Imagine not only organising one wedding - but several - doing much of the decorating yourself. Can't be done? See for yourself at Sam and Heinz's garden wedding and bold Bollywood ceremony.

Wedding Photographers Lahza Photography

Bollywood wedding theme

A year in the making - with four months of in-the-thick-of-it wedding planning, Samantha and Heinz's wedding was a creative, colourful celebration of Bengali heritage with a modern western twist to create a love story well worth sharing.

And while trying to cleverly combine a fusion of cultures, religions and two senses of style was a massive undertaking - Samantha loves riotous colour while Heinz is more a minimalist - the couple found a solution by staging several wedding "events", each with its own theme, rather than having to please everyone in the one big do.

Even more incredible is the fact they did it all without a wedding planner in sight, instead opting to make the most of the bride's love of styling and creating themes and the groom's expertise as an architect and graphic designer to put on a show like no other.

The wedding dress and wedding jewellery

Right from the outset, Sam knew she wouldn't wear a conventional white wedding dress, but she also didn't fancy the traditional Indian bridal red either - so she set about looking for a white saree, perusing the bridal couture of some of her favourite designers before her wedding shopping trip to India and Bangladesh.

Not wanting to spend days trawling the boutiques of India and Bangladesh, Sam found a collection she loved, went to the store as soon as she landed, found the dress she'd seen online and fell instantly in love. The result? Her divine dress which is reminiscent of Mughal times with vintage Bollywood and 1920s flapper twist. The mother of the bride and Sam's sister also picked their outfits from the same boutique. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Grooms accessories : tie and cuff links

As for the groom, Heinz had his suit tailor made in Bangladesh, while his vintage typewriter letter cufflinks were a special gift from Samantha.

Heinz and Samantha had both a civil ceremony and a traditional Muslim ceremony, which was held earlier, writing their own vows using inspiration found online and from their celebrant, paired with a quirky mix of readings, including one from Dr Seuss and one from Nobel Laureate and Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

For the couple's traditional Bengali Gaye Holud ritual, Chapel Street's cool crowd were treated to a parade of women in spectacular sarees and kurta-clad men as guests filed into the Prahran Town Hall to feed the couple sweets and apply turmeric paste to their face and hands to purify them - before indulging in a spot of Bollywood dancing for good measure. Colour is close to Sam's heart and the venue was decked out in yellows, pinks, greens and gorgeous gold adding to the joyful, party ambience.

Next on the schedule was a Mehndi or "henna" party for female family and friends which was held at Sam's parents' house, re-using much of the décor from the town hall ritual and adding sarees and floral garlands to create a colour explosion in the house while the bride-to-be's hands and feet were beautifully detailed with intricate henna designs.

Outdoor wedding ceremony at Victoria Gardens Melbourne

For their garden nuptials, the couple chose the intimate and beautiful Victoria Gardens, the spot where Heinz had proposed, decorating with a pared back rustic autumn theme featuring a silver birch arch with cascading roses and ferns, pews with henna-decorated mason jars, a chalkboard with a quote from a poem Heinz had written to Sam earlier in their courtship and a scattering of bright seasonal blooms to keep the bride happy!

DIY Drinks station at a garden wedding ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, guests were delighted by the gorgeous drinks and sweets station styled by Samantha's friends with striped straws, mason jars, mojitos, Aperol Spritz, Dark and Stormy all underneath a canopy of beautiful hanging lanterns.

Sam and Heinz's reception was held at Encore at the iconic St Kilda Sea Baths, an easy pick since it showcased a special part of Melbourne and boasted terrific beach and city views to impress the many international family and friends who made the long trip to join the celebrations.

The table settings for the reception were decked out with colourful autumn leaves, moss, branches, metallic mercury glass tea lights, scattered jam jars and vases and an explosion of Sam's favourite flowers in an eclectic look that could have fallen from the pages of a magazine.

Wishing Well box from Etsy

The well-travelled pair chose the names of their fave cities instead of table numbers - 18 in total - and commissioned one of the clever peeps from Etsy to make a rustic wooden box with handpainted names on top as an original wishing well.

Heinz and Sam used their divine DIY skills to design their own invitations and wedding stationery, including an infographic about their meeting with customised graphics for each separate event, while large carnival-style lights in their initials added the wow factor both at the Gaye Holud and the wedding reception - a trend Sam expects to see more of at weddings this year and beyond.

Red velvet wedding cake

Sam's aunt made the two-tiered fairytale-style red red velvet cake covered in moss and flowers which she finished off with a cute cake topper sourced from Etsy, while the couple and their friends put together bomboniere pouches of Indian Masala Chai together with individual swing tags, recipes and Italian biscotti in a node to Heinz's heritage.

While the couple's music tastes don't typically collide, they do share a love of Motown, taking to the floor for their first dance to an Otis Redding number before dancing to the tunes of one of Melbourne's favourite live soul bands Fransisco Tavares and Friends.

The bouquet toss

Looking back, Sam nominates the Gaye Holud as one of her favourite aspects of the wedding, saying it was more vibrant and magical than even she had anticipated, while Heinz loved the range of events, from the small and intimate to big festive extravaganzas, which were able to capture the very best of both cultures.

Of course there's always something that goes a little askew on the day, and this wedding was no exception, with Heinz's best man, his brother, falling ill after the ceremony and ending up in hospital during the reception - missing his speech entirely.

When all was said and done, the couple enjoyed a fabulous family brunch at the Stones of Yarra Valley with their family and overseas guests to say thank you before they started heading home; followed by a surprise five-day honeymoon in Port Douglas organised by Sam's sister and her friends.

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