5Th July 2019 Sharika & Steven Oxford wedding video, Oxfordshire videographer

Our Love Story

How did you guys meet?

We met 5 years ago in Bangladesh. Steven was stationed at the World Bank Dhaka office for two years (2014-15). We met in autumn 2014. I was working for a local non-profit while finishing my bachelor’s degree at the time.  We spent a year together in Dhaka before Steven was reposted in Kathmandu subsequent to the Nepal earthquake. With my undergraduate degree completed, I agreed to move as well. I continued my work with some local and regional non-profits. In 2016 we decided to start our graduate (for me) and doctoral (for Steven) degrees at the University of Oxford. Hence, we moved to England in the autumn of 2016. Due to difficulties in extending my leave to remain in the UK post my degree, we quietly got married in a private civil ceremony in November 2017 in Gibraltar! We had two great years in Oxford before Steven decided to move back to Washington D.C. last year to pursue a fantastic career opportunity. We have been living apart ever since and get on a plane at every whim to see one another!

Tell me a bit about the two of you, what do you guys do? How do you spend your time?

Steven is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank. I work in the Major Gifts Fundraising space and am currently the Fundraising Research Manager for the British Heart Foundation. Steven spends most of his time globetrotting for work. I’m the complete opposite and live a very routine life. I spend my time commuting into London thrice a week, working out, eating well (mostly) and horse riding. We both love long walks and spending time with friends. Steven loves alcohol, me not at all (unless it’s champagne or port)!

How did the proposal go down? (all the gushy details, I love this bit!)

Despite our situation being unconventional, Steven insisted that we have an engagement. We spent the entire summer of 2018 designing the perfect ring for me. We commissioned a jeweler in Washington to source the perfect piece of rectangular ruby as the centre stone of my ring (I love rubies and Steven’s surname is Rubinyi; the stone even has a blemish on it to symbolise our sometimes not so perfect relationship).  Finally when we went to Paris last November for Steven’s 30th birthday, he ‘proposed’ at the Tuileries. When he asked if I would marry him, I said I already did!

How did you choose your wedding venue(s)?

We decided early 2018 that we wanted a proper celebration with family and friends (Please note that we have not shared the Gibraltar episode with most of our guests. However, given it’s a blessing ceremony, they have been kept under the impression that we took/ will take care of the administrative details separately). With my family being from Bangladesh and his America, Oxford was the ideal midway spot to host this. And with the University’s beautiful structures at our disposal Christ Church and the Divinity School were very easy to agree upon.

What sort of experience do you want your guests to have?

We of course want it to be very special for our guests as most are coming a long way to celebrate with us. Our vision for the blessing and reception is for it to be understated but elegant. We would like them to have tons of fun, look their best, be well fed and well liquored. We hope they will appreciate the venues and the general Oxford cityscape.

Can you describe some of the details and stylings, does your wedding have a theme?

I think we are going for traditional theme with some aspects borrowed from my South Asian and Steven’s Jewish heritage. I will be wearing traditional sarees for both the morning and the evening; Steven will be wearing conventional morning attire and maybe a dinner jacket in the evening. My bouquet is pink and red (almost burgundy) roses or peonies. The bridesmaids are all wearing sarees in a pale shade of pink. The groomsmen have dove egg blue waistcoats, I believe. There are lots of golden undertones in my jewellery and outfits. The colours of the wedding I would say are white, gold, pink and red (almost burgundy). The blessing ceremony will include some Jewish and South Asian readings alongside the more conventional verses. The flowers at the cathedral match this scheme. The centrepieces for the dinner tables at the divinity school are tall calla lilies. We have a South Asian musician playing the sitar for the evening reception. The food is inspired by South Asian flavors but it’s not quite South Asian.  The cake is three tiered, white and gold. The wedding favors are Jordan almonds.

What was the hardest decision during the planning?

I had ample time to plan the event. However, life gets in the way. It has been hard (as you may have noticed) to keep up with emails and stick to to-do lists.

What advice would you give to couples planning a wedding?

I think it is important to keep aside enough time to plan the wedding. I had one and half years and am still struggling!

Our wedding team

The Dress: My sarees were sourced from one of India’s oldest silk saree merchants
Photography: Neil Hanson https://www.nordicpics.co.uk/
Florist: Flowers by Kirsty https://www.flowersbykirsty.com/
Catering: Oxford Fine Dining https://www.oxfordfinedining.co.uk/
Music: Organist provided by Christ Church, Ravi Sitar Player from Alive Network Entertainment in the evening, My best friend is the DJ 10 pm onwards, THAT events company is providing the equipment https://www.alivenetwork.com/bandpage.asp?bandname=Ravi%20(Sitar%20Player)
Hair & Makeup: Holly Preston, Oxford Hair and Make Up http://www.hollypreston.co.uk/
Cake: All cakes and sizes https://www.allcakesandsizes.co.uk/