What makes us human is the ability to love, the ability to overcome anything as long as we are passionate about it. What makes my job as a wedding planner so rewarding is the overwhelming joy that comes with bringing my couples vision to life on one of the most important days of their lives. It is not the cliches you hear about, it is living all the heartfelt emotions together with our couples, it is all about those happy tears that grace them so beautifully like morning dew on gentle petals. Their smiles breathe life into our whole being and feed our passion.
Even when Covid-19 shook the whole world, filled it with uncertainty and challenges; my passion for fulfilling my client’s dreams found sanctuary in celebrating love with a micro wedding. We elevated the importance of not only treasuring love but also the importance that no matter how small the wedding needed to be, we were going to make it iconic and magical. Despite the hopelessness the world was facing, we still had hope and wanted to keep the flame of hope and love burning. We are more than proud to share this heartwarming love story of Manu and Hardeep’s intimate Sikh Wedding Ceremony.
Manu and Hardeep would never have dreamt that they would be having a micro wedding. Their original plan included 700 guests at their Sikh Wedding Ceremony at the Gurdwara (temple) which was scheduled for Saturday, May 16th, 2020; followed the next day by a glamorous 500 guest Reception at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Everything had already been planned – and we mean everything – the décor designed, invitations (paper & e-vites) had been sent, ALL the vendors were booked for both events, even their wedding website had been created for what was planned to be a Big Fat Fabulous Indian wedding in Vancouver…but then Covid-19 struck and all we could do was take this setback with grace. Acting immediately, we postponed by contacting all the vendors and sent messages via Paperless Post to all the guests from around the world that had been planning to attend!
Then in the beginning of May, the most wonderful thing happened and the plans quickly started to change. The couple contacted me to let me know that they decided on having an intimate outdoor wedding in Vancouver. The ceremony was to be held in the bride’s parents’ beautiful backyard on June 13th, but since my husband and I were in the process of moving into our new home, I was not able to start the planning process until the following week. The timeframe was tight as our team had less than a month to plan this intimate but opulent Sikh wedding.
It was my first COVID-19 wedding of the year and since we had so little time to plan, re-design & not only understand COVID-19 protocols but have them executed on the day of the wedding, anxiety crept up on me. I turned my anxiety into creativity and had all vendors re-booked, décor re-designed, and Save the Date’s resent. We also decided on having a Live Stream so all the guests who were not able to attend would have the chance be part of the joy of their loved one’s wedding day. Not only were the guests able to watch the festivities they were able to comment in real time. The live stream was also being recorded so that the couple would also be able to read all the well wishes later! As it would be my first time orchestrating a live stream, I worked closely with Hong Photography & Cinema and Decibel Entertainment to make the magic happen!
As my aesthetic thrives in every detail, we prepared beautifully curated e-vites with a heartfelt message from the Bride & Groom to send around the globe. The designing process requires refined attention to detail and passion to create glamour even when it is a micro wedding. I love to design decor elements around the bride’s outfit, but we had a hiccup in the design process as the bride’s lehenga was being custom made at a designers studio in India and would not arrive in time for the wedding! The Bride went on a hunt for a new wedding outfit and was luckily able to find a gorgeous lehenga from a local vendor who specializes in designer bridal wear – Well Groomed. I then pulled the colors from the bride’s outfit and tailored them into the entire decor. The Bride looked absolutely radiant surrounded by tones of dusty rose, blush, touches of soft yellow; which we all painted in the name of her lehenga, and the deep burgundy tone from her bridal bouquet inspiration. Needless to say, it worked like a charm, our bride was glowing!
Our extremely talented & creative graphic designer Zabar Studio designed a gorgeous floor wrap from details of the bride’s outfit and bouquet inspiration, and this design was then carried into all elements of the remainder of the stationery.
As a wedding planner, I love when our couples request personalized aesthetic touches, so we incorporated this quote about the meaning of marriage into the stationery:
“Ek Jot Doye Murti, Dhan Pir Kaheya Soay – They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies. – Guru Amar Das”
The Sikh marriage is not based on a physical and legal contract solely, it is in fact an ethereal union of souls. One soul resides in two bodies and with the marriage, it is finally united as one. Romanticizing the traditional values, this intimate Sikh wedding enchanted everyone with their identifying one with the other, becoming “Ek Jot Doe Murti” or “one soul in two bodies”.
When you have the privilege of working with the best wedding vendors and know that your vision is aligned with theirs, gifts are definitely about to grace the couple! With help from Raj the amazing brainchild behind Lux Affairs, we surprised the couple with custom Ceremony Programs as a gift for their special day.
As we had wanted the guests that would be attending via Live Stream to have an amazing guest experience I requested the designer to create slides that would be shown to the guests when we were not live streaming so the guests were always aware of what was happening:
Wanting to be prepared for any circumstance as it was an intimate outdoor wedding in Vancouver which is famously known for it’s rainy weather plus the safety of the valued guests is always our priority I prepared Social Distancing Floor Plans: Ceremony( No Rain), Ceremony(Rain Plan), Dining Area and Aerial View. The Sikh ceremony tradition requires the men to be seated on the right and the women to the left, but because we wanted to create a safe space, the Priest was very understanding and approved of the families being seated together in order to follow social distancing protocols. We meticulously measured 6 feet apart for the seating between families on the day of the wedding!
It isn’t fully personalized if every detail isn’t taken care of! We actually took great care for everything to be designed cohesively, so we had custom masks made in the wedding colors for the guests and Raj from Lux Affairs personally had floral ones to compliment the aesthetic created for the Bride and Groom!
We also slightly adjusted the “Milni – Meeting of the Families” to a Covid-safe “SOCIAL DISTANCING MILNI – Meeting of the Families”. The ceremony began with a short Ardaas (prayer) followed by “a coming together” or Milni. The tradition of Milni is honored by the two families by exchanging flower garlands and gifts but our diligent approach had the families greet each other with the Punjabi greeting of “Sat Sri Akaal” with their hands joined together in the prayer position.
The ceremony was stellar, valuing the traditional in an elegant and enchanting manner even though it reached epiphany in just 4 weeks. My first wedding during a pandemic will be remembered for the positive anxious feeling we all had on the morning of the wedding. Our first experience with a Live Stream turned out to be a great success, and our readiness for any unpredictable weather rose magnificently to the occasion as we were prepared when the rain did arrive the morning of the wedding. With fondness in my heart, I will always remember the charming, anxious hiccups we had along the way, but then just before the groom’s arrival, the sky cleared and everything turned out more perfectly than we all imagined it could be. When the guests are awe-inspired, feeling joyful and grateful; you know you’ve done a great job – not just with visual aesthetic but by gaining a place in their hearts!
Manu and Hardeep we are looking forward to your large reception one day in the future! Until then, enjoy your blissful marriage and devotion to each other. One day you will rejoice with all of your loved ones and your grand wedding will be monumental!
Lastly I just want to add a deep heartfelt THANK-YOU to all of the wonderful vendors that played a part in the flawless execution of this wedding!