GC Couture & Four Seasons : A Beautiful Collaboration

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It’s always exciting to hear when two luxury purveyors get together, so we were delighted to find out that our dear friends over at the Four Seasons have joined forces with GC Couture, the luxury cake designers, to offer a range of ultimate wedding experiences. The packages at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Canary Wharf.

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The highlight of each carefully crafted package, is that includes an especially designed GC Couture wedding cake. An enviable treat, for those who don’t know GC Couture is one of the trend setters of cake design in the city of London. Their designs are the epitome of beauty, with an array of flavours to make the mouth water.

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GC Couture’s experienced culinary chefs constantly thrive to create new and exciting recipes to add to the existing 24 cake flavour portfolio. GC Couture uses only the finest ingredients for their cakes and fillings which make them deliciously light & moist, leaving their clients devouring every crumb.

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As part of the package, guests are able to work with the experts at GC Couture to create a stunning bespoke wedding cake for their wedding day, so it’s a real one-to-one experience, something which is so rarely thought of, even by the most intimately fashioned wedding packages.

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The 50 uniquely developed flavours to choose from include chocolate & orange, apple crumble, coconut and lime, fruitcake (without the bits), and pina colada.With so many beautiful shapes and designs to choose from, the bride and groom are truly spoilt for choice.

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To top this, guests booking a wedding package at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf will receive complimentary accommodation for the bridal couple on the wedding night, a ‘getting ready’ room for the bride, and preferential rates for up to ten rooms for friends and family. Now, the word “amazing” simply doesn’t do it justice, this is package is simply out of this world! Xx

Photos courtesy of GC Couture

Support Sephi Bergerson’s Project: Behind The Indian Veil

The amazing Sephi Bergerson, a documentary photographer and Think Shaadi Community Member, came to India in 2002. Fascinated with the idea of documenting Indian weddings, in all their rich diversity, he set out on his journey. Now, he is putting together a beautiful book titled Behind the Indian Veil: Weddings in India.

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A visually rich book, it will explore the uncharted territory of highlighting differing wedding traditions across the country, with each photo painstakingly put together, the effort Sephi and his team have put in to it is truly amazing.

Now in the final stages of production, Sephi needs your help. His IndieGoGo campaign is in its last 5 days, and the goal he needs to reach is $42,000.

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We at Think Shaadi wish Sephi the best of luck and we already know the book will be amazing Xx

To Support the Book, please follow the link here

Alison Price & Company’s Seasonal Wedding Showcase

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A few weeks back, Alison Price & Company launched their seasonal wedding showcase at the ambient Two Temple Place in London. We at Think Shaadi were honoured to be invited along.

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The event was a microcosm of luxury, beauty and grandeur, a true treat to behold. Alison Price & Company has a strong reputation for creating memorable events, where every element is given strict attention, so we were certain it would be an amazing one.

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The seasonal wedding showcase brought together a wealth of talent, from designers, florists, chefs, caterers etc, each one bringing their creativity to the forefront.

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With a concentration on the changing seasons, we sampled a captivating array of treats, including summer deserts, spring afternoon teas and a fantastical winter wonderland bar. The little touches are what made the event extra special, with ornately decorated halls between the showrooms, sweetly designed menus and invitations by Piccolo Press, enchanting background music etc.

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Two of the creatives involved with the showcase were our wonderful Think Shaadi partners, Shane Connolly & Company and Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium.

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The florist Shane Connolly & Company put together some truly show stopping floral arrangements. Working with a palette of rich colours, reds, purples, pinks etc, along with this there were beautiful embellishments with differing berries and summer/autumnal vegetables. It was an evocative display which certainly captured the essence of each season.

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Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium pulled out all the stops, with an ebullient selection of four and six tier wedding cakes, like some Bernini sculpture, the cakes were fashioned in brilliant white with gold motifs, which had a feel reminiscent of the Baroque, lots of intricate patterns and symbols.

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The flower arrangements, some in delicate pastels and others in more piercing tones, gave her designs the perfect touch.

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Fuelled by a wealth of creativity, the old world charm of Two Temple Place was the perfect setting for this showcase. Alison Price & Company, along with the creatives involved, did a truly magical job.

Photos courtesy of Kate Nielen Fine Art Photography

Diwali Indulgence at Aashni + Co in aid of Pratham UK

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In aid of Pratham UK, Shailja Sharma and Pooja Nayak would like to invite you for a Diwali Showcase at Aashni + Co, Notting Hill, London on Tuesday October 7th, 2014.

Known for stocking the A listers and creme-de-la-creme of India’s finest designers, Aashni + Co brings forward a brand new offering by adding to their spectrum for the first time, designers such as Arpita Mehta, Anita Dongre, Ridhi Mehra and Sonali Gupta. Along with the above featured, Anamika Khanna’s special festive range will also be showcased at the event.

All full price purchases will be marked at a discount of 15%

The Ultimate Hair, Henna and Make-Up Course by Pavan and Ambreen

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Two of our favourite people, henna artiste extraordinaire Pavan Ahluwalia and über talented hair and make-up artiste Ambreen, will be staging a unique course this month. If you’re a budding make-up, hair or henna artist, and want to learn from the best, then Pavan and Ambreen’s course is the one for you.

A glimpse of Ambreen’s make-up magic.

A snapshot of Pavan’s henna design for brides

Taking place in Kingsbury, Northwest London, the 5 day Course consists of different bridal and high fashion looks, together with the very popular trends and styles of make-up, hair and henna. This ingeniously crafted course is designed for those who haven’t had any previous experience in makeup, hair or Henna and for those who are seeking to enhance and learn further skills. It is also very useful for those who seek to have a career in this field. Priced at £1500 for the week, it’s definitely worth it.

Pavan – The Mehndi Maestro

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Pavan Ahluwalia is the hottest henna artist in the business, she’s amazed many a client from celebrities to household names like Selfridges, Harrods, Sky TV, and the BBC, with her beautiful artistry. She was recognised by the esteemed Guinness World Records, as the fastest henna artist, which was granted to Pavan after she painted a mammoth 511 armband in 60 minutes, each with specifically different designs.

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Since the launch of her business, Pavan has gone from strength-to-strength, achieving respect and admiration wherever she goes. Back in May, she reached another milestone, with the opening of her Henna Bar in the prestigious department store Selfridges, which of course attracted a wealth of attention.

Ambreen – Magnificent Make-Up

Ambreen is an extraordinary talent, a make-up artist who possesses a fine knowledge of how to make a woman look her best. Her craft is unsurpassed, and her creativity knows no bounds. Ambreen has been hired by many high-end brands, fashion shows, editorials and celebrities. She is a giant of the beauty industry, a make-up artists who is recognised as a pioneering force.

An artist who constantly strives to create the most eye-catching and the most beautiful presentations, whether it be for a drama filled catwalk show or a sultry and demur photo shoot. Her status as a trend setter has earned her attention from some top Indian fashion designers, such as Rohit Bal and luxury boutiques, such as Seasons and Sonas.

So, as you can see, these are two artist who are at the top of their game, and their course is sure to be an enlightening experience. Perfect for anyone wanting to perfect their skills.

Photos courtesy of Pavan and Ambreen

The Marriage of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin

George and Amal on Friday | Photo by Associated Press

As one of the worlds most eligable bachelors got hitched on saturday, we at Think Shaadi cast our eyes of what was worn, where it took place and who attented.

George and Amal the day after their nuptials | Photo by Getty Images

Prior to saturday the couple were seen taking in the sights and sounds of Venice, the capital of romantic get-a-ways. It’s here where the glamorous duo finally tied the knot. The city had been a rife with rumour for many months, and let’s be honest, as dashing George is an Italophile, it had to be here.

George peeking at onlooker the evening of his wedding | Photo by Reuters

The couple boarded a taxi boat, fittingly named “Amore” and speed down the canal, in classic movie icon fashion, to their hotel. It was Friday, the day before the big event, and the confirmation that the wedding ceremony would be held at 7-star Aman Canal Grande Hotel had finally laid all the rumours and speculation to rest.

Clooney had breakfast with actress Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber on Saturday morning before the celebrations got under way | Photo by EPA

So, Saturday came, the great city of romance and old world charm went into a frenzy as the sun rose over the ancient canals and Reinnaisance architecture. Brides Magazine revealed that officiating the ceremony was former mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni – “Clooney and the ex-politician and journalist met in 2007 when Veltroni presented the actor with a human rights award for his activism on behalf of refugees in Darfur.”

U2 frontman Bono arriving at the ceremony | Photo by Associated Press

There were 60 guests in attendance and Andrea Bocelli performed for George and Amal. Of the 60 guests, there was Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Cindy Crawford and US Vogue Editor Anna Wintour.

George and Amal the day after their wedding | Photo by Splash News

With gorgeous george wearing his favourite Italian designer Armani, Amal’s wedding dress was a stunning piece by Oscar de la Renta, sadly there are no photos of the design…which we think is thoroughly unfair. Her first dress worn as Mrs Clooney however was a sublime creation by Giambattista Valli, a favourite of many lovers of luxury fashion. As The Daily Mail said – “Giambattista Valli was a good choice. He’s an Italian maestro (well, when in Rome… ish) and is known for intricate designs and incredible tailoring.”

Billy Murray arriving at the wedding ceremony | Photo by Reuters

It’s been an interesting few years for the couple, and this weekend has confirmed that George has finally found the woman of his dreams. The pair met back in 2012, as The Evening Standard explained – “Alamuddin and Clooney began their relationship last October. They found time in their hectic schedules to go out for dinner at Berners Tavern in Fitzrovia, with Alamuddin donning some sparkly silver wedge boots for the occasion. In March, they tried the true test of being a couple — a holiday, going to Tanzania and later on the Seychelles. When his film Monuments Men was screened at the White House with Obama in attendance, Alamuddin was on Clooney’s arm.”

George flanked on the boat by father of the bride Ramzi Alamuddin and joined by his parents Nick Clooney and Nina Bruce | Photo by Associated Press

Alam is a well renowned human rights lawyer, having worked on numerous high-profile cases, including the campaign to release then imprisoned Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. As well the case of defending Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. According to her friends and those who have come into contact with her, she is strong willed yet very loving woman.

George’ best pal Matt Damon arrives at the ceremony | Photo by EPA

It seems that George finally met someone with the same drive and passion for life as he has.

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Finally, all of us at Think Shaadi wish the couple a happy married life together. We’re betting that the news of a baby will be just around the corner XX

Mario Perera: The Four Seasons Master of South Asian Cuisine

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When a hotel has reached the heights of its power, just a name is enough to make peoples eyes light up. The Four Seasons is one of them, opening its first hotel in 1961, it has since gone on to expand to the four corners of the globe, and become famous for offering pure luxury to its guests. The secret behind the Four Seasons success is, aside from good old fashioned hard work, a careful eye to seek out the best talents.

The Four Seasons London at Park Lane keeping true to its mantra has Chef Mario Perrera, one of the pioneers of South Asian fine dining in London.

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Mario was also one the first South Asian chefs on Park Lane, initially training at St. Jospeh’s College, in Colombo, Sri Lanka; he began his career at the Taj Samudra, in Colombo, finally completing his culinary training at the Ceylon Hotel School. After that he was caught by wanderlust, so, in 1998, travelled to England, where his brother was living. He quickly found a notice that the Dorchester Hotel was looking for a chef, once hired he became the mentor of the renowned chef Henri Browsi.

Speaking exclusively to Think Shaadi, Mario explained about his long time passion for creating and experimenting with South Asian cuisine – “My passion for cooking comes from growing up in a home with two parents who were great cooks. Looking back I can remember a moment when I realised my passion for cooking. I was nine and my mother (a hairdresser) was ill so, I decided to cook a Sri Lankan meal for her, just as she had done for me. She still laughs about how at that age I managed to replicate an entire, authentic, meal for her!”

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Working for the Dorchester, as one of the only South Asian chefs, was a fine achievement, as Mario says – “I saw the job advertised and after walking in I met the hiring chef and said “I’ll start tomorrow” to which he replied “sure, see you at 9am”. I was probably the only Asian in the kitchens and within a couple of years I’d risen from third commis to first commis.

Working his way up through the ranks at the Dorchester proved felicitous, as Mario caught the eye of many in the world of luxury cuisine, with his finely executed creations. Just over two years he was head hunted by the Four Seasons team, who hired him as their top sous chef, at their Park Lane hotel. Now in his new position, Mario works a little differently he told us – “At Four Seasons I am a little more hands on and like to get involved from the start where possible so we can exceed our guests’ expectations from the very beginning, to the very end.”

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Throughout his illustrious career, Mario has fed the great and the good, delighting the palates of such people as the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, pop star Michael Jackson, film star Johnny Depp, and of course H.M Queen Elizabeth II. We had to ask Mario what his routine is like cooking for such esteemed guests, to which he replied – “During my career I’ve cooked for numerous Heads of State, the Queen 6 or 7 times and been the personal chef for the King of Bahrain. However my routine never changes as I always set out to deliver the same level of excellence for every guest, which is something we aim to deliver in every aspect at Four Seasons.” And his favourite guest to cook for was of course the Queen – “Without a doubt the Queen is probably the highlight of my career and something I’m very proud of.”

As the undisputed master of South Asian cuisine, it’s safe to say Mario has placed it firmly alongside the wealth of other cuisines at the Four Seasons, with guests clamouring to indulge their taste buds. Mario says – “Our reputation for Asian cuisine has been developing hugely over the past 3 and ½ years, as shown by the increasing popularity of our venues for Asian events.”

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The Four Seasons has done something quite unique, as one of the first luxury hotels to offer guests South Asian cuisine in house, and with Mario at the helm; he knows how to cater for both the curious and the older generation. “The older generation of Asian guest typically likes traditions and follows certain cultures, whereas the younger generation tend to observe the same traditions but like to modernise them. For example the older generations might typically like a 5-course seated meal, whereas the younger generation might typically prefer a dinner based on small street-food based dishes. The skill comes in finding a balance between the two to keep our guests happy, and this is why we stress the importance of numerous tastings, with photos and tasting notes, so everything is as it should be.”

During our interview with Mario, he treated us to some of his dishes, and it’s easy to see why he gained so much popularity over the years. The dishes on offer included pani puri with pineapple, jal jeera with ginger vodka, papadi chat, dhokla with tamarind chutney, balentine of chicken tandoori with Bombay potato and mahkni sauce, each were as mouth watering as the last.

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Mario has always said that to cook good South Asian food is all about the right balance of flavours. It’s something which he has always held dear to him, along with mixing the traditional with modern in regards to presentation.

Finally, we couldn’t go without asking Mario to give some advice to couples planning the perfect wedding menu, to which he replied – “I would emphasise the importance of menu tastings, so that we can make sure everything is just how the couple hoped and exactly how it will be on the day. Once everything is exactly to their tastes, we document and photograph it, which removes any surprises and avoids any unnecessary stress on the day. This allows them to fully enjoy their big day, which, after all, is why they come to us and it is our absolute pleasure to see!”

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With the success of South Asian cuisine at the Four Seasons continuing to grow, along with Mario’s stardom, he stays to his roots as a family man, with a deep passion for cooking – feeding his guests with the same love as he does at home xx

An Interview with Ashish N Soni: The Regaillia Menswear Collection

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Ashish N Soni is one of the most creative innovators of contemporary Indian fashion. His imagination and talent to create designs for men and women rapidly gave his label a reputation of high calibre and unique style; Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor are just one of many celebrities who have sported his designs on the catwalk. With his label being established for over a decade, he continues to incorporate fresh fashion ideas into his pieces, as demonstrated in his latest menswear collection: The Regallia.

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Earlier this month Ashish showcased a preview of The Regallia menswear collection in London. The collection was formed of luxurious Nehru jackets, sherwanis and bandgalas in a range of high quality fabrics. We had the pleasure to meet and interview the talented and humble mastermind behind the collection.

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For Ashish in the conceptual stages of his collection, one of his inspirations is “driven by trend whereas now men are far more aware of trends than several years ago”. One of our favourites (although everything was our favourite!) was his velvet Nehru jackets, which he “did some testing with velvet last year and have for a while, however not in so much depth as shown in this season’s collection”. The velvet jackets were available in a vast array of colours; exploration of colour in menswear is unconventional, however Ashish wishes to break this convention where he thought, “let’s try a lot colour and see how men will react to it”. The colour palette selected for the jackets, were “driven by trends… what colours would look good on an Indian man and what colours could people wear around the world. In this collection black is almost nowhere…. in an article it was mentioned in England blue is the black from Savile Row down to John Lewis.” Ashish invests a lot of time into research to pick up market trends, which is communicated in his collection.

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The other phenomenally unique pieces in his collection included 3 lace Nehru jackets (one in blue, red and black) and leather Nehru jacket also in a sleeveless form. The one thing we loved about his attire was each piece had a different lining inside; one velvet waistcoat had a collage of the profile pictures of his Facebook friends printed on the fabric inside the waistcoat. This was such a quirky and fun concept, all the other pieces had a variety of funky prints inside and different coloured stitching too.

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The collection also had a range of traditional kurtas, smart shirt kurtas and sherwani short jackets; all were understated and trendy with fine stone and detailed metallic thread work. Ashish recommends his outfits work best with ” neutral coloured trousers, so the off-white, beige and charcoal…which would work with all the colours quite easily, as would ivory.”

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We asked Ashish what message he wanted everyone to take away from his collection: “The quality which we take pride in, as we try and push the bar every season. Every season there is some quality change that we try to incorporate into the product… such as the quality of the interlining or where we source the shoulder pads from. One (referring to himself) is always trying to outdo one else from what one previously did. The bigger thing… is that feel good factor which is imperative”.  Following on from Ashish’s point of quality, his designs use fabrics from Marzoni and Italian fabric from Loro Piana, one of the world’s leading, ultra-fine cashmere and wool manufacturers; the fabrics felt ultra-soft. Ashish finally wanted everyone to take away knowing the depth of tailoring that had gone into each outfit from the thread and detail used all the way down to the fit.

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Overall the collection was incredible, especially due to the quirky craftsmanship and bespoke quality. One of the greatest aspects of The Regaillia collection was there was something for everyone for every occasion, even so while we were present at the showcase, a lady accompanying her husband loved the look and fit of the velvet jackets; she decided to try one on for herself! To be honest we wanted to do the same.

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Ashish continues to break conventions and change perceptions about Indian menswear, whilst continuing to produce high quality and tailored clothing. He has plans to open a store in Dubai and showcase his latest collection in India. We wish him all the best for his upcoming ventures and we have no shadow of a doubt that his latest collection will be showered with praise.

Written by Victoria Das

Victoria Das is a London based blogger. She has a passion for design, with a speciality in contemporary Indian fashion. Victoria runs the blog London Ki Ladki and is the latest member of the Think Shaadi blogging family. Here’s where you can find her around the web – Facebook: London Ki LadkiInstagram:  London Ki LadkiTwitter: London Ki Ladki

National Cupcake Week

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Did you know that its National Cupcake Week in the UK? This means it’s time to celebrate those oh so scrumptious bites of culinary heaven. There’s been something of an upsurge in our love for cupcakes in recent years, in the UK for example, the BBC’s hit show The Great British Bake Off has got the nation busily engaged in the age-old craft of baking.

There’s also been a blossoming of new cake making pop-up stores and other businesses in cities up and down the UK. This being the case, we think it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our favourite cupcake creations from our Community xx

abigail bloomAbigail Bloom Cake Company

 

Cakes by Krishanti - eddie-judd-photographyCakes by Krishanthi

 

Cake Maison - Danni Beach PhotographyCake Maison

 

Elizabeth's Cake EmporiumElizabeth’s Cake Emporium 

 

Fiona CairnsFiona Cairns

 

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maisie fantasieMaisie Fantaisie

 

peggy porschenPeggy Porschen

 

Rosalind miller cakesRosalind Miller Cakes

 

Sugared SaffronThe Sugared Saffron Cake Company

 

An Amazing Opportunity to Learn From the Wedding Filmer

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Who is The Wedding Filmer?

In just a few short years The Wedding Filmer have become the masters of storeytelling. Founded in 2010 by a creative genius, Vishal, with a fastidious attitude and sharp mind. The Wedding Filmer ignited India’s passion for the filming of wedding ceremonies. Before Vishal began his company, the idea of filming weddings wasn’t on the radar for most people, but now everyone who’s anyone has a videographer on their wedding to-do list, and more often than not it’s The Wedding Filmer.

Using a grand cinematic approach, Vishal and his team, which includes his all-star producer and wife, Zara, have created some of the most stunning and visually rapturous wedding films you have ever seen.

Vishal describes himself and his company – “This thin, tall, weirdly, oddly magical boy started The Wedding Filmer at his own wedding when he decided to make a tiny trailer for this girl he’d fallen crazily in love with.”

What is the prize?

If you are budding filmmaker or photographer, then this prize is literally heaven-sent. Two lucky people have the chance to learn some hands on skills, from the creative giants behind The Wedding Filmer, at a workshop in New Delhi*. They will cover everything from the business model, creative approach, operations, and client relationships. Bringing in real-world knowledge that will help make that big leap from an amateur, to join the new league of professional digital film-makers.

So you can make wedding films such as this ?

We don’t need to say that this is a life changing opportunity! Good luck!!

* The workshop will be taking place on 22nd September 2014 from 2pm – 8pm @ Lakshmipat Singhania Auditorium, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry PHD House, 4/2 Siri Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi 110016