Thudakkam Mangalyam – Gorgeous Malayali Wedding Of Actress Ashwathy Warrier & Abilash Panicker!
A beautiful riot of colours, dreamy lights, and music to dance your heart away… is there anything more spectacular than an Indian wedding? True to this, Actress Ashwathy Warrier and Abilash Unnikrishnan Panicker’s elegant wedding at Cochin was indeed a gorgeous sight to behold. With traditional Kerala rituals, middle eastern décor and a sprinkling of fairy dust, there was only one word to describe it – magical.
From The Bride
When it comes to the wedding, the bride’s heart always runs to her hometown! “Of course we wanted to have it in Kerala but also it turned out to be practically sensible as its convenient for all our relatives too!” But since Ashwathy is settled in Chennai and also Abilash is not from Kerala, it became more like a destination wedding for the couple! “With respect to wedding, we were naturally inclined to having it the traditional way as much as possible Even though temple weddings were a part of their family’s tradition, they decided not to have a Guruvayoor wedding. “Not all our relatives would be able to see the actual tying of the knot,” Actress Ashwathy explained.
That’s why on the wedding day they recreated a temple at Le Meridien Cochin. By doing so they could easily accommodate all the relatives and have a temple wedding ambience! Watermark Events from Kerala exactly materialised that ambiance at Le Meridien Cochin and the banquet hall looked nothing less serene than a grand temple wedding venue! The groom had the traditional king’s entry with the chenda melam, and as for the bride’s, they had a remixed version of the ‘sita kalyanam’ song playing.
When asked about maintaining both tradition and modernity she replied “We tried to keep the wedding as traditional as possible. The ceremonies like sangeet are introduced for the families to bond and spend time together. So we hosted in a way that befits that intention. Wedding and other traditional ceremonies we were particular to maintain the spirit of the ceremonies. However, for the wedding, we did only the required ceremonies which took only half an hour, unlike the usual two-hour ceremonies. In fact, both the families where understanding enough to agree for the same”
For the sangeet, they went all in for a peppy night. “I just wanted it to look colorful and fun, so I had a lot of Moroccan elements, lots of entertainment,” she explained.
“Also for the sangeet, we wanted all the guests to join the party!” In the end, they had all the family and friends involved in something or the other so that it’s memorable. Rather than just have a dance, they had a shadow act, a skit, and a variety of performances!
About The Prep
“Being in the cine field, hiring photographers was the toughest job,” she admitted. “I couldn’t help noticing how good are they lighting the scenes, the color tones they use, how good do they use their costly gears, etc”
They also had Sabareesh Prabhakar, a celebrity violinist in Kerala play for them on their sangeet and Sravan Sridhar, Chennai based violinist for their reception. Both of them did such an excellent performance that the guests along with the couple froze for quite some time and indulged in the musical treat! “We wanted it to be pretty interactive and it turned out wonderful- even we started dancing on the stage!” She said, laughing.
Another part of the wedding where their heart inclined towards traditionality is during the dinner. “Around 1500 guests were expected and we have always felt that a buffet serving never really filled the hearts of the people as much as it did their taste buds. So we definitely wanted a leaf service.” A gala leaf service dinner at MRC was such a heartening sight to see! They had seperate counters for chats and desserts though, as not everyone will have it.
The couple even presented an aana pattam (forehead decoration worn by temple elephants) as a return gift for their foreign guests. “As for my bridal wear, I didn’t want over the top work; I wanted something more subtle and elegant”. Now you might think that choosing a makeup artist, costumes and bridal wear should be a fussy affair for model/actress. But it was the otherway round for Ashwathy! “I just went straight to Senthamarai’s Azhagu Design Studio for her wedding blouses, for her style really matched what I wanted.“
Ashwathy’s wedding reception, however, was here in MRC Chennai. The décor wasn’t finalized till the end – they had to do a lot of research beforehand. “We tried a lot of different materials endlessly to get a grand look that was within budget,” she said. Mehak Decorations is the famous Chennai based decors whose work she fell in love with and true to her intuition, they turned MRC, Chennai into a stunning venue with a grand ambiance!
The reception’s theme was north-India inspired – with a lot of red, gold and cream elements. Even their clothes followed the theme; a sherwani for the groom and a lehenga for the bride.
About Their Viral Video
A couple of days after their wedding, the couple posted a video they shot of their whole family dancing and lip-syncing to Rinosh George’s ‘I’m a Mallu’ song. Within days the clip went viral! When asked about it, she laughed and explained what led to the making of the video.
“Lip-dub is a trend in Bombay, and my sister Divya Madhavan (a.k.a Divya Warrier) is a choreographer in Bollywood; so she came up with the idea.
On the night before the sangeet, we got together and we discussed if we could get this done. It wasn’t something we had decided earlier. We worked on it overnight, my sister got the shot breakdown and on the previous night and the next day morning SDS team was on their feet to follow my sister around to make the video. It was so much fun – the whole video was shot in a day and a half!”
Advice For Brides
In a world where the word ‘bridezilla’ has been coined to name demanding, pressurized brides, tips on how to stay on top of things is vital. When asked about her advice for future brides she replied “I know it’s easy to let the pressure of organizing your wedding get to you. That’s why I believe letting friends and family take up other responsibilities is a huge stress buster. It really adds to feeling closer to all the people who are doing this with you!”
Also, always have a second option. There had been a team of photographers who bailed on them 2 weeks before the wedding, she said ruefully. However, SDS was so quick in prepping for the grand ceremony and they did a really wonderful job! In fact when they came up with the lip dub video idea literally at the last minute, in no time they arranged a separate video team to run around and shoot the video!
So go around, look at options and always have a plan B. If you could keep in mind a few simple wedding planning routines, your wedding will play out just beautiful! Even if there are hiccups during the wedding don’t worry about it. Just enjoy yourself – it’ll get sorted out!
“My wedding turned out into such a beautiful and memorable occasion and sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart to the passionate team of people who contributed in so many ways to making it into one!” says the stunning bride with a heartfelt smile. Our wishes and prayers to Actress Ashwathy and Abilash Unnikrishnan Panicker! May their marriage be as sweet and harmonious as their wedding!
Here are the team of wedding professionals who made Actress Ashwathy’s wedding into a gala celebration!
Location – Le Meridian, Cochin
Music – I’m A Mallu (Original Song by Rinosh George)
The Event Managers – Watermark Event Solutions
The Idea, Direction & Choreography (Music Video) – Divya Madhavan (Divya Warrier)
Photography and Videography Team – SDS Studios
Cast and crew (of the video) – All the family and friends
Bridal designer – Senthamarai Gokulakrishnan (Azhag design studio, Chennai)
Makeup and Hair – Md Ansari
Costume Draping – Saraswathi Sathyam
Live Music (Wedding day) – Sabareesh Prabhakaran and Team
Location – MRC Hall, Chennai
The Event Managers – BigFDay
Decorator – Mehak Decorations
Makeup and Hair – Makeup Ibrahim and Vijay Raghavan
Costume Draping – Jeevitha Shridar
Live Music (Reception day) – Shravan Sridhar
Caterers – VKM Caterers
Btw, if you are looking to host such a grand gala wedding in Chennai, check out the list of all the 5 Star banquet spaces in Chennai!