London born Jai had always wanted to marry in the city and after meeting his now husband, Milan, on Grindr (spot the nod to it in their wedding photos) and a holiday proposal in Las Vegas, his dream came true… only their wedding was held in a palace! This is their story, told in their own words…
“Both of us are first generation born in the UK Indian Heritage, and we’ve had a number of personal obstacles to overcome.
Although society has embraced LGBTQ relationships and same sex marriages, for the Indian community it’s a subject that’s still widely unspoken about.
“We had both gone through the motions of coming out to our family and friends but still remained fearful of what people might say and how it might impact on our family. However, there comes a point in your life where you have to stand up to idol gossip and fear, and put yourself and the person you love first. We’re incredibly lucky we have had such a supportive family who have been with us for every step of our relationship, despite facing several challenges with the community at large before our wedding.”
“We wanted to wear something that represented our Indian heritage however, also had a contemporary look. Therefore, our outfits were designed by Milan and custom made by a designer in London called Sonas Couture. Each of our outfits (Sherwanis) represented our own individual personalities, Jai’s was bright and energetic and Milan’s was sleek and stylish. The outfits complimented each other by having antique gold thread work and mint green French knot embroidery woven into both Sherwanis.”
“Being a Londoner Jai always wanted to get married in the heart of city and when visiting Banqueting House together, he instantly fell in love with it, especially with the Rubens ceiling and it’s grandeur and history. Banqueting House is the last remains of White Hall Palace, once the largest Palace in Europe. Some of the most famous monarchs have hosted lavish parties and masques and hence why it is known as ‘party palace’, and also why we felt it was the perfect venue for our wedding.”
“We walked over to the Banqueting House from the Corinthia where we were staying with our families. We made our way to the Undercroft for a group photo before moving up to the Main Hall for more family photography by the Throne displayed in the space as well as on the balcony overlooking the space.”
“Meanwhile our guests began to arrive and were seated in the Undercroft ready for the ceremony, after being greeted by the
Royal footmen and a receiving line of our siblings.
“We decided to walk down the aisle together accompanied by a dohl player. As we entered the nerves settled as we were welcomed by a eruption of cheers and applause. We were truly overwhelmed by the love in the room. The atmosphere in the room was uplifting and there was a sea of smiles and tears of joy.”
“We had two beautiful readings – one by Milan’s nephew and the other Jai’s best friend, and when we were announced husband and husband we walked down the aisle to the Beatles track – All You Need Is Love! We felt it was the perfect track to celebrate our union.”
“After the ceremony, we led our guests upstairs to the Main Hall where Royal Footmen were waiting to open the doors and give that real ‘wow’ moment for guests as they entered the space and lifted their eyes to the beautiful Rubens ceiling. We wanted to incorporate our Indian heritage into the design of the wedding, but in a modern and stylish way. Therefore our theme was regal with pops of colour. The majestic Main Hall was the perfect backdrop to incorporate elements of majestic India. The drinks reception resembled luxury palaces of Rajasthan with gold guilted poseur tables and bar stools accompanied by Great Hire’s Santa Monica furniture with bright cushions and stunning Jewel tone florals by Simon Lycett.”
“The Main Hall was split in half by Umbrella’s which enhanced the vibrant Indian theme.”
“We enjoyed exotic welcome cocktails which included cucumber, elderflower and ginger Collins, and lychee, lemongrass and rose. in the first half of the Main Hall, before the Royal footmen called us for dinner and we moved to the second half of the hall for dinner.
“Once our guests were seated we cut the cake; created by Unique Cakes by Yevnig the five tier ivory royal icing cake stood tall under the throne canopy. With gold leaf accents, and piped floral swags, the cake also included our monogram to complement our stationery.”
“For the dinner, the colour pop theme continued. Contrasting use of light grey linen, gold and grey chandelle chairs with mirror tops were the base for the explosion of colour with different napkin colours placed around the table, accompanied by high and low arrangements in rich and regal shades to compliment the Rubens ceiling. Each guest also received a personalised gold mirror acrylic name place created using our monogram design.”
“The starter was then served by Blue Strawberry which included Kasundi paneer tikka, spicy aubergine and pani puri filled with whipped daahl with fresh mint and flowers.”
“Our two best men (our older brothers) then made their speeches before the main course was served. which comprised sharing dishes including green pea and paneer tikka masala, dhal makhani, gunpowder jeera aloo with lemon and mustard seeds and achari bhindi.”
“We then made our thank you speech to our friends and family before asking everyone to make their way back downstairs to the Undercroft which had been transformed for the after party. The room was dressed with modern black and gold themed furniture and bars.
“There were dessert stations including a Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Station and a selection of treats such as white chocolate aero with salted flaked almond praline and; kaffir lime syrup, Golden Ferrero Rocher rolled in gold honeycomb and raspberries with peanut caramel, salted peanut crumble and raspberry pate de fruit all displayed on Tetris shelving for guests to enjoy throughout the night.”
“To add the wow factor to the party we hired the Mirror Men to roam the Undercroft and entertain guests during dessert and on the dancefloor.
“DJ Vish from Musical Movements provided our evening entertainment – he kept everyone on the dancefloor with a diverse range of music including popular Bollywood hits and classic floor fillers!
“We chose not to do a first dance however, but were surprised by Milan’s siblings and cousins who performed a flash mob dance which kick started the dancing. This also added an additional element of the entertainment for the evening.”
“For late night snacks we chose to have a cheese station and layout an array of cheeses from Truffle Waterloo and vegan cheeses for guests to enjoy towards the end of the evening.
“On departure every guest received a slice of wedding cake which was beautifully boxed with a bespoke label on it that stated– ‘A sweet ending to a new beginning’
“Advice we’d give to other couples getting married? Make the most of your venue: for us, we wanted out guests to enjoy the venue and its history – after all, it was a palace! In particular, we wanted them to enjoy the magnificence of it and chose to have mirrored table tops so they could see the Ruben’s ceiling whilst enjoying their dinner. We’d also advise getting to know your suppliers – Get to know your suppliers – they are there to help and support you during the planning stages – we met with our caterers Blue Strawberry several times to share ideas, discuss menus and of course went for a tasting. When it came to the wedding day they knew every intricate detail of what we wanted. Lastly, make sure you absolutely enjoy the day as it flies by so quickly.”
Photography Credits:Nick Rose Photography