A castle, a horse and carriage sounds like the stuff of fairytales but it came true for Niraj and Priyeal. We bring you their Indian wedding held at the exquisite Tafaria castle in Nyahururu.
Scroll down and watch this fairytale unfold before your eyes!
Tell us your story? How and where did you meet?
Priyeal: We had a sort of arranged/love union. We got introduced by a family friend. We met at Artcafe. After that, Niraj flew to London; but we kept in touch. When he got back we dated for about 6 months and he proposed in February 2014.
What do you love the most about each other?
Priyeal: I love that he is so down to earth and always thoughtful about everything. He surprises me all the time. I love that spontaneous quality in him.
Niraj: From the day we met, she ignited a spark in my heart. Always caring and willing to listen to all my rambles; including my technical work jargon. Her willingness to experience different things has been the greatest magnet. And that’s why I am always looking forward to spending time with her.
How did he propose?
Priyeal: It was the second best magical day ever. (Our wedding being the most magical) I was with my parents; we had come down for the weekend to Nairobi to visit my grandparents. I had no idea what he was planning.
We had agreed the previous day to go for a walk in Karura forest or hike to Ngong Hills. We had planned to leave at 7am. But he was running late and asked me to be dropped to Wilson Airport.
I didn’t thinking much of it, because he lives on Langata Road. He picked me up and drove into the airport, I kept asking where we are going but he wouldn't say. So, finally at the airport we got on a small 4 - seater plane.
I overheard on the radio his friend was addressing to the Amboseli airport. I was scared at first being on a small 4 seater plane. Plus it was a cloudy morning and I couldn't see much. He had me sitting at the back and Niraj was at the front.
Once we landed, I felt at ease. We landed at Amboseli and went to Ol Tukai for lunch, where we
took a walk on the grounds later. We sat down on some logs facing the park and he proposed there with the backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Amboseli National Park. It was beautiful and epic. We flew back the same day.
This time round I sat at the front and the sky was clear blue. The pilot, who was also an instructor, showed me the basic controls and I actually flew the plane for a couple of minutes.
What songs did you and your bridal team walk down the aisle to?
We didn’t have a bridal team. I had Christina Perri; A Thousand Years played with live indian drums for the bride entrance. It was one of the songs we had gotten to love on one of our dates. It was symbolic as well, because at that time I was already falling in love with him.
What was your wedding theme and what inspired your choice of colours, suppliers and style?
Priyeal: Marigold flower was our theme and a traditional Indian garden wedding. That inspired our colors. I wanted a colorful wedding and I love Marigold flowers. Plus they are symbolic to Indian weddings.
Our mandap(aisle) which is the four pillar structure, shade sails and four mandap(aisle) chairs were designed and made in-house. We wanted a rustic look with a pop of color. Bamboo was one of our main elements and it matched perfectly with the marigold flowers and the shade sails.
We had Aura events do our decor for the two days at Tafaria. I knew what I wanted, we already
had all the elements and structures. We needed someone to finish it off for us with the décor and bring it all together. Fatema at Aura was a lifesaver; she was just the perfect fit to our team to help with our dream wedding.
Give a brief recount of the wedding day, from waking up till evening and the things that were going through your mind at the time.
Priyeal: It was just perfect. We had a destination wedding at Tafaria Castle and country Lodge in Nyahururu. Which was sort of in the middle; I am from Meru and Niraj is from Nairobi. So we had guests who stayed over for two other events previous day from the wedding day.
Our first event was a Mehendi African picnic on a Friday, at 2pm. We had lawn games for the men like tug of war and had mehendi application for the ladies. The second event was in the evening same day at 7pm a Sangeet party (which is basically a pre-wedding party) There was plenty of dancing and some dance programs from both sides of the party.
For the third event, wedding day, I woke up at 6am. I had to be ready by 7.30am for my prayers. Niraj got lucky, his prayers started at 8.30am. We have prayers before any event starts in Indian weddings. The wedding was scheduled to start at 10am. I was nervous, I wasn’t sure everything would go as planned. It was nerve-racking. My girl squad (my sister, cousins and friends) kept me at ease.
They were there with me till I stepped into the mandap(aisle). I think I relaxed when I saw Niraj at the mandap. I was so excited; emotions were running all the way throughout the wedding; mainly happy ones. I also kept thinking when we would go for lunch, because I was hungry.
I only had fruits and green tea for breakfast. The wedding ceremony finished at 3pm. Our parents and friends and close family stayed for the extra night, most guests returned the same day.
Niraj: An early start to the morning, with prayers scheduled at 8.30am. The family and friends around me put me to ease. I was quite calm when entering the main wedding ceremony. When I saw her walking down the aisle, my stomach just did a 360! It was a truly unforgettable moment.
It was a perfect day to end with family and friends around. Even after all the endless planning and tempers flaring from the previous two days, we were pretty relaxed by the time the ceremony was done. It was just perfect and happy memories all the way.
Tell us your biggest cost saver and any cost saving tips you have for people planning their wedding.
Biggest cost saver was doing what we could do on our own. We planted our own marigold flowers 3 months before the wedding in our shambas and our friend’s shambas.
The mandaps and shade sails were also made in-house; this was a big cost saver. Plus we had a small wedding so it was easier to plan.
You must have learnt quite a number of things during the wedding process. What did you learn regarding wedding photography that you would like to other couples to know?
We did! We are all perfectionists when it comes to planning, but even then we missed out on so many things. Best advice: write down everything; don’t just say it to each other. Have a journal or diary and write everything down.
We had made lists for photography shots. But we still missed out on a couple of shots. Sit down with your photographer and write up everything in detail, and what shots are important to you and family. Another big lesson is to involve your family, at least your parents, on the days planning, they are part of the event and can really assist in the details, don’t try doing everything on your own!
What (in your opinion) do you think is the most overrated thing in weddings?
Guests you don’t know. Indian weddings always have a million guests, half of or even ¾ of them, you as the couple may not even know. After all a wedding is a private and personal affair, we bargained to have a small private wedding and a public reception was held a week later.
Any other tips/lessons you would like to share with other brides and grooms planning for their wedding?
First tip for both; make sure you eat something on your wedding day, you go through all the stages of planning with the caterer and cakes. You want to eat it all. And trust me, you don’t want your stomach rumbling half way through the wedding. It's not a good feeling.
Secondly, research and lots of research. I used Pinterest as my inspiration board. Whatever you like when it comes to outfits, jewelry, decor, anything; pin it to a board. It's the best tool out there. And thirdly, research again. This time your suppliers; caterers, musicians, photographers, videographers, deco, everyone. Ask around, if possible, call up previous brides for their experience. You definitely want to do this with videographers and photographers. It's your wedding day; you want to have the best out there.
At Kenya Weddings we are always looking for something different unique and creative that a couple incorporates in their wedding. Please let us know what your something different was, what inspired you and how you got it done.
Our dream wedding was always a castle wedding. Initially, we were looking at locations in India,Rajastan in particular. We were faced with some travel and logistical limitations and so westarted searching for local locations. We stumbled upon Tafaria castle; the first site visit got ushooked! We loved it, the gardens, the horses in the background, the mountain view, everythingwas perfect.
At first we weren’t quite sure how we would work out the logistics. An indianwedding has a lot to handle and Tafaria was quite far away. But with help from family membersand friends and Fatema at Aura, we made the impossible, possible and had our Indian weddingthere. Sure, it was a lot of work, but it paid off in the end.
Wedding Photographer: Katz photography