Our Indian wedding extravaganza began right at the beginning of the year with Simi and Luiz's amazing mehndi party at the Riverside venue in West London. It's a modest venue from the outside and rather like a tardis because once you step inside, it's huge!
With two vast floors and the ability to host different functions simultaneously, the guys that manage this place know exactly how to run things smoothly and it's a very well oiled machine. They are really lovely, accommodating people too which made it a pleasure to shoot there.
I guess prospective brides are always looking for new ideas for an exciting mehndi party with the wow factor and Simi had some really lovely touches at her party.
Apart from the ladies who were creating beautiful henna art on the guests (Simi had hers done previously which I thought was a great idea), there was also a brilliant face painter who designed beautiful glitter creations on lots of children and adults' faces. They were very pretty and she had a queue pretty much all night.
Of course they had a fantastic dholi there too! For anyone who doesn't know, a dholi is someone who plays an indian drum which is double headed, called a dhol. To add an extra element, they also had a saxophonist who played alongside the dholi. They sounded great together and played for Luiz's entrance and accompanied him as he made his way to his betrothed who was sitting on a beautiful chair surrounded by brightly coloured drapes and cushions.
There was a delicious buffet of Indian food for the guests to choose from and people relaxed, ate, drank and got to know their new family members - many of Luiz's family flew over from Brazil for the occasion and Simi had a few relatives from the US. It was so lovely to see such an international get-together; people from different continents, speaking different languages, sitting down and getting to know each other.
Then the dancing started. Wow, these people really know how to party; young or old, EVERYONE got onto the dance floor the minute the music struck up. And most people stayed on the dance floor for a long time. Bill and I were impressed at the stamina we witnessed!
We got some guest messages too which we haven't done before - I think it will really work in the film and it will be lovely for Simi and Luiz to see, especially as we managed to get friends and relatives from Brazil and the US who will now be back home, far away. What great memories they will have!
Of course there were goody bags at the end of the night with the cute bangles for all to take as a memento. I have mine and am still enjoying wearing them.
I think it was nearly midnight when we left - it was a late one - but we got some great footage and I am loving watching it all back and cutting it to create the story of the night. I'm getting pretty good at recognising certain Bollywood hits now and often find myself singing away while doing the dishes - usually it's Om Shanti Om, I love that song! Here's to many more marvellous Mehndi parties for Cut The Cake Films in the near future.