20 years after they met – that’s right – 20, Lauren and Aadith tied the knot in not one, but two weddings, and they are awesome to say the least. The loved-up couple actually grace the cover of our current issue (that you can find here), but as this (their second wedding) was just as amazing as their first, we decided to publish both! One of our fave photographers, and all round lovely lady, Miranda Stokkel was there to capture both days, but right now, scroll down for more of this one. Their love is leaping from the pics…

LITTLE LOL “The ceremonies and celebrations of an Indian weddings traditionally extend over many days. They include, the Haldi, a ceremony where guests are invited to smear Haldi (turmeric paste) onto the couple to cleanse and bless them prior to marriage, the Mehendi, where the bride and her family and friends have henna applied to their hands and feet and the Sangeet, a celebratory event where the friends and family of the bride and groom perform competitive choreographed dances. We decided to hold all three of these on one single evening, and it was complete chaos and joy.The best part of all of these lead up events was that due to the travel and household restrictions in response to COVID-19, all of our friends’ dances had to be learnt via Zoom. Our friends called in from their homes in regional Victoria, their essential jobs (some still wearing scrubs) and others calling in while heavily pregnant. It was utter pandemonium and the best time.”

THE VENUE “Originally, we were supposed to be married in Kerala, India where many of Aadith’s family live, or are from. With the restrictions on travel and the impact of COVID -19, our plans had to change drastically. We found it very difficult to find a venue in Melbourne that would accommodate our ceremony which broke the mould of what many venues expect or anticipate. In the end we got incredibly lucky. We took our (very slim) chances and reached out to Zonzo with very little notice. Zonzo is very dear to our hearts. We’ve had many celebrations there in the past, and they’ve always treated us like family.” 

FAVE DETAILS “The arrangements the priest created for the wedding ceremony poojas (rituals) were beautiful, intricate and elaborate. These included woven grass rings, betel leaves, coconuts, flowers and fruits used during various rituals, oil lamps, camphor and ghee, bowls of banana and milk, and the veli, the holy fire. My mehendi, the henna stain, was similarly beautiful and elaborate. Irfah Hussain, the mehendi artist, spent six hours the day prior applying intricate lace-like and floral designs, including lotus’, to match my saree, onto my hands, arms and feet. Irfrah uses only natural organic henna which she sources from Sojat in Rajasthan so that the strain remains strong for many days with a more natural fragrance. Samra, our saree draper, of Saris by Samra ensured our sarees were draped and pleated flawlessly. She has such an eye for detail and carries a small straightener with her to achieve that perfect pleat. Our Sadhya, wedding feast, was such a highlight. It was provided by Coconut Lagoon in Heidelberg which we highly recommend if you want to try classic South Indian cuisine. Bollywood Mandaps constructed such a simple and elegant mandap for us, adorned with fresh white and green florals and swathes of white cloth that complemented my white Kasavu saree and Aadith’s mundu and the fresh jasmine we all wore in our hair. The Maang Tikka, the drop pendant I wore on my forehead, that Aadith’s parents had made for me was also one of my favourite details, as the design was a composition of the weapons borne by the central Hindu gods and goddesses. It was both beautiful and fierce.” 

THE SAREES “I wore three sarees throughout the Keralan Ceremony. The first saree was a dark pink silk saree, woven with a silver and gold lotus motif, which I wore for my ceremonial entrance and for the first few poojas. While I was not anticipating wearing pink, Sharmila, Aadith’s mum, Yashi, my sister-in-law and I adored the design, which is quite contemporary and reminded me of the water lilies at my parents’ home, and of the lotus’ in the backwaters of Kerala. The second saree was a hand-loom cotton saree with gold-threaded borders, a Kasavu, the traditional saree worn by a Malayalee bride. I find these sarees to be the most beautiful of all, simple and elegant. This is the saree I changed into mid-ceremony and was the saree I wore when the thaali was tied. The thaali, a gold pendant on a blessed saffron string, is tied by the groom and his sister around the brides neck at the most significant moment of the wedding ceremony, indicating the moment of marriage. My final saree was a silk saree of soft gold, threaded with silver and gold designs. I wore this to leave the wedding, following our Sadhya feast. I fell in love with this saree!” 

A WORD OF ADVICE “Ceremonies that are grounded in tradition can also be very personal and contemporary. Naturally there are family expectations and time where respect is paramount, but we are fortunate to be very aligned with our parents which gave us the opportunity to shape the ceremony to suit us and our families. And be flexible. We went from plans of a Kerala backwater wedding with thousands of guests, to a wedding held five minutes down the road with a handful of guests on a Tuesday morning…and it was the perfect dream wedding.”

STANDOUT VENDORSMiranda Stokkel, our photographer, who was by our side for our NGV Wedding two days before and our Haldi, Mehendi and Sangeet a month before. While we gave her the lowdown of what to expect in terms of the rituals and ceremonies we knew we didn’t need too, she knows how to read a moment, understand context and to see people as they are, allowing her to capture all the key moments naturally and easily. Bottlebrush Films are also brilliant. When we asked them to livestream the ceremony so that our friends and family in India could watch on, we requested two cameras. On the day however, they had multiple cameras including a drone and went completely all out for us! It enabled our family in India to see and better understand where we live and where we grew up, as well as to be a part of each moment of our wedding.”

Fallen in love with Lauren and Aadith’s wedding pics? We don’t blame you! Click through to Miranda Stokkel’s Directory listing with us here and scroll down for more real weddings of hers we’ve published and many happy couple’s reviews. But first… 

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Miranda Stokkel Cinematographer Bottlebrush Films Florists Bollywood Mandaps (Flower Arrangements, Petals, Garlands, Bouquets) Fresh Jasmines (Jasmine Flowers & Banana Leaf Plates) Stationery & Signage lines by lb (Bride) Printer Impact Digital (Save the Dates/ Change the Dates) & Snap (Menus, Guide to the Feast, Ceremony Guide, Placecards & Signs) Ceremony & Reception Zonzo Catering Coconut Lagoon Wedding Favours WedTree (Murthi Ganesha, Glass Bangles, Kum Kum) Hire Items Bollywood Mandaps (Mandap, Seating for Mandap, Décor and Ganesh Statue, Chardar, Groom Umbrella) Entertainment Balan Music Group (Nadaswaram) Priest Gowri Gurukkal THE BRIDE Bridal Gowns/ Sarees Vasini Varadan via Shreenivas Silks and Sarees (Saree 1, 2 & 3) Hair Ornaments, Earrings, Belt & Necklaces Umma (Billas) Robes Suku Accessories Family, Athys Jewellery, Kabul Jewellers (Ceremonial Gold Coin Necklace), MDT Design (Ring), Dulhan Exclusives (Anklets) Yash Fashions (Temple Jewellery – Earrings – Jhunki – Necklaces and Belt) Hair Komal Poplin Makeup Ashleigh Fenton Mehendi Irfah Hussain (Bride’s Henna Stain) Saree Draper Samrakshana of Saris by Samra Saree & Saree Blouse Stitching Ali at Smart Choice Alterations Guests’ Sarees Vasini Varadan via Shreenivas Silks and Sarees, Dulhan Exclusives, 6Y Collective & Kalki THE GROOM Mundu & Melmundu Shreenivas Silks and Sarees Grooming Shibui Guests’ Mundus Shreenivas Silks and Sarees