The proposal was quite a surprise. Oleg created a fake Vogue India Christmas dinner in Devigarh Palace, Udaipur, to pop the question. He told me he was in Baghdad for a special assignment for work. Walking into the event, I discovered there was, in fact, no dinner and instead I found him on one knee in a beautiful courtyard. It was the best and sweetest surprise I could have imagined.
My ring was a family heirloom that Oleg’s grandmother gave him a few years ago. It was a real honour to be given it, and I am so proud to wear it every day.
Our main aim was for our family and friends to have a good time. Everything else was secondary. We also wanted to make sure the food and decorations were of the highest quality and looked really beautiful. Initially, I wanted a big celebration with both a traditional Indian ceremony and a European one, but Oleg had a small, understated day in mind. Eventually, our friends convinced us to have it in India.
We chose Fateh Garh Palace, Udaipur, as the venue for our four-day event. It is a gorgeous hotel with just 50 rooms and we had 100 guests. We wanted to take over the entire property and to all be together in one place. It also had so many beautiful areas dotted all over the hotel, as well as some really amazing views. In the end, it just had it all.
Our planner was Ankit Bhargava. We were very lucky to work with some of the best names in the industry for our wedding, so that helped a lot. Sometimes it proved to be a bit challenging to plan a wedding in India all the way from Amsterdam and London, but travelling there a few times before the big day, and putting our feet on the ground really helped.
We had four different themes over four days. The first three days included a Mehandi function, a Haldi celebration and a Hindu wedding ceremony. The last day was a Christian celebration. The first day was the Mehendi ceremony, where my hands and feet were decorated with henna, followed by the Sangeet, which is a pre-wedding celebration with music.
On the second day we held the Haldi ceremony, where myself and Oleg were covered with a turmeric paste by friends and family (the yellow colour of the spice is believed to purify the soul). After this, we were separated and I had a Chooda, which is a Punjabi tradition where I was presented with red and white bangles by my family to represent their blessings. At the same time, Oleg made an entrance on a white horse in a procession called the Baraat. Then, we were back together for the Indian wedding. The third day was our European wedding with a reception dinner and dancing.
As for the actual wedding dresses, I had a custom made Ashi Studio couture gown for the European-style ceremony. The fabrics and embroidery were amazing. I had three fittings, and at the end it was like something out of a fairy tale.
For the Indian wedding ceremony, myself and Oleg wore Sabyasachi. I wanted to be a little bit different and wear maroon rather than red, which is the traditional choice. The skirt was 20kg and had gold embroidery all over it, with maroon velvet on the skirt. It took over 1,600 hours, and 35 artisans to make it. I felt like a warrior queen.
When it came to accessories, I kept it relatively simple and wore a few of the same pieces across different days and events. For instance, I wore a few different pairs of gorgeous Aquazzura heels with all my outfits and Amrapali jewellery with all my Indian outfits.
MAC artist Nisha Sirpal created my wedding day beauty look, Aveda stylist Aamir Naveed did my hair and Clinique looked after my skin. The makeup changed depending on each event. We both wore Jo Malone colognes (Mimosa & Cardamom and Jasmine Sambac & Marigold) for the wedding, and the brand also scented the venue for us. We chose Jasmine Sambac & Marigold for that. They flew 800 candles in for the celebrations, while the makeup and hair artists sent goody bags for all the guests.
The Wedding Party
For the European-style ceremony, my bridesmaids wore pale pink Amsale gowns and for the Indian wedding they wore Mani Jassal and the groomsmen Boggi Milano. At the Indian wedding my bridesmaids walked me down the aisle, which was really special.
We had quite a few different photographers and videographers. A couple of videographers were from Muse Motion Pictures, and one was a live editor – so he edited every day. There was one photographer from Fih Fotografie who we flew in from the Netherlands – I really liked her vibe, because she's more of a storyteller and she captures emotions. The other photographer, Zohaib Ali and his team, came from London – his focus was more on the clothes and the décor. And then there were two local photographers to capture our families and guests.
Décor & Flowers
I had different themes for each celebration. The Indian wedding dinner had lots of white roses and gold whereas the Indian wedding was very regal. The European wedding was more minimalist, reminiscent of a beautiful day in the south of France with lots of white roses. The décor and flowers were all done by Alt Air. She did the most beautiful job.
We wanted everything to feel magical, so guests were entertained by local dancers and singers, as well as snake charmers and tarot readers. Our friends also performed a play inspired by our love story, which was so funny.
Food & Drink
We kept the food very traditional and Indian. Although, that being said, we did have a different style of Indian cuisine every day. So, one day it was from the region where we were having the wedding, and another day it was where our family is from – Punjab. On the main wedding day it was Hyderabadi.
Looking back, I only wish I had spent more time with friends and family and been more in the moment. I’d advise couples to have everything meticulously planned so you can relax. Even though I had an amazing time, and it’s a day I'll never forget and always cherish, I was pretty stressed out. For that, I definitely recommend a wedding planner!