Real Weddings: Daani and Kirk

Inside a two-ceremony Hindu-Catholic celebration

Daani Sarma and Kirk Fernandes met through mutual friends at the end of their final year at University of Waterloo back in 2011. They were always flirty with each other, but since they knew they’d have to part ways after graduation, they decided to stay just friends. Kirk moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft and Daani relocated to Montreal to start a job with L’Oreal. For five years, they stayed in touch with letters and phone calls, but Daani couldn’t shake her crush. So when Kirk got a new job with a tech startup and moved to New York City, she decided to follow him there. She told her boss she had a boyfriend in N.Y.C. in order to get transferred (she didn’t) and she preemptively told Kirk that she also landed a new job in the city (she hadn’t). Daani hoped that at least one thing would work out. Luckily, they both did.

In 2016, once they were finally back in the same city, they started dating immediately. They spent a year and a half together before getting engaged. Even though Daani knew the question was coming, Kirk still wanted to surprise her. He spent months planning the perfect proposal, eventually renting an empty warehouse and transforming it to look like an East Village club they loved, Elvis Guesthouse, which shut down earlier that year. He arranged for all her friends and family to pop out after the surprise proposal, and afterwards they all went to a Drake-themed bar night to celebrate.

They initially wanted to have a small, intimate celebration in Toronto, since most of their friends and relatives live nearby, but both of their families were so excited about the news that they changed their minds and decided to go all-out with two separate ceremonies: a Catholic ceremony at St. Mary’s church for Kirk’s family, and a Hindu ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre for Daani’s. “We thought of doing a fusion ceremony but our mothers wouldn’t have it,” says Daani. While both ceremonies were very traditional, the couple wanted to make sure their guests had fun, so they incorporated playful touches into the day, like an ice cream truck, frozé on tap and plenty of pizza during the after party.

Cheat Sheet

Date: August 4, 2018
Planner: Charlie Rodgers, Pretty Plans Wedding and Event Coordination
Venue: The Globe and Mail Centre
Caterer: Avani Asian Indian Bistro
Photography: Mango Studios
Bride’s outfits: Watters; custom
Groom’s outfit: The Tailorly; custom
Hair and makeup: Amanda Reid Makeup
Flowers: Bloomen
Cake: Melanie’s Cakes
Decor: Diya Décor
Stationery: Allison Tran
Rental furniture and linens: Event Rental Group
Music: Topshelf Tyson
Number of Guests: 300

On the morning of the ceremonies, the couple got ready in separate rooms at Le Germain Hotel. Daani originally planned on wearing a simple, low-key white dress for the Catholic ceremony, but when they decided on the grand St. Mary’s church for the venue, she changed her mind and went with something fancier. “I needed a dress that would match the church,” she says. “St. Mary’s deserved a bride that was going to do the whole thing.”

Here’s what the inside of the church looked like on their big day:

Daani and Kirk chose St. Mary’s because it’s where Kirk’s brother and his wife got married:

The couple hired an ice cream truck to park outside of the church. It was a scorching August day, and they wanted guests to have a refreshing treat:

The rest of the festivities took place at the Globe and Mail Centre. For the Hindu ceremony, they created an elevated platform in front of a lush green wall. They wanted the vibe to be clean, bright and airy:

They were a few minutes late for the second ceremony, which was enough for the priest to poke fun at Kirk by telling him it was nice of him to show up:

In Hindu weddings, the bride and groom have their feet washed to purify them for their new life together. Daani’s niece washed Kirk’s feet for the ceremony:

Daani walked down the aisle with her brother and sister-in-law. Her father picked outfits for both her and Kirk during a trip to India. Daani’s family is from a state in the north, where the typical bridal colours are white and gold:

The couple was separated by a piece of fabric, which was eventually raised, symbolizing the groom seeing his bride for the first time:

Daani forgot to tell Kirk that there is no kissing in Hindu ceremonies. When the priest said, “You are man and wife and may hug now,” Kirk went in for a smooch. The priest immediately started yelling, “Hug! Hug!”:

After the ceremony, Daani changed into her party attire. “I wanted to look like an Indian princess,” she says.

They served a family-style feast, including vegetarian hakka noodles, Goan fish curry and hot garlic eggplant:

The lit-up skyline provided an epic backdrop for dinner:

During dinner, they turned the ceremony space into a dance floor filled with 600 helium balloons, each of which were tied to a glow stick. The pair wanted to keep the ceremonies traditional, but for the party portion of the evening, the focus was on having as much fun as possible:

The music was Kirk’s domain. They flew in a DJ from NYC, who they’d heard play at some of their favourite bars and clubs: