Tartan and Henna – a marriage of two cultures

Today, there is an increase in the number of multicultural weddings as many people who come from diverse cultures and backgrounds decide to get married to each other. Unsurprisingly, during their wedding ceremony they want to incorporate aspects of both their cultures, and show that their marriage is a fusion of their different traditions and customs. Sheila and Nigel, a recently wed couple, did just that. Sheila and Nigel met at a friend’s wedding, as they both worked at the same law firm but had never met. They hit it off immediately, and Sheila says that, “Needless to say we didn't speak to many other people that night!” Nigel was living in Dubai at that time, so it wasn’t clear what would happen next, but he later invited Sheila to dinner and they had a great time, which simply confirmed how well they got on. According to Sheila, he was “a perfect gentleman!”

Last November, the couple got engaged while trekking in Nepal. Nigel lugged a bottle of champagne with two glasses in a rucksack during their trek, prepared for a very romantic proposal. After 6 days of hiking, they stopped at Sing Gompa, a place with unrivalled views of the Himalayas. It was sunset and they’d just had their first hot shower of the week and were relaxing and listening to Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en Rose’ on the iPod. Nigel later said that at that moment Sheila was looking “radiant” in the evening light – the big moment had arrived! Nigel asked Sheila to marry him and without a moment’s hesitation, Sheila said “I’d love to” and then asked him to repeat the question so she could say “yes”! Nigel has said that that “yes” is the single most significant and happy word that anyone has ever spoken to him.

Nigel is Scottish and Sheila is half Indian half Scottish, so they decided to have a Scottish-Indian wedding. They got married at the magnificent Stirling castle in Scotland.

Sheila and Nigel's Wedding
Sheila and Nigel's Wedding

About the themes and colours of the wedding, Sheila says that, “My grandparents are Goan, and my mother is fairly westernised, so I don't have enormous amounts of Indian culture in my day-to-day life. However, I knew I wanted to do something a little different and incorporate some aspects of Indian culture into the wedding. It's the blessing and curse of mixed race children perhaps; you don't feel comfortable entirely committing to one culture or the other! So I initially opted for an Indian wedding dress, well firstly I'd wanted Indian colours in the dress fabric, then upon going to a couple of Indian bridal shows, I decided on a modern lengha. I was able to have some light gold/cream in a nod to a western dress, together with a more traditional maroon, all with co-ordinating embroidery, and a blue/turquoise scarf which had elements of Nigel's kilt colours in it.” Sheila had henna designs on her hands and feet and beaded bracelets on her wrists. Their flowers were all brightly coloured and Sheila carried red and orange calla lilies, all of which toned in beautifully both with the Indian and Scottish aspects of the ceremony.

For the wedding invitations, Sheila was keen to continue the bright Indian colours. She says, "I couldn't imagine having a gilt edged cream invite, it's just not me. ananya created a fantastic turquoise invite with a paisley design which clearly embodied the mix of Scottish and Indian cultures, and in a contemporary way. Shocking pink combined perfectly with the base colour. We loved our invitations, as did our guests, as we received numerous compliments on the richness of the colours and the embossed texture. It felt bespoke without the price tag!"

Sheila believes that in order to have a stress free wedding, it’s best to incorporate what you want as it’s your day. She also says that it’s best not to get stressed if things do happen to go wrong on the day, as everyone is usually too busy enjoying themselves to notice. She avoided some traditions which she felt were unnecessary, such as cake, since it was an evening wedding, and they extended the canapés and drinks on the day, as that has always been their favourite part of weddings.

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!