Movies and TV have been the greatest influencers of the generation. Every aspect of life has become entwined with the world of entertainment and with it we’ve developed a new way of approaching relationships too. It’s set up this idea that if you’re lucky enough to meet your soul mate it will be all fireworks and pop ballads, but when it comes to real life, things are rarely so simple. For Nidha and Thomas it may not have been love at first sight but their relationship has definitely withstood the test of time. They first met in college seventeen years ago and although they were in the same social circle, their paths were in decidedly different directions. But three years ago when they met again through mutual friends they felt a shift and suddenly their friendship of over a decade was suddenly so much more. A definite case of a slow burn built up over many little moments of happiness.
Their family and friends were thrilled this year to learn about their engagement and were eager to begin plans for the wedding of their dreams. The groom’s side and the bride’s side did have one notable difference of opinion though, his side preferred a religious approach while hers considered themselves more spiritual than religious. India is still bound by traditional ideas when it comes to religion and interfaith couples are still a novelty to some.
In the end they settled on a non-denominational ceremony in which the focus was highlighting their love for each other and the future they hoped to share. They believe that the success of their relationship comes down to the fact that they didn’t get swept up in some fairytale daydream of love but always remembered that building a life together is rooted in practicality.
When it came to picking a venue, Nidha had a few elements that she refused to compromise on. She was determined for it to be an outdoor venue, one that had elements of the Earth and being a dog-owner, it had to be a place where her four-legged friends could also make the guest list. The Courtyard House fulfilled all these criteria and the whole family fell in love with it too. Her advice to plan a wedding that you’ll always look back on with joy – ‘Find something that echoes you as a couple to make it yours.’ On their big day it looked exactly like what they’d always had in mind, everything they wanted their wedding to be. It echoed their love of simplicity and nature and just made everyone want to have a good time.
Though Thomas comes from a religious background their decision to have a non-denominational ceremony goes a long way towards showing how far India has progressed. No longer is religion the foundation of a marriage and spending your life with your soulmate is no longer contingent up their beliefs. Inter-faith couples in India used to be a rarity, with societal judgment being an accepted side effect, but today modern values have integrated with old world sensibilities to allow couples the freedom of choice.
Nidha feels lucky to have had such a peaceful transition into married life with both their families and friends supporting them every step of the way. For so many couples autonomy is a distant dream as most Indian families consider nosiness a full time occupation. Her belief is that ‘At the end of the day, this is between two people, and only two people. Other people’s opinions just don’t matter’. In a country that claims to stand on secular grounds after being partitioned on religious ones, change comes slowly, but when it does, it’s definitely worth the wait.