Wedding at Polhawn Fort, Cornwall
Marrying of Cultures
Helen and Karan's richly cultural celebrations Helen and Karan's wedding on the Cornish coast was a celebration of culture, family and fabulous food - with a surprise Bollywood dance routine thrown in for good measure!"Nine years to the day after we started going out, Karan took me to see 'The Nutcracker' and we stayed at an old country inn," reveals Helen. "During a walk the next day, I unwrapped his Christmas present, which was a photo album filled with pictures of us. I turned a page and he had written: 'You're the one for me, so I wanted to ask you...' He was on one knee, in the mud, looking terrified and holding a ring."
The couple drew inspiration from their heritage for their wedding at Polhawn Fort. "We have different cultural backgrounds and wanted to embrace this, as well as expressing our love for each other, our family and friends, and also family members who have died yet we know would have enjoyed and celebrated the day with us. Thinking of this helped shape the decisions we made," says Karan.
A highly personal and symbolic event complete with thoughtful detail, the day began with a Baraat procession from the roof terrace to the lawn below where the Hindu ceremony took place beneath a beautiful mandap framing the coastline. The couple looked the part, dressed in Indian outfits handmade in Delhi.
"We gave a leaflet to our guests for those who had never attended a Hindu wedding ceremony before, so they could follow the symbolic relevance of events," says Karan, which included exchanging garlands during Milni (the families of the bride and groom meeting before the wedding ceremony), Ganesh pujan (worshipping Lord Ganesh), Kanyadaan (giving away the bride) and Saptapadi (the seven steps considered as a witness to the vows they made to each other).
Guests then tucked into a buffet lunch on the lawn ahead of the civil ceremony in the summerhouse. After fun on the beach, everyone took their seats for a feast of Ottolenghi-style meals comprising lamb shawarma with fresh mint and pomegranate, roast butternut squash with lemon, cashews, za'atar and tahini dressing, and chocolate brownies for dessert.
"We choreographed our own Bollywood dance routine that we learnt and taught 'the younger ones', and then performed after dinner to the unsuspecting guests," says Helen of the evening reception. "We also created our own music playlist that we specially picked to get everyone on the dance floor and we left it running so guests could add to it throughout the evening."
Looking back, Helen attributes the day's success to everyone involved and "all the kind effort in the little and big gestures that our guests contributed to make our wedding feel as if it were made by our family and friends: decorating the fort, putting the flowers in our homemade vases, fixing together the mandap... Supporting us on this day as they do in our lives," she says.
"Before you start planning, explain to each other from your heart what is important to each of you on your wedding day," Karan urges other couples. "Remember this each time it comes to making decisions, so you can check in with each other and compromise, which you will need to continue to do throughout your married lives."
Photography Clare Kinchin Photography clarekinchinphotography.co.uk
Venue Polhawn Fort polhawnfort.com
Dress WED2B wed2b.co.uk
Groom's outfit Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com
Hair & make-up Glam Ward glamward.co.uk
Flowers Holly-Bee Flowers hollybeeflowers.co.uk
Catering Miss Tea misstea.co.uk
Copyright Wed magazine 2019