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Love has no boundaries, when you love someone, you love them, no one can stop you. The story of two incredible men whi have inspired many and that’s why we asked them to share their story with wedchief.com and we are loving all the happily ever after pictures.
Milan Thakrar works as a Business Development Manager at Historic Royal Palaces, whereas Jai Kotecha works as a Managing Partner at Ogilvy UK. Jai proposed Milan in Las Vegas. Both being first generation born in the UK Indian Heritage they’ve had a number of personal obstacles they’ve had to overcome. Although society has embraced LGBTQ relationships and same sex marriages. The Indian community it’s a subject that’s widely spoken about. Both having gone through the notions of coming out to their family and friends, there still remained the fear of what people will say and how it may impact their family. The fear of society remained. However, there comes a point in your life where you have to stand up to the idol gossip, fear and put yourself and the person you love first.
Jai & Milan feel incredibly lucky to have had such a supportive family who have been with them for every step of their relationship. Prior to their wedding they faced several challenges with the community at large. Both of them were determined to have the wedding day they both dreamed of and not be afraid of the backlash. Jai & Milan were respectful of their culture and parents during every element of the wedding day. They chose not to have a Hindu ceremony however, to mark our wedding nuptials the two of us flew to India last year where they carried out prayers in the holy city of Vrindavan where Hindu God Lord Krishna was born, on the banks of the holy river Yamuna.
However, after having the most incredible wedding day, the challenges continued as they discovered that someone from the community decided to share images which were taken from various social media platforms. The images were sent with a caption stating ‘ First Gay wedding in the Lohana community in the UK…’ via whatsapp leading to a viral message being sent across the community including to their parents and extended family. Many of their friends have told them their parents have received the message and it’s been circulated on various family WhatsApp groups. These messages were not only circulated in the UK but India & Africa. Unclear of the intentions Jai &Milan felt very venerable not knowing how the community would respond. However both of them have been flooded with messagesof support and in some cases gratitude from others that both of these men have taken a bold step to break the boundaries and allow other LGBTQ Indians to not live their life in fear and be happy.
We walked over to the Banqueting House from Corinthia where we were staying with our families. We made our way to the Undercroft for a group photo before moving up to the Main Hall for more family photography by the Throne displayed in the space as well as on the balcony overlooking the space.
Meanwhile, our guests began to arrive and were seated in the Undercroft ready for the ceremony, after being greeted by the Royal footmen and a receiving line of our siblings.
We decided to walk down the aisle together accompanied by a dohl player.
As we entered the nerves settled as we were welcomed by an eruption of cheers and applause. We were truly overwhelmed by the love in the room. The atmosphere in the room was uplifting and there was a sea of smiles and tears of joy.
As we were announced husband & husband we walked down the aisle to the Beetles track All you need is love! We felt it was the perfect track to celebrate our union.
For late-night snacks, we chose to have a cheese station and layout array cheeses from Truffle Waterloo and vegan cheeses for guests to enjoy towards the end of the evening.
On departure, every guest received a slice of wedding cake which was beautifully boxed with a bespoke label on it that stated– ‘A sweet ending to a new beginning
Being a Londoner Jai always wanted to get married in the heart of city. When visiting Banqueting House with Milan, Jai instantly fell in love with the venue, especially the Rubens ceiling, it’s grandeur and its history. Banqueting House is the last remains of Whitehall Palace, once the largest Palace in Europe. Some of the most famous monarchs have hosted lavish parties and masques and hence why it is known as ‘party palace’! Therefore, both Milan and Jai felt it was the perfect venue for their wedding.
The layout. We wanted to have our ceremony and reception in the same venue however also have a different ambience and styling as the evening went on. We wanted a romantic and tranquil ceremony, but also wanted to party later on. The venue was perfect for what we wanted, located in the heart of London, the venue is surrounded by our favourite London landmarks. Located on Whitehall the venue was also very easy for our guests to find.
We wanted to incorporate our Indian heritage into the design of the wedding. However wanted to ensure it was executed in a modern and stylish way. Therefore our theme was regal with pops of colour. The majestic Main hall was the perfect backdrop to incorporate elements of majestic India. The drinks reception resembled luxury palaces of Rajasthan with gold guilted poseur tables and bar stools accompanied by Great Hire’s Santa Monica furniture with bright cushions and stunning Jewel tone florals by Simon Lycett.
We wanted to wear something that represented our Indian heritage however, also had a contemporary look. Therefore, our outfits were designed by Milan and custom made by a designer in London. Each of our outfits (Sherwanis) represented our own individual personalities, Jai’s was bright and energetic and Milan’s was sleek and stylish. The outfits complimented each other by having antique gold thread work and mint green French knot embroidery woven into both Sherwanis.
We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. We were away for 3 weeks and explored 2 islands across Hawaii(Kuai & Maui) it was pure heaven! We flew the day after, which was amazing as we were still on cloud 9 and buzzing from the wedding.
Our advice would be to absolutely enjoy the day as it flies by so quickly. Soak in your surroundings, you’re getting married in a palace! Allow your guests to enjoy the venue and it’s history. We wanted our guests to enjoy the magnificent Ruben’s ceiling and therefore, included elements that allowed them to view the ceiling whilst enjoying their dinner, for example we chose to have mirrored table tops so guests could see the ceiling from their table.
Get to know your suppliers – they are there to help and support you during the planning stages – we met with our caterers Blue Strawberry several times to share ideas, discuss menus and of course went for a tasting. When it came to the wedding day they knew every intricate detail of what we wanted.
Trust the events, team. Jess Davies who was our event manager on the day helped us to plan every detail and worked with all the palace suppliers to coordinate the running of the day. It couldn’t have been smoother and we were able to relax and not worry about a thing.
Photography: Nick Rose
Ceremony Venue: Undercroft, Banqueting House
Reception Venue: Main Hall, Banqueting House Wedding rings: Tiffany & Co
Grooms’ outfits: Sonas Couture
Stationery: Serif London
Flowers: Simon Lycett
Cake: Unique Cakes by Yevnig Davies Catering: Blue Strawberry
Production: Wise Productions
Furniture: Great Hire
Videography: By Lumiere
Entertainment: Prelude Entertainment / Musical Movements
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