A backwater wedding is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. It’s not an out and out beach soiree, neither is it an uptight wedding hall shaadi in the urban jungle. It’s got a certain je ne sais quoi attached to it, so laid-back and so alluring. Sylvie and Aaron’s wedding fitted into this little box beautifully. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been a part of. It was an Indian wedding with the soul of an American one. My point being - it had colour, love, beauty and a whole lot of discipline. Quintessential Indian weddings need to learn etiquette and order from their American counterparts. You already read about this beauty of a wedding and it’s various events - Part I and Part II and now it’s time for Season finale - The Big Wedding On The Backwaters or as the popular hashtag went #backwaterbeakin’.
The Wedding morning was beautiful and the skies opened up to the warm sun - not too hot, not too shabby - just right! My favourite part of the day was that the family took out time for photographs and memories and it came with a relaxed brunch and nice pre-wedding get-togethers. The youngsters hit the pool and senior party enjoyed masala chai under the lush trees of the resort. The afternoon for Sylvie and Aaron started with a fun girly dress-up session with her bridesmaids - there was a lot of giggling and oodles of selfies getting clicked. A nice brunch was laid out for all the girls and they came out with their neat Indian robes and heels to sit with Sylvie and get all the bridesmaid action. Photographers were busy clicking the bride getting ready and family and friends just came in to give their last minute love to the couple.
Sylvie wore her pristine white / gold Sabyasachi lehenga complete with a belt and a neat little tiara. Her bridesmaids wore immaculate sea-green saris with gold blouses and carried pretty little ikat bags. Sylvie’s jewellery was vintage and beautiful and she was glowing. Aaron, on the other hand, looked dapper in his blue Raghavendra Rathore bandhgala topped up with a traditional pair of mojris and a turban to boot.
The evening started with a traditional South-Indian procession. Aaron practically insisted on it - an entrance with the traditional Kerala temple drums playing. Called the Panchavadhyam and chendas, this local band of drummers added the charm while he waved about to his friends and family while sitting on an elephant. The baraat as such, they were welcomed with traditional mithai from Andhra Pradesh and gajras for the ladies helped by Sylvie’s cousins.
The crowd then moved onto the banks of the river, the edge of the backwaters. And chairs were placed with beautiful floral hangings at the pristine locale near the river. The flower tent was erected with a view of the sunset - a traditional mandap and Jewish chuppah equivalent. The backdrop of the altar were the beautiful backwaters. All the bridesmaids were in green which was a beautiful contrast to Sylvies gold lehenga.
It was a neat 15 minute ceremony and was the most beautiful one I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. Officiated by Aaron’s friend, it began with a prayer by Sylvies ammamma (Grandmom). Followed by their vows and the beautiful ceremony where the elders held their hands above the couple and poured water on their head - that signified the passing of wisdom and knowledge from one generation to the other.
The vows itself were simple and heart-warming. And as the evening sun took a bow into the water, the wedding got over with the couple kissing each other and walking into the sunset followed by the immediate family.
The décor of this backwater extravaganza was inspired by the location itself and Sylvie’s personal style which is a such a beautiful blend of the east and west. The chic style met laidback glory and it was a wedding like no other. There ceremony area had tropical-inspired arches made only of leaves with Indian brass lamps hanging from it.
The color palette ranged from Indigo to green and gold. There was a sweet little bar packed up with the choicest of liquor - personally chosen by the couple. The Ninja bar was all covered in greens with bar tables laid out with sequinned tablecloths. Just a bit of shine for the evening, you see.
The wedding dinner had long tables set out under a canopy of green ferns and chandeliers. Long ikat table covers in blue were used to create a classy -boho look. Each table was named after a spirit animal which symbolized the people sitting on it so you could see elephant, lion and tiger motifs on the tables. The groomsmen were given the Indian wild ass motif while the bridesmaids sat demurely on the peacock table.
The seating chart had tiny envelopes with a clue- each guest had to guess the name of the animal/table they were seated on- that was so much fun, a great ice breaker. Indigo blue candles in beautiful brass candelabras were placed on each table to give it an off-beat look.
Each table followed the theme of the animal, with place cards, plate designs and custom napkins. Wedding favours were small masala tea bags block printed and hand-painted with the animal motif in gold. The chandelier light against the ikat tables with just a twinge of twilight - the sight was amazing.
The family then sat down for dinner and the bride and groom entered to a fun Bollywood performance. A nice family style dinner took away the stress of a plated meal and there were speeches, a pretty cake and the night finished with an hour-long fireworks on the backwaters.
This was followed by a post party night complete with hukkahs, low seating and a percussionist by the pool.
A sight to see and a memory that lasts - it was that one wedding that embedded a part of my soul. It was my first wedding in Kerala, Kumarakom in particular and I was thrilled that I pulled it off - it came with new experiences, fun ideas and learning new lessons. That’s my kind of wedding!
Venue: Kumarkom Lake Resort
Furniture and Rentals: Watermark Events