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Minimalist Cultural Fusion Wedding | Wintergardens, Auckland Domain

This bright, beautiful and unconventional wedding captured by Santana Maria Photography will inspire all couples wanting a minimalist and alternative wedding celebrating different cultures or styles! Enjoy!

“We had an evening ceremony, as we had to wait for the Wintergardens to close to the public. We had around 70 guests there for a standing ceremony. I walked the aisle by myself, and I chose to walk in toward the guests rather than from behind, which was quite emotional. It was a long walk from one end of the courtyard to the other, and seeing all the faces of our friends and family staring toward me made the moment feel very real. That image is one that will stick in my memory the most from the day. The gardens and courtyard are so stunning that no decorations were needed. We literally just put a sign outside so people knew they were in the right place, and a trestle table for drinks, and that was it. We wrote our own vows in to little notebooks, and heard them for the first time that day. Mine were so much longer than Rupaks! When we signed the registry we had Stevie Wonder ‘signed, sealed, delivered’ playing, it was fun having a little boogie while waiting for our mothers to sign the registry.” – Kathryn (the bride!)

Who Kathryn + Rupak
Where Wintergardens, Auckland Domain
Guests 70

Our love story began…

I’m a secondary school fashion design and technology teacher, and Rupak is a data analyst. We met at an ANZAC day party of a mutual friend. I had seen a photo of Rupak online so I knew he existed, but didn’t realise he would be there at this party. Toward the end of the night Rupak was ‘tearing up the dance floor’ – (his words not mine) and I was standing around not knowing anyone after my one and only friend at this party had left. So I joined Rupak on the dance floor. We went our separate ways that night without each other’s numbers or anything, but Rupak found me on Facebook a few days later and arranged our first date – me measuring him for a custom made suit… That is a whole other story…

I said yes…

Rupak proposed to me on my birthday. It was not romantic at all but it was the perfect proposal for us. Rupak gave me my birthday present early in the morning, it was a Meadowlark box. I got excited thinking it was a proposal as the ring I wanted for an engagement ring was a Meadowlark one. Sadly it was not. But then we took the dog for a walk on the beach, and Rupak sat me down and said he had a second gift. “It comes with a condition though – you have to marry me”, to which I said “okay … “, because the usual “yes” didn’t quite work seeing has he hadn’t actually asked. I took the box off him and put the ring on my finger myself, we had a quick kiss, a car honked at us, and the dog started getting restless from sitting for so long. So we walked home and that was that.

Our wedding style inspiration was…

We aren’t really into the whole theme thing, but I think all the elements came together pretty nicely regardless. We wanted to create a really subtle fusion of Indian and Kiwi culture through our food, music, colour scheme, stationery etc. I also have a preference to lean toward a more minimal aesthetic so that was of course going to drive some of the decisions too.

We saved by…

Having a fashion degree finally paid off here, as I made my own dress. I knew early on that I wouldn’t like anything in the stores as I wanted something super minimalist. I made it at work so that Rupak didn’t see it until the big reveal. I loved the gold exposed zip at the back and the little lower back cut-out as that gave it just enough of a point of difference without being over the top. I also changed in to a beautiful blue and gold Saree later in the evening after our first dance. The accessories I wore were very special to me. My grandparents are all passed away and it was important to me to feel that my Grandmother and Grandad from my Mother’s side both had a presence in the day somehow. I wore my grandmother’s pearl ring, and my grandfather’s gold watch. I loved being able to look down at my hands and see a symbol of my grandparents and new husband all in one place. I also received a special necklace during the ceremony – a Mangalsutra. It’s a Hindu custom similar to the ring; the wife wears it to symbolise she is married. This was bought over from England for me by my in-laws.

Rupak also put my fashion degree (and our first date) to good use by wearing one of his custom made suits I had measured him for. It was all in the details with his outfit, with his pocket square, shoe laces, socks, tie, and even the stitching on his white shirt, all being the same shade of burgundy as my nails and lips. His tie clip was also rose gold to match my engagement ring and hair clips. He had joked a few months before the wedding about how he’d be wearing his sports watch. Thankfully I was able to talk him in to upgrading to a really nice Daniel Wellington watch, so he wore that on the day instead.

For our wedding rings, we both got a simple band from Pascoes when they had 40% off. Neither of us were even sure if we wanted a wedding band, so we went for something cheaper so that we could splurge in other areas.

There were other smaller elements of the day we did ourselves too, such as all the paper goods, my makeup, our vow books. The list goes on. But the one thing that stands out the most, was our place settings / favours. For each of our guests we picked out a photo of one or both of us with them, and stuck this in to a polaroid style cardboard frame which I had made using the laser cutter at work. On the back of this frame was a personalised message to them about why they are so special to us, or a fond memory we have with them. We actually made these twice. The first time I hand wrote every message, and we used coloured card to match our colour scheme. After making all 60 I decided I hated them, so we started again with white card, and laser etched the messages. It was cool watching our guest’s reactions when they sat down and read their message, or reminisced on when the photo was taken.

We splurged on…

We did pretty well at sticking to our budget. Originally we wanted to challenge ourselves to do a wedding for $10,000, but then once we had explored all our options of venues etc we had to increase that. But we are really happy with what we were able to put together for our budget of $17,000.

Photography by Santana with Lauren from the Lauren and Delwyn project as the second shooter. We knew Santana was the photographer for us after our initial meeting – she was relaxed and she got our humour. We felt really at ease with both these lovely ladies and they made the hours pass by quickly with lots of laughs.

Our reception venue was TriBeCa restaurant, just a 10 minute stroll from the Wintergardens. We couldn’t have asked for better service and food. We had canapes outside in the courtyard as the sun was setting, and the biggest glasses of wine we’ve ever seen! There were anti pasti platters, as well as platters of a favourite Indian snack, Dahi Puri. Guests moved inside for a plated service dinner. The tables were set with glass jars I had spent months collecting and peeling labels off, and these jars were filled with fern foliage and carnations in deep red, orange, and purple shades. Tea light candles set the mood (and a couple of small fires during dinner!), as did fairy light curtains along one of the walls. Every table also had its own polaroid camera for guests to use, and these were such a hit! Guests had pre-ordered their mains, one of which was a kiwi-indian fusion meal; NZ lamb, with a yoghurt and cumin sauce, it was a popular choice for our overseas guests who have obviously heard great things about NZ lamb. We also served a duck dish, and a curry as the vegetarian option. Dessert was our highlight, we had alternate drop, and we both fought over the chocolate pave with espresso foam and brandy snap bits! The meals were plated so beautifully and the food was cooked perfectly. We were definitely happy we chose a well-established restaurant as our reception venue.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Decide early what your priorities and non-negotiables are, as well as the things you don’t mind skimping on. It will help with keeping to the budget later on. For example we didn’t care so much about rings and flowers and table settings, for us we wanted to spend our money on the things that would give our guests the best time possible – good food, good wine, good music.


Photographer Santana Maria Photography
FlowersLibby Brickell Flowers
Venues The Wintergardens + Tribeca, Auckland
Catering Triebca Restaurant, Auckland
Stationery + Signage
Hair Ashlee Bierens from McInnes & Co
 Kerry Sorensen – Tyrer
Brides Dress
 DIY Kathryn Patel
Grooms Suit + Accessories DIY Kathryn Patel, watch Daniel Wellington

Rings Pascoes

Music DJ : Mark Glide from Audioclub

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