Glamorous Traditional Indian Destination Wedding
Divya & Nitin
My favorite moment of the wedding...and his...
For me, it was dancing together at the Sangeet to Kala Chashma. It was one of our favorite songs and we opened with it at the Sangeet. For Nitin, it was watching me step out of the boat and walk towards him before we started the Wedding Ceremony.
I had the most fun...
Having all our friends from all over the world stay up till 6 am partying each night for three days straight.
I cried when...
During my father-daughter dance at the Reception. He has done everything for me and I am so grateful to him.
My wedding style was...
It was most important to me that...
The food, booze, and music were on point. We had five food tastings, two months worth of discussions on the cocktails, and we made sure our sound and the graphic system was the best.
About The Couple
How we met...
Nitin and I both grew up in Hong Kong but had never met until a night out in the city. I had just quit my job to start my own business, so my girlfriends and I had planned a pretty wild night out. I walked into the bar and I caught a glimpse of him standing on the opposite side of the bar, staring right back at me. I turned to my friends to ask who he was because I found him very good looking. Before I knew it, I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around, it was him! We chatted for the rest of the night. I really liked how genuine and charismatic he seemed. The next day he messaged and we went on a date a few days later.
Our first date...
At this Mediterranean restaurant in Hong Kong. We ended up talking for hours - drinks became dinner, dinner became dessert and more drinks afterward. We ended up going home at 2 am.
When I knew he was the one...
Six months into our relationship. He was the most genuine and the most hard-working man I have known. He is everything I wanted in the man I want to marry and have children with.
Marriage to us means...
Loyalty, trust, and commitment.
Nitin travels a lot for business, so I always tell him to message me when takes off and lands just so I know he's safe. He was supposed to leave for Mumbai for one of his trip, but I never heard from him. Getting worried, I called his family members and his workplace but never got through to them. After repeatedly calling, I gave up and waited to hear from him in the morning. Still, no word from him, even though my messages to him on WhatsApp had been read. I was furious!
I asked my parents to help locate him but they threw me off by saying he was probably on a work trip I didn't know about. The entire morning went by with me on a ranting spree. At lunch, my nephew came up to me with a letter. It was a love letter from Nitin with a ticket to Koh Samui. The flight was departing in three hours. Emotional from reading the letter, I was in tears while my entire family was couldn't stop laughing at how I'd been fooled.
When I arrived in Koh Samui, Nitin had arranged a car to pick me up, arranged for people to do my hair and makeup and bought me a new dress and shoes to match. I looked and felt so spoilt. I was ushered to the beach with a beautiful candlelit dinner arrangement, where I met Nitin and he popped the question. It was just us and the ocean. I was in tears again - every was so magical. I still remember the butterflies in my stomach from that day.
PLANNING: We had a long engagement of over tow years so we had plenty of time to plan the wedding of our dreams. I started speaking to our wedding planners, Mantra Events based in Bangkok, very early in the process. I did a lot of research on my own but I also I had a ton of advice from my girlfriends who got married just before me. I used Pinterest and wedding websites such as The Crimson Bride for inspiration.
LOCATION & VENUE: Nitin and I wanted to get married in Khao Lak, 80 km from Phuket because it was more of a resort area. However, our parents made us understand how it was not a convenient location for elders. We decided to go for something with more of a resort feel, but closer to Bangkok and Hua Hin was the best option. Out of all the properties in Hua Hin, Dusit Thani was the grandest! Plus, it had a beautiful big ballroom that could accommodate all our wedding guests. The hotel decor, service, and food were outstanding.
SHOPPING: I took about a month off work to do my wedding shopping in India. I knew exactly what I wanted and where to get it. I would highly recommend every bride to go to Kolkata and Delhi for their shopping instead of Bombay.
We had a destination wedding at Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Thailand over three days in mid-November 2016. We didn't want to have random themes, but instead wanted each event to reflect us and our story:
- Welcome Dinner & - Thursday PM, Sunset in LA.
- Afterparty - Thursday PM, 24hrs in Tokyo.
- Mehndi - Friday PM, Mediterranean Mehndi.
- Sangeet - Friday PM, Royal Rajasthan.
- Wedding Ceremony - Saturday PM, Tying the Knot in Thailand.
- Reception - Saturday PM, Love in London.
THEME & DECOR: Sunset in LA. The theme was based on LA, where Nitin went to school. We had road signs of famous LA boulevards and even had a replica Hollywood sign up in one corner. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
DIVYA'S OUTFIT: A gold sequin Reem Acra inspired dress by Violet by Preeti Singhal.
JEWELRY: Emerald diamond set custom made in India.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Nine Styles by Arvind and Manu.
THEME & DECOR: 24 Hours in Tokyo. The Afterparty theme represented our love for Japanese food and sake. The decor included lots of blazing red oriental lamps suspended from the ceiling and a long sake bar that brought the theme to life. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
DIVYA'S OUTFIT: Dress by Three Floor Fashion.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Siddartha Tytler.
THEME & DECOR: Mediterranean Mehendi. Our first date was at a Mediterranean Restaurant in Hong Kong so our Mehendi theme was based around that. The decor included blues and whites of the Greek island of Santorini. Light blue drapes were paired with darker blue ones for the outdoor mehendi mandap, alongside tons of floral arrangements in blues, whites and purples. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
DIVYA'S OUTFIT: White Grecian-inspired outfit by Meeta & Malvika.
HENNA ARTIST: Ambika Madarasmi.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Nine Styles by Arvind and Manu Arya.
THEME & DECOR: Royal Rajasthani. The theme was based on my love for Indian food. The ballroom was decorated in rich, opulent shades of regal reds, yellows and maroons. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
DIVYA'S OUTFIT: Royal Blue lehenga from Manish Malhotra.
JEWELRY: Diamond set custom made in India and headpieces from Sajni The Designer Shop.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Black sherwani and pants by Shantanu & Nikhil.
THEME & DECOR: Tying the Knot in Thailand. Since we were getting married in Thailand, we wanted a Thai-themed Wedding Ceremony. I arrived at the wedding in a long traditional boat. The outdoor mandap was adorned in flowers in accents of red and gold. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
DIVYA'S OUTFIT: Maroon lehenga by Sabyasachi.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Sherwani by Siddartha Tytler.
THEME & DECOR: Love in London. The Reception theme was based on London, where I went to school. The decor created an English charm to the venue covered in fresh pastel florals, beautiful candelabras, a harp player and the London Stock Exchange-themed bar. Decor by Wedding & Wealth Solution by PeeraPach lighting and sound by Ekachai Lighting & Sound.
JEWELRY: Polki set from Notandas.
NITIN'S OUTFIT: Nine Styles by Arvind Arya and Manu Arya.
Tips For Brides-To-Be
I have quite a few learnings from planning our destination wedding:
- Ask someone (either a bridesmaid, wedding assistant or shadow) to take photos on your phone with your friends/family/hubby during all the occasions. She will be your personal photographer and you will be so thankful to capture those moments.
Have your wedding outfits (including jewelry and accessories) finished two months before your wedding. It will be a huge burden off your shoulders.
Make sure you get a wedding planner that handles your guest relations as well. You do not want to have to pay extra for another vendor to handle 1,000 email invitations and RSVPs as well as your guests' flight information and accommodation inquiries. You certainly do not want to handle it yourself.
Make sure your hotel reservations can be done online. Filling out hardcopy forms are a nuisance for guests, your hotel and yourself. Things get misplaced and mishandled. You don't want people's reservations not in the hotel system when they have already traveled all the way.
If your hotel is a little old school, and you have to make a printable reservation form, make sure the reservation forms are sent to only ONE email - preferably to your wedding email and not the hotel reservation email. You know how to handle your guests best. Then have the designated person from your planning team send the hotel management a weekly update on the reservations. Having two emails is a nuisance. I did that, it created a lot of chaos. Some people sent it to one email, some to the other. It was tragic.
Make sure you introduce your entire family (whoever is important for photos) to your photography team well in advance before the event. Either through photographs or screenshots, you want to make sure your photographers are alert and ready to capture the right people so no one is left out and you're not scrambling around last minute.
Have a massage and facial lady on call. It's extra money but you will be so grateful for it after each event.
Make sure your make-up artist is someone you are so comfortable with. You want to be able to tell them if you want to change a certain look last minute or want things different. They are the closest one to you during the three days and you want to make sure they keep you calm, composed and happy.
Do not be frugal with lighting and sound equipment for your events. It will make or break your event, so pay that extra and make sure the sound system is fantastic. Booze, entertainment, and music are what makes a party, so don't cut corners on those three things.
Do not waste money on real flowers for all the wedding events, go with cheaper options. Only get real flowers for the wedding day. It will save you a ton of cash and in all honesty, no one is going to inspect if they are real or not, as long as they look beautiful. It's also better for the environment.
Keep a personal bartender in your room. Again, extra money but you will certainly have a party in your room with all your friends are likely to have flown in from all over the world just for your wedding. They will be sleep deprived but pumped to be there so it's the least you can do. You don't want the trouble of making cocktails yourself or even arranging the alcohol yourself.
If you have a big Indian wedding like I did, make sure you arrange a few moments with your immediate family to take some personal family shots in your room on the wedding day. It is going to be so hectic that day, but these photos are so precious. You will look back and wish you had those. Especially some with your mother and siblings.
Do not go back home right after the wedding. Stay two-three days longer at the resort to just soak in the glory of the previous few days. You also need some downtime from your own wedding. For the bride, groom and the family - it's not necessarily a holiday.
If you are shy and don't want to do a solo for the Sangeet performance, think again. Just go for it. I made my solo up right on the spot, while I was on stage and it was the best decision I made. It totally made the crowd 'feel the love' and is a memorable moment for your husband too.
Do not get drunk. You will totally regret it. Keep a good pace, get buzzed, but you don't want to wake up the next morning with a terrible hangover and have to repeat for day two and three. If you are down, the party's over.
Remember to eat. Ask your wedding planning assistant to bring food up to your room before each event. Tell her your dietary requirements, and what you like. If you don't eat, you will get sick, and have stomach cramps. You definitely won't have time to eat at the event as people will constantly want to take photos with you and chat to you.
Keep things in perspective. With so much going on, emotions will run high. There will be people and vendors, maybe family members included, that will annoy you during your wedding. Some people may even make you want cry. But remember, your wedding will only come once. Do not waste time on small issues or annoying things. Take a breather and move on. Handle everything diplomatically and with a smile. They will certainly value and respect you after and you will also have a much better time.