How Dr Simerdip Kaur & Hardeep Parkash Singh Sandhu Planned Their Big Fat Punjabi Wedding From Overseas
January 26, 2018 | BY Jessica Liew
The story of Dr Simerdip Kaur and Hardeep Parkash Singh Sandhu meeting through good old-fashioned Punjabi matchmaking is one for the books. Thankfully for their matchmaker mothers, the setup was a great success for the both who are based in the UK – 6 months after the first date, the couple made up their minds to get married. The engagement was in November 2016, and wedding preparations were underway from January 2017. Their biggest challenge? The planning for their Malaysian wedding would take place while the couple remained overseas.
Despite the odds, Dr Simer and Hardeep had their dreams of a big fat Punjabi wedding come true, and 4 times that in 4 different events. All it took was a clear goal of their perfect celebrations, planning ahead, and teamwork between their families.
“All in all, the common themes in each event was great company, non-stop entertainment and delicious food and drink – we are Punjabis, after all,” Dr Simer, the bride, summed up, when we spoke to her how she captured the spirit of love, culture and family bonds, and of course, the story of her vibrant bridal attires.
Tell us about the wedding dress shopping expedition that took you and your family to India.
“I had 4 outfits for the 4 day-long celebrations. I looked for ideas by browsing various Indian designer collections online. My family and I subsequently went to Delhi for our wedding shopping and literally shopped till we dropped. The beauty of shopping in India is that there is so much choice; anything is possible when it comes to creating and designing your dream outfit. My outfits were predominantly ready-to-wear, except for my customised lehenga for the Sangeet night from Manish Malhotra in Mehrauli.
How did you modernise a traditional bridal dress, and make it more you?
“My wedding day outfit is by Tarun Tahiliani, one of India’s top designers renowned for combining modern and traditional designs. It was a hand embroidered lehenga choli with gota patti (a type of Indian embroidery originating from Rajasthan), pearls, mirror work and Swarovski crystal embellishments. For accessories, I used my mother’s wedding day jewellery given to her by her grandfather, which was really was very special to me.
Did you follow any fitness or nutrition plan ahead of the big day?
“I was actually pretty busy with moving from Wales back to England as well as with starting a new job so I was quite physically active and barely went to the gym at all. I did, however, consciously eat clean and avoided junk food.”
What was your beauty routine like, prior to the wedding?
“I didn’t actually make any changes to my beauty routine. Looking after my body and observing a good diet helped to ensure my skin looked its best.”
Describe how you envisioned your wedding day to be.
“I envisioned it to be a colourful, vibrant and a happy occasion, which it was, and even more. My family and I simply wanted for all our guests to relax, enjoy themselves and immerse in all of the festivities, which we also achieved. It was great to reunite with friends and family from all over the world, too.”
You were overseas throughout the wedding planning process. What did it take to put the celebrations in place?
“Jassmine Kaur and her husband Harry of Ssheek Jassmine Events, and their team were so helpful and worked tirelessly with my parents and I to ensure everything went smoothly. They had helped us with our engagement party beforehand, which was a great learning experience for all of us especially when it came to planning for the wedding later on.”
How did your 4-day Punjabi-themed wedding play out?
“The first celebration was the Maiyan (cleansing ceremony) and Mehendi (henna) day at my family home. Members of my immediate family and close friends took turns applying a paste of turmeric, flour, oil and yoghurt on me as part of a cleansing ceremony. Afterwards, all the ladies had the opportunity to get Mehendi designs on their hands. In the evening, my uncles put on my wedding bangles for me as part of the choora (bangles) ceremony.
The second celebration was the Sangeet night that is akin to a pre-wedding party, held at KLCC. We had live traditional Punjabi singers as well as dance performances from Mast Millennium and family members. Husband-wife duo Manj Musik and Nindy Kaur, who’ve been storming the Bollywood and music scene the past 15 years, also performed at the event, and had everyone on the dance floor for a power packed 90-minute performance!
The third is our actual wedding day when our marriage was solemnised at the Guru Nanak Darbar Tatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara, followed with a lunch reception at KLCC. This time we had the a former Indian Idol finalist, Poorvi Koutish, serenade our guests to romantic Hindi and English songs, plus fast numbers for the dance floor.
Our final event was a wedding dinner reception hosted by Hardeep’s family at the Syuen Hotel in Ipoh, which was a great way to cap wedding celebrations.”
What’s your favourite part about the wedding?
“Each event was unique in its own way and I think that’s what’s made it so memorable. The Maiyan and Mehendi day was the most intimate event as we had our nearest and dearest in attendance. The Sangeet night was all about eating, drinking, dancing and more dancing! And the wedding day, of course, was the highlight with a Sikh wedding ceremony in the gurdwara followed by a personal and intimate lunch reception. Our dinner reception brought both our families together in the final night of merry-making and needless to say we partied till the wee hours of the morning.”
Being so far away from the entire wedding planning, how involved were you and Hardeep?
“We couldn’t be physically that involved in our wedding preparations but we carried on with our usual routine, and were in close contact with our families back home throughout. They played a major role in the organisation of the events and we cannot thank them enough. Our parents put their heart and soul into every detail and it panned out beautifully. Hardeep returned to Ipoh 2 weeks before the wedding and was able to do some last minute preparations whilst I, on the other hand, landed 3 days before our first event. I was basically a guest at my own wedding!”
Finally, what’s your advice to other bride-to-be’s?
“First, be organised and have a checklist of to-do’s. Book your favourite vendors early, to avoid disappointment. Also, be flexible and have backup plans for unexpected surprises. Despite having their flights delayed by flooding in Mumbai, my makeup artist and performers made it because we’d planned for them to arrive in advance.
Second, when it comes to choosing your outfit(s), I think it is very important to feel totally comfortable and confident in it. Also, try to break into your shoes in advance or you’ll be sorry on the day. Wear them in the house in the weeks leading to the wedding. Better still, wear flats like I did!
Ultimately, just relax and enjoy the celebrations as they go by very quickly, and keep smiling! At the end of the day there is only so much preparation and foresight you can have. The littlest things don’t matter and the best part is no one (apart from yourself) actually notices.”
Photos: Ravs Studio
Event planner: Ssheek Jassmine Events
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