Vivek & Pooja's Wedding in Dubai, UAE
Our couple has proven love knows no time, no bounds, no distance. Vivek and Pooja spent most of their relation long distance before taking the road to marital bliss.
How we met:
My (Pooja) distant cousin lives in Dubai and happens to be friends with Vivek. Their plan was to travel to New York together, but shortly after, my cousin had to cancel. He put Vivek in touch with me and told me to take his friend around when he comes. Vivek and I started chatting for a bit on sights he wanted to see and explore. After a day or two, the chatting ended but it was only after a month when I happened to change my BBM profile picture and catch his eye, that things started picking up. We initiated the talks again, this time talking almost throughout the night non-stop. This went on for a few days until he gave me the news that he wasn’t going to be able to come down to New York, and suggested that I come visit Dubai instead. I told him that I had been to Dubai plenty of times and have seen everything there is to see. He promised that if I came down, he would show me Dubai in a totally different way. I took up his offer, as I was supposed to be flying down to Delhi the week after, and decided to add Dubai into my itinerary. I spent a week in Dubai, doing all sorts of fun stuff such as riding around through Dubai on a Harley, getting a chance to drive through the desert dunes at night, staying up all night walking along Jumeirah beach etc. A week flew by and before leaving we decided to give long distance dating a shot. And then one year later, he popped the question! 🙂
Bride: A lot of my ideas came over the years as I had seen other weddings of my family and friends, through bridal magazines, my wedding planner and of course pinterest! I had a lot of help from my family and from my (now) husband in the planning process of what we wanted each event to look and feel like. We had a problem with our first decorator, whom we had given a deposit to, but never heard back from after many attempts of contacting him, so that was stressful. Every girl growing up has always dreamt of her perfect wedding, and with the help of so many people, I was able to make that dream come true!
Groom: Hectic. Make sure you find a good decorator, and don’t pay him in advance until he shows you an itemized breakdown of what you will be paying for, because Dubai standards over promise and under deliver.
Feelings on the Big Day:
Bride: Throughout the first three events I was very happy and super excited to be getting married to the man of my dreams and to be entering his warm and loving family. On my wedding day itself as the time got closer to the time of marriage, I started to get a bit nervous and scared to be leaving what I have known all my life, my family and friends and leaving my home in New York. But holding onto my fiance’s hand as we walked to the mandap and looking into his assuring eyes, I knew that I was making the right decision and this man that I was about to make mine would keep me happy all my life.
Groom: I was working throughout the wedding ensuring everything was in order as discussed with the planner and decorator as I wanted everything to be just perfect, bringing my wife’s dream wedding to reality. I was slightly nervous due to what happened with the weather (there was a major sandstorm on the wedding day), so the entire mandap had to be shifted indoors last minute. But the nervousness went away as soon as I saw my fiance and we stepped on to the altar.
A lot of my shopping was done from Delhi, as the bridal collection at the designer boutiques was much more appealing than Mumbai. I am the eldest child in my family, so I had a lot of help with my bridal shopping from my sisters as well as my family. I knew exactly what outfits I wanted for my reception and mehendi, so that was a breeze. The hardest and most stressful was my sangeet outfit, as the one that I had purchased initially didn’t turn out as planned and while being disappointed with it, I went looking for another sangeet outfit one and a half months before the big day. I finally found and fell in love with my Manish Malhotra lehenga.
Schedule of Events and Themes and Outfits worn on each function:
Welcome Dinner: Since it was the first event, we wanted to bring a bit of the Middle Eastern culture to our international guests, so we had a lot of Arabic influence in our decor such as lanterns and tent seating, as well as having belly dancers and tanoura dancers. I wore a long gown by Falguni & Shane Peacock and Vivek wore a high collar jacket which was a bespoke creation by Masculine.
Mehendi: This was a daytime event, held outdoors, so I wanted lots of bright colors. Peacocks made of flowers enhanced the swing that I sat on to get my mehendi done. I wanted this to be a fun event, so we had a cupcake cart set up, along with a liquid nitrogen ice-cream bar. I wore a crop top with a knee length skirt by Manish Arora. Vivek wore a kurta with a bandh gala vest from Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor.
Sangeet: I wanted to incorporate a Rajasthani theme for this event. A lot of our decor (centerpieces, stage props, ceiling drapings) had the Rajasthani influence. We had a lit-up auto rickshaw as a photo op, along with a bar that was set up as a truck! Also for our entrance, we didn’t just want to walk in, so we were brought in on a large tricycle! I wore a lehenga by Manish Malhotra and Vivek wore a sherwani by Libas Riyaz Gangji.
Wedding: We were looking for traditional when it came to decor for this event. In India, I had seen a temple where the ceiling was filled with all sorts of hanging bells of different sizes. Our decorator was able to replicate that perfectly. The best part was that the dulha’s baraat came on a camel! We were so lucky to get permission to have a camel walk throughout the financial district of Dubai! I wore a lehenga sari and Vivek wore a sherwani by Sabyasachi.
Reception: Being from New York, i wanted to bring the winter that I was missing to Dubai. I called it my winter wonderland reception. We gave the venue a frosty feel with the help of lighting and decor (such as lamp posts and icicles at the centerpieces). During our cake cutting ceremony and first dance, we hired snow machines and got it to snow! I wore a lehenga by Sabyasachi and Vivek wore a tuxedo designed by Santoba, Dubai.
We chose a hotel (The Ritz Carlton, DIFC) that was central as 80% of the guests were coming in from out of town. Also, we had to keep in mind a venue that could provide for all 6 functions, as we didn’t want our guests to travel back and forth throughout the wedding weekend to different hotel locations. Impeccable hospitality from start to finish and excellent customer service was provided by the hotel and staff.
Performers and Performances:
We tried to have a performer for every event. For the welcome dinner, we had belly dancers along with tanoura dancers, which are folk dancers of the Middle East. For the mehendi we had a cellist play. She collaborated with our DJ, and was able to play Hindi songs on her cello. For the sangeet, we had dhol players perform along with the family dances. The girls side did a parody of songs which included all her friends and family and the boys side had a skit prepared. For the reception we had a sax player in addition to the DJ.
Advice for to-be-weds:
Don’t forget that it’s your wedding, enjoy it! Live it! Remember it! Love it! Because it only happens once and it’s something you want to remember and cherish forever! We made sure that before every event, we would meet in his room, relax, chill, have a drink together and then head out and those 20 minutes to ourselves were the best part!
Photography/Videography: Pooja Studio Dubai
Wedding Planner: Sonal J Shah Events, New York
Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist: Namrata Soni and team, India
Henna Artist: Haya Henna Designs, Dubai
Bartenders: Flaming Trios, Dubai
DJ’s: DJ Suhel (New York) and DJ Manoj (Dubai)
Catering: The Ritz Carlton (DIFC) and Sind Punjab (Dubai)
Photo Courtesy: Pooja Studio Dubai