Dinesh & Rashmi's Wedding in Bangkok, Thailand
From being involved in their wedding planning from A-Z to hosting a grand wedding at Le Meridien Bangkok, Dinesh and Rashmi's journey is nothing less than fascinating!
How we met:
Dinesh is from Singapore and I am based in Hong Kong. His bua (aunt) in Hong Kong, who is also my mom’s friend, got him to add me on Facebook so that we could get to know each other. Funnily enough, we both weren’t ready for this and when he added me, the first thing I said to him was “I am not interested in this”. However, that changed with time. After a few months of no contact, we got texting again and Dinesh decided to fly down to Hong Kong to see me (although he keeps denying it and claims he came down to HK to see his cousins and the scenic tourist attractions !). On our first date, I splashed coffee all over his head and thought that was going to be the end of it, but it wasn’t. I guess he found me cute!? Or maybe engrossing, as he missed his flight back home while talking to me over the phone. Over time, we made efforts to see each other when we finally realized that we had found our soulmates.
The wedding planning process was rather stressful! I think it was mainly because we depended on our wedding planner entirely, and expected him to sort a lot of things out for us, which turned out to be more of a torture. We ended up looking for local vendors in Thailand by ourselves – through our friends’ and relatives’ networks and with the help of those who had previously held their weddings there. We BOTH, as a couple, did a lot of research on our own – and perhaps it should be that way because only you can envision what you want as a couple and try your utmost best to translate it to reality at your wedding.
Feelings on the Big Day:
Our wedding was intimate – we had our closest family and friends joining us. I was super relaxed because I knew all that needed to be done was done and the planners would help coordinate our vendors. Obviously, sometimes things do go haywire, for example, it started raining at our Mehndi function which was held outdoors – but it was truly a blessing in disguise. Our family and friends turned it into a rain dance. In hindsight, the rain actually made our guests let loose and dance like children once again! On the wedding day itself, we weren’t sure if we should set up the mandap outdoors as it had rained the day before, but with a quick check of the weather forecast and gut instinct, I asked the planners to set it up outdoors. Good thing it didn’t rain! The sun shone brilliantly during the baraat (during which I was shooting with my bridesmaids indoors). We had lovely entrance songs for both the sides (‘Tenu leke’ and ‘Latika’s theme’). The Pooja took a while – but it was perfect because we wanted a sunset wedding against the backdrop of the golf course. I don’t know about Dinesh, but I myself was super relaxed and, I guess, happy since I was marrying my best friend.
Juggling my full-time teaching job, my master’s degree and my brother’s wedding just months before mine, I had 4 days to do my wedding shopping (including outfits, jewelry, accessories, gifts, etc) during my visit to Delhi. I bought everything I needed in Delhi. My parents came along with me, and it was great – you don’t really need a whole gang coming to advise you on your outfits! It’s not a ‘Say Yes to The Dress’ show! My shopping went really smooth – I chose things quickly since we were short on time.
Schedule of events and outfits worn on each function:
Welcome Dinner (Theme – Romantically Red). The venue was at the poolside in the night, so we decided to have a barbecue for dinner which would be different from the buffets kept over the next couple of days. For the decor, we had a Valentine’s color palette, and all that comes along with it, like candles lining the pool, overhead lanterns, roses for the table centerpiece, glow lights for the bar, etc. It was the first night of the festivities when people catch up or meet one another for the first time, so for youngsters, we had set up beer pong over which they could bond. There was a foosball table as well. We also left around decks of cards around the cabanas where aunties were later found chilling (and drinking!). We had invited local singers who sang romantic songs throughout the function. We occasionally had family members taking over the mic for an unexpected talent quest! And there was a lot of slow dancing by the pool. For the function itself, I wore a simple red floor-length dress that was customized in Hong Kong, and paired it up with big complimenting earrings.
Mehndi’s theme was Floral Fantasy. We held our Mehndi at the Infinity Lawn which had live stations, adding variety in the way our food was served yet again. To go with the daylight setting, we chose pastel colors for the decor – mint, pink and salmon shades. We had umbrellas lining the pathway to the swing for the bride (which eventually became props for photos). There were cocktail tables in the outdoor area as well, and an al fresco area for those who preferred sitting. My friend, who loves calligraphy, wrote some love quotes that were displayed on the tables. We had three beautiful tents under which we had our mehndi and caricature artists seated. We had a little area with masseuses for entertainment, too. For favors, we had beautiful floral boxes with a set of payal, bindi and latkans in each. To go with the theme, we had floral headpieces for the girls and hats for the men. We also did polaroid shots which were strung across two trees for collection. For the event, I wore a pastel green lehenga to go with the day-time outdoor setting with earrings and a maang tikka that I ordered online at the very last minute! I also wore some fresh floral jewelry to complete the look. It started raining at the mehndi function, but we all eventually turned into kids and did our rain dance 🙂
The theme for the Sangeet was Drop-dead Desi. We all know that Sangeets are all about drinking and dancing to Bollywood beats, so we chose a straightforward theme – desi! As far as the decor was concerned, we picked black, red and silver as the base colors. For the backdrop, we asked for huge intials (R & D) to be placed against a black starlit background since our wedding hashtag was #ALittleRnD. The couple’s sofa was elevated and placed opposite the stage and was decorated with fairy lights, disco balls and shimmery draping. The tables and seats were covered in black, with silver ribbons around the top, and the VIP tables had beautiful feathery centre pieces. We also had Photo Booth props designed by WedTalk. Of course, decor is brought to life with lights that play a vital role in creating the mood you’re looking for. Lucky for us, our light and sound team were fantastic – they knew exactly what was needed to be done! As for my outfit, I wanted it to dazzle (and help me keep my limelight) without it being too heavy, and since I love dancing and wanted to enjoy the night, I opted for a lovely light pink and orange lehenga that would not blend into the black background, but stand out with the yellow RnD initials and fairy lights. For the dazzling night, I chose to wear diamonds.
For the Wedding, we chose the theme as Classic Couture. Our venue gifted us a jaw-dropping expanse of a golf field as the backdrop for the mandap, which is why we picked fresh flowers and yellow/ mustard colors for the drapings, as it’d create a striking contrast against the green. We also envisioned our wedding to start during late afternoon so all of us could witness the sunset, which is why we thought the color would reflect beautifully with the lights into the night. As for the outfit, I initially thought my wedding dress would be red, until I started shopping and realised that all the reds look the same. So the one that caught my eye eventually was a turquoise and shocking pink lehenga. It was love at first sight! I even picked complimenting teal sarees for my bridesmaids and we managed to capture shots right before the pheras.
Our Reception’s theme was Exquisitely Elegant. We opted for a light purplish/ bluish and white/ silver base with the decor. To give it a fairytale look, we had sakura trees on the stage and our decorator cleverly used a cute quote that came with the photobooth props to decorate the backdrop. Our cake was absolutely stunning and blended in so well with the rest of the decor. Once again, the light and sound team did a fantastic job in enriching the decor. As for my outfit, I did not buy a dress for the reception. The plan was to wear my wedding dress and drape the dupatta differently. However, my makeup artist wasn’t satisfied with me looking the same and dug into my trousseau to find a dazzling gold gown. It was one of the best things that happened to me at my wedding.
We reached a middle ground when we decided to have our wedding in Bangkok, since one of us is from Singapore and the other from Hong Kong. As for the hotel, our planners told us about this branch of the Meridien which was only a couple of years old. Our wedding was their first proper Indian wedding – but we were willing to give it a shot because the location was absolutely stunning. I instantly fell in love with the hotel! The main thing was that it was a resort, which would make anyone feel cosy and at home. The hotel’s design was ultra modern and the garden was perfect for holding outdoor functions – as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to hold my Mehndi and Wedding there! I also admired the serenity surrounding the hotel and of course, the rooms stole our hearts – be it by their comfort, size or amenities. They even had patios of their own! I must say the service provided by the hotel during our wedding was top-notch.
Performers and Performances:
There were quite a few performances at our wedding, with different sets of friends and relatives performing on various numbers at all the functions.
Few words on the photographer, videographer, hair/make-up artist, bartenders and DJ:
I was super lucky to have all these amazing vendors for my wedding. The photographers and videographer understood exactly what we wanted from a 30 minute conversation we had right before the wedding. Most of our guests complimented them on how they didn’t force them to pose for shots, but managed to capture group photos and lovely candid shots. Also, my wedding ended at 9pm and they had our highlights ready for the Reception by 10pm – just fantastically efficient and professional. Loved them!
My makeup artist was a savior – she was cool, composed and knew what I needed to do and ensured that I eat before every function. She was quick and didn’t make me dread the process of getting ready. Also, something I learnt was that you need to let your makeup artist decide what is best for you – because she has the experience and is not there to get you all worked up! I let mine decide my Reception outfit towards the end as well. Trust matters and I do not know how I would get by my wedding without Sejal.
As for the bartenders, they were a part of the hotel’s team, but we hired mixologists to create our drinks. The group basically guided us through the quantities and the menus for the different functions and finally ensured that our guests were enjoying to the max by making innocent-looking deadly drinks and going around making them drink on the dance floor, etc! Again – no complaints. I would not have it any other way.
The DJ – DJ Dev! I attended a wedding the year before where he played and knew I wanted him to be spinning at my wedding too. With Dev, I didn’t have to tell him anything. Not before, not during and not after the wedding. He was flawless – everyone fell in love with him (and his skills!) I’m so thankful to him, really!
Advice for to-be-weds:
Be involved in your own wedding planning – don’t rely entirely on your planners. Know what you want from your vendors and ensure that they can work together with your planner – you are not going to be running around on the day. No matter how well prepared you are, things are going to go unexpectedly wrong – but it’s up to you to make it a positive. Remember that for everything that did go differently from what you expected, a lot of things did go right. Let loose and enjoy your wedding.
Photography/Videography: CoolBluez Photography (Delhi)
Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist: Sejal Soniya Sachanakul
Henna Artist/ Saree Draping: Simran’s Team (Ablaze)
Make-up for Family: Ambika Madarasmi
Bartender: Dr. Mixology
DJ: DJ Dev (Dev Chawla)
Venue: Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Golf Resort and Spa