Fusion ‘Chindian’ Wedding in Phuket: Robynne & Aman
If you have family all around the world it can be difficult to decide where in the world you’re actually going to say your special vows.
Thailand can be a great place for a destination wedding and I’m feeling totally inspired by this beautiful ‘fusion’ wedding sent over by Gina Smith Photography.
The gorgeous Robynne & Aman had a beautiful day where they infused three cultures into one beautiful day – a traditional Indian wedding followed by a Chinese tea ceremony and then a traditional christian beach wedding.
So colourful, so beautiful and so elegant!
Words by Robynne. Images by Gina Smith Photography.
Aman and I met in the final year of medical school. We both were placed in the same small, sleepy sea side town for our medical attachment during winter.
In many ways it is a classic story. The shy glances (should have been paying attention to teaching!), the short but meaningful exchanges of conversation initially and everyone else being ‘in on it’ whilst we claimed innocence.
This translated 5 years later to Aman proposing to me in a tiny tent in the middle of a British summer storm. We spent the rest of our trip in Cornwall swanning around in a private cocoon of ‘just engaged’ bliss as we had minimal phone or internet access!
We both decided we wanted to get married in Thailand for a number of reasons. Amans’ British-Indian and my Canadian-Chinese background meant we had freedom over where to have our wedding as there was no obvious ideal location for all our friends and families all over the world.
We knew Thailand would be the perfect fusion of Indian and Chinese food, culture and hospitality. Finally, we decided we wanted to be somewhere unique and enjoy the big day which being in Phuket, Thailand certainly delivered!
We had 3 ‘ceremonies’. First the Indian wedding ceremony under a mandap (a canopy), second the Chinese tea ceremony where the newlyweds serve tea to their relatives and third, the Christian ceremony. All guests received a foldout with a summary of the days’ events including a breakdown of the Indian wedding ceremony which can be quite disorientating due to its many stages and being performed in Hindi and Sanskrit.
We quickly coined the term ‘Chindian‘ wedding for our fusion of backgrounds.
The whole style of the day at the Renaissance Resort & Spa in Phuket was relaxed, fun and beautiful thanks to The Wedding Bliss Thailand. The celebrations were all held outdoors which allowed us to bask in the sunshine and soak in the stunning natural environment.
My red dress was an international effort and was custom made. The December before the wedding both our families were united in England. We all went to Southall in London, which is regarded as ‘Little India’. The gents went and had tea whilst the ladies went wedding shopping.
The fabric, was bought from a humble little stall and we were all impressed by its ‘Chindian‘ pattern! This was then brought to Hong Kong, where my mother had a local tailor style it into a cheongsam- a traditional Chinese dress.
Another perfect wedding parallel of the two cultures was that the colour red strongly features in both Indian and Chinese weddings so I was able to wear my red dress in both the Indian wedding and Chinese tea ceremony.
In order to be more in tune with the Indian ceremony, I accessorised with an Indian headpiece called a tikka (Avari Jewlery, Wembly in London), Indian bangals (local stores, Wembly in London and Leicester), which were painstakingly yet effortlessly matched together by my sister-in-law.
She also lent me her wedding earrings, which is a small touch I cherish. My chunni (Indian wedding veil) was custom made in India as I did not want a typically ornate and heavy veil.
This was overseen by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law when they went to India, whilst Aman’s father, brother and cousin selected his sherwani & pagri (Indian outfit & wedding hat) in the same trip. Bridal mehndi on the palms only added a further flourish of Indian style without overpowering the Christian ceremony later on the same day.
When the Indian wedding ceremony ended, I removed my Indian accessories, so that I was simply in my cheongsam, ready for the Chinese tea ceremony. I especially wanted the back of the cheongsam to display the fabric pattern whilst we served tea.
Aman changed into a Kurta which is another type of Indian outfit but its collar happened to emulate a traditional Chinese collar, which was another perfect fusion into Chinese culture. With the addition of a few red double happiness decorations to the Indian wedding mandap, the area seemed to transform into the perfect Chinese tea ceremony setting.
Lunchtime, whilst the guests played water polo, ate and relaxed, I had a paddle in the pool villa with my bridesmaids, which is another surreal and happy moment I treasure. My dress for the Christian ceremony was by Demetrios, a Greek designer based in New York.
I did not anticipate that my dress would be the dress of my choice but as soon as I put it on (urged by a friend who had been through the process of wedding dress shopping) I just knew instantly that it was the dress I wanted to be married in because I felt a perfect balance of feeling special but still feeling myself in it.
I loved the subtle sweetheart neckline, the slim fit, the sprinkling of beading over French lace and French buttons on the back. I never usually wear strapless clothes and felt if ever, my wedding would be the right occasion!
My shoes were also an instant meant-to-be purchase by Dune. They were dainty, elegant and sandals which was ideal for an outdoor wedding and for someone who wanted to be comfortable throughout the day.
Sitting in the light and airy mandap, walking down the aisle to my own written music, dancing under lanterns & paper cranes and the after party are some of the best moments we recall.
Gina Smith Photography’s team did a stellar job capturing the day in more detail in photo and video than even we can remember!
A major plus point for destination weddings is that more time is dedicated together and being able to spend days before and after the wedding with our loved ones was truly the most wonderful memory of all.
What an absolutely stunning fusion wedding and beautiful images from Gina Smith Photography!
Massive congrats to the lovely Robynne and Aman – wishing you both a long and very happy marriage.