Real Wedding – Heshan & Inakshi, Coldstream VIC
In just four months, Inakshi and Heshan pulled off the ultimate glam wedding which has our eyes glued to the screen. After visiting Stones of the Yarra Valley and being told there was a cancellation available, they took it as a sign and jumped straight into planning mode.
They rounded up the most divine group of vendors to help piece their day together, knowing full well that everyone on board shared their vision for a calming, romantic and love filled day. And Liz Barnes’s photos are the proof in the pudding. She captured the joyful and cheshire grins of all their guests, the glances of utter adoration between the newly betrothed and all the delicate details that were a pure reflection of Heshan and Inakshi’s essence.
Everything truly was seamless, meaningful and magical, not to mention ever so stylish, with both Heshan and Inakshi taking the white dress and white suit combo to a whole new level.
We met in uni in 2009 through mutual friends. According to a facebook post from 2009, Heshan asked Inakshi for the time, she accidentally gave him the wrong time and he wrote on her facebook wall saying he would never ask her for the time again (not knowing that he would end up asking her what the time was for the rest of his life!) We had a lot of mutual friends and spent a lot of time together over the years.
We eventually developed a strong friendship, going to lots of concerts and musicals, comparing our sleep cycles, doing a daily gratitude practice together and bonding over memes. In 2019 during a dinner catch up, Heshan realised something was a bit different between us – Inakshi however was a bit slower to realise what was happening. It took us about five months after that to officially start dating as we (mostly Inakshi) panicked about what it would be like to date a good friend – turned out it was a great idea!
In the year leading up to when we officially started dating, we felt like we were constantly being drawn together and there were clear signs that there was a greater purpose for us beyond just friendship. We eventually pulled the plug on the friendship and made it official. Our connection felt simple, peaceful and just made a lot of sense. We both felt so centered around each other and it didn’t take us long to realise that this was real.
Heshan proposed last October and as we were in lockdown at the time, he had to do a lot of planning without knowing when it would end and where he would do it. He had a few contingency plans (a plan A, B and C to be exact). He eventually went with proposing at a property in the Dandenong Ranges (Aquila Nova Retreat) in the glass house conservatory in their gardens. Inakshi grew up playing the violin and she had been fangirling over an amazing violinist on Instagram named Evie. Heshan reached out to Evie and asked her to serenade our proposal by learning two songs – Runaway by The Corrs (Inakshi loved The Corrs growing up) and As the Deer, a special hymn based on Psalm 42. Heshan told Inakshi that we were going to a birthday picnic for a friend and rounded up his brother, one of our mutual friends and Evie to help him out on the day.
He didn’t get a chance to visit the property at all, so had to rely on this group to set everything up (and they nailed it!) Inakshi helpfully made things more difficult on the day, insisting on wearing comfy baggy jeans and a big puffer jacket rather than listening to Heshan who told her to dress nicely and also by packing a bag full of food for the fake picnic. When we got to the property, Heshan had to wrestle the big bag of food out of Inakshi’s hands and get her out of her puffer jacket to drag her up the pathway to the conservatory which was lined with rose petals and candles. We finally went inside, as Inakshi kept asking “What is happening?”, Heshan proposed, Inakshi cried (a lot) and we went onto have an amazing weekend – massages, dinner at The Independent in Gembrook and surprise family gathering the next day.
Soon after we got engaged, we went to visit Stones of the Yarra Valley and we loved it straightaway. As soon as we entered the Chapel, we just couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else. We also loved the idea of having our whole wedding day on the one property so our guests wouldn’t have to travel between the ceremony and reception. The day before we visited Stones, a couple had happened to cancel for a Saturday in March 2022 – which was only four months away at the time! We weren’t planning on getting married so fast, but Stones is so popular that getting a Saturday date so quickly is virtually impossible. We took all this as a sign that the date was meant for us and decided to just go for it. Planning a wedding so fast was actually a blessing in disguise. We had to make fast, sharp decisions which meant not overthinking it all. We focused on picking suppliers who aligned with our values as a couple and our vision for the day. We also spreadsheeted everything and had weekly meetings with each other to make sure nothing would slip through the cracks.
We wanted our day to evoke feelings of simplicity, peace and love for all our guests. Stones is the ultimate rustic, yet classic venue and makes you feel like you have been transported to Tuscany, with the backdrop of rolling hills, rustic buildings and beautiful scenery. You can’t help but feel calm and romance when you’re at Stones, and having our wedding there helped bring out these feelings.
Instagram was a great source of inspiration. Going through Stones’ Instagram and ‘The Providore Styling’s’ Instagram (they are Stones exclusive florist) helped us get an idea of what kind of styling worked in the space. We also got a lot of ideas from our photographer’s Instagram page (Liz Barnes)- she captures a lot of weddings that matched the vibe of what we wanted for our day. We also looked at a lot of Real Weddings on Ivory Tribe, especially any weddings at wineries or in the Yarra Valley, which gave us lots of ideas on what would suit our wedding day.
We created our ceremony wanting all our guests to feel included and to experience what love means to us (as Christians, that is a love that is unconditional). The most significant part of the ceremony was making a commitment to each other before God and in front of our closest family and friends. It was a special moment reading our vows and making a promise to choose each other every day, through both good times and difficult times. Other moments that made the ceremony special included that instead of a bridal party, we had our immediate family as our bridal procession – it was really meaningful to have them leading us into marriage. Also Evie, our violinist from the proposal, played at our wedding, serenading all our guests as they arrived and then playing the two songs from our proposal for the procession and bridal entrance – we loved being able to share those two songs with all our guests. She also moved a lot of people to tears (including Heshan!)
For Inakshi, getting a wedding dress in four months felt like a challenge but again was a blessing in disguise because there was no time to overanalyse it. I tried on so many dresses and loved basically all of them, but the one I chose felt a lot like me but just a little bit extra. I knew I wanted a dress with a lot of detail and sparkle and my dress suited the venue and vibe of the day perfectly. The designer of the dress, Wedding Societe, describes their dresses as “wedding dresses for the romantic bohemian bride, designed for the free spirited bride who wants to make a statement whilst letting her feminine beauty shine through” – which summed up what I was after! I was also set on the Loeffler Randall Dahlia shoes – they are so pretty, but practical.
For Heshan, he wanted a suit that stood out without being too bold and wanted something that felt pure and Christ-like. A fully white suit fit that description perfectly. His suit was custom made by The Suit Concierge and it turned out even better than we could have imagined!
The whole ceremony was so perfect for us. It felt so intimate, and it was so special to share our love and what love means to us with all our guests. Our musicians were incredible also and elevated the experience for everyone there. We also did a reception entry dance with both our parents to “Hey Ya” by Outkast, which everyone found hilarious and was something no one expected. Another favourite moment for both of us looking around the room at the ceremony and reception and seeing so many of our closest family and friends in the one place. It’s not that often in life that you get to gather all those people in one room, and we felt very blessed to experience that.
Meaning of marriage.
We had a sign at the entrance of the Chapel which quoted a bible verse which talks about marriage as two people being “No longer two, but one”. That sums a lot of it up for us – it is the ultimate union of two people and a commitment to be of service to one another for life.
Procession: Runaway by The Corrs
Bride Entrance: As the Deer by Martin Nystrom
Signing: O Perfect Love by Dorothy Frances Gurney
Recessional: Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader
Reception Entry: Timber by Kesha
First Dance: Even When I’m Sleeping by Leonardo’s Bride
Funny stories or near disasters.
Inakshi’s wedding dress was only ready three days before the wedding – it arrived a month late and needed a few rounds of alterations – it was very stressful at the time, but it all worked out! We also decided to write individual messages to all 172 of our wedding guests which ended up taking FOREVER – we wanted each one to be meaningful but didn’t realise how long it would take. We were getting so annoyed writing the messages (which was ironic given the messages were meant to be heartfelt), but it paid off.
The costs! It all starts to add up quite fast. Also, the sheer magnitude of planning a wedding, especially in only four months. It really feels like another full-time job.
Words of wisdom.
Plan something that feels true to who you are as a couple and think about the experience you are creating for all of your guests – we felt our wedding wasn’t just about the two of us, but about creating a meaningful, experience that everyone in attendance could feel a part of. The best compliments we received from our guests were that they could see the two of us in every detail of our wedding day and that things felt seamless, heavenly and magical.
Are favours something you’d like to gift your guests? Read our latest post about the ins and outs and whether favours stay or go.
HESHAN & INAKSHI’S VENDORS
Ceremony & Reception venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley
Celebrant/Officiant: Inakshi’s uncle
Photography: Liz Barnes Photo – Liz’s instagram caught our eye immediately and she turned out to be an absolute gem, adding so much more value beyond her amazing photography through all her helpful wedding planning suggestions.
Videography: Lensure – Once we looked at Liz’s Instagram, Lensures popped up and their videography style matches her candid light and bright photos and we were really happy with what they captured that day with basically no direction from us!
Styling and Florist: The Providore Styling
Hair: Shelby Rose
Make Up: Velvet Thi
Veil / headwear: Inakshi’s sister’s veil
Rings: Novita Diamonds
Suits & Ties: The Suit Concierge
Catering & Bar: Stones of the Yarra Valley
Favors: Sri Lankan wedding cake
Cake / Cake topper: Mad About Cakes
Stationery / Signage: All signs/stationery made using designs found on Etsy
Entertainment: Ceremony: Evangeline Victoria & Sam Loomes – As mentioned before, we also found Evie, our violinist, on Instagram and she is unbelievably talented and all our guests were just blown away by her talent. Reception: DJ Funkee (Eranga)
Honeymoon: Europe (Italy, Greece, Spain)
Other: Photobooth – 123 Photobooth