Stunning Traditional Indian Wedding in Auckland, New Zealand: Shilpa + Shakti
We’re thrilled to be welcoming in the new year with so many beautiful and traditional South Asian weddings. Today is no exception with Sydney couple, Shilpa and Shakti’s traditional Indian wedding in Auckland.
The couple combined their rich South and North Indian heritage to wed in the most magnificent Swaminarayan temple. This was then followed by a stunning and intimate reception at a private lodge with sweeping panoramic views of Clevedon and the bay.
We think you’re going to love all the traditional and modern elements of Shilpa and Shakti’s Indian wedding.
What started off as a blind date led to multiple dates and an epic proposal a couple of years later.
“We met in Sydney on a blind date at a cafe in western Sydney and dated for 2 years before getting married.
For the proposal, Shakti arranged a treasure hunt over multiple locations all over Sydney. He set up clues at some of our favourite restaurants, cafes and shops and I had to keep guessing the next location.
He had the waitresses and shopkeepers also participate and sing some of the clues out loud to me.
The proposal lasted an entire day and the final clue led me to Observatory Hill after dinner.”
It was at this point, when Shilpa made her commitment to Shakti.
“This was where we had had a memorable date when we first started dating. He proposed with the harbour bridge and city lights in the background. It was one of the most thoughtful things he has ever done and it looked like he took months to plan it out!”
Set at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Auckland, New Zealand, Shilpa and Shakti’s wedding was a beautiful display of their Telugu and Marathi traditions.
“It was important to Shakti and my family that we have a traditional temple wedding and we wanted rituals from both our backgrounds. It turned into a bit of a fusion wedding with both Telugu and Marathi rituals which was what was perfect for both of our families!”
Shilpa and Shakti’s main reason for choosing Auckland as their wedding destination, was due to Shilpa’s grandmother being unable to travel. Her presence was extremely important to the couple. The other factor was that most of their wedding guests were traveling in from Australia, India and the United States. Shilpa stated that it was easiest for them to host the wedding around the first few months of the year in order to create a holiday-like experience for everyone.
“We wanted our guests to make a holiday out of it and so we planned activities for them before and after the wedding. For some of the guests, it was the first time that they were visiting New Zealand, so we thought it would be great to really showcase the beautiful scenery of NZ.”
Everything was organized exceptionally well by the couple and their families. Shilpa went on to explain though that there were a few challenges along the way, which included sourcing musicians along with the important wedding décor.
“We stayed true to tradition, including our music on the day. Unfortunately in New Zealand, there are no musicians who can play the Nadaswaram and Tavil (traditional wedding wind and percussion instruments). My parents made the decision to fly the musicians over from overseas so that we could have this special live music for our traditional ceremony.”
As for their floral décor for the traditional mandap;
“We shipped the mandap décor from India. We wanted the mandap to look like a traditional South Indian style mandap with yellow and white marigold flowers. These were not available in Auckland, so we went to Chennai to choose everything and got it all sent to New Zealand months before the wedding, in order for it to be built in time for the big day.”
Following the traditional Indian wedding in Auckland, Shilpa and Shakti opted for a more modern and chic styled wedding reception in Clevedon.
“Our Reception dinner was more intimate with a smaller guest list, including only close friends and immediate family. The venue was in Clevedon overlooking Kauribay with classic New Zealand scenery along with beautiful rolling green hills, sandy beaches and a lot of sheep!”
Kauribay Boomrock was kind enough to organize multiple coach buses to and from their venue, making it a breeze for guests to travel in between.
The traditional Indian wedding ceremony was heavily influenced by Telugu and Marathi wedding traditions. During a Telugu wedding, it’s customary for the bride’s uncle to walk her down the aisle.
“My uncle’s family have always been a huge part of my life so it was important for me to have both my uncle and aunt walk me down the aisle.”
Shilpa’s bridesmaids were also particularly helpful during her traditional Indian wedding in Auckland. Having the two functions, meant that she could easily split their roles and responsibilities and make it simple to coordinate things like for example, getting ready.
One of the most special moments came during the wedding ceremony, where Shilpa’s brother played the violin whilst she walked down the aisle.
“My brother plays the violin and I’ve always thought he was very good! He played one of my favourite songs on the violin while I was walking down the aisle. He had asked his violin tutor months in advance and had been practicing for months!”
Shilpa and Shakti’s wedding had many personal touches, including her invitiations which were designed by her bridesmaid.
“My friend had previously designed other friend’s wedding invites and I had always admired her design artwork so when it came to choosing a design, I knew she would do the perfect job. She liaised with the printing company on my behalf about all the details once her artwork was completed. The invites were letter pressed with a gold foil design and had a personalised wax seal with our initials.”
Shilpa was certainly one lucky bride, with so many talented friends in working in the industry. She leaned on the wonderful Afra of Oh That Be Good to create a dreamy and delicious wedding cake for the reception party.
“One of my closest friends Afra Abdeen from ‘Oh That Be Good’ made our wedding cake. We used to live together and before she started her baking business, I used to tell her she had to make my wedding cake one day. She has made many of our family birthday cakes over the years and I always knew I wanted one of her cakes. We trusted her completely to choose the flavours and design herself without our input. She definitely delivered on the day!”
Saree Not Sorry
When it came to their wedding trousseau, the couple decided to complement the temple theme and opted for a traditional Kanchipuram silk saree and Marathi sherwani with a Marathi Pheta (turban).
“I decided to wear a traditional Kanchipuram silk saree, just like how all the women in family did for their wedding. It’s traditional for Telugu brides to wear a yellow or white saree, so I chose a yellow Kancheepuram silk saree.
Shakti wore a Marathi sherwani with the Marathi Pheta (turban). We also incorporated some Maharashtrian elements to my outfit, so we both also wore the Marathi Mundavalya (string of pearls across our foreheads) during the wedding.”
Both families had to plan their visit to India accordingly to source their wedding outfits and wedding décor as well.
“We both live in Sydney, however my family lives in Auckland, New Zealand. We had to coordinate with multiple family members to get leave from work at the same time in order to travel to India.”
“The traditional kanchipuram silk sarees were from Kancheepuram and Chennai and the lehenga, reception sarees and sherwanis were all purchased from Hyderabad and Mumbai. We also bought a lot of the decor items as New Zealand doesn’t have a lot of options for mandap decor, bonbonnieres for all events, sarees and puja items. We ended up having to ship multiple boxes of wedding items through air freight to Auckland, New Zealand.”
We Are Family
Shilpa’s family were heavily involved in their entire wedding planning journey.
“My parents and mum’s brother’s family organised the traditional Indian wedding ceremony. My parents’ friends in Auckland all went above and beyond and helped coordinate the entire temple ceremony. This was helpful because we didn’t have any temple contacts and weren’t familiar with the traditions involved during the wedding. Shakti and I only had to turn up on the day.
We both decided to focus our energy into organising the reception dinner and left the majority of the traditional events to my family in Auckland.”
As the super organized bride to be though, Shilpa overcame all the challenges that stood in their path.
In addition, having the support of the family made everything run smoothly.
“The challenge was organising all the events from overseas without having seen a lot of the venues or being able to do trial runs.
We were very aware of the time difference and everyone else’s work schedules.
Shakti and I have busy jobs at Western Sydney hospitals. I was doing shift work with a lot of night shifts and weekend work and Shakti was also doing his final exams plus going through job interviews for his respiratory training position.
A lot of planning was done over Skype calls and emails with all the vendors and family members.
It really helped that my mum and I were extremely organised with the Excel spreadsheets. We were also able to delegate jobs to our close friends and we fully trusted their choices and decisions.”
Both of them found the entire experience hectic, but enjoyable at the same time.
“We wanted to try and have fun while planning to ease the stress of organising this mammoth task. For example, choosing the music for all the events, we decided to make a date night out of it by staying in and listening to various songs and ordering food in. We also decided to get dance classes for our wedding dance, and this became our weekly date night leading up to the wedding in our busy schedule.”
We love this attitude Shilpa!
“During a South Indian wedding there are always a few games that the priest makes the bride and groom play toward the end of the ceremony.”
“These games were a lot of fun and helped set a playful mood to the temple ceremony. It was also incredibly humbling that so many of our friends and family took the time out to fly out to New Zealand for the wedding. We truly felt blessed having everyone with us.”
After a hectic 12 months of non-stop wedding planning, Shilpa and Shakti chose to have a relaxing island getaway.
The couple traveled to exotic destination of Isle of Pines in New Caledonia.
“We only had a week off after the wedding before we had to get back to work and wanted to travel somewhere that was close to New Zealand and Australia. The relaxing island holiday by the beach helped us unwind after the hectic 12 months of planning. The resort was definitely worth it!”
Wedding Planning Words of Wisdom
Bride, Shilpa had some refreshingly different words of wisdom to share with future brides to be.
“Definitely plan a relaxing honeymoon after the wedding and don’t postpone it. Also tap into your parents and extended families contacts/network. We realised my parents network was immense and managed to organise a lot of the minute detail with their help and we were very grateful.”
Thank you very much to Shilpa for sharing so much about your wedding. It was such a thrill to hear about your wedding festivities.
Photography – BAYLY & MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY // Videography – WHITE WEDDING CINEMATOGRAPHERS & FILM MAKERS // Venue – WEST LYNN GARDEN & BUTTERFLY HOUSE (Mehndi), BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR (Wedding Venue), KAURIBAY BOOMROCK (Reception) // Décor and florals – 0800 MANDAP (mandap), FLORAL STYLIST (florals) // Stationery – Designed by the bride’s friend, printing by STITCH PRESS // Catering – BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR (Wedding Venue), KAURIBAY BOOMROCK (Reception) // Cake – OH THAT BE GOOD // DJ/Entertainment – DJ CHESTER // Celebrant – SRI CHANDRU GURUKKAL // Transport – Coach buses to reception venue arranged by KAURIBAY BOOMROCK // Bride’s outfits and accessories – MEBAZ (Mehndi and Reception), PRAKASH SILKS (Haldi/Pellikuthuru function), VARAMAHALAKSHMI (Wedding) // Bride’s shoes – METRO SHOES // Hair and Makeup – ASRITA SINGH // Mehndi – URVI MEHENDI // Groom’s outfits – MANYAVAR (Mehndi, Sod Munja and Wedding), SUIT SUPPLY (Reception) // Groom’s shoes – OXFORD // Rings – DIAMOND HOUSE // Bridesmaids outfits – TULSI and MEBAZ // Groomsmens outfits – OXFORD