Monique + Kanishk by Bhargav Boppa Photography

At the lighthouse, Kanishk was standing there with the song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, my favourite song, playing in the background as he proposed.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Kanishk’s family moved from India to Melbourne when he was aged 3. Monique grew up in Port Macquarie. We are both quite different: Kanishk is a city boy, and Monique is a beach town girl. Kanishk studied Medicine in Cairns and Townsville, and Monique studied Architecture and Urban Design in Newcastle and Sydney. Currently, we live on the sunny Gold Coast. We love going for runs and going to different spots for a coffee to connect and have a moment to pause. We love making people feel at home by hosting dinner parties and enjoy cooking something different every time. We wanted our wedding to be a reflection of this: where everyone felt taken care of and well-fed. Little touches of us came through to extend this idea, such as the invitations had Monique’s drawings, Kanishk’s Nani’s recipe for the Garam Masala was the wedding favour, and a combination of Indian and Modern Australian cuisine was served over the few wedding days.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

We matched on Tinder (like everyone at that time!) at Splendour in the Grass in 2016 and started chatting, although I (Monique) was too chicken to meet in person. Kanishk was living in Cairns and I was in Sydney at the time. After Splendour, we chatted a bit, but with the distance, it didn’t seem like we would actually meet. However, in December, Kanishk came to Sydney whilst touring for his EP launch, and I checked out his music on YouTube to suss him out, I thought he was pretty cute (obviously, being a musician was also a good flex), so I decided to meet. We met at the Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks. It was the best date, we walked around the Harbour and talked into the early morning. We didn’t think we would meet after this moment, and when I jumped in the Uber and turned back to get a glance at the guy I had just gone on the best date I’d had, I wanted to get a last look, thinking we probably won’t see each other again. But a month later Kanishk won tickets to a concert in Sydney, giving us another chance to catch up. It was that weekend that we decided to see where this goes. We did long distance for a year and travelled between Sydney and Cairns. Then both decided to move to Brisbane and give it a go, the journey continued from there.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

For the both of us it was probably after a few years living in Brisbane together. There was no “ah ha” moment, but we always worked on our communication, honesty and enjoying the little moments and, over the years, built up a strong foundation when things get tough that we can work through it together. We just felt like home.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

I used to go for runs along the beach in Port Macquarie up to the lighthouse before school, and it was my favourite spot. I also love Christmas, and it’s a big thing in my family. Kanishk was hoping to make it to our family Christmas, but there were no flights between Brisbane and Port Macquarie to make it feasible, so he “decided” to go to Melbourne to visit his family.

While I thought he was in Melbourne, Kanishk drove to Port Macquarie on Christmas Eve. In the early hours of Christmas morning, my mum requested that the family take a photo at the lighthouse, which I thought was odd, but since I hadn’t really woken up yet, I just went along with it. At the lighthouse, Kanishk was standing there with the song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, my favourite song, playing in the background as he proposed.

A funny story: The day before the proposal, I was playing with my nieces, and they decided I was in desperate need of a makeover, so I proceeded to paint my nails in multi-coloured polish. Of course, being kids, the nail polish was understandably untidy. At this point, my mum and sisters knew about the upcoming proposal and tried subtly to get me to take the nail polish off for the photos to be taken the next day. I didn’t want to as I thought it was cute, and they didn’t want to be too suspicious, so it stayed on. Looking back, I love that my nails are messy and painted multi-coloured in the photo. It’s a bit of fun and reminds me of having fun with my nieces.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

We had so many amazing vendors! However, if we have to decide on one element we were happy to splurge on it would be the Calile Hotel for the civil ceremony and reception. It was such a beautiful venue that had an ease for guests to go from the ceremony, to cocktail hour on the roof and walk down to reception. We wanted a venue that could hold our guest numbers (200), but that still had a comfortable atmosphere. We wanted guests to feel like they were at a big dinner party with shared plates and long tables. We also loved the contrast of the Hindu ceremony at Cherbon Waters, which has a large lake and peaceful atmosphere, with the urban excitement of Calile Hotel for the final ceremony and party vibe.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

We didn’t have anything too crazy during the wedding, but because it was quite a jam-packed week, Kanishk hadn’t had time to pack for the honeymoon, which we flew out the day after the reception. This meant an hour before we needed to leave for the airport, Kanishk was throwing everything and anything into the bag. This left us over the honeymoon having to lug this extremely heavy bag across Italy with Kanishk’s entire wardrobe, in which he only wore a few outfits, and no room for me to shop.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

The reception lehenga and Haldi lehenga had a special story. We went to India to get the outfits and invitations. I got to design these outfits myself, as Kanishk’s mother and I would go to the fabric stores, pick out the fabric, then go to the colour dying stall, pick out the colour, and then the tailor would cut to the style of my choice. It was a creative process, which I loved.

HINDU CEREMONY Cherbon Waters, Burbank, Australia, @cherbunwaters_weddings MEHNDI Loyal Hope, Brisbane Australia, @loyalhopebrisbane CIVIL CEREMONY & RECEPTION The Calile Hotel, Brisbane, Australia, @thecalilehotel HALDI The Couple’s Backyard PHOTOGRAPHER Bhargav Boppa Photography, @bhargavboppaphotography VIDEOGRAPHY Weddings By Butterscotch, @weddingsbybutterscotch FLORIST Civil Ceremony and Reception – Kate Dawes Flower Design, @katedawesflowerdesign; Hindu Ceremony and Mehndi – Shivam Wedding Decorators CELEBRANT Love by Lara, @lovebylaracelebrant ENTERTAINMENT Coordination and Hindu Ceremony – Jesta Entertainment, @jestaentertainment; Reception – DJ Ashu, @dj_ash4u; Cocktail Hour – Kelsey Berrington, @kelseyberrington PHOTO BOOTH The Photobooth Guys, @thephotoboothguys CATERING The Calile Hotel, @thecalilehotel; Hindu Ceremony – Cherbon Waters, @cherbunwaters_weddings; Mehndi – CurrynCask Valley; Haldi – In Season Catering, @inseasoncateringgc CAKE The Cheesecake Shop Annerley, @thecheesecakeshopannerley SIGNAGE Snap Print Solutions Robina, DECORATION HIRE Haldi – Events Fantastic ENGAGEMENT RING Xennox Diamonds, @xennoxdiamonds BRIDAL DRESS Civil Ceremony – Karen Willis Holmes, @kwhbridal; Hindu Ceremony and Mehndi – Frontier Bazarr (Delhi) MAKEUP Charlee Elizabeth Makeup, @charleeelizabethmakeup; Sharmeen Thomas, @sharmeenthomasofficial HAIR Jules from Paloma Roan, @jules_palomaroan; Sharmeen Thomas, @sharmeenthomasofficial SUIT Civil Ceremony – Suit Society, @suitsociety; Hindu Ceremony and Mehndi Outfit: Manyavar (Delhi)