Sonali and Matt by Emily Adamson

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship … Matt and I met 4 years ago at my first full-time job. After a couple of months of me friend-zoning him, he managed to take me on an amazing date and the rest is history.

Matt works in Marketing and I am a Project Manager in the Construction/Property industry – we are Wellingtonians born and bred and I think what’s crazy and amazing all at the same time is that for the most part we’ve been subtlely in each others lives for a very long period – it just took us time to officially meet and link up.

We have loved every minute of married life, to us, it has definitely been different. With me coming from an Indian background – there were some limitations while we were dating so living together is a new experience for both of us. Unexpectedly, there have been no surprises since living together –we have worked extremely well together since the wedding day and seriously could not be happier or more grateful for the amazing life and support we have from family and friends.

When we first met, we found so many similarities but as we’ve grown together, we have discovered how different we are from one another, but in the best ways – we fit together like a puzzle.

I love Matt for his calm and loving nature – he is composed, confident, respectful, hard-working, intelligent, beautiful and extremely humorous. He loves me for the qualities that we share and those that contrast his such as my ability to be particularly fierce and unyielding. On top of all these qualities though, there’s nothing more we love than to annoy the fudge out of each other – probably on a daily basis.

When not working – we spend almost every minute together but somehow manage to not get sick of each other. If we’re not chipping away at planning our future dreams, we’ll be either with family, entertaining at home with some friends over a delicious vegan dinner or working out which will be either a weights session at the gym, an outdoor run (usually a hill climb if we’re going together), a super sweaty power vinyasa hot yoga session or a 3-5 round of full on serious wrestling – Sonali vs. Matt (no joke, there are rules).

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details … Our wedding day was a dream come true! We wanted to go for a tasteful rustic organic theme which is super rare for an Indian wedding.

We requested all the guests wear neutral colours and try avoiding bright tones as much as possible. For the most part (excluding Matt’s reception suit) – the entire day was vegan which was very important to me. In lieu of silk, we wore linen and cotton and had sustainable vegan fabric footwear. The Indian priest also used vegan ingredients throughout the ceremony.

Our favourite space had to be inside the Tipi – Yvette worked wonders with the florals, the photos don’t do it justice. The best component to the ceremony, however, was the stage – called a mandap. This was built from scratch by my father-in-law and his friends right from cutting the trees down themselves in the pouring rain in the Wairarapa to transporting it back to Wellington, prefabricating it, disassembling it, transporting it back to the Wairarapa and assembling it on site. I showed him a photo of what I was after and he made my vision come true – a huge part to the wedding we could never forget.

Tell us about your main outfits:

The gold saree I wore for the ceremony was decided only a month or so before the big day. 9 months prior to the wedding, I travelled to India for a shopping trip with my parents. We purchased the reception outfit from the store – Gaurang’s outfits are one-offs and the saree I was after happened to be available. The wedding saree, however, was going to be the traditional red and would take 6 months to make (handloom). Fast-forward 6-7 months, I received the saree and it didn’t match what I was after. After a couple of weeks of thinking, we made a big decision to return it.
I still really wanted a simple light outfit that would be dressed up with accessories (which I had already purchased on the India trip).

Anavila is one of my favourite designers – after countless video calls and photo messaging, I was shown this gold saree and knew that was going to be it. Albeit my Dad and I were a little torn with not being able to wear the traditional red, it ended up being the best decision. I think when it came to the day – it was evident the gold fit so much better with the setting and theme than the red would have.

The reception saree was a much easier process – initially, I was going to wear the same gold ceremony jewellery with this, but realised silver would be better suited. My sister found Inaayat on Instagram and we ordered everything via WhatsApp with the help of the lovely Simran Juneja. All the jewellery had to be sent to my aunt who was coming to NZ from India the month before the wedding as you aren’t allowed to post jewellery from India internationally.

Matt’s wedding outfit was fairly simple. I knew Anita Dongre was conscious of sustainable fashion and made simple but tasteful outfits. It was important to Matt that he didn’t feel like he was going to a costume party. When he saw this online, we made the purchase and requested the piping be cotton instead of silk. They accepted the request and made it perfectly to Matt’s measurements. The outfit he chose was tasteful and simple. The clean tailored lines helped deliver that traditional feel without being elaborate. It fit with the overall theme.

The green reception suit was something I pitched to Matt very early on as it would bring out his eyes and was different to the norm. It didn’t take him long to get on board as soon as he was shown the fabric swatch at Rembrandt. Matt was after a traditional 1920’s era suit – faint pinstripe shirt with detachable white collar and gold pin, short waistcoat, boxy blazer and high waisted straight cut trousers with side adjusters. The brown boots were an obvious match.

We aren’t the elaborate kind of couple and like to be very practical with our purchases – by picking simple outfits, this means we can enjoy them more than just the one time (which we have).

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day? For Matt and I, as cheesy and cliché as it may sound – seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony was the most memorable. We must’ve been grinning from ear to ear, so excited that the day had finally come where we are able to start the next chapter of our lives together.

In saying that though – the entire day was so memorable, I remember everything like it was just yesterday. The best thing to us was feeling so much love in the atmosphere from all our family and friends. We are so lucky.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together? We have two bits of advice just based on how our relationship is and why we think we work so well together:

1) Matt and I are so silly with each other. Even though we can be so damn annoying to one another, it brings a lot of fun and entertainment to our relationship. Laughter is the best thing and if you can do it more often than not – it’ll make life so much easier.

2) Work as a team. Remember that as well as being partners, you are each other’s best friend. In moments of disagreement, know that your partner is not against you and not trying to make your life difficult. Try to understand where they are coming from, you’re both in this journey together as a team.

Ceremony Tipi: Topkata | Venue: Lacewood | Videographer: David Josué | Photographer: Emily Adamson | Flora & Styling: Yvette Edwards | Planner: The Bride | Catering + Beverages: Little India & Antipodes Water | Cake: Pandoro & Sweet Release Cakes | Stationery: Priya Chauhan | Car: Wairarapa Vintage Tours | Groom’s Ceremony Outfit: Anite Dongre | Groom’s Reception Outfit: Rembrandt | Bride’s Ceremony Outfit & Bridesmaid Dresses: Anavila Misra | Bride’s Reception Outfit: Gaurang Shah | Bride’s Engagement Ring: Naveya and Sloane | Groom’s Ceremony Shoes: A store in India | Groom’s Reception Shoes: Ahimsa | Bride’s Shoes:  RAFA USA | Groom’s Sunglasses: Bailey Nelson | Bride’s Gold Ceremony Jewellery: Silver Streak Store | Bride’s Nose Ring: Custom-made in India | Bride’s Reception Jewellery: Simran Juneja at Inaayat Jewels | Makeup: Victoria Faith | Hair: The Bride | Fragrance:  Aesop – Marrakech