Welcome to Gagan and Tia’s Bhangra love story.
It takes place in Sydney, Australia.
Bhangra Practice or First Date?
Seven and a half years ago, the all-boys Bhangra team that Gagan was a part of found themselves planning a performance that needed a female. As Tia had some friends on the team and was a dancer herself, she became their natural choice.
Then, as with all love stories, fate intervened. Instead of a mutual friend picking Tia up from the train station for practice, Gagan was sent.
“We talked the whole car ride and the rest was history!”
The Proposal- Bhangra Style
In an intimate and traditional ‘chunni charana’ ceremony, Gagan and Tia formalised their engagement and rung the bell to get started with wedding planning.
But, they didn’t just stop there. To pay ode to the folk dance that brought them together, they decided to announce the engagement to their friends with a Bhangra twist.
Here’s what they did:
“We handpicked songs, had a custom mix made (that reflected our love story thus far), choreographed a dance, got the video made and had it sent to our nearest and dearest”
Getting Down on One Knee
And the love-celebrating festivities continued.
A formal get-down-on-one-knee kind of proposal was important to the couple, so a few months after the traditional proposal, Gagan planned his ring presentation.
Here’s how the magical moment happened:
The Short-Lived Decoy Ring
Gagan told Tia that he wanted her to accompany him to his work Christmas party.
That evening, he had given Tia an “in the meanwhile” ring as he told Tia that there were some delays with her real engagement ring – so this was something small to wear in the meantime while she waited. On the pretence of a work event, he took Tia to Blues Point Reserve overlooking Sydney Harbour and Sydney City and had an elaborate set-up organised for the proposal.
The Real ‘Perfect’ Thing
He told Tia she would not need the “in the meanwhile” ring for the rest of the night and had organised a slideshow to play against a brick wall on the harbour featuring photos of their last seven years together, to their first dance song (‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran).
He then got down on one knee, and proposed in front of a huge illuminated ‘Marry Me’ sign!
On To Wedding Planning
“We wanted our wedding to be an absolute reflection of our relationship. We had been together for over seven years, and wanted our family and friends to feel the love and joy that we felt.”
Throughout the wedding planning process Gagan and Tia tried to plan their wedding with the utmost significance and meaning behind it. Here are some of the things they sprinkled through their events to accomplish just that:
- Tia’s late Nanu and Nani featured prominently throughout the wedding – they had them reflected in their outfits and events, and friends and vendors gave nods to them in speeches and highlights videos
- Bhangra brought them together, so they added a touch of Bhangra into their First Dance as an recognition to the dance style that gave them each other
- The first song of Gagan and his friends’ performance at the reception, was the first song that Gagan had ever dedicated to Tia (over seven years ago!)
The Result? A Wedding That Was So Them!
“The most important thing for both of us was having the wedding be totally ‘us’ and envelop our friends and family in the same. We wanted them to feel wrapped up with love during these special few days, and say that the wedding was ‘totally Gagan and Tia!’”
The Inspiration, Themes and Events
Gagan and Tia mention that they wanted the wedding events to reflect their relationship while simultaneously respecting their families’ wishes and traditions.
So, they tailored the events to be a happy-medium between their desires and their families’ styles:
Gagan’s Sangeet – a traditional Punjabi sangeet with decor to fit the theme (including manjje and a dhol player). In true Punjabi style, the night featured dholki singing and a Jaago, with Gagan’s entrance being made by him lying on a manja with his friends carrying him in!
Tia’s Sangeet – a cocktail dinner and dance style of event, with a touch of Bollywood! Multiple thoughtful performances, speeches, and a guest table where guests could decorate their own ‘Advice Cards’ for Gagan and Tia. Tia wore a custom-made aqua blue and pink sharara and blouse set (the colours a nod to her Nani’s favourite colour combination) inspired by Kareena Kapoor in ‘Bole Chudiyaan’ and Deepika Padukone in ‘Dilliwali Girlfriend,’ while Gagan wore a dapper blue suit.
Tia’s Mehndi and Gagan’s Vatna – intimate home events at their respective houses with their closest friends the day before the wedding! Tia’s mehndi event had her closest girlfriends sitting around her, eating, singing and dancing while Tia’s bridal henna was being completed. Over at Gagan’s house, his friends were slathering him with haldi paste before hosing him down in the backyard. A very special way to bring in the most special day of their lives!
The Wedding Day – they had their Anand Karaj at the Gurudwara that they first visited together. Tia wore a bespoke peachy pink anarkali with contrasting dull gold and emerald green jewelry. Gagan wore a gold sherwani, paired with a velvet shawl in Tia’s peachy pink. The bridal party wore ‘saggan’ colours of pinks and golds teamed with maroon head coverings for the men, while the ‘baraat’ donned burnt orange. The Gurudwara was decorated in regal maroon and gold (a nod to Tia’s Nanu who used to wear maroon turbans).
The Reception – their reception was their friends and family’s chance to let their hair down! They wanted to celebrate their journey and new chapter with good food, good music, and good friends. The night featured a skit of their love story, a sentimental performance by Gagan and his friends, the first dance, a game, and a few speeches. Tia wore a custom-made purple lehnga, and Gagan donned a black tuxedo.
And The Best Part of it All? Bhangra, of course!
There’s no doubt that their wedding was elaborate, personalized and traditional.
So we asked what the best part of wedding planning was, and we’re not surprised at what Gagan and Tia had to say:
“Putting together the performances!
We are both dancers (we met through dancing) so it is a very special part of our lives, and of the wedding! We each organised performances for our respective events, and together we choreographed our First Dance.”
At Tia’s Sangeet, Tia and her bride tribe put on a Bollywood inspired performance, with Gagan stepping in and channelling his inner Shah Rukh Khan (Tia’s favourite actor)! At the Reception, Gagan organised a surprise performance with his friends for Tia – and even learnt a new dance style (hip hop) to surprise everyone with. They also got together with their family and friends to have them put on Bhangra performances and a skit!
For their First Dance, they carefully chose their songs and combined them together into one track. They then spent hours choreographing and practising together to make their first dance incredibly sentimental. There was some slow-dancing, a little bit of Bhangra, and a touch of Bollywood!
Gagan and Tia’s Biggest Challenge
With all of that impeccable and thoughtful planning, it should come as no surprise that the biggest challenge that Gagan and Tia faced during wedding planning was (you guessed it!): taking time out for themselves.
As the wedding day approached it naturally became even harder to carve out that time for self-care and as a couple.
Hear it from the couple themselves and then, what they did about it,
“You’ll be pulled in all directions – family, friends, vendors, your own lists, work and so on – it can get a little overwhelming at times.
To help alleviate some of the stress, we tried to plan random date nights, or random dinners where we did not talk about wedding decisions even if it was just for an hour. This helped us unwind and refocus. Planning the honeymoon also helped! It gave us something to look forward to, and provides a much needed break post the wedding mayhem.”
A Helping Hand
To alleviate some of the planning struggles, Gagan and Tia used a combination of social media and referrals.
Using Social Media To Plan a Wedding: Pros and Cons
“Social media is so handy in that it provides a wealth of inspiration… but at the same time, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed with ideas and before you know it, things can spiral out of hand. Use social media as a start point for potential vendors, ideas for photoshoots, colour schemes and so on. Then build upon the same by talking to your partner, and vendors.”
Beyond social media, Gagan and Tia leaned on their married friends for their experiences with vendors. The honesty from the first-hand experiences of their friends helped them sift through the noise and double down on who they wanted to meet.
From there, they met with potential vendors and gauged the rest best on their ‘vibe’ and their personalities, asking questions like; what will they be like to work with? Will they remain calm in tough situations?
Having learned such a great deal from planning their own wedding, the pair will be posting their own tips and tricks for future couples (find the link below!)
And Finally, Parting Advice
Gagan and Tia have one more thing to say to our bride and grooms to be:
“As cliche as it may sounds, be yourselves. Try to ensure that whatever you decide on – outfits, venues, themes etc – is a reflection of you and your relationship. Also try to remember that after the few days of celebration, you have your whole wonderful lives together! Think beyond the wedding, and remember why you are doing all this in first place!”
And there you have it, Sydney’s very own Bhangra love story.
We hope you enjoyed hearing about Gagan and Tia’s adventure from love to wedding as much as we did.
You can continue to follow their journey here and if you were inspired by their wedding, they’ve so graciously provided a list of their vendors here:
- Pre-wedding events photography: The Ponds Photography
- Wedding Day and Reception photography: Rolling Canvas
- Preshoot Photography: Sidd Rishi; Holi Perry
- Videography and Cinematography: TS Productions; Rolling Canvas
- Wedding Day, Gagan’s Sangeet, and Gagan’s Vatna Decor: Decor-A-Shaan
- Venues: Sapphire Function Centre (Tia’s sangeet); Paradiso Receptions 9Reception)
- Wedding Day and Reception Catering: Billu’s
- Tia’s Hair and Makeup: Sana Hair and Makeup
- Mehndi artists: Arora Mehndi (bridal) and Mehndi Bar (friends and family)
- Tia’s Wedding and Reception Jewelry: Modern Day Rani
- Tia’s Sangeet and Wedding Day outfits: Sonia Varandani
- Tia’s Reception outfit and Gagan’s wedding day shawl: Silk and Sparkle
- Gagan’s Sangeet and Wedding Day outfits: Manyavar Mohey
- Gagan’s outfit for Tia’ Sangeet: Politix
P.S. Pass it on! Planning a wedding can be hard, forward this article to a bride-to-be in need.