Bhavin & Deena's Wedding in Dubai, UAE
A love story that began in 2006 and rekindled in 2014 is giving us major relationship goals! Bhavin and Deena's self-planned wedding in Dubai was filled with love, laughter and amazing attention to detail!
How we met:
Our story began in the summer of 2006 in Dubai. He was on a short summer break from his college in America, and I was down from Australia visiting family.
Both of us enrolled at American College for summer courses. We met at the rec hall, and quickly struck a fast friendship. We spent all our time together, and were inseparable throughout summer. Many long drives and dinners later, we grew closer and eventually started dating each other.
At the end of summer, he went back to college in the States and I continued with my courses in Dubai. We maintained our long-distance relationship throughout the year, and he would come back to Dubai during breaks to visit me. I eventually moved to the States (no, not for him!) to go to college in 2007, but our colleges were so far apart that we could only meet twice a year. We mutually broke up in 2008 to focus on our academics. That was the end (or a pause) to where it all began.
Fast forward to 2014, and both of us were back in Dubai.
After hardly keeping in touch for half a decade; we bumped into each other one August evening at a night club (pardon the cliché). Many more long drives, some crazy weekends, and one (less) best friend later, we revived the lost college love in November 2014. Things were even better this time around and we got engaged to each other in March 2015.
It hadn’t been an easy ride for either one of us but, truthfully speaking, it was well worth it. I fight with him day and night, to which his only (and much needed) comment is, “Look at the big picture baby!” – The show must go on! 🙂
I’m a neurotic person perhaps, something I learned only whilst prepping for my wedding. I didn’t let anyone get involved and would even fight if they tried to help, because I was worried they’d change the vision I had for my wedding. From the flowers for the centre piece, to the groom’s outfit, to the crystals on my wedding shoes, to the paper used for my wedding invites, I made sure everything was chosen and designed by me. I did take his and my family’s help, and of some friends here and there to connect me to certain vendors, but I unfortunately or fortunately controlled every little doing.
It was a rough 6-9 months period prepping for my wedding – I got severely ill to the point I was hospitalized at times, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I thought if I do it myself, I’ll take all the credit for everything that goes right, and I will take the blame for what goes wrong and never have to blame someone else and wonder what it’d be like if I had managed it.
Today, I am glad I planned every little bit of it, and haggled with the vendors till the date of the wedding and during as well, because today I can say, “I’m glad it all went my way, it was well worth the trouble!”
Feelings on the Big Day:
The day finally arrived after my Sangeet – the day the magic happens! I was half worried if my fiance was even going to surface after nursing a horrible hangover from the previous night! We had scheduled the baarat for 2pm and the wedding at 4pm during sunset. But as the bride, I myself wasn’t ready till 4pm and got to the venue only after! The wedding eventually started at 5:30pm and I didn’t even realize because I was just so excited about dressing up as a bride for the first and last time in my life! Spending the last few hours getting ready with my mother and best friend, I forgot about all the worries in my life; I took my own sweet time to get ready in the hope that making my fiance wait would build up the excitement even more!
When I eventually got to the venue in my pink Hummer limousine with swag, I walked in like a princess, feeling like a million bucks, excited and confident, thinking I could get anything in the world in that moment – after all, I was getting the one and only guy I’ve ever been in love with and the only guy I thought I’d ever want to marry. The moment I saw him looking at me and smiling from across the lawn, while sitting at the mandap with my parents, I don’t think I blushed as much as I smirked and thought to myself, “Yes, this is happening, finally! I can proudly show off the love of my life to the world and be proud to be his wife!”
Bhavin and I went to Bombay 6 months before our wedding, for the wedding shopping – my trousseau and his outfits as well. We were there for 4 days in total, in which I managed to shop for both of us! I had no plans of designing and getting his outfits sorted, but my excitement couldn’t be contained and I managed to sketch out all his outfits for him. Before you know it, his outfits were ready before mine!
We went to Dinbhandu Collections in Mumbai to get his Sangeet and wedding outfit. After that, we looked everywhere possible for my outfits but nothing was impressing me. Eventually, I walked into Libaas with Bhavin because I knew my brother and sister-in-law had made gorgeous outfits from there, so I thought maybe I’ll get lucky too.
Luckily for me, Riyaz Ganji was there himself who helped Bhavin with his Reception outfit. Simultaneously, I sat there and designed my wedding and Reception outfit. From the materials used, to the colors, to the stitch work, to the crystals. I made these gorgeous customized outfits according to my taste with matching shoes for both outfits. Today, I still smile with pride when I talk about it and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Rest of the outfits and shopping were done in a matter of 2 days, where I was probably thinking, I’m the bride, nothing can stop me, and hence I swiped my card left right and center and bought more than I needed, because hey, am only getting married once right!? I might as well live it up and go all out! By culture and ritual, I needed to pick 9 new clothes, but I ended up buying 40 new outfits instead! When I returned to Dubai, my mum was surprised and disappointed but happy, all at the same time!
Once in Dubai, I sat with my mum and aunts and designed my jewelry, in the sense, shared ideas of what I’d like and want, and they got it done accordingly from Surat and Dubai. I took all the help required from my mum and her sisters.
I designed the wedding cards on my own with my graphic designer friend, Kanika Bhatia, who also has her own events company. I sat down with her and annoyed the hell out of her and even had arguments with her at times regarding the designs. I wasn’t budging over the design, but she is my best friend for a reason, and hence delivered exactly what I wanted. She also helped me with the wedding favors, wedding badges, the rickshaw my husband rode on for the baarat, and other small things, which I bought from her company, Design Tuk Tuk.
Schedule of events and outfits worn on each function:
Mehendi – It was a surprise for me – my brother and sister-in-law hosted this event for me as a wedding gift. There was purple décor at an outdoor rooftop, and was a small and cozy event for close friends and family. I wore a pink and light gold lehenga for this function, which was designed by me and made by a designer in Mumbai.
Sangeet – There was no theme for this function; it was just about fun and frolic, along with dance, drinks and dinner. I chose a black and gold floral Sabyasachi outfit, and my husband wore a somewhat matching floral jacket, which was stitched by Dinbhandu Collections.
Wedding – I chose to wear a red and gold lehenga, typical wedding colors which were designed by me from Libaas, for our outdoor sunset lawn wedding. The color scheme was floral pastel; since we wanted the couple and the mandap to stand out, we decorated the entire lawn in flower petals and tiki torches to give it a spring / breezy feel whilst the sun dipped behind us as we took our vows.
Reception – The theme we opted for was a classy royal theme, with navy blue being the color of the night. I wore a navy blue and pink outfit (from Libaas) and my husband donned a royal blue tux to go with the classy elegant theme of the ballroom and night.
My family invited a small number of guests, about 150 people tops, from Dubai and other parts of the world, as I wanted a small wedding. But, I was marrying a boy with a family of 400 (just in Dubai)! Therefore, our venue decision became a touchy subject, and we needed a venue big enough to host a reception for 600 people!
The Mehendi was a breeze, as it was mostly my friends and family and a selected few from the groom’s side. It was held at Majestic Hotel by the pool side!
The Sangeet, was hosted at Thuraya Ballroom in Crowne Plaza Hotel, as the elaborate theme and décor went very well with the theme of the night i.e. dancing and drinking.
The sundowner wedding was at the Le Meridien Village lawn with an outdoorsy breezy light theme. The venue was perfect and since we held 2 events at the hotel, the service was impeccable! They really made me feel like a princess rather than a bride!
The Reception was something out of the world for me! Held at the Great Ballroom in Le Meridien, ours was the first Indian wedding they were hosting and they didn’t say no to any of my requirements. They were just amazing people and I wouldn’t have taken my business anywhere else!
Performers and Performances:
My brother coordinated with my set of family and friends and performed the best skit a girl can ask for at her wedding! Bhavin’s family performed a beautiful skit for us as well but, maybe I am being biased, I do think my side did a better job!
From what limited information I had, they were practicing for months prior to my wedding and friends flew down weeks before just to be a part of it. My friends and even cousins, who arrived on the day of the Sangeet, performed and learned their part that very same day just to be a part of it.
I did surprise my husband with a small performance on Afghan Jalebi, for which my cousin sisters helped me with a few steps. I learned it over night just so that I could surprise him and make him smile (and his reaction was so worth it!)
Few words on the photographer, videographer, hair/make-up artist, bartenders and DJ:
John Eapen was and is the best photographer I’ve come across – he is the nicest and friendliest person to work with and his work speaks for him. He recommended Neeraj Mehta as the videographer and I blindly trusted him.The highlight reels from my wedding shot by Neeraj made my wedding look like a movie!!!
The wedding wouldn’t have come alive without DJ Nitesh Lakhiani, one of the best DJs in Dubai today, and I’m so glad he was available for my wedding. All my guests had the time of their lives, all thanks to him.
My hair and make up artist, Alysha, who owns Majesty salon on Jumeirah Beach Road, has been a dear friend for 4+ years now. Honestly speaking, I didn’t have to shop around for a make up/ hair artist because I’ve seen her work over the years and I knew I could trust her blindly. She gave me the best of the best and I rocked a new and perfect look for every event.
My husband hired one of the guys from the Flaming Trio. Initially, we had decided not to get bartenders as our agenda wasn’t to get wasted. But we were glad this bartender got everyone drunk, and ensured everyone enjoyed themselves. /
Advice for to-be-weds (one or two sentences):
Get married to that person who made you think “Yes, that’s the one I wanna marry!” and do not double think it !! There will be ups and downs but hey, in the end at least you can sleep well (beside them) knowing you got exactly what you wanted, nothing more and nothing less!
Photographer: John Eapen Photography
Videographer: Neeraj Mehhta
Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist/Henna Artist: Alysha – Majesty Salon
Bartender: Flaming Trio
DJ: DJ Nitesh
Venue: Mehendi – Majestic Hotel Tower | Sangeet – Crowne Plaza Deira | Wedding & Reception – Le Meridien Garhoud
Bride’s Outfits: Sangeet: Sabyasachi | Wedding & Reception: Libaas