The dreamy wedding story of the chirpy and enterprising bride Anu George Canjanathoppil to Sachin Louis on the 24th of October 2016 in Bangalore, revives our dreams of the perfect fairytale that springs from an arranged marriage.
“Yes, mine was actually an arranged marriage. Some of my colleagues expressed surprise when they heard that my marriage was arranged because they saw me as an independent and dynamic personality. But I actually feel that having your family find a suitable life partner for you is possibly one of the best ways,’ says Anu. ‘My parents had been wanting me to get married for eight years, and I kept refusing without even knowing why.”
Finally, when her brother insisted that she talk to this person that he had narrowed down on from more than one lakh potential grooms on an online matrimonial site, Anu finally said yes. “So he really was one man in a million, you see,’ she laughs. ‘After that first conversation with Sachin, something clicked. I felt like right then, I had made myself emotionally available, and so I decided to give it a shot.”
Then follows the cinematic account of the couple’s first meeting. Anu had gone home to Kerala to celebrate Onam with her family and was surprised by the arrival of her relatives.
Soon after, she was surprised again by the arrival of Sachin’s father and later, Sachin himself, whose arrival was so unexpected that she dropped the plate of pappads she was carrying, which he hastily rescued from a perilous drop to the floor. (Sigh, this is just like a scene from a movie!)
A period of courtship followed, too soon end in the positive answer that both families were waiting for. So now that the couple could imagine spending their lives together in bliss, the wedding arrangements went ahead in full swing.
“What really worried me while planning my wedding was the fact that it was happening far away from where I stayed, so normally challenging wedding planning to become twice as hard. Thanks to my past experience in event management, I had a fairly good idea of all the things that had to be done, and so the mammoth tasks didn’t overwhelm me,” she says.
A surprising fact is that Anu was in the U.S. for work till nine days before her wedding, and there was very little time for her to shop for jewelry (which she picked out in hardly fifteen minutes while shopping with her mother) or decorate the church (which had a funeral service only half an hour before the wedding was scheduled).
Despite all these time constraints, Anu managed to participate in planning her own wedding, and not just arrive in time to walk down the aisle.
“My friends and I decorated the church ourselves with rented-out metal buckets filled with baby’s breath flower buds. The night before the wedding, my family and I sat up tying ribbons on the buckets. We also filled plain water glasses with twigs and tiny tea lights for the centrepieces. It was so much fun! I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” she smiles.
And here’s something to give us major wedding outfit goals. This super creative woman actually designed her own wedding sari. From shopping for the material, designing it, and getting it tailored, Anu George was in charge of creating her own wedding sari. ‘I really didn’t want to wear something right off the shelves that had no special meaning to me,’ she says.
“I wanted everything in my wedding to be personal and meaningful to me, and also to others. For example, the ‘thank-you’ gifts were plant seeds, which could remind our guests of us every time a flower bloomed in their garden.”
When it came to the challenges of wedding planning, Anu George confesses that she was a very ‘chilled-out-bride’. Of course, every step was a challenge, and different things demanded her attention at different stages. But Anu had love and support every step of the way. ‘Sachin’s family was very supportive.
The whole wedding was organised in partnership with them. And Sachin was one in a million, as I mentioned earlier because he understood the value of my job and knew how much a part of me it was, to move to Delhi after marriage. And my family and friends were there for me throughout.
Even friends who flew in from all parts of the world worked in collaboration with each other prior to their arrival, and one of my closest friends who couldn’t be there for the wedding kept sending pictures of ideas for decorations and outfits,’ says Anu.
As for what she wants to tell future brides, Anu George says, “I think what really worked for me was that no one gave me advice, knowing how I’m comfortable being myself. If you are not comfortable, you are not beautiful – you need to be comfortable with what you’re wearing, what you’re doing, and what kind of setting you want. Don’t do it for other people, do it for yourself. And don’t stress out and miss all the fun. It’s your day.”
But Anu also adds, “The reason I wanted a low budget wedding was because I kept in mind the many suffering children who lack basic food and education and would benefit from all the money I would otherwise have wasted. In fact, the first time we met, Sachin told me he loves to spend, and that shocked me. I work for an anti-trafficking organisation, so I’m sensitised to the suffering of people who have nothing. That’s the reason I told him how I felt about spending too much on a lavish wedding, and we both resolved that our wedding wouldn’t be a waste of money. I feel that as much as your wedding is about you, it shouldn’t be only about you. I had everything I wanted, and I never felt inadequate. The knowledge that I didn’t waste any money on unnecessary things for my wedding was what made me feel truly beautiful.”
The stellar moments of her wedding that Anu treasures include the coming together of all her friends from different circles to choreograph a dance to perform the day before the wedding, walking out of the church holding hands as a married couple for the first time, and the moment that she and Sachin exchanged rings. “I would say that the feeling of Sachin putting the ring on my finger was one of my favourites.”
Everything just felt right, you know. And the first time I walked into his house is still fresh in my mind. It was everything I imagined. But to those girls who believe in fairytales and castles, I would say that even a simple home can make your heart flutter because that’s where the one you belong with belongs. It’s a feeling that’s beyond magical.’
So this is the story of Anu & Sachin. Do you like this story? Tell us your views about Anu & Sachin’s simplicity in the comment section.
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