Sylvie and Aaron’s wedding in Kumarkom is special in more ways than one. Not only was it great, because I unlocked another achievement level (I had never worked in Kerala before!), but also because it best defines my simple style of working.
The Theory of Beautiful Design.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I follow certain rules. My design philosophy is simple:
- Work with local elements as much as possible.
- Enhance the beauty of the venue and maintain its natural charm
- Do not commit the cardinal wedding decor mistake of overdoing the place or adding unnecessary elements to disrupt its natural beauty.
And that’s three reasons more why this one is a gem- I was able to check all three of them.
I’ll Do it!
Sylvie had written to me sometime in the summer of 2014. I was referred to her by a cousin and she wanted to know how we can make this work. She did mention that the wedding will be in Kerala, in Kumarakom. Now, to be honest, I was both thrilled and apprehensive. I remember googling it, and going straight to the images tab -it was so beautiful and pristine. After seeing the photos, I remember calling Sylvie at midnight in America and telling her only one thing: I don’t know how I’ll do it (I had never worked in kerala before!) or how much it’ll cost…but I’ll do it!
Next steps were quick and basic. I needed to know the couple I am working with for the next few months. To get to know them, I sent them a small questionnaire before we started. To me this is the quickest way of getting to know someone. It’s also extremely important, because it gives me insight into their lives and I almost always find something to pull out of it and introduce it into the wedding. An ideas list that does not come from Pinterest, but from the couple’s personalities, their experiences, their views and their plans. Knowing them better is the surest way to give a wedding it’s most intimate spin.
I believe weddings should be an extension of the couple’s personality. It is the first physical embodiment of their qualities and it’s their first showcase as a couple- Which is why I never sell looks and themes, instead I transform people’s personalities into spaces.
Sylvie + Aaron.
Were a wedding designers dream! They knew from the very start what they wanted and were pretty clear about their ideas. Sometimes, when a couple knows their mind, it’s tough to sneak in your own personal thoughts, but with these two, I had the freedom to chart their concepts into any form I wished. So here are the absolute three things that stood out for me about Sylvie and Aaron as a couple!
- How much family meant to them.
The Indian+American couple were incredibly proud of their families and they wanted the wedding to be a melting pot of the two distinct families and their respective cultures.
- Their love for nature.
Within the span of 8 months in which I planned their wedding, they were out almost every alternate weekend to some forest or hill - hiking, exploring or just getting lost around with their dog Darwin.
- How much nostalgia meant to them.
Sylvie had the fondest memories of her childhood in India- when she used to visit her ammamma (maternal grandmom) in her village in Andhra Pradesh. Summer holidays were made of these fun trips and all the awesome things that came with it.
I wanted to bring all three things together to create a wedding that was special not just to them but also their guests.
God is in the details.
Sylvie and Aaron are infatuated with Vintage Air India posters. That stems from the idea that Aaron loves India and its quaint side and Sylvie, on the other hand, has come down from the USA for her summer on this esteemed airline. That said, Air India stands for nostalgia and heaps of it - every child in the 80s and 90s remembers the insignia fondly.
They love animals and nature. Everything that contributes to the cycle of living. They are infatuated with power and spirit animals, a side to them that is so philosophical and spiritual.
They were in love with pristine locations that come with an idylic laid-back feel. Case in point: Kumarakom. It was Aaron’s idea to get married in India. Infact, in the initial stages of the planning, Sylvie couldn’t make it to India so Aaron went to Kumarkom alone with Sylvie parents to check out the place.
The Welcome Bag for the guests was not just an afterthought - it was a revelation. It was filled with the all the things that reminded Sylvie of the days spent in her grandmom’s house.
- Bags of cumin, coriander powder and local cinnamon were wrapped in custom-made ikat bags.- a reminder of her grand mother’s kitchen.
- Gems & Dairy Milk chocolates (the candy every 90s kid loves), banana chips (her favourite food as kid) and masala peanuts.
- Lungis for the men, with a small note on how to wear a lungi. Shawls for the ladies, she remembers how she used to wrap herself in her mother’s pashmina on cold nights.
- Custom-made ethnic print luggage tags- inspired by the Air India posters :D
- A full-blown itinerary of the three days of awesomeness
- A card to donate to an animal shelter. ( Note: They lost their dog Darwin two months before the wedding, this was an ode to him)