POPULAR Indian actress Shama Sikander got married to longtime partner James Milliron in Goa in March.
The couple, who met through a mutual friend in Mumbai and have been together since 2014, were originally supposed to have a destination wedding in Turkey, but Covid-19 forced them to postpone it by two years. They used that extra time to plan a dream wedding in the presence of close family and friends.
Eastern Eye caught up with the star of multiple film, TV, and web projects to speak about her wedding, including memorable moments, and top tips for others.
You waited until restrictions were fully lifted before getting married. What made you choose a destination wedding in Goa? We were looking at a beach destination, as we both feel at home in and around nature. Goa came closest weather wise and everything else seemed like a great idea. The Goa vibe is fun and easy, and we wanted a full two-day celebration. We wanted our family and friends to have a blast. At the same time, we wanted the very intimate moments, where they can come together from all parts of the world, connect, and feel the love.
Tell us something about the wedding? It was a very intimate 60-people white wedding. We don’t have many white weddings in India, so it was unique and different. We had our wedding vows and a reception full of beautiful, heartfelt speeches. As we both come from different cultures and countries, our families and close friends came from America, UK, South Africa, Turkey, Dubai, and India. It was all love flowing around everywhere. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more perfect wedding.
How much did James get involved with the planning of the wedding? He is always with me in everything we do and supported me fully, as much as possible. Of course, this whole way of getting married was my vision, so I had to execute it the way I wanted, but he was there throughout, taking interest and learning everything. It was a unique and different experience for him because our wedding had the best of both worlds. Things like a sangeet or mehndi pool party, he’s not well versed with. And we Indians like to make everything larger than life too. He comes from a very simple background and helped as much as he could.
Tell us about the outfits you opted for? We had five changes, for five events that followed one after the other. For my welcome lunch, I wore a Sounia Gohil beautiful resort wear – white printed kaftan with palazzo pants, with beautiful intricate silver work on it. For the sangeet, James and I wore this stunning ensemble by Nivedita Saboo Couture. It was a beautiful black and gold modern lehenga with short choli and black fur, to add that extra jungle vibes, as that was our theme.
What about the wedding? For my wedding I wore a beautiful white gown by Lorenzo Mila Nova. James wore a stunning white tuxedo by Nivedita Saboo. For my pre-wedding shoot, I wore a stunning white gown by famous Israeli designer Lior Charchy and James wore a Massimo Dutti suit. And for our reception again we chose Nivedita Saboo Couture; a royal wine tuxedo suit for James and for me a stunning blush pink and wine ballgown.
Tell us about the make-up you opted for? I wanted a very natural and fresh look, so went with fresh lip colours and very light natural base with mostly nude eyes, as there was so much drama on the costumes. I wanted to keep it as simple and glamorous as possible.
Your first dance song… A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, which is our favourite song. It resonates with us a lot and our love story. All the lyrics just depict how we feel about one other, so it was a very special moment for us.
What was your favourite moment from the wedding day? Our wedding vows and reception speeches were my most favourite. There’s so much beauty in the way people express their love. It has the power to touch our souls and that’s what happened. I have never seen or felt so much love in one moment in my entire life before.
Were there any last-minute emergencies? My mom had a swollen foot because of the heat, and we had to call an emergency doctor. There was suddenly a major heatwave in Goa, so I almost had a heatstroke. But somehow, I held it together. I think everyone was just so happy and in great spirits that we all forgot our pains and problems. We all just wanted to have a great time. People wouldn’t stop dancing all night. We literally had to send them to their rooms.
What top tip would you give to those planning to get married? Just relax. There is so much you worry about on the wedding day that you can forget to absorb it fully. So just have fun and whenever it gets overwhelming take a deep breath and start again.
Would you give a destination wedding tip? Stay at the hotel as a normal guest prior to making a wedding booking and go through all the hospitality thoroughly. Sometimes properties look pretty but there could be many loopholes in service or communication in the hotel. It will prevent any unwelcome surprises later.
Was it the dream wedding that you had imagined? Yes, absolutely. It was beyond that. It was magical. There’s so much power in love and good company, I don’t think people realise it fully. We managed to bring the most beautiful people together and then there was only love. No drama, no stress, only pure love.
How do you feel being married? I feel great. I feel empowered. I feel powerful. Something in our energy changed. We became stronger together from the moment we said our vows. Such a strong energy shift happened, maybe, I can’t explain it fully in words.