Love Actually- Vinati Behal & Pierre Labail’s Platinum Day of Love
Our initiative ‘Love Actually’ is a photo series featuring couples who actively seek ideas and inspiration from WeddingSutra. The series celebrates the beautiful people in love as they start their lives together. Because real love can only begin, never end. Over coffee, a makeover and a photo shoot, we get them to tell us how they met, show us their platinum love bands and talk about their day of love.
Pierre is from Orleans in France, and has been residing in Mumbai since over seven years. He is the Co-founder of the popular French Creperie in Mumbai- Suzette. Vinati is from Nagpur, but left her hometown to study and then settled in Mumbai to start her career as a Hair Expert with L’Oreal. She has been in Mumbai since ten years and has done stints in the beauty and fashion world, and now plans to start her own venture.
Vinati and Pierre met at Suzette, at the Bandra branch. Says Vinati, “I was a regular customer there, and had noticed Pierre at the restaurant a few times (just like other women, no boasting). Then came a point that I’d long to see him every time I’d go for a grub. Little did I realize then that like a 16 year old, I was crushing on this cute French man who always had this extreme warm and genuine aura about him, and of course the cuteness factor. Mine was no ambitious thinking as such, and to pursue him didn’t even cross my mind. And besides, have you been to Suzette? There are always gorgeous women hanging out there- from innumerable models, fitness trainers, celebs to a regular clan of attractive customers. And Pierre always gets noticed which is a huge compliment! I’ve even overheard little giggles and whispers about Pierre on tables nearby me. However, the funniest is, Pierre would visit all tables when he would be present. I mean, all! But, never mine. And, that had started to irritate me. Finally one day, we crossed paths (again!) at Suzette and from what it appeared, he was equally smitten by me, if not more.” Says Pierre, “Ironically, the same thoughts were going on in my head. I’d be thinking to myself “Look at her, my God! Such a beautiful woman: long curly hair, golden skin, perfect attire, pink nail polish- Yes, I noticed EVERY little detail about her as she would sit alone enjoying her own company & engrossed in her book. And like fools, we kept shying away not knowing that either of us felt ditto about the other.”
Vinati continues, “One day I was hanging out at Suzette for two hours sipping back to back coffee, hoping in my adrenalin rush that Pierre will approach me from the way we couldn’t stop looking at one another, the soft smiles and the works. But, in vain. I paid off my bill, walked out, started my car when suddenly something came gushing over me, ‘Vinati, you fool- turn back right now! His vibe has been so out there. If YOU don’t make a move now, then forget it! What’s the worst that could come out of this? You may just make a nice new friend, for all you know’. So I walked right back, straight to Pierre and spurted in my newly graduated broken French (I had already figured he was French from his adorable accent when he would interact with his staff). He rose from his chair, jaws dropped and speechless, which made it rather evident! I paid my compliments for the amazing atmosphere in the restaurant, good work and the food of course. He introduced himself and continued the conversation just so we could not leave each others’ sights. We said our goodbye’s, but did not exchange numbers as we were too shy, and perhaps neither of us wanted it easy. The next time we met, we exchanged numbers and now we were finally ‘connected’. And then we planned our first official date. which was phenomenally refreshing with endless conversations, wine and great food. All in all, 6 hours, to a point where the restaurant staff actually had to request us to leave!”
Their interactions and dates continued and then there was a painful period when Vinati had to leave Mumbai for a little while; and that is when the duo realized their intense fondness for each other. Now two years down, “there hasn’t been a moment till date, when we haven’t felt the butterflies. We have found the best buddies in one another, a perfect balance between two personalities and are ridiculously crazy about each other,” beams Vinati.
With regards to the official proposal, Vinati says, “Pierre is not one to fool around, nor am I. We always knew this ought to go somewhere due to the intensity of our love. Six months ago in August 2014, both of us look a long vacation to some spectacular and remote islands in Indonesia. We traveled for 15 days to Jakarta (my family shuffles between Nagpur and Jakarta, so we wanted to show Pierre that side of our world), Bali, Lombok and Gili Island. Ten days of our holiday passed and there was no sign of anything that I’d imagine. We arrived in Lombok, and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been to, with turquoise sea and beautiful beaches to lush mountains on the other side. My favorite part of the day especially in a beach destination, is the sunset. So one day in Lombok, it looks like Pierre waited to trick me into taking me for a swim in the sea when the beach would be completely empty, during sunset time. And that is exactly what happened that beautiful evening; there was not a soul on the beach, I came out from a swim, sprawled on the beach, busy glaring at the sunset, when Pierre appeared from nowhere behind me and wrapped his arms around me with a ring. It was an unbelievably beautiful feeling, and hats off to my beau to execute this proposal so amazingly well on the island.”
Pierre and Vinati tied the knot on 31st January and 1st February, 2015 at Hotel Alila Diwa, Goa. Says Vinati, “We decided on a destination wedding so it can be highly personalized and intimate between the Indians and the French, without overwhelming anybody as we know how humongous and hectic Indian weddings can be in the main cities. Also, I am not typically a traditional bride, or traditional at all coming from a liberal Punjabi family. Pierre too, has the most amazing family who are extremely modern and liberal. The 2 day wedding celebrations included a high-tea/ mehndi, a grand cocktail, a brunch, and a sunset wedding.” The post-wedding celebrations were at Martin’s Corner where the newly weds, their family and closest friends indulged in dance performances with a grand seafood spread dinner and drinks.
About wedding planning, Vinati says, “From the moment we formalized our engagement between both families in September 2014, we were very quick and organized with all the planning and shopping. It is definitely something I give my parents complete credit for. WeddingSutra has also been a very helpful and inspirational source in giving tips on what one should look out for, be it shopping, honeymoon, travels, etc. For my wedding shopping, my mother and I flew to New Delhi, knowing that the season had just started then and all my favorite designers were out with their latest collections. It turned out to be the best city to complete all my shopping!”. Vinati wore creations by Rohit Bahl, Shantanu & Nikhil and Gaurav Gupta for some of the celebrations. Pierre coordinated with her and wore outfits by Paul Smith and a sherwani by Tarun Tahiliani for the big day.
Says Vinati, “We now only have to plan our Reception in France and then our honeymoon in June and July. We love the European summer, so we have purposely planned both these events during that time.” The couple plan to head to Amalfi Coast & South of Italy for their 3-week honeymoon. Says Pierre, “A number of places are already in the pipeline that we will start prepping for soon, a few of them are: Positano, Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Puglia and more in the South. We’re true water babies and neither of us have been to such extraordinaire places in Italy. We are both adventurous and love history, therefore we would love to explore diving and go around places with any form of history and culture. And, Italy is full of it!”
Here’s wishing the lovely couple many congratulations, and the very best for their journey as Mr. & Mrs. ahead.
If you’re getting married in 2015 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 and Chennai.
Makeup & Hair- Jean Claude Biguine, Juhu
Location- JW Marriott, Juhu
Photographs by– Dhruvin Shah and Vivek Kumar (Love Dope Studios)