Real Wedding: Hayley and Ankit

Posted: May 16th 2019

by Belle Hutton

Real Wedding: Hayley and Ankit

Hayley Kavanagh married Ankit Parekh at Holkham, with an Indian wedding ceremony in the Lady Elizabeth Wing, followed by drinks and canapes in the Marble Hall, before an evening reception back in the Lady Elizabeth Wing. Hayley tells us:

I lived next door to Ankit in university halls in London. It was definitely best friends at first sight, but we didn’t get together until 18 months later. Ankit often likes to tell me that he knew we would get married a long time before I caught on! He proposed on the beach at Sheringham, near where I live and grew up. It was a few days before Christmas, he took me out for a walk and a hot chocolate. He pretended to take a photo of me and when I turned around he had the ring ready. I had no idea what he was planning and was very surprised. I said ‘yes’ straight away. I had no shadow of a doubt, he’s the best.

We moved to North Norfolk when I was three after going on holiday there. I took Ankit to Holkham on his first visit to Norfolk (when we were still just friends!) and have visited
often since. We actually didn’t look at another wedding venue. It means something special to us, and we thought it would be the perfect place for an Indian wedding.

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

We wanted our wedding to have a lot of colour to compliment all the Indian outfits. This was mainly through the AMAZING flowers and the artwork that my dad, Peter Kavanagh, drew for our invitations, table plans and order of the day. He did such a good job of bringing our ideas to life. There was also a lot of colour on our brilliant cake from Amber at loveweddingcakes.

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

Our Indian wedding celebrations began on Friday night, we had a slightly smaller mehndi party at Socius in Burnham Market where all our guests had their henna (mehndi) drawn on to their hands by the brilliant Nadia from Mehndi by Nadia. We had delicious food and a couple of speeches by our brothers and my cousins sang us all a song. It was lovely to see everyone in Norfolk and certainly built the excitement for the Indian wedding ceremony the next day. We stayed in The Victoria Inn that night and we were up very early to start getting ready for the 12pm ceremony.

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

I was really keen to have an Indian wedding, not only because I knew it would be such a nice experience for everyone on my side of the family, but also because it involves so many people in the actual ceremony. It’s all about two families coming together. Lots of our relatives sat next to us or threw petals over us as we walked around the fire. Eight of my ‘brothers’ (cousins) came up to pass rice to me to offer to the fire and three married women from each of our families whispered wisdom and blessings in my ear.

An Indian wedding ceremony really acknowledges how important all these people are in your life and how you couldn’t be who you are without them. My mum and dad literally tied the knot between me and Ankit during our ceremony. I loved it!!

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

I wore a custom-made lehenga by the designer Astha Narang from a boutique Indian shop in London called Este Couture. We only had a small swatch of the colour we had chosen before it arrived at the end of January but I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. For the evening I wanted to wear something white but quite simple and I found it at Dorothy Perkins. Ankit wore a custom-made sherwani from a shop called Sonas, also in London, with a silk scarf to compliment the colour we had chosen for my outfit. In the evening he wore a Massimo Dutti suit with a tie from Liberty London.

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

Our wedding lasted about two and a half hours. It started with Ankit’s arrival with his family to be greeted by my family. I made my entrance about an hour later. Our wedding was a lot shorter than an Indian ceremony can be. We had the ceremony in the Lady Elizabeth Wing and then moved on to the Marble Hall for champagne, and Indian canapes- including pani puri, mini idly, chilli paneer. We really wanted everyone to have fun and for our wedding to include a lot of little personal touches, so we served our favourite brownies from Stiffkey Stores at the drink’s reception. They were in a little bag for guests to take away.

Chris Taylor Photography

Chris Taylor Photography

We changed our clothes to ‘western’ wear for the evening. The reception was back in the Lady Elizabeth Wing where we had a plated halloumi starter, followed by sharing dishes of daal makhni, channa masala, paneer mahkani masala, chapatis bhatura and jeera rice. Dessert was chocolate cake with salted caramel and passion fruit.

Ronaldo’s came with an ice cream van at about 9.30pm with 10 of our favourite flavours including a bespoke flavour that we had especially made for us. It’s our favourite local ice cream shop. Our tables were named after different ice creams and everyone’s place name was their own little paper ice cream, so the theme ran throughout the day.

Chris Taylor Photography
Chris Taylor Photography

We had fireworks over the lake before our first dance to Coming Home by Leon Bridges. It was really hard to choose just one song. During dinner, we’d had Wandering Hands - a moving acoustic band - play requests to each table. Then after dinner DJ Jeremy Durrant played. My uncle Paddy also performed for 10 minutes as a special guest Elvis! He was brilliant!

I loved our whole wedding so much. I had thought I would be more stressed and that I wouldn’t have time to enjoy the day, but I think it was just the best experience, I was really calm throughout. Probably the most overwhelming feeling I had on the day was my brother walking me down the aisle (because my dad was already involved in the ceremony) with everyone turning to look at me, all clapping and smiling (and crying), it was both surreal and just an amazing feeling which lasted for the whole ceremony.

Chris Taylor Photography
Suppliers:

Flowers: Constance Rose

Cake: loveweddingcakes

Catering: The Admirable Crichton

Photographer: Chris Taylor

Videographer: Rajen Ambasna

Music: Jeremy Durrant

Band: Wandering Hands

Hair: Victoria Ralph

Make-Up: Melissa Abel

Artwork: Peter Kavanagh

Mehndi: Mehndi by Nadia

Fireworks: Titanium Fireworks

Lighting: Sam Race

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