourists because they usually like to see the palaces and forts in the region, I thought that it was not off-beat enough for my friends
  • North India is great for indulging in nature and even for outdoor activities and sports, but they had already spent a lot of time in North India in the past, so this was a no go

Narrowed down my selection to South and East India for their honeymoon. 

  • East India is fascinating because it is relatively un-explored compared to other parts of India. In particular, I was thinking of the state of Assam because of the off-beat things that they could do there – Rhino safari, boat rides, nature walks, etc.
  • South India was equally fascinating because of the mix of nature, relaxation and great food

My friends wanted off-beat but also wanted luxury. They wanted to enjoy hotels that they stayed in and indulge a little. This seemed to be a problem in some parts of East India as far as I could tell because luxury properties are not as extensive as they are in South India. It seemed to me that South India was ticking all the boxes for my friends, so I decided to focus on this region.

From Options to a Plan

Now that I had a region in mind, I could focus on the fun stuff and make a plan. I usually start with standard tourist itineraries and then customise them for the specific couple.

I started by looking for Honeymoon destinations in South India. I don’t have a favourite source, but I almost always read Quora and Tripadvisor because they give me a real person’s perspective rather than a marketing message. The long list of destinations I initially found and the ones that looked interest are,

  • Alleppey
  • Coorg
  • Coonoor
  • Ooty
  • Thekkady
  • Munnar
  • Kabini
  • Kovalam
  • Kumarakom
  • Mysuru
  • Vagamon
  • Wayanad

I did very quick google searches for these places, and I usually tend to look at Images first as a quick way of getting a sense of the place. Not the most accurate, but very good for an initial shortlist.

Alleppey

What I liked: Authentic Kerala experience, house boats, local sightseeing options

What I didn’t like: Connectivity is not the best, Might get monotonous after some days (what can you do on a houseboat? take a walk?), loads of tourists

Coorg

What I liked: Indulge in nature, spice farms, trek options, good food, excellent accommodation options

What I didn’t like: Connectivity to other places not the best, loads of tourists

Coonoor

What I liked: Indulge in nature, spice farms, trek options, quaint town

What I didn’t like: Connectivity, limited local tourism options

Ooty

What I liked: Old world charm, local sightseeing options, connectivity

What I didn’t like: Limited chances to indulge in nature/treks, loads of tourists

Thekkady

What I liked: Loads of options for local tourism, elephants

What I didn’t like: Connectivity, limited accommodation options locally, loads of tourists

Munnar

What I liked: Indulge in nature, spice farms, trek options

What I didn’t like: Connectivity, limited local tourism options, loads of tourists

Kabini

What I liked: Indulge in nature, trek options, animal safari

What I didn’t like: Connectivity, limited local tourism options

Kovalam

What I liked: Quaint town, accommodation options, local tourism

What I didn’t like: Beaches do not seem the best for sun bathing, might get monotonous after a few days, loads of tourists

Kumarakom

What I liked: Authentic Kerala experience, ayurvedic spas, accommodation options

What I didn’t like: Limited local tourism options, loads of tourists

Mysuru

What I liked: Historic, cultural, accommodation options, connectivity

What I didn’t like: Medium sized city

Vagamon

What I liked: Indulge in nature, trek options

What I didn’t like: Accommodation options, connectivity

Wayanad

What I liked: Indulge in nature, spice farms, trek options, not as many tourists

What I didn’t like: Connectivity, limited local tourism options, limited accommodation options

The Final Plan

It took me a good part of a week to do the research above. And now I was ready to make some travel plans!

Most of the options above had loads of green areas to relax and explore. So for me, it was a matter of selecting places that complement each other and can work together as a coherent holiday. I considered these 3 alternative plans,

  • Munnar – Alleppey – Kumarakom: This is a standard triangle tour and provides a good mix of different things including nature treks and house boats that are traditional to Kerala
  • Kabini – Munnar: Kabini is great for a safari and Munnar is perfect to relax. You can even stay in hotels that are part of a tea plantation!
  • Wayanad: Relatively un-explored area with options for nature treks and safari at Bandipur Tiger Reserve (some hours away)

In the end, I have suggested Wayanad as the ideal destination for them because I saw some very cool accommodation options in the region, and it gave my friends the flexibility of either chilling out at their hotel or heading out and exploring the area.

Hotel Picks for Wayanad

I liked 2 hotels in Wayanad – these seem like ideal honeymoon hotels to me because of their locations, service levels / reviews and generally good connectivity to the key attractions in the region.

My friends picked Wayanad CGH Earth and will be spending a week there this year. I am super excited for them and cannot wait to see pictures!

Have you been there or have any other suggestions for south Indian honeymoon destinations? Please do share in the comments!

Indian Wedding Invitations for 2019

Wedding invites are special and little memories that we can treasure long after the event. The invite is a first glimpse at what the wedding theme will look like and what the style of the wedding is likely to be – an opulent affair, a fun and quirky style or a destination theme and so on.

Because an invite says so much about you as a couple and about the wedding, it is important to give it proper thought and consideration. Selecting an invite which is quirky and fun, when you are a serious couple who wants a serious wedding would certainly confuse a lot of the guests. Staying true to the overall feel of your wedding is my top tip when thinking about the perfect wedding invite.

I would suggest the following process to come up with your ideal invite options,

  • Decide on the overall theme of the wedding. You do not need to know things right down to the last detail, but a general theme and style would help
  • Think about a colour scheme and theme for the overall wedding decor. If you can decide this theme already and use it for the wedding invite, I think it is fantastic and creates a sense of continuity with the wedding
  • Get inputs for the most important elements from important decision makers for the wedding. I am thinking of couple, parents, elder relatives in the case of Indian weddings
  • Shortlist the most important elements that are important for you. These could be the colour, style, layout and the language of the invite
  • Write the final details down before you start your research for the wedding invite. It is very easy to get carried away and inspired by so many amazing styles out there

Writing down the final details really helps to maintain focus and get everyone to agree on the basics. This avoids so many issues after the designs have been finalised.

Back in the “old days”, one would visit specialist vendors of invitation cards who stocked samples, and you selected a style from that and that was it. Things are so much better now, and the possibilities are virtually limited by your own imagination!

I do suggest that if possible see an actual example of the wedding invite before you make a final decision. Sometimes pictures can be quite different from the real thing!

Before I share some of the inspirations that I think could be interesting themes for 2019, I do suggest thinking about an online only invite. This is a super environmental friendly option and while it may not have a wow factor, it is perhaps what wedding invites of the future will look like.

Indian wedding invites with small gifts

These wedding invites are on the luxurious side and involve a wedding invitation card and some small gift that is neatly packaged in the same box. The options for colour and gifts are endless and there are numerous specialist stores online that you can turn to to help you create a box that is very personalised.

Traditional Indian wedding invitations

Sometimes the classics are just the right choice. They offer a familiar style that everyone is so used to (at least the ones above 50 years) and have a sense of nostalgia about them. When in doubt, I would suggest that you opt for this style as it might be the safest option. You will also find plenty of vendors for these styles, so logistics might be easier.

Fun Indian wedding invitations

I like these rather off-beat and interesting styles because they can be quite cool and really bring out the couple’s personality. These are not styles for everyone, but if you like this style then I think you can get very creative with the layout and content. My suggestion would be to find some budget friendly printing services like Vistaprint where you can customise the designs and the layouts.

Extravagant Indian wedding invitations

If you have the budget and the inclination to create an invite that is unique and memorable, then this is the section for you. While some might argue that these invites are completely OTT, I say that if you can get something like this made, you should. A wedding is a memorable life event, and if you can make it that much more special for your guests by splurging on your invite then go for it!

Discussing your requirements with a specialists is the way to go for extravagant wedding invites. Specialists will first understand more about you, the event, the theme and then present you with ideas for the invite. These could range from how you first met to something that is very personal and unique about you like your family background or profession.

Invites for the utterly romantic at heart

Nothing quite matches a beautifully composed poem that is unique and very specific for your wedding. While you might be able to spend a ton of cash on making a materially extravagant invite, for the truly inspiring and intellectual invite, I would be inclined to get a poem composed.

Check out a beautiful poem written by Rachel Hill for us. It’ll be so cool to have a poem like this on a card that is personalised for the bride and groom! You can contact her (via email on rachel [at] startur [nospace] ntuition [dot] co [dot] uk) to ask for a poem written specially for you.

The dress code is colour, anything but white,
And you’re going to have to party long into the night.
Watch out for the glitter, confetti and rice,
A day full of joyfulness, you’ll be wanting a slice …!

– Rachel Hill

I really enjoyed this post because there was so much to inspire me! I have to admit that I kept getting distracted by all the varieties of invites and the styles that are possible and it took me forever to finish this post. If you have details to share about your wedding invite or of an invite that you find particularly interesting then please do leave a comment!

Make sure you check out my previous post about Alternatives to Extravagant Indian Wedding Invitations for other styles I liked!

Pictures: Puneet Gupta invitations, Pinterest

Top 5 beauty products that are missing from your make up bag

Sponsored Post

The holidays are the perfect time to bring some fresh sparkle and cheer to your makeup. Chances are there are some products you already have your eye on. Even the most outfitted makeup expert might have some essentials missing from her makeup bag. Whether you’re looking to gift a friend or just treat yourself, here are five products that will up your makeup game. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll wonder how you ever did without. From cult-status eyeshadow palettes to the perfect eyeliner, discover the makeup that will rock your world. 

1. Lime Crime Venus XL Eyeshadow Palette 

The Venus XL Eyeshadow Palette is a gold mine for makeup goddesses obsessed with color. A whopping eighteen shimmery shades lay down rich, buttery color with maximum staying power. The collection includes shades like “Celestial,” a deep mauve with flecks of sparkle, and “Inspire,” a warm berry with rich metallic shine. The Lime Crime palette’s neutral color, “Blank Canvas,” provides the ideal foundation for building any eye look. This is the perfect eyeshadow palette for when you want to mix it up and do something a little more unexpected with your makeup. 

2. Urban Decay Naked2 Palette 

The OG neutrals palette, Urban Decay’s Naked had 12 colors that reinvent what it means to go nude. I had a friend who gave away her unused palette and it was gone in less than twenty minutes. Naked has a cult status for a reason. Naked was unfortunately discontinued in August 2018, but Naked2, one of several spinoff collections, packs just as powerful a punch. Naked2’s shades have unforgettable, edgy names: “Busted” is a deep brown shimmer, while “Bootycall” makes beige anything but boring. Naked2 looks good on every skin tone and can be used for neutral makeup looks or crafting the perfect smoky eye. This palette is a must-have for anyone looking to cover their bases. 

3. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner 

Stila’s liquid eyeliner ends your search for the perfect eyeliner pen. Just swipe it on in the morning, wait a few seconds for it to dry, and it won’t wear or crease through your work day. This eyeliner works even on the oiliest lids. Trust me, it’s magic. The thin pen tip lets you control how thickly you want to lay down lines of color. The Stila eyeliner pen comes in 11 amazing colors from classic jet black to a rich, intense purple. If you only buy one eyeliner, make it this one. 

4. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation 

Many women struggle with finding foundation that matches their skin tone. Rihanna sought to change this and created a foundation with 40 shades to choose from. Pro Filt’r Foundation won the AllureBest of Beauty Award in 2018. It works on even the most dry and sensitive skin and lasts all day. If you are looking for a foundation with even coverage and high performance, this is your pick. 

5. Nars Blush in Orgasm 

It may have a provocative name, but the Orgasm blush flatters every skin tone with natural, healthy-looking color. The Orgasm blush has a subtle pink undertone and is good for both blush beginners and blush experts. Most Nars blushes are very pigmented, but it’s virtually impossible to put too much of this shade on since it’s so sheer. The Orgasm shade has won the AllureBest of Beauty Award multiple years in a row.