Double The Love: Inside The Weddings of These University Sweethearts 

Raise a toast!

By Bianca Licina | 2nd February 2024

When it comes to planning a wedding, deciphering which route you would like to go down can be tricky. Do you follow the traditional wedding playbook or toss in your own modern flair? 

For Serena and Arun, the Aussie-born sweethearts who have strong ties to their Indian roots, the answer was clear – why choose just one?  Deciding to celebrate their love over two glorious weddings, the newlyweds enjoyed two days of festivities; one a traditional Indian wedding and the other, a western wedding held atop one of Queensland’s most iconic shorelines.

Where and when did you meet?

Serena: We met at Bond University in 2014 after leaving Sydney to study Medicine on the Gold Coast. We stayed at the same campus college accommodation and met on the first day at a welcome drinks event. We absolutely loved our university lives, growing together, studying hard, lazing by the beautiful beaches, and most importantly partying hard. 

How did he propose?

S: After a long Sydney Covid lockdown, we went on a trip to Adelaide Hills and stayed in a hotel called Sequoia Lodge. Arun surprised me with a picnic on the helipad of the hotel. He had coordinated a playlist of our favourite songs and prepared a charcuterie board ready to go. After popping open the champagne and enjoying a few drinks, he proposed!

Tell us a little about your decision to have two wedding days:

S: We are both born in Australia, however, Indian by heritage. We both share love for our Indian and Australian culture. We absolutely loved attending both Hindu and western wedding events, and treasure so many different traditions. The Indian wedding traditions are a true celebration and party. However, we couldn’t imagine not having a celebratory western wedding as well. Having my dad walk me down the aisle, reciting our vows to each other, sharing a kiss to unite us, and being presented as ‘Mr and Mrs’ were experiences that brought us so much emotion, love, and joy. Overall, we wanted to celebrate both our cultures and lives in Australia and we were so glad we had the opportunity. 

Where did both days take place and why did you choose those venues?

Day 1: Burleigh Pavilion (Western wedding) 

S: Arun and I are originally from (and living in) Sydney, however, we wanted to get married on the Gold Coast where our journey all started. Whenever we went to the venue we felt so happy, relaxed, and at home. From the moment we were engaged, we approached Burleigh Pavilion to see if they would consider hiring out the entire venue and bringing in our own style and furniture. The venue was just as excited as us to host their first wedding and we were so happy our visions came alive. 

Day 2: Fins at Plantation House (Traditional Indian wedding)

S: After securing Burleigh Pavilion, our dream wedding venue, we then had to find a venue to host our Indian Hindu wedding and Sangeet. This was tricky as we had to find a venue that could host our large guest numbers, approve a fire for the ceremony, and catered with excellent Indian-inspired food. Fins at Plantation House went above and beyond to make our wedding special and surpassed all our expectations. 

What was your favourite moment from each day?

For western wedding:

S: The wedding dance was something we had been planning for many weeks and it was so enjoyable when it all came together. Having a background in dancing, it was my dream to perform a fusion contemporary and waltz dance. And the biggest surprise was how much natural talent Arun had! 

For Hindu/Indian wedding:

Arun:  For me the Baraat was a highlight. The Baraat is the Indian tradition where the male’s side of the family dances with loud drums as they parade to meet the female side prior to the wedding. Once they meet the female side of the family there is an official welcoming and uniting of both families. 

What was your favourite song to dance to at the reception?

S: High by Lighthouse Family. This was the final song of the evening and everyone huddled together to create an archway to send us off. It was such a special moment. 

Where did you honeymoon?

S: We wanted to make the most of the European summer and therefore had a pre-wedding honeymoon in Italy, Greece, and London in July prior to the wedding in October. We had the best time and felt it allowed us to feel very connected and relaxed prior to the wedding craziness. After the wedding we enjoyed a ‘minimoon’ at Qualia on Hamilton Island. 

Any advice for brides and grooms-to-be?

A: Take a few moments to take a mental snapshot of your surroundings throughout your wedding. It flies by so quickly, but you will always remember those moments. 


Western Wedding Details: 

Wedding date: 20 October 2023

Wedding dress: Berta Privee

Suit: InStitchu

Bridesmaid dresses: Shona Joy

Makeup: Mia Connor Bridal

Wedding planner: Mandi from Ivy & Bleu 

Venue: Burleigh Pavilion, Gold Coast 

Catering: The Tropic and Burleigh Pavilion 

Flowers: Ivy & Bleu 

Stationery: The White Letter

Furniture: Avideas and Staging Creations

Music: Limited Edition Band 

Photographer: Megan Kelly Studio


Traditional Indian Wedding Details: 

Wedding date: 21st October 2023

Wedding dress: Seema Gujral

Suit: Seema Gujral 

Makeup: Mia Connor Bridal 

Wedding planner: Ivy & Bleu Events 

Venue: Fins at Plantation House 

Catering: Steven Snow

Flowers: Ivy & Bleu

Stationery: The White Letter

Furniture: Fins at Plantation House and Avideas 

Music: DJ Desi 

Photographer: Megan Kelly Studio

By Bianca Licina Certified shopaholic, Bianca is happiest in her favourite pair of jeans with a piccolo latte in hand.




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