A mindful marriage
Founder of mindfulness and meditation platform, Spiral Spaces and co-creator of The Garden Gathering, Resham Daswani’s four-day wedding has us picking up our jaws off the floor. Celebrating at the lavish Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand the couple’s special, spiritual ceremony is captured in vibrant colour and tradition.
From designing each of her six dresses herself to leading a unique tea ceremony for her bridal party, Resham shares how she stayed true to herself throughout the planning process as well as her tips and tricks for brides-to-be.
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
In December 2015, we were touring Sri Lanka after spending some time in northern India. Buddhist teachings have had a great influence on meditation practice and the culture has become very sacred and important to me. Sri Lanka has some of the most beautiful ancient temples and an abundance of UNESCO sites. I love to hike, so on New Year’s Eve we planned to trek up Adam’s Peak to catch the first sunrise of 2016. This was significant to me as Buddha’s footprints are imprinted on a stone at the top. This was where he had planned to propose but because there were so many people he got a bit nervous and started rushing me down to find a spot where we could get a good “photo,” as he put it. We ended up finding a stupa in a secluded area on the mountain that was off the main path where he then got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him.
Tell us about the ring.
He gave me a proposal ring at Adam’s Peak, which was a diamond with a halo that he had specially made. For the main ring, I used my Grandmother’s diamond which she had gifted me and designed it with a naturesque appeal.
What did you do for your hen party?
One of dearest friends and my sister planned an intimate day out at Nan Lian Garden in Hong Kong. I love the gardens there, it was super sweet.
Tell us about the dress. How many did you try on?
Dozens upon dozens for days on end! I didn’t find a single thing I loved in my first three weeks of wedding shopping in India. My background is in design and fashion, so after not being able to commit to anything I had seen, I made an executive decision to create each one of my six outfits.
The best and worst piece of advice you received before the big day?
The best piece of advice was to stay present and have fun and not worry about the small stuff. I don’t actually think I received any bad advice.
Favourite wedding designer?
The wonderful tailor and embroidery team in Mumbai who spent hours upon hours embellishing, adjusting and doing fittings with me to create all the clothes I wore.
What was the wedding like?
We got married at The Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel is incredible and the wedding was a true reflection of ourselves and a good balance between who we both are as individuals. It was a big four-day Indian wedding, hundreds of guests and a party that went on until 7am each night, but aside from that there were certain elements that were personally very important to us which we kept to. For me, it was to create an intentional mandala before everything began, to feed the local monks as a way to honour our ancestors who are no longer with us, and to serve Tea to all my bridesmaids and sisters. Above all, it was to honour the Indian traditions of marriage. The rituals and rights have so much depth and meaning and is a big reason of why I wanted such a union in the first place.
One detail you and your partner just couldn’t agree on?
I wasn’t on board with serving meat and we had a lot of arguments about this! I am vegan and he is quite the opposite. In the end we agreed on a limited selection of non-vegetarian dishes and I created Grace Boards and Blessing cards for each meal that was served.
What was the most fun element of planning your wedding?
The process of joining the dots together in everything important which you want to express. It’s so great to make something personally yours and a reflection of how you have grown and what really matters. Indian weddings are multiple events over several days, so creating the theme for each night, choosing the art of your henna, the decor and flowers, designing the logo and wedding card, making all the clothes – it was super busy, but fun! We were really grateful to work with such a good photography team – Ali. G was a saviour, along with sweet duo from Bangkok called LoveDezign and the infamous videographers of The Wedding Filmer.
Most stressful moment?
Nothing was all that stressful. I was however supposed to do a surprise dance as part of all the performances during the Reception but I hadn’t tried on my dress to practise in. When I did put it on that evening, it was so heavy I could barely move and panicked a bit with what to do. I still ended up dancing, but just with limited movement, haha!
The best decision?
I was so happy my Zen and Tea teacher Wu De and his wife Joyce from Global Tea Hut were able to attend. It was the greatest gift to have them hold space for us and celebrate.
Before the first main event, I had a Tea Ceremony for all my bridesmaids and sisters. This was incredibly important to me and was a way of expressing my gratitude for all the connection and beauty each relationship holds.
What were the wedding favours?
Tea! Of course! We gave out tins of organic red-tea grown by a farmer in Taiwan.
One planning app you used religiously?
My mum, dad and sister. They were my ultimate saviours. My mum spent over two months with me in India whilst I made all my clothes, without complaining even once! I will always be so grateful as everything I wore was infinitely more special and was based on design decisions the two of us made together. My Dad helped me handle so much of the pre-planning organisation and contractual negotiations – which is probably the least fun part. My sister, Jenny is gifted when it comes to coordinating events. She was the most epic host during the days of the wedding – liaising with everyone from the photographers, videographers, family, friends, wedding planners – everyone!
What cake did you go for?
As a vegan I of course wanted a vegan wedding cake so I could eat it! During the months before we sat down we spoke with the head pastry chef of the Peninsula and discussed a minimal yet elegant gold and white seven-tier cake. He was very excited as he had never make a vegan wedding cake before. Just before the reception was about to begin my sister noticed the entire cake had pretty much collapsed. The consistency of ingredients could not hold for so long and the whole thing fell apart moments before we were going to make our entrance and toast. Thankfully the hotel had another multi-tier cake in the fridge and brought that out instead. We couldn’t cut it or eat it as it was still too solid from just coming out of the fridge but it was one of those ‘I can’t believe that just happened!’ laughable moments.
Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
1. Have a good idea about what you want.
Even though we were together for about nine years before we got married, I honestly never thought about what I wanted my wedding to be like. I was pretty hell bent when I heard you could get married in outer space and didn’t think about much else, after all my dress would have been a space suit. But I have never thought twice about decor, themes, location, jewelry – nada! So initially I spent quite a bit of time just figuring that out. It was a beautiful process but there was a lot of back and forth. It was a big discovery phase.
2. Know that it challenges your relationship
Know that some of the most challenging areas of your relationship come to light when you are planning a wedding. Two different families are coming together and the disagreements are just part of the growth. Communicate, respect and move forward.
3. Remember it is your wedding
Stay true to yourself during the planning process – it’s the small sentimental touches with personal meaning that you remember the most. I made a promise to myself that I would not get caught up in the momentum, as I knew how quickly four days would go by. The greatest gift I gave myself was to stay present, grateful and mindful during all the celebrations.
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We both don’t really believe in one big honeymoon and have staggered it into three “honeymoon style” trips. We did South Africa – Cape Town and Safari which was incredible during Chinese New Year, then in the Summer we did Leh-Ladakh and Kashmir, and we are still planning our next trip in December as we will also be celebrating ten years of being together.
All the beautiful images above were taken by Hong Kong wedding photographer Ali Ghorbani of Ali G Studios. Follow him on Instagram @aligphoto and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AliGStudio