Arranged marriages in India are often allied with awkward first meetings, families making most decisions and a stigma of lost love. That has all changed in 2020 though. Families understand it’s the ‘couple’ that have to spend their lives together and giving them the space while settling on their life partner is crucial. Now, most arranged marriage meetings often start with the couple getting in touch with each other, going on a few dates and if they realise they are meant to be, families come into the picture.
This modernistic arranged marriage setup is what united our love birds – Anne and Sijo in 2019. “Our journey started a year ago in my hometown Dubai in November 2019. I was working the time when Sijo’s proposal was sent to me by a family friend,” says Anne.
Sijo flew down from London to Dubai for his niece’s birthday and that’s when the two went on their first date, oblivious of the fact they were about to meet their soulmate for the first time. “I realised that we were poles apart from different cultural backgrounds. He was the first suitor I had met and I was planning to meet more proposals until I found someone I could connect with,” Anne recollects her first thoughts of Sijo.
“A month later we connected on Instagram when I texted him for his birthday. That one ‘Happy Birthday’ text changed our destinities forever. We got to chatting, which then turned to calls and video calls. Before we realised we had become amazing friends and despite the difference, were able to relate to each other. Just like Geet and Aditya from Jab We Met.”
The two were still hesitant about their relationship. Although all the doubts went down the drain with their second meeting. “Sijo flew down in February to meet me again and that’s when I knew he was the one for me. Every minute I spent with him was so special and I loved how protected I felt in his presence. I went back home and told my parents I want to marry him and he’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” says Anne. The two spent the next week in Dubai as a betrothed couple. “Each day spent together was magical,” gushes Anne.
Even though their marriage was fixed and Anne had already said Yes, Sijo didn’t want to deprive Anne of a proposal. He planned the proposal in Mumbai with a “Will you marry me?” written on the chocolate ganache cake, bottle of wine and a beautiful ring. Their families were there to bless the couple as well. Anne screamed yes with the cheers of well wisher watching.
And then the wedding planning started. “We started planning the big fat Indian Christian wedding and had 7 events which was a week long stint in Kerala followed by two events in Mumbai. We booked the dates for May and had a lot of friends and family flying from all over the world to attend the wedding,” says Anne. “We were so excited as we had all the themes, vendors and outfits planned out. However, as we understood the grave situation of the Corona virus and realized that my family and I won’t be able to fly out to Kerala we shifted the wedding to August.” she added.
However, the pandemic got worse and the rumors of floods in Kerala also started swirling at the same time. Nevertheless, Sijo and Anne continued with their wedding planning keeping in line with the new protocols. The guest list was cut down to 50 from 3000 and all the safety measures were put into place.
“We decided to do a pre-wedding shoot and post those pictures in a series leading up to the wedding. This would hype the wedding and amp up the excitement of everyone involved,” describes the bride of their vision.
“Our photo shoot was directed by the visionary Magic Motion Media and all my three super glam outfits were designed by one of my favorite designer Noushija Fatiz of the chic and fashionable Fatiz Bridal Emporio. My makeup and hair was done by the fabulous Femy Antony makeup artist. The first look was a romantic red structured gown, the second was a pastel pink luxury monotone gown with stone embellishments and the final look was a champagne colored floor length gown. The couture gowns were all paired with luxe sparkling jewelry from Swarovski and La Marquise from Dubai,” details Anne of her pre-wedding shoot.
The nuptials kicked off on August 22 with a Haldi ceremony, followed by Sangeet at night. “My makeup and hair was by the talented La femme and both my beautiful outfits were designed by my favorite haute couture designer Rehana Basheer. For Haldi, I wore a yellow and gold ruffle draped saree while for the Sangeeth I changed into a gorgeous crimson red chikankari lehenga. We had booked the entire Green Trees resort overlooking the calming waterfalls and the rustic and elegant decor was done by Wepasi. The special moments were captured by the wonderful XD.creation,” explained bride Anne of her pre-wedding functions.
Next up was the wedding day. The theme for the day was burgundy and gold. Everything was encrusted with the SA logo, from sanitisers and masks to the menu and cutlery holder. The event was divided into three stages – one for the live orchestra with a 7 piece band, other for the cake and the main stage where the ceremony took place.
The opulent decor was done by Rainmaker wedding and events and captured by Magic Motion Media. Bride’s splendid saree was custom-made by Rehana Basheer and teamed it up with diamond jewellery from Malabar Gold & Diamonds. For the reception later on the same day, Anne changed into a silk saree by Beena Kanan from Seemati Silks and wore gold jewellery by M.O.D. Signature to go with it. Makeup and hair for the day was done by Anez Anzare. Groom, on the other hand, wore the famous Kim Hassan label for both events and paired them with Louis Vuitton shoes and Hermes belts.
We loved all of Anne’s looks to a tee. Which one’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!