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Real Wedding | Samira + Thomas

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Thomas and I are a true modern-day romance, after swiping right on Bumble!

Thomas had recently relocated from Perth to Sydney and I am Sydney born and raised. Thomas is originally from New Zealand and I come from an Indian-Irish background.

After about two years of dating, Thomas popped the question while on holiday in Uluwatu in Bali, which took me completely by surprise (I am a notorious control freak + known for finding out all surprises before they happen!)

Thomas was in cahoots with my mum when it came to the ring design, working with The Gem Palace (a jeweller based in Jaipur, India) to create the most beautiful ring, based off an antique ring I had seen in India earlier in the year.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

I pride myself on being very decisive! Wallalong House was the first and only venue we visited. After we got engaged (and still in Bali) my mum was on the case, sending me venue options constantly. I decided to take matters in my own hands after countless texts back and forth and I found Wallalong House.

The brief was pretty simple… beautiful grounds, a marquee option and accommodation available at the venue – Wallalong ticked all those boxes. It felt very homely and warm. The grounds are so incredible and lush and the marquee is just spectacular and extremely reminiscent of a Maharaja tent in India.

How many guests did you have?

93. When we first started planning (pre-Covid) we had a guestlist of 150 (I was adamant that we had a small-ish wedding, despite having about 60+ family members on my mum’s side alone!). We had a lot of family who were unable to make it from New Zealand, US, Hong Kong, India and the UK - however, we were extremely lucky that the Australian border was open to NZ, allowing Thomas’ parents to join in the celebrations!

Tell us about your outfits!

Where do I start?! I always knew I wanted to have an Indian designer create my wedding dress, as I wanted to ensure that Indian look and feel in the embroidery and design. My initial idea for the dress was extremely simple and A-Line however, during Covid I had a little more time on my hands and reached out to the phenomenal team at Shantanu + Nikhil to help create something extra special!

This gown was their first custom creation for a customer. I knew the silhouette I was after, but I could not have imagined how breathtaking the dress would be once I had taken it out of the box. The whole process was done via countless Whatsapp messages, calls and Facetimes over about 6 months. I finally received the dress in December 2020 (everyone thought I was mad getting a dress custom made that I had never tried on, but I trusted the team implicitly and rightly so!) After a few small alterations locally, the dress was ready to go!

As someone who loves to dance, I knew I would need to slip into something more comfortable but equally fabulous. I had these wide-leg Dion Lee pants that I had never worn before and found this Aje bustier online that had a very similar silhouette to my dress. The colour matched my pants perfectly - it was meant to be!

I also wore two of my best friends’ diamond studs as something borrowed and my late Nani’s (grandmother’s) bangle and earrings I wore to the reception as my something old.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

I work in PR + Marketing, so I have plenty of experience in event planning and organisation was key. I set up a Google doc with plenty of spreadsheets to keep tab of guest lists, budgets, vendors etc. etc. It was a saviour and I’ve saved it for all my family and friends for when they get married!

Aside from being organised, enjoying the process and not letting ourselves get stressed or overwhelmed by small details was really important. It’s meant to be a happy day and we wanted the process to follow the same principle.

We were also really lucky that both our families were very easy going and let us take charge in the decision making (as long as we were within budget!!!)

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

The elements of our wedding that was super important for us in incorporating was around celebrating my Indian heritage. Whilst we knew we didn’t want a 5-daywedding (yikes!), we did want to ensure the meaning of certain rites and rituals were included within the ceremony + the vibrancy, colour and fun was included within the styling and florals.

We managed to find the Hindu Civil celebrant Sudesh Johar, who we worked really closely with to curate a ceremony that was really meaningful to both Thomas and I and our families. We loved that Hindu wedding ceremonies is more than just about two individuals coming together, but rather the joining of two families. The ceremony included the traditional welcoming of the Groom and his family by the Bride’s family, the legal vows, as well as a garlanding ceremony and tying of the knot + saptapadi (seven steps). The Seven Steps, is where the bride and groom take seven steps around a fire (in our case, 7 candles) signifying 7 promises they make to each other. Thomas + I wrote our own promises based on the traditional Hindu principles, but also the values by which we were raised by each of our families. The dupatta that joined us as we made these promises was tied around our wrists by each of our mothers, signifying their blessing on behalf of our extended families.

Our styling direction was very clear; bold and bright, with lots of texture and light, which is really representative of most Indian weddings and Indian culture as a whole.

Boy, did Lisa Madigan deliver!! The marquee looked absolutely magical with dangling fairy lights, an abundance of candlelight and the most spectacular florals I have ever seen. It truly took my breath away! Lisa also handmade our garlands used in our ceremony, which brought my mum to tears when Lisa brought them over the morning of the wedding. It was incredibly special.

We were really keen (particularly with Covid) on supporting small local businesses when looking at our vendors. We pulled together the most wonderful team including our photographer Stefan Wellsmore. Working with them all was a complete dream and made our lives so easy!

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during Covid?

I think it’s easier said than done but remain positive and don’t sweat the small stuff! Inevitably things will go awry but it will all work out in the end and it is truly the best day!

We had a passing thunderstorm just as I made my way down the aisle, which forced all inside for the ceremony (which is not what I had envisaged at all!) but definitely turned out for the best, it felt extremely intimate and special having everyone around sharing that very important moment with us.

Also, make sure you take the time after the wedding to enjoy the joy and continue the celebrations!

Ceremony + Reception Location : Wallalong House @wallalonghouse | Photographer :

Stefan Wellsmore @stefan_wellsmore | Celebrant : Sudesh Johar | Entertainment : Zoe Vrachnas (ceremony) @zoevrachnas + JH Hire @jhhire (reception) | Ceremony Space, Styling + Florals : Lisa Madigan @lisamadigan | Catering + Beverages : Fennel & Co | Cake : Sammie Cakes @_sammiecakes | Stationery : The Distillery @thedistillery | Bride's Dress : Shantanu + Nikhil

Reception Outfit : Dion Lee Pants @dionlee + Aje bustier @aje | Groom's Tuxedo : Armani @giorgioarmani | Rings : The Gem Palace @thegempalace | Groom's Shoes : Aquila @aquila_est1958 | Bride's Shoes : Stuart Weitzman @stuartweitzman | Fragrance : Saskia by Grandiflora | Makeup :

Kim Pham @kimkpham | Hair : Paul Anthony | Bridal Party Attire : Mj Bale @mjbale + A.L.C @alc_ltd


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