A two-day Scottish and Indian wedding celebration at Glasgow City Chambers and Om Hindu Mandir
“Since meeting up to finalise our new home in May 2019, I hadn’t seen Vishal in person, only through Facetime.
Words can’t express how excited I was feeling to finally see him,” remembers Nina.
The couple met earlier that year – “thanks to today’s technology, we both went fishing and found our catch of the day” – and after six months of long-distance dating (Nina was in Leicester; Vishal in Scotland) they knew they wanted to take their relationship further.
Covid got in the way, of course, but eventually they couldn’t face any more time apart.
They set two dates for June 2021 – one for a civil ceremony and the other for a traditional Indian wedding celebration.
Of course, that meant two dresses!
“I wanted a white dress for the civil ceremony so I tried different styles to see what would suit my shape,” explains Nina.
“It was so tricky to choose but ‘The One’ fitted like a glove, showing curves in all the right places.
For the Indian wedding I wanted a pastel theme.
After visiting the second shop, I placed the pale golden Indian lehnga before me and looked in the mirror.
It too was ‘The One’.”
The couple incorporated as many DIY elements as possible into their wedding.
The night before the wedding, Nina’s cousin created her bouquet and the bride’s mum made the buttonholes, including a special one for Vishal.
On the day, the pair’s family decorated their vehicles and became chauffeurs whilst Nina bravely did her own hair and make-up for both ceremonies.
“I followed tutorials for advice and did a practice run the night before. It was the perfect romantic glow.”
The first look – in a long time!
With just ten guests including the bride and groom – “Not just because of the pandemic but because we wanted an intimate wedding” – their civil ceremony took place at 23 Montrose Street.
Exhilarated, animated and energised, Nina walked down the aisle to At Last by Etta James.
“Vishal was waiting for me in full Scottish attire.
Seeing him for the first time in months, I was smiling from ear to ear.”
After the “short, sweet and intimate” ceremony it was on to The Ivy where more guests joined for a celebratory lunch.
Then with happy bellies, the couple went their separate ways to do some final Indian wedding prep.
The following day, fifty guests joined the couple at the bright, vibrant Om Hindu Mandir as they were blessed and married in the traditional Indian way.
Vishal arrived wearing a Sehra, a headdress that wards off the ‘evil eye’ and prevents the groom seeing his bride pre-ceremony.
Nina’s mum marked Vishal’s head with kumkum, a red powder, and he broke the sampan (a small clay pot), symbolising a willingness to overcome any obstacles they may face.
Once Nina arrived, the happy couple exchanged beautiful rose garlands – a ritual known as ‘Jaimala’ that shows their acceptance of one another – and the meaningful Hindu traditions continued.
The priest began the ‘Angi Puja’, igniting the fire and welcoming the fire God, before they began the ‘Mangalfhera’ (circling the sacred fire) in prep for their vows.
Then, as husband and wife, it was time for the ‘Sapta Pada’.
“This is the most important ritual of the whole ceremony,” explains Nina.
“Hindu philosophy says if two people walk seven steps together they become lifelong friends. Each of our steps signified a different aspect of marriage we hope to uphold together.”
Afterwards, it was on to The Regent Brasserie for a delicious array of starters, mains and desserts.
“This venue was chosen by Rishi, Vishal’s brother who has personally catered for many events.
He was the perfect man to decide on the menu and chose a fantastic banquet to suit every palate.”
The couple opted for a tower of individual sponge cakes, which meant Nina and Vishal could pick a selection of their favourite flavours – and ensure some were gluten-free and vegan.
Covid restrictions meant there was no DJ, dance floor or outside entertainment.
But for Nina that didn’t matter as they had each other.
“Both families enjoyed eating, talking and drinking without face masks on.
It was magical, electric and loud!”
The highlight of her night, however, was Vishal’s speech.
“He’s very reserved and avoiding public speaking is his forte. But not that evening. He surprised all of our guests and really rose to the occasion,” she smiles.
Having just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, Nina is definitely an advocate for married life!
“Being married feels fantastic,” she says. “I’d recommend it to everybody.”