Makeup artist Rajan Gill is a mother-of-three, to supermodel Neelam Gill, Jasmine and Millan. She remarried after divorcing her first husband from an arranged marriage. Rajan reveals the ocean of differences between her weddings and the obstacles she fought to overcome to find her happily ever after.
She says: “I was 20 years old when I was legally married on 17th November 1990. The Gurdwara ceremony followed on 20th January. It was bitterly cold. Every aspect of the day was controlled by my parents and the groom’s family. I had no say. It sad and utterly joyless; a checklist of everything a wedding shouldn’t be. My colleagues commented on how vacant I looked.
After 14 years of heartache, the arranged marriage finally ended in divorce. I felt it was more important to show my two young daughters Neelam and Jasmine that it was better to be happy alone than to remain locked in a loveless relationship. I remarried on 15th August 2009 aged 39. I wanted things done right the second time around, but my parents didn’t want a big wedding for their divorced daughter. They wanted a discreet ceremony in India.
However, my in-laws and fiancée insisted on a real celebration and were hugely supportive. I was full of excitement, but also apprehensive as we were breaking down so many barriers. I was more than a mature bride; I was a divorced single mum marrying someone 10 years younger. I was made to feel ashamed and embarrassed because culturally, it just wasn’t the norm.
My mum didn’t see me in my gown until the Big Day. She was against any celebration and wanted everything to be very low-key and understated. I don’t do understated. I wore an embroidered green lehenga with hints of red, and designed Neelam and Jasmine’s (then aged just 14 and 8 respectively) outfits so that they felt comfortable.The temple ceremony was intense. Normally your sisters or bridesmaids would escort you in, but I made my entrance with my brothers and my daughters. It was quite a stance.
Ultimately my second wedding day was filled with so much love I thought my heart would burst with happiness. I married my best friend, my soul mate. We fought many battles to be together, and I’m sure plenty of people thought we wouldn’t last, yet here we are nearly a decade later, still going strong.
The secret is to never stop laughing. If you’re getting married later in life, my advice is this: simply enjoy it. Take control of the preparations and call the shots because it’s your day. Don’t worry about the small details or what people think. Nothing really matters except marrying the love of your life.”
Photography: Gagan Dhaliwal
Outfit: Designer Studio London
Jewellery: Red Dot Jewels
Bangles/Chura: Bangle Creations
Decor: Royal Affairs UK
Hair and Makeup: Raji Lall
As seen in Khush Wedding Autumn Winter 2018 KW20. Buy this issue here