Having so many beautiful weddings and events take place at Huntsham Court throughout the year, it’s hard to pin-point ones that stand out more than others, but Bijal and Lee’s wedding caught our attention, meaning we just had to know more from the Event Planner, Clare.
We caught up with Clare and asked her more about Bijal and Lee’s special wedding stay.
What were Bijal and Lee like as a couple?
Bijal and Lee were a delight to work with. They both had pressurised, busy and high-profile jobs which meant there wasn’t not much time for planning on their side, so a lot of help was needed over the course of the year leading up to June 2022. Initially we went through their ideas and plans to work on a schedule, giving us goals to achieve certain areas of planning as we headed towards the big day.
Tell us about your planning process for this event and how you brought their ideas together
Bijal and Lee’s attention to detail was second to none as the majority of their guests were flying in from abroad and so, understandably, Bijal did not want anything out of place.
Bijal was often working abroad herself, meaning planning had to fit in at any hour that was convenient, taking into consideration where she might be in the world. Part of our planning even consisted of zoom calls while they were on board a sailing boat which was challenging, but we achieved it, nonetheless.
Spreadsheets were key in our planning to pull this fabulous wedding weekend together, as there were so many moving parts to coordinate. We had spreadsheets for every detail, which proved invaluable as plans began to take shape.
Communication was key and we had frequent catchup calls to make sure that all was on track and to tick off points on the list as they were completed. We did manage to meet at the venue a couple of times to double check that everything that had been planned and discussed would work in practise.
One of my many challenges was to source a pure white horse which would transport the bridegroom and the bridegrooms party up the drive. As Lee did not ride and we would also have Indian Dohl drummers this was a challenge!
White horses (grey to us horsey folk) are not easy to find and Bijal insisted it needed to be pure white. After much searching, I found the perfect steed and prayed he would behave! There were additional events during the weekend leading up to the day – Mehndi – a henna ceremony on the Friday evening, Sangeet – a celebratory evening of dance and songs for the bride and her friends.
Bijal and Lee didn’t just have the one ceremony did they? Tell us a bit more about this
Lee is English and Bijal is from India and we needed to fit in the Indian wedding ceremony as well as the traditional English civil ceremony which meant a very full wedding day for suppliers, guests and planner alike.
The day started very early as the Indian ceremony began at 9.30am when all the guests gathered at the end of the drive together with Lee on the gorgeous ‘Bob the Cob’ – a particularly wonderful pure white horse who played a vital part in the procedure.
He behaved impeccably and didn’t turn a hair when the Dohl drummers began beating their drums and the procession started. What a spectacle it was! In spite of a little damp weather, spirits certainly weren’t dampened. The colourful outfits, chanting, drumming, cheering – it was a truly wonderful sight.
Lee, family and friends were then greeted by the bride’s Mother, the Hindu Priest Chanda and bridal party. After a welcome ceremony the party were led by the drummers round to the Dovecote which was used as the Mandap. Groom, Priest and family were required to take off their shoes and prepare for the hindu ceremony. Bijal and her bridesmaids arrived after the initial part of the ceremony was complete. The ceremony was followed by chai tea outside and then a vegetarian curry in the Yellow Room which was set up banquet style.
Guests had time to themselves after lunch and time to change for the next part of the day. Bijal had a complete change of dress and makeup for the western ceremony which took place in the Great Hall at the end of the day.
What were your favourite moments during their stay?
There were many favourite moments – the procession up the main drive with Lee on horseback and the Dhol drummers was probably my favourite. The hindu priest – Chanda – was wonderful and it was fascinating seeing how much is involved in a hindu ceremony. The colours, the outfits and the flowers were simply beautiful.
Henna on hands for bridal party and guests – Henna Peacock and The Henna Lady Bristol
Curry first evening – Ceylon Curry
Flowers – Earth Gallery
Picnic lunch for the Saturday – Devon Pantry
Vegetarian curry lunch on wedding day – Mesa Catering
Formal dinner on wedding day – Queen & Whippet
Band – The Soundcasters
Videographer – Blue Sage Films
Photographer – Evolve
Hair and makeup – Makeup by Emma