“No guest in the room had ever been to a 100-percent, plant-based vegan wedding before so I was thrilled that everyone thought it was just as spectacular and fun as a ‘regular’ wedding,” Rohini Bajekal says of her marriage to Siddhant Singh. “It showed you can be kind to animals while still having a beautiful and special day with amazing food.”
The couple, who met in India, lived in Singapore, and currently reside in London, planned a cross-cultural celebration that brought together elements of Rohini’s British upbringing, their joint Indian heritages, and Rohini’s vegan lifestyle.
The wedding was vegan down to every element, including the wines and their clothing. “It was surprising to see how animal products are in everything, from the ink in stationery to silk in the clothes to by-products in wine,” Rohini says. “I had to do a lot of research and be extremely thorough.”
It all came together in style, too. The wedding took place at Hatfield House, a historic venue near where Rohini grew up in North London. Rohini and Siddhant wore custom-made Indian outfits and arrived together in a grand baraat procession that included an iconic double-decker red bus. Indian musicians played a sitar and tabla, but the couple exchanged hand-written vows as part of a humanist ceremony instead of a religious one. The food, of course, was plant-based, including their cake, and a DJ played a mix of Bollywood and old school R&B to keep guests on the dance floor.
One Indian tradition they did keep? Rohini’s young cousins managed to steal Siddhant’s shoes during the ceremony. He had to “pay a handsome sum” to get them back during their wedding lunch.
Rohini, who grew up in London, often visited Hatfield House in her youth. “Not only is it Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home, but Henry VIII also raised three of his children in the Old Palace,” Rohini says. “It is a beautiful venue steeped in history.”
Siddhant wore a custom, cream suit with dhoti pants and a turquoise safa. For a special touch, he added turquoise buttons made in Rajasthan, the area of India where his mother grew up and where he proposed to Rohini. (He popped the question at the 16th-century Amer Fort in Jaipur!)
“It wasn’t possible to find a vegan designer Indian outfit easily,” Rohini says. Instead, she opted to have everything custom-made from vegan fabrics she sourced with the help of her mother-in-law. The resulting peach and turquoise lehenga featured handiwork by Rajasthani artisans.
Her gold and diamond jewelry were all heirloom pieces from her and Siddhant’s families.
Two red double-decker buses transported the groom and wedding guests to the venue.
During the baraat, two dhol drummers played as everyone danced in the drive leading to the venue.
I loved the idea of a wild garden overrun with love.
The ceremony took place on Hatfield House’s lawn, where a floral arch covered in dahlias served to anchor the space. Rohini’s mother spent months growing the potted flowers that market the aisle. After the wedding, guests could take the plants home for their own gardens.
“The inspiration was seasonal English foliage with delicate apricot lisianthus, café au lait dahlias and apricot achillea trailing ivy and foliage tumbling down,” Rohini says. “I loved the idea of a wild garden overrun with love.”
Siddhant’s twin sisters, Niharika and Nivedita, escorted him in. They wore bright lehengas to “add a splash of color to the wedding party,” Rohini says.
Rohini’s sister, Naina, was her maid of honor, wearing a light blue and cream lehenga. Here, she is adjusting Rohini's maang tika, a piece of Indian hair jewelry.
Rohini walked down the aisle alone, despite, she says, having a great relationship with her father. “[I didn’t] want to be ‘given away’ by a man to another man,” she says. She also carried a bouquet of peach sweet peas, vuvuzela roses, flowering mint, and sage, and her flower girls dropped rose petals grown in Rohini’s mother’s garden.
The couple’s good friend, Luke Bullock, officiated the humanist ceremony, which included readings from each of their mothers. “These poems and readings are very meaningful, spiritual, and about kindness and love,” the bride adds.
The couple exchanged their own vows as well as custom wedding bands they had made in New Delhi, India. Rohini’s engagement ring was also custom and features an heirloom diamond from Siddhant’s mother.
“Stay true to yourself and your values and you can’t go wrong,” Rohini says of planning a wedding that accurately reflected her and Siddhant’s lifestyle and values.
I wanted to marry the color and joyfulness of an Indian wedding with the intimacy of an English wedding. I wanted it to be vegan and sustainable without compromising on delicious food, fun, or romance.
“I wanted to marry the color and joyfulness of an Indian wedding with the intimacy of an English wedding,” Rohini says. “I wanted it to be vegan and sustainable without compromising on delicious food, fun, or romance.”
“I thought planning a cross-cultural wedding would be harder than I thought,” Rohini says. “We tried to forget our preconceived ideas of what a wedding should be and led from the heart. Siddhant and I both found that we agreed on design ideas and how to marry the Western and Indian elements.”
After the morning ceremony, the couple served an elegant lunch of vegan Indian dishes, such as a beetroot tikki, kathal ki sabzi (a jackfruit dish), and vegan chocolate truffles. This also included a signature cocktail—a lychee martini—and a signature mocktail, a nimbu pani, Rohini’s favorite childhood soda.
One of the couple’s favorite memories were the speeches by several family members. “They were all straight from the heart,” Rohini says. The bride and groom each gave a speech separately.
The couple hosted a formal reception with dancing in the evening. They changed into more party-ready attire, including a scarlet red lehenga with shimmery mirror work and an Indo-western suit.
Rohini loved that their flower girls wore traditional Rajasthani outfits in red and yellow.
The goal of the evening reception was a party, and that they got—well into the night. The couple hosted stations of Thai food instead of a second sit-down meal and passed out late-night Kathi rolls too. A nine-piece wedding band played chart-toppers, then two different DJs spun a mix of Bollywood, old school R&B, and dance tracks. One highlight on the dance floor was the couple’s first dance, performed on the piano by a close friend.
The couple also cut into a three-tier vegan wedding cake made from carrots and courgette. They also had three smaller cakes, including one gluten-free, to fit all their guests’ dietary restrictions. “The hardest but most rewarding part was ensuring that it was vegan,” Rohini says of planning. “People love to attend a wedding that represents the couple and where their love and unique qualities shine.”
Venue Hatfield House
Officiant Luke Bullock
Hair & Makeup T&A Arts
Floral Design Wild at Heart
Invitations Riley & Grey
Paper Goods Alan Flatt
Printing Print Finishes
Guest Book Etsy
Catering Chakra Events
Cake Barefoot Oxford
Accommodations Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club
Videography Candour Creative