The city of Hyderabad is an increasingly popular choice for destination weddings by families from all over the world. The Taj Group of Hotels hosted WeddingSutra Engage, the elegant luxury and weddings’ event. Their Hyderabad properties, Taj Krishna, Taj Falaknuma Palace and Taj Deccan are the epitome of Hyderabadi culture and hospitality and are adept at hosting destination weddings of all hues.
The Grand Ballroom, Taj Krishna
The theme was ‘Hyderabad- the new hotspot for Destination Weddings’ and as always, the event was a hub of the city’s prominent wedding industry folk, top bridal fashion influencers, creative entrepreneurs and some very special guests – ten WeddingSutra readers and brides-to-be, who participated and won an invitation to this soirée.
The panel discussion included the city’s finest creative minds and entrepreneurs and Mumbai’s eminent wedding planners. The rapt audience had the chance to listen to Shalini Bhupal- Executive Director Taj GVK Hotels, Anushree Reddy- Bridal Couturier, Dinaz Noria- Event Stylist, K Mohanchandran, Director- Operations Taj GVK Hotels and General Manager- Taj Krishna and Kainaz Sethna the Head of Mumbai-based Seven Steps (a division of Seventy Event Media Group). The panel discussion was moderated by Parthip Thyagarajan, Director, WeddingSutra.
From left to right- K. Mohanchandran, Anushree Reddy, Shalini Bhupal. Dinaz Noia and Kainaz Sethna.
There was consensus that Hyderabad, already the country’s MICE (Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions) capital is evolving as a hotspot for social events. The reasons are evident. Hyderabad has a longstanding reputation for its cultural charm, heritage and cuisine. The last being especially important to guests at a wedding. It scores on the cost factor, maintaining a price advantage through the year. And of course, the sheer beauty of the Taj’s iconic Falaknuma Palace, Taj Krishna and Taj Deccan and the confident teams whose perfect training and vast experience at managing weddings, and impeccable service assure clients that their wedding is in trusted hands.
Shalini Bhupal, Executive Director, Taj GVK Hotels emphasized Hyderabad’s happy blend of influences, “Apart from the summer, Hyderabad has very pleasant weather all year. The climate is temperate which is a huge advantage to those who want an outdoor wedding.” Hyderabad’s rich history is another lure, she says, “Culturally, there is a mix of the Nizams, who were in turn influenced by the styles of the West; the native Andhra and Telangana culture,” and this of course is best experienced in the cuisine, “the Hyderabadi biryani and spicy Andhra food!” and fashion, “We have some brilliant designers! So you can come here to get married at one of our venues, eat our food, wear our clothes and we will give you a fabulous wedding.”
Dinaz Noria, the city’s best known event stylist is familiar with every great location Hyderabad has to offer. She described a picture book worthy collection of palaces, forts and temples suitable for destination weddings, “This city offers destinations of all kinds. If you’re looking for some Telugu culture, in addition to the forts and temples, there are resorts and luxury hotels.” The cherry on top? Getting around Hyderabad is easy, so there’s no precious time wasted in commuting.
Hyderabad’s potential as a destination wedding option really revealed itself with the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Kainaz Sethna of Seven Steps said, “All these years one didn’t realise how much one can do with a venue like Hyderabad. The Falaknuma Palace presents a very viable option to Rajasthan. It is a dream wedding venue.” But in addition to the well-known places, she said there were many other venues being discovered and shared “thanks to WeddingSutra Engage where we connected and interacted with the city’s top wedding and creative professionals.”
From left to right- Parthip Thyagarajan, Anushree Reddy, Dinaz Noria, Kainaz Setha and K. Mohanchandran
Between the Taj Krishna and the Taj Deccan, close by, K Mohanchandran, the General Manager, Taj Krishna told the audience that guests have access to “Over 400 rooms, 15 acres of space, and several banquet facilities on offer, not to forget the various halls for wedding related functions.” Mohanchandran cited easy connectivity to most Indian cities and overseas, mentioning Hyderabad’s award winning airport. Echoing a theme at the event, he reiterated, “that pricing across segments was not exorbitant – whether it is the rooms, the food, or the transport. All of which make Hyderabad one of the best locations for a destination wedding in India.”
After the panel discussion, it was time for Anushree Reddy, bridal couturier, to bring her experience to the audience that included ten very excited brides-to-be. Her latest collection is called ‘Wedding Chronicles” and the designer tipped her hat to the modern bride who she acknowledges as very aware of current trends in fashion, know what colours work with them and what styles they’re looking for. She explained that in her line of work, she often creates for the bride’s sister, mum and friends as well, “so that there is synergy in what they are wearing, I try and give them a complete look right down to the shoes. I guide them to go with styles that are not repetitive and design according to the occasion. For example, I make garments mehendi and sangeet friendly if those are the functions I am designing for.” As a nod to the traditions of Hyderabad, Anushree said she used zardozi in her creations, “so there is a local feel to the garments.”
Then it was time to turn to the buffet table. Nitin Mathur, Executive Chef of Taj Krishna, Nitin Mathur, tracked popular wedding menu trends, “While people are increasingly health conscious and the salad bars are getting longer, there is also a great demand for large dessert counters. People want everything – from cupcakes to glass towers and macaroons and wedding cakes. Live counters and single ingredient tasting counters are also increasingly popular, along with multiple cuisines being represented at the wedding buffet.”
Chef Nitin Mathur, Executive Chef- Taj Krishna
Finally, Jamie Walker, brand ambassador for Diageo introduced the importance of a good bar. He had a few basic tips, “Always make sure you have enough alcohol so you don’t run out!” but stressed the importance in hiring a great bartender, “You need a bartender who is polite, well versed with mixology, and can rustle up some interesting cocktails and mocktails. He should also be responsible and not serve more alcohol to someone who has probably had enough. A good bar will have people enjoying themselves and if they drink responsibly there are no embarrassing moments for the hosts.”
Jamie Walker, Brand Ambassador- Diageo
The event was also host to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for providing a special touch to the wedding – albums, décor and even holograms of the bride and groom.
Wedding Planners and Brides-to-be check out the Canvera photobook collection
At the venue, tastefully designed by Dinaz Noria, invitees mingled with industry experts and panelists. The conversation was thrilling and enlightening and Anushree Reddy was definitely the belle of the ball, with all the women wanting her opinion on their trousseaux.
WeddingSutra Engage concluded with a dinner that allowed guests, entrepreneurs and panelists to relax and consolidate a day of learning and networking.
Mitali has known her fiancé Tarun for over a decade. They met through a common friend but as part of the same gang, there was never any romantic involvement. She says, “We were both studying, then working and about five years ago, we just randomly connected on Facebook. We met on our own and started going out. A month later, we were in love. In a couple of years, he asked me to marry him and we informed our parents. We got engaged in January 2015 and though we decided to have our wedding late last year, we postponed it to August 14th this year.”
Mitali quit the corporate world to become a make-up artist and Tarun, a qualified commercial pilot, decided to join his family business and is currently the co owner of Ten Downing Street, a popular chain of pubs and nightspots in the country.
Mitali tells us more about their day of love: “I knew I was in love with him within a month of dating. I was waiting for him to say something, but he never did. So when he threw a party for me on my birthday, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I just came right out and told him that I loved him. He reciprocated and we made it official.”
Like many brides and grooms who plan their own wedding Mitali and Tarun have not hired a wedding planner. “We are very clear with about what we want and our mothers have designed and are executing every minute detail. They’re enjoying the experience of making checklists and timelines. We’re also very clear about wanting a celebration that is a mix of tradition and fun.” The couple decided not to be wasteful too, “With the décor, we are combining real flowers with paper flowers too – why spend so much on flowers that wilt away the next day? People say wedding planning can be stressful, but not for us. We are busy with work and make time between work and over weekends to plan it all with our families.”
At WeddingSutra Engage, the wedding inspiration event co-hosted by WeddingSutra and Taj Krishna the bride-to-be said she loved the wedding elements all around, particularly the Canvera photo-books that beautifully preserve precious wedding memories. As an extra treat, Mitali, a bridal make-up artist herself loved the fact that, “I got to meet and network with so many people from the wedding industry- from event stylists and photographers to bar specialists like Jamie Walker, the Brand Ambassador of Diageo”.
The next day amidst the sylvan surroundings of the majestic Taj Krishna Hotel, Mitali and Tarun shyly posed for pictures. Mitali reveals that she and her fiancé are extremely camera shy and wouldn’t indulge in PDA or even hold hands when they are outside. She says, “The shoot was lovely and the WeddingSutra team went out of their way to put us at ease. Tarun and I were still very conscious and we could barely look into each other’s eyes. Later in fact, he was teasing me saying ‘I have never looked into your eyes for this long. You have a mark here and a pimple there’. The photo shoot at the outdoor spaces and pool side of Taj Krishna, one of our favourite hotels in the city was a great experience and I think WeddingSutra got some really nice pictures of us.”
Mitali smiles and says there were never any challenges or hiccups in their relationship, “We are really comfortable with each other, best friends. We’ve both had a liberal upbringing, so the fact that we are from different communities (he is a Reddy and I am a Marwari) doesn’t make a difference to us or our dear families.”
As they hold hands tightly (a step up from their shyness), just one month before their big day, the excitement is evident! The shoot may have brought this gorgeous couple out of their shell as they smile feeling less self-conscious, happy they’ve made friends with the lens in time for being photographed on their wedding day.
If you’re getting married in 2016 or 2017 and would like to be a part of ‘Love Actually’ write to us (email@example.com) with the link to your FB profiles, wedding date and ‘How you met’ story. Selected couples will be invited for the shoots in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Score the perfect bridesmaids’ gifts this wedding season with trendy accessories by Pookaari which she can sport at your wedding or other occasions. Your bridesmaids are not only your best friends, but your support crew on your big day. Bring a smile on their faces as you gift them the some of the most trending and classic pieces for her trousseau. WeddingSutra editors handpick some of the most stunning accessories for your girls.
Danglers or Jhumkas can be paired with both ethnic wear as well as indo-western wear. Gift your BFF this beautiful pair of Jhumkas curated by Pookaari crafted with black kundan stones, antique finished American diamonds and pearls set in gold plated metal.
Box clutches add the oomph factor to any bridal wear or even western wear if you plan to get dressy. Choose from a wide range of contemporary box clutches studded with baubles and crystals by Pookaari that’ll give your bridesmaids a modern and trendy look.
Gift something that can be worn by your bridesmaid at the wedding as well as other celebrations like these statement earrings by Pookaari. The statement Mrinalini Chandra earrings comes with intricately designed work inspired by the “Monkey God” and is embellished with black semi-precious stones. Your girls can pair their wedding party saree with the stylish black colored semi-precious stone earrings crafted with filigree work on top in the auspicious Sri Chakra design. Your bridesmaid can either pair these with her saree or sport them as a statement accessory on western wear.
Quirky Hand Harness and Rings
Hand harnesses are trending these days which gives you a reason to gift your BFFs this quirky cocktail ring. This traditional birds on a pearl string design cocktail ring is curated by Pookaari from FoolJhadi’s collection. Beautifully handcrafted with intricate thread work, mirror work and pearls, your bridesmaid will surely make a statement rocking it at your wedding. The Feroze Pearl Embellished Ring from Pookaari’s Paisley Pop collection on the other hand adds a touch of charm to the wedding attire with its graceful turquoise and pearl embellishments.
Ethnic Pearl Earrings Gift your bridesmaids these stylish earring cum cuffs with intricate design and pearls on the rim which can pair well with a summery ethnic attire. Whereas these kundan chaandbaalis will make your bridesmaid effortlessly pair it with any of her bridal wear.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then thank your photographer for working all the random elements that leave a viewer speechless!
The wedding photographer’s job gives the illusion of being a simple one – so simple, every high-end camera owner believes they could pull it off – young love, a moment, an awe-inspiring image. A back-handed compliment to a skilled photographer – a frame so perfect, so natural, you think anyone could have done it.
But shutterbugs like Anand Rathi know what it takes – struggle, determination, improvisation and patience! When Dhaval and Shivani, a twenty-something Mumbai-based couple, came to his company, Reels and Frames, with their dreams of an international pre-wedding shoot, he began the process. Over a span of nine months they explored locations around the world – London, Paris, Turkey – only for each plan to crash into a last-minute dead-end. Disheartened, the team took a sabbatical.
As it turned out, this project would only see the light of day two months after Dhaval and Shivani’s Amby Valley wedding. But, it would happen in mystical, romantic Venice!
Venice wasn’t their first choice, but Anand had been to Cinque Terre, a picturesque cluster of five villages on the Costa Ligure of Levante, a UNESCO protected heritage site. He knew the colours, contours of the location would lend themselves beautifully to the Bollywood-homage he’d planned for the shoot. The team then spent weeks in pre-production planning every single thing down to the last detail – including the couple’s wardrobe.
They set off, looking for sunshine glinting off the waters and blue skies. As they touched down at Marco Polo airport, they were greeted by a thunderstorm. The clever, intrepid travellers decided to improvise and made room in their story board for dramatic thunder clouds and sparkling rain. Guided by the forces of good (and the reliable Google Earth) they set out on their mission – to make images that would last a lifetime.
It helped that the couple was enthusiastic and willingly woke up early to be on location at 6 am to beat the tourist hordes, hiked up 22,000 steps or walked as many as 8 kilometres a day for the perfect shot. And the perfect shot they got – time after time, Anand and Sumit’s perseverance and instinct and skill are tangible in the gorgeous results!
1. Kissing on the Grand Canal – Our first stop was the Grand Canal in Venice. This is a 150 megapixel composite stitched image, which you can blow up to an XXXL billboard with no loss of resolution. Look at the way the image is lit; it’s dark with beautiful light on them. We managed this by taking extra shots while the last rays of sun were going down. Then we stitched the images together in post. The bride’s outfit is designed by Veda Raheja.
2. Posing at Saint Marks Square – We picked a photo holiday to shoot on, so you’ll see that there are no tourists around. We wanted a glamourous, evening look and they were all decked up at 6 am. She’s wearing a red gown by Kashveen Kohli.
3. The Bridge of Sighs – There were hundreds of tourists so we decided to pretend we were on a film shoot. The couple checked their make up in the mirror as we tried to create a little space for our shots. When some Chinese tourists asked if they were Indian film actors, the bride played cooked up a really convincing story and said we were shooting for a South Indian film! It worked!
4. Singing in the Rain – This is at Monterosso al Mare, two stations away from Manarola. We’d initially planned a sunset shoot, but there were thunderstorms as we got off the train. Dhaval and Shivani had an umbrella at hand, there was a tunnel behind them and we just took these shots at the station itself. They’re magical!
5. Up, Up and Away! – This aerial shot was taken at Vernazza, one of the five villages in The Cinqe Terre. There is a visual contrast – a very European backdrop to a very ethic couple. (The saree is designed by Kashveen Kohli.) There are no hotels here so we woke up at 5 am for the 6 am train and hiked uphill for an hour to get to this location. The couple are standing inches away from a few hundred foot drop to the ocean!
6. Romance in Venice – On the last day, just before the couple was leaving for the airport, we scurried around and took three shots in a gondola. We skipped a couple of lines, took all the shortcuts we could and shot till half an hour before they had to be at the airport.
From brocade band-galas to jacquard jackets, sherwanis with stoles to Jodhpur pants paired with Jaipur mojaris – Manyavar has been helping modern grooms avoid the stress that comes with choosing the perfect ‘dress’ for weddings.
Today, this leading ethnic wear brand has designs on grooms in the US – as well as brides under its partner brand Mohey – with its stylish store in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Gone are the day when dulhas and their families had to frequent different stores to painstakingly pick the right sherwani, matching safa, stole and shoes, and repeat the same process for different events. Manyavar is the ‘one-stop-shop’ for not just the groom, but his entire entourage – from college buddies to kiddie cousins. They have expanded their collections to include ensembles for different festive occasions too such as light linen kurtas for daytime events to velvet jackets for evening receptions, and have successfully evolved as a Celebration Wear brand.
Mohey – the partner brand – aims to become the ‘go-to’ brand for Indian brides with its handpicked range of elegant sarees, gorgeous lehengas, suits and stunning gowns that feature stunning workmanship and details.
Manyavar and Mohey’s ‘Celebration Wear’ collections will impress brides and grooms looking for traditional yet trendy wear – and will probably have them celebrating the fact that they do not have to fly all the way to India to shop for their wedding ensembles.
Visit: 1505 Finnegans Lane, North Brunswick Township, New Jersey- 08902
Call: +1 732-658-1017
Check out www.manyavar.com
The clouds played ‘will it, won’t it’ as Nami walked out of the salon in Bandra, her smile brightening up a grey, blustery Sunday morning. The puddles and impending storm did nothing to dampen the spirits of both Nami and her fiancé Eham who were so enthusiastic and the WeddingSutra team who were fired up and ready to ‘click-start’ the shoot!
With a clutch of our quirky Bosky umbrellas we wound our way through the tiny lanes and big promenades of the queen of the suburbs, looking for the perfect locations as Eham and Nami told us their love story.
Nami says, “Eham and I are both from the medical profession. I’m a Neuro-Physiotherapist and Eham is a general surgeon in Mumbai. We met in junior college, in the monsoon of 2004. Eham was hard to miss (something about his Harry Potter looks with the glasses) but we hardly interacted in the first few weeks. However, when we realized we were both keen on pursuing medicine, we got talking. I even tried to set him up with a friend! And it was then that I realized he meant more to me than just a friend. As our studying took over our interactions were limited over the next year but with the exams behind us, we started a phase of endless conversation, late night calls and coffees. Six months later, at Bandstand one evening, Eham asked, ‘So what about us?’ in the most casual way possible! And that’s how we started dating almost a decade ago.”
The rain came down in sheets, making each shot a challenge but we found ourselves breathing ocean mists with pounding waves in the backdrop as we made a pitstop at Bandstand which brought back memories for Nami, “I was reminded of that fateful evening at Bandstand when we were still only casually dating though our commitment developed gradually. With an organic fluidity, we evolved from not being able to spend the day without each other to knowing we needed a lifetime together.”
The couple drove the spunky Beetle through the tiny lanes and then up the slopes to reach Mount Mary’s steps. The rain kept lashing down but we continued to grin as the couple cheerfully posed with their ride and Dev, the man of the hour, kept clicking. There were laughs and a couple of ‘oops!’ moments while handling the photography equipment as the couple both perched in the spacious boot of the car for a couple of very romantic pictures as the City of Dreams glistened around them.
Nami and Eham had cancelled a weekend getaway to be able to shoot and they were really pleased they did. It did remind them of a special moment… “On the 29th of April this year, Eham planned an entire day out to celebrate our ‘monthly’ anniversary. It started with a quiet, sumptuous breakfast at a bakery, some quick shopping and an intimate lunch and then we reached the Gateway of India at 5 pm. Eham had been very hush hush about his plans and it only just dawned on me when a man pulled up with a small boat. We stepped into this lovely sailboat laden with flowers and chocolate. We snuggled up at one end as the wind carelessly carried us further into the open waters. With my eyes fixed on the sunset, Eham slipped a band on my finger. And it only got better! We were extremely fortunate to see a pod of dolphins as we sailed back to shore.”
Safe and warm in their love bug, their hands intertwined, love-bands glinting off them, the couple epitomizes the Beetle’s spirit of love. Nami loved the clean designs of both the car and her platinum love bands, “The elegance resonates with our relationship. And driving the Beetle around in the rain reminded us of our first meeting, in the monsoon. The fun little car is youthful and intimate and the drive was amazing. It just made our special day extra special!”
Finally it was time to turn the engine off and Nami and Eham were delighted not only with the chance to drive around and take pictures, but also for the role WeddingSutra is playing, “WeddingSutra has been a blessing with the planning; so much inspiration for décor, the trousseau, invitations, wedding favours etc… “
The couple will have a close-knit, intimate wedding next year in January, in Mumbai. They said their goodbyes and headed off for a hot cup of tea and team WeddingSutra wishes them rainbows over every road they take.
If you’re getting married in 2016 or 2017 and would like to be a part of ‘Love Actually’ write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the link to your FB profiles, wedding date and ‘How you met’ story. Selected couples will be invited for the shoots in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Grooming the groom has become a big trend these days, and men are matching brides when it comes to getting pampered, primped and styled. That’s what Ali, a businessman, and his band of buddies were treated to during WeddingSutra’s exclusive editorial shoot at Vivanta by Taj President to showcase looks for a groom and his groomsmen. His fiance Mitali also joined in to give the shoot the vibe of a real day-wedding.
The pampering began at the luxury Taj Salon at Vivanta by Taj President where Ali and his buddies Aditya, Zaeem, Raunak and Varun got expert styling for their hair which they say they loved. Meanwhile ensembles for their two looks – one ethnic and one Western – by Manyavar were being laid out for the shoot. The ethnic collection for the groomsmen featured different cuts in shades of grey and black – black self-design bandgalas, Nehru jackets, long kurtas and Jaipur pants proved a striking contrast to groom Ali’s minimalist royal blue button-down sherwani which was paired with darker blue churidaar pants, light brown mojaris and light lapel handkerchief.
Each of the groomsmen has a different personal style and were initially unsure of how they would appear in their chosen outfits. However, the versatile range by Manyavar had something for everyone – and gave the guys a good idea of styles they could flaunt at their own weddings.
Mitali’s dark blue lehenga by Manyavar’s partner brand for women Mohey – for the ethnic look shoot – was resplendent with gold thread embroidery. Blue is her favourite colour, and the light sheer net dupatta and short-sleeved gold blouse provided a stunning contrast to the heavy polki jewellery by Ghanasingh Fine Jewels which made her feel like a royal bride. “The best part about the outfit was the weight. I always had a perception about bridal lehengas being super heavy but this was really light and comfortable,” says Mitali.
As Dev the photographer took the men and Mitali through their paces and poses, Ali enjoyed how much fun his squad was having, given that they had all taken a day off from work for this shoot. He shares, “I didn’t really know what to expect at the shoot. We’ve all seen and loved Manyavar’s ads and to be able to wear the outfits in front of the camera and show them off was pretty cool. What I really loved about the experience was having my boys and Mitali there. Plus, we were spending a day away from our jobs to do something we usually would never have been able to do during the madness of a real life wedding.”
The Western ensemble shoot had the men clad in suits in fine shades of grey, with Ali donning a brilliant red tie while the others went with blue ones. Even the accessories were chosen with care – sleek ties by Dapper Homme and stylish watches by Art of Time. One groomsman was impressed by a sophisticated watch costing 7 lakh – which probably symbolised the popular idiom ‘Time is Money’.
Dev and his photography team followed a ‘fly on the wall’ approach with their candid shots that showed the men in different real-life wedding situations – such as opening up gift boxes by SugarBox, taking pictures with their camera phones when Ali picked Mitali up in his arms or raising a toast with Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey like they were at a mock bachelor’s bash at the Wink Bar at Vivanta by Taj President.
Bride Mitali wore a light turquoise lehenga by SVA by Sonam and Paras Modi for the second look with the men in Western outfits – this was paired with lighter diamond jewellery. She says, “The turquoise lehenga looked gorgeous and is perfect for a new-age bride. The colour is subtle and young and the diamond set complimented it really well.”
The real-life couple enjoyed the festivities and fashions they will soon replicate at their forthcoming wedding in Goa. It will be a new chapter in their relationship which started six years ago when Mitali was introduced to Ali by a common friend at a dinner. She heard from him six months later when a friend suggested Ali call her as he was looking for a pair of drumsticks for a musician friend. Ali had relocated to Mumbai from New Zealand where they had both been studying, and joined his family business. Mitali helped him resettle in Mumbai and they visited the city’s popular food haunts and had long chats, during which they got to know each other. Shortly after, Ali proposed to her with a rubber O-ring from his manufacturing unit, which Mitali laughed and accepted. He promised to get her a platinum love band once he had saved enough for it. And he did! Read more here.
WeddingSutra wishes Ali and Mitali a fabulous, fashion-forward wedding in Goa and we are sure the dapper groomsmen will look the part!
She looks regal in her red strapless gown against the brown backdrop of the sun-kissed Hajar mountains, while he appears kingly in the yellow turban he dons for the evening pheras in the aqua-draped beachside mandap. The net dupatta of her bridal lehenga is silhouetted evocatively against a latticed window, while he gets drenched by his buddies under a date palm next to the brilliant blue sea… Aditi and Jash’s wedding at the stunning Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat, in the Sultanate of Oman, was a photographer’s delight. As ace wedding photographer Parikshit Suri (www.pksuri.com) who shot their three-day wedding here says, “From pristine crystal-clear blue waters of the Sea of Oman to the dramatic, porous ancient mountains, rocky formations rising out of the sea, sandy beaches, crimson skies at sunset… the place has everything – including a Turtle Beach – where the numbers of eggs laid and hatchlings born are tracked on a daily basis.”
Aditi and Jash’s wedding came to life in the sprawling resort whose three different hotels are grand enough to accommodate all the people, parties and poses that make up a modern Indian wedding today. From ‘couple portraits’ against the sea and mountains in Western wear, to the bride and groom making their way around the blue swimming pools and green lawns in all their ethnic finery, the venue offered many memorable and frame-worthy settings.
Just under three hours away from India by flight, the Sultanate of Oman is becoming the go-to destinations for couples like Aditi and Jash who desire a ‘wedding with a difference’. And that’s exactly what is promised at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. The 124-acre resort’s three separate hotels are named Al Waha, Al Bandar and Al Husn, and each has a different theme or highlight. For example, Al Waha – ‘The Oasis’ can be reached only via a man-made tunnel through a mountain. It has the essence of a calm oasis as several swimming pools have been merged together. Plus, the traditional Dofari architecture and date palms remind you that you have reached a beautiful Arabian paradise.
Al Bandar is structurally inspired by old Muscat which makes it a perfect backdrop for striking wedding shoots, and the six-star Al Husn – or the “Exclusive Castle” offers rooms and suites that are said to be the most luxurious in Oman, alongside a private beach. The setting of this Shangri-La property is a wedding photographer’s delight. From the exclusive environs that lie just 45-minutes away from the international airport, to the world-class cuisine and service, the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa go all out to make couples feel like royalty on their special day.
Every love story is unique in its own way, and Mahima Bhardwaj and Sanchit Agarwal’s journey from being friends to soulmates is captured wonderfully in their uniquely creative wedding invitation. Here, we share some details of their romance which are captured succinctly in the pithy lines on the card.
Back in 2008, Mahima and Sanchit were taking tuitions at the Career Launcher centre in Noida. She wanted help with a math problem and he offered his assistance. From there on, their equation quickly turned from strangers to friends. Their friendship deepened thanks to long conversations over endless cups of coffee. “We didn’t instantly fall in love but connected almost immediately. We took no time to open up and shared our hearts out to each other,” recalls Mahima, who was 17 years old at that time, and so was Sanchit.
He wooed her with his guitar and over dinners and even gifted her a perfume. However, they had to go their different ways as each had to study further and establish themselves in their careers.
Their individual journeys kept them mostly apart for around five years, and took them to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bangalore, Kolkata and finally Mumbai. But fate had a way of reconnecting them “like magnets” according to their wedding invitation.
Today, she works for an international hotel group while he is a corporate lawyer. Hailing from New Delhi, Mahima will tie the knot with Sanchit, who belongs to Darjeeling, in a city away from both their hometowns – Agra. The City of Love will bear witness to the nuptials of ‘Peechy’ (Mahima) and ‘Pumpkin’ (Sanchit) on July 14, this year. The venue for their destination wedding is Courtyard Marriott (link to website)
So how did the couple come up with nicknames for each other? Mahima shares, “In 2012, we had had a communication gap of five years during which we connected maybe once or twice a year. One of those times we were chatting using lyrics of songs and couplets we were writing ourselves. We were in total sync with each other’s thoughts and when it was time to sleep, he texted me ‘Goodnight Peechy.’ (he meant Peach – like the fruit). I replied ‘Goodnight Pumpkin.’ What I didn’t know was that he was expecting to get that text. It was like a confirmation in his heart that although we were miles away, our hearts were well connected even after so many years.”
In 2014, the couple started officially dating in Mumbai. Mahima recounts, “We met again in Mumbai as we both reached the city for work. We were always cordial and spoke like friends. We never made it obvious to each other that we wanted to date each other.”
So how did Sanchit propose?
Mahima shares, “I realised I loved Sanchit much before he did, so technically I had been waiting for five years for him to decide the course of our love story and our lives together. One evening, when we were chatting over SMS, I told him I was single when he thought we had been dating. He called me and asked, ‘You didn’t know we were dating?’ I replied, ‘I’ve been waiting for five years and you want to suddenly inform me that we have started dating?’ He did not say anything to that and changed the topic. Next evening, he visited me at my office with flowers in his hand. He had to wait a long time and when I finally came out, he fumbled and was at a loss for words. He went down on one knee and said ‘Peechy, I mean Miss Mahima Bhardwaj… it’s been six years! Can I please finally go out with you?’ I smiled and said ‘Yes’”
And so Mahima and Sanchit’s love story takes the next step towards matrimony, and we at WeddingSutra wish them all the very best as they commence a new stage in their lives together.
‘A Day with WeddingSutra Favorites’ is when WeddingSutra brings their wedding planning enthusiasm and expertise to excited to-be- weds. We customize a program for a selected WeddingSutra reader, which includes visiting a specially curated list of jewellery experts, wedding couturiers and other specialists, a process that has turned out to be invaluable for couples planning their wedding.
Hiral Shah tells us about her Day with WeddingSutra Favorites.
We’d been friends for more than 8 years and had only grown closer over time. Everyone around us referred to us as the Couple Living in Denial. We couldn’t get enough of one another and spent all our time together at work and otherwise. But we had a special moment last year when we realized we were meant to be together.
From classmates to business partners, we’ve been each other’s strength and are heading to the next milestone. We’re now engaged and gearing up for our wedding this year on the 8th of December in Mumbai.
Stop 1: Payal Singhal
I’ve always had apprehensions about how I would look in a bridal ensemble. When I entered the Payal Singhal store, I couldn’t have been more thrilled and excited! What a range of elegant clothing! I looked through the collection and Team WeddingSutra helped me zero in on a few outfits that would suit me and be perfect for my wedding and other functions. When I tried them on I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’d never looked so beautiful. Now I know where to start the shopping for my trousseau.
With such an incredible start to the day, I knew I was in for a treat. Pricing feedback: Outfits starting from Rs. 50000 and lehengas from 1,00,000 onwards
Stop 2: Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewelers
Our next stop was at the exquisite ‘Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewelers’ in Bandra. I was greeted by the warm, hospitable staff and the owner himself, Nishant Tulsiani. Deciding on what sort of jewellery to buy can be confusing. I was looking for contemporary elegance and the wide collection was the epitome of it.
I saw everything from their most expensive, award-winning masterpieces to a collection that would be perfect for any pocket. I tried on a few pieces. My concern has always been that heavy jewellery would weight me down by the end of the day.
I have to say, this store can be a one-stop-shop for any bride looking for the perfect jewellery for any of her functions. There are some never-sseen-before concepts especially with the rings and bracelets and everything is so tasteful, you’ll have a hard time picking one. Pricing feedback: Price on request
Stop 3: Jean Claude Biguine
The health of my tresses has always been a concern. I’d discussed this with Team WeddingSutra and trust them to take care of you completely – they took me to Jean Claude Biguine, Bandra. I met Asif there who put me at ease and suggested some really good hair treatments guaranteed to help me ease out my frizz and enhance the texture and strength of my hair. He also had some great ideas about different styles I could try for each of my functions. I can’t wait to go back to JCB and get the hair treatments going. Pricing feedback: Price basis the service you opt.
Stop 4: Kards – Ramya
When I met Ramya from Kards.in, I was blown away by her down-to-earth humility and big smile. As someone who really wanted to do something different with my wedding invitations and not go down the conventional route, when her team showed me the creative twists and amazing ideas executed I was inspired. Each card and design was so unique – depicting wedding details and the couple’s story – with options ranging from funny, traditional, quirky… She said she’d customize ours to our thoughts and stories and I couldn’t help but immediately start imagining what ours would look like! Pricing feedback: Prices differ according to the concept
Stop 5: Monisha Ajgaonkar
Monisha gauged my enthusiasm to get photographed and my camera consciousness immediately! I didn’t have to say a word. And she immediately went about putting me at ease. She took some really amazing pictures. She has a penchant for detail and is so creative! We had a conversation about her style of photography and she showed me some of her past work.
Photography is such an integral part of any wedding. These memories must last forever and if you’re sure that the person behind the camera knows this very well, then you can relax. Pricing feedback: Packages starting from Rs. 60,000 basis the concept and requirement.
Stop 6: Smile Essentials
I already knew of Dr Diksha at Smile Essentials. I’d read features by her on WeddingSutra and had already been in touch with her about correcting a small ‘disorientation’ with my smile that has bothered me since my childhood. If you’ve always dreaded the dentist then meeting Dr Diksha will make you happy. She told me that a perfect smile was not only possible but also the procedure would be painless. I didn’t believe it instantly but then she worked her magic and I haven’t stopped smiling since!
She and her entirely female staff (girl power!) are sweet and make you so comfortable. ‘Smile Essentials’ seems absolutely essential to me.
What a delightful conclusion to a wonderful day! Pricing feedback: Consultation starting at Rs. 500 onwards.
If you’re engaged and would like to spend ‘A Day with WeddingSutra Favorites’ please send in your nomination as per the format below.
- Email Subject line- A Day with WeddingSutra
- Your names
- Link to your Facebook profiles
- City of residence
- Date and location of your wedding ceremonies
Selected readers will be invited for this unique experience (now in Mumbai and coming soon to a city near you!)