Sandish & Harj’s beautiful Swallows Nest Barn wedding, with Bal Sandhu Photography

Published by Claire Gould on

A stunning couple in traditional Indian dress for a micro wedding with a reception at Swallows Nest Barn in Warwickshire. I’d been looking out for a coupe of Indian heritage who’d had to scale back their plans because of the pandemic, and when Sandish emailed me I was absolutely over the moon. Revising their plans for a wedding with 300 guests to an intimate celebration with only their closest family and friends meant some huge changes in the style and focus of Harj and Sandish’s day, with pre-wedding events having to be missed. While the much-anticipated reception had to be put on hold, this Sikh micro wedding still has so much love and beauty, and our gorgeous bride tells the story of their day in such a joyful way I simply had to share. Everyone – you will LOVE the romantic images of lovely Sandish and Harj from their intimate Sikh wedding at Swallows Nest Barn. Do scroll all the way through to catch all the photos.

A bride and groom in Indian dress stand beside a heart decoration filled with log slices

“The reduced numbers meant we could spend the day with our nearest and dearest which we may not have been able to do otherwise as everyone would have been busy with all the other guests. It meant there were some nice moments we could share together and it was so nice to see each other after so many months being unable to get together. It was actually so lovely to celebrate something good after such a horrible and stressful year. I cannot describe to you the relief we felt on the day once we had reached it. Especially as it felt like at times throughout the year we never knew if it would happen at all.

At the meal we were able to greet and speak to guests and do speeches which are not always possible at traditional Sikh weddings. While we had to have an English meal at the new venue rather than the Indian food we had originally planned, I felt this really tied everything in with both our Indian and English roots and really made the day a true mix of both cultures and I felt it definitely suited us more than a traditional Sikh wedding would’ve done. Like I’ve said a lot since then, it all worked out perfectly in the end.”

Wedding photographer’s website

How did you choose your photographer?

He was featured in the brochure of the original venue we had booked so we did a little research and got quotes from others and kept coming back to him. We liked his dramatic style with the couple shots. He was also recommended by a relative so felt we would get a good album from him.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

Yes! Him and his second shooter built a great relationship with everyone there on the day and made us feel relaxed. At times we even forgot they were there and they’ve captured some nice candid shots of us and our guests.

Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?

The Videohub –

Sometimes you can capture moments that photos can’t and having a short video to look back on and showing moving footage of people is always nice to have for the future. The photographer and videographer worked really well together on the day. And actually our parents prefer to have videos to watch rather than an album of photos.

Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?

Swallow’s Nest Barn – Warwick.
We only booked this venue 2 weeks before the wedding as we left it to the very last minute to change our plans from our original venue. We knew the wedding was always going ahead on our original date but due to covid we had to cut numbers drastically from 300 so felt the original room would have been too big and empty. So we had a last minute trawl to find somewhere smaller and more intimate and Swallow’s Nest was perfect!
In fact when we first started looking at wedding venues I had my heart set on a barn venue as I wanted a real country feel to the day but they were all too small for our numbers and we had to opt for somewhere bigger. In the end covid restrictions meant I had got the kind of venue I had initially wanted.

Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?

Yes!! I’ve been thinking of ways I can re-wear mine already and my husband said he felt like a Prince all day.
Both of our outfits were custom-made in India.
I had been to a few shops in the UK pre-covid so had an idea of what I wanted to go for. But I also had a shopping trip to India planned so I confirmed my decision on the outfit (a lengha) in Delhi. I did enjoy the shopping experience but after visiting my 5th or 6th shop I did get tired of trying on outfits and went back to the one I had been comparing them all to.
The lengha was made in India and shipped to the UK in August 2020. Luckily I had ordered it in plenty of time so even with a factory shutdown during India’s lockdown and a few months delay it still luckily arrived in time.
My husband was waiting for me to order mine before he went shopping for his but by then the shops all shut and didn’t open again til June. This left it a tight turnaround for his to be made but he ordered it after a trip to Soho Rd in Birmingham. It eventually arrived a few days before the wedding with adjustments made 2 days before. It was all very last minute but worked out perfectly.

Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness

With 3/4 days to go we visited a florist and ordered the centrepiece flowers and men’s buttonholes. Like everything else it was a last minute decision and we went for a simple rustic look with heather and a purple/white theme.

I didn’t have a bouquet but wanted something subtle that still added a bit of colour to the venue. It was already so lovely we felt we didn’t need to decorate it much.

As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?

A 2 tier wedding cake with smooth buttercream in a rustic elegant style sits on a wooden table surrounded by eucalyptus leaves. There's a photo of a couple on the table, and a small bouquet of cream flowers in the background. Image by Bal Sandhu Photography
It was made by a friend whose cakes I knew I loved so I knew it would be delicious.
We had a bottom tier of carrot cake with vanilla frosting – Harj’s favourite cake and a vanilla sponge with jam middle – a classic flavour.

Again I wanted something simple and naked decorated with some of our flowers but the groom wanted to add some of his personality into the wedding too so as a surprise I asked my friend to incorporate his love of Batman into it and I think she did a great job. She created Gotham City and the batman mask (scroll all the way down to see!) out of white chocolate and gold on the back of the cake.

It was all polished off by the guests, there was only a few slices left.

Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves

I did most of the decorations myself, sourcing a pallet on a selling site to paint a sign, as well as a ladder I upcycled and used to display photos of loved ones who were missing and several vintage bottles we used as vases for flowers. I also scoured car boot sales for antique books we used as centrepieces as I love reading and old books, plus other ornaments such as goblets and candle holders we used on the top table and urns. At one of these car boots I also picked up a vintage wooden globe for my side of the table as I love travelling and the groom had a model dinosaur on his side of the top table as he loves anything dinosaur related. I tried to add as many elements if our personalities as I could.
I even raided my dad’s shed for a log that I painted and treated to use as a cake stand.

What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?

Extreme, More Than Words.
Nothing original I know but it’s a song we both liked and the only one we agreed on!
We’d spent weeks making suggestions to each other and couldn’t find one we both liked but parts of this song did resonate with us.

How did the pandemic affect your wedding plans? Do you have any advice to share with couples planning their weddings right now?

We had to cut our numbers massively and in the end had to make sacrifices on having a reception which is the one bit we were looking forward to and on having our original venue.
However having still gone ahead with the wedding I would say to other couples do whatever works for you. Other people, such as friends and wider family might have their views and opinions on what you should do but trust your instincts and stick with them. We knew we didn’t want to delay and we’re so glad we didn’t. Despite the changes and cutbacks to pre-wedding events that come with Indian weddings we still had an amazing day and don’t regret not postponing it. We just wanted to get on with our lives together and said we would organise a get together with those who were missing at a later date.

Favourite wedding suppliers

Photographer –
Videographer –
Hair and make up – @justjasleen on Instagram
Bride’s Outfit – @sabyasachiofficial / @bridesofsabyasachi ordered through @bibildn
Groom’s outfit – Ziggi Menswear @ziggimenswear
Jewellery – Red Dot Jewels @reddotjewels
Bridesmaids – Astha Narang @asthanarang
Mendhi (henna) @hema_hennaartist

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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