For Gautam Kshatriya, the proposal was nearly as important as the wedding itself. “I always wanted the day that I proposed to be a significant one, so I decided to do it on our five-year anniversary,” he says of the day-long surprise, which included a private sailing trip in Sydney Harbour. It wasn’t until after he and his then-girlfriend, Mitasa Tewari, reached a secluded beach that Gautam proposed, while the skipper of the boat secretly caught the special moment on video. “The proposal completely swept me off my feet,” says Mitasa.
Extravagant Nuptials . . . Royal Colour Palette . . . Magical Setting
The Traditions: “A traditional Hindu wedding is a lengthy affair,” says Gautam. The festivities kicked off with a festive Sangeet party, a colourful and informal event for 300 guests with “lots of Bollywood dancing,” he says. The following night was the mehndi ceremony, during which henna was applied to the bride and both families’ female relatives. On the day before the wedding, both Mitasa and Gautam participated in a haldi ceremony, where friends and family rubbed turmeric on the couple’s arms to help the skin glow.
The Scene: Mitasa and Gautam scoured Sydney for the perfect venue for their wedding, but it wasn’t until they visited Four Seasons Hotel Sydney that everything seemed to fall into place. “I loved the grandeur and elegance of the whole venue and felt it suited perfectly for our Indian wedding,” says Gautam. It also proved to be a great setting for Gautam to arrive by horse for the grand event. “The idea of coming on a horse on the middle of George Street, literally stopping traffic and getting tourists and bystanders joining in on the baraat [the arrival of the groom], was an added incentive,” he says. “It was truly phenomenal.” Inside, the ballroom was transformed into a hall fit for royalty: A grand mandap (pavilion), decorated with red Bulgarian roses and lights, dominated the room. The colour palette was that of a traditional Hindu wedding, with deep reds and golds softened by the gentle light of hundreds of candles. After Mitasa made a spectacular entrance in a palkhi (palanquin), once the transportation of choice for Indian royalty, the couple exchanged garlands for the jaimala ceremony before the remaining religious rituals.
The Bride and Groom: Gautam and Mitasa were introduced by mutual friends. After a successful lunch date, the couple met again for dinner the same night, and remained inseparable for the next five years. “As cliché as it sounds, it was love at first sight,” says Gautam. “From the moment we met, there was an instant connection.”
The Bride Wore: For the traditional Hindu wedding, Mitasa chose a red, green and gold brocade Indian lengha that was complemented by kundan jewellery, made with precisely cut gemstones set in gold. For the reception, Mitasa wore an equally stunning red and cream sari.
The Reception: To continue the wedding festivities, the couple hosted a Western-style reception a week later at the nearby Sergeants Mess in Chowder Bay. In a room overlooking the water, hundreds of fresh red Bulgarian roses stood out against a backdrop of ivory linens, while crystal chandeliers, candles and sleek seating completed the modern aesthetic.
Photography Southern Light Photography
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