The Founder & CEO of Citizen Femme
Sheena Bhattessa is the Founder & CEO of Citizen Femme her husband works in the jewellery industry and real estate. The couple met at at a mutual friend’s drinks at The Charlotte Street Hotel (but he lives in the Caribbean). Not long after, he flew to London to take Sheena on their first date at The Connaught followed by dinner at 5 Hertford Street.
The best part of our day was….
So many! I’d start with the ceremony. It was so beautiful and emotive. The groom arrives first (on a white horse of course!), initially stepping on a coconut to break it with my family greeting him and his family. I arrived with my brother walking me down the aisle after the initial proceedings with my then-fiancé, after which we sat around the fire together, and conducted the ceremony. Our priest explained each part of the tradition so beautifully, and we had a live singer accompanying it with songs relating to each part of the rites. Our mandap (canopy) was handmade from steel with hand-crafted butterflies and hanging flowers with light shining through it. We then walked around the fire 4 times as we exchanged our vows, the first 3 led by my husband and the final one led by me. The Kanyadan is where the bride’s parents give away their daughter to the groom. And as you complete your four rounds of the fire, you’re moving on to start a new life.
And on the first night – the sangeet – groups of friends planned choreographed dances as gifts to us. It was such a huge effort and they were all so brilliant.
We choose to get married at…
Pendley Manor Hotel in Hertfordshire. The grounds are spectacular, with peacocks roaming, We set up a marquee and had all our family and guests staying in the Manor House. We put pictures up of friends and family all over the property and in each guests’ room to make it personal. The property feels like a Grand Home with the perfect combination of splendour and warmth to make it the ideal venue. It’s a hotel we frequent so we know whenever we go back, we are reminded of our wedding.
I knew I found ‘The One’ when…
I saw his gold embroidery on the perfect colour of red. Faraz Manan has the most exquisite hand stitching and I wanted traditional red for my ceremony. I flew to Dubai to meet him and he designed his new bridal collection on my wedding gown.
The most enjoyable moments of planning were…
The wedding invitations. I wanted something that everyone could keep so I created an illustrated book with the greatest love stories which was sent out with every invitation. I did love the food tasting – enjoying that time with my family – and going through old photographs to decorate the place. Planning my Civil Ceremony at Kensington Palace was very special. We were the first non-Royal couple in history to get married there and it was 80 people and very special. That felt more intimate.
The hardest part of planning was…
Logistics! With the smallest function at 200 people and the biggest at 600, it was all about logistics! I don’t love a spreadsheet. This was handled with perfect execution by my sister!
My top three tips for any couple would be…
Eat before you start the big day, schedule family photos, don’t have gaps between each party of the day. Can I have a fourth? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If I was able to do it all over again, the one thing I would change is…
List of suppliers:
Wedding rings: Personally designed
Wedding Planner: RWS
Related Article: Inside: An Exquisite Three Part Wedding