Anneka and Amit, Santorini, Greece
From the gardens of Kew Gardens, UK to sunny Santorini in Greece, Anneka and Amit's wedding included fun themes - and even push up bets!
How We Met
Amit and I have been together since the age of 18. We met at University, in the first pharmacology lab session, when we were pursuing our Master’s Degrees in Pharmacy. We became friends quickly and started to spend a lot of time together. By the time we were 19, we were very much in love.
Upon finishing our degrees, we decided to take a break from our relationship to travel separately and find our feet in our respective careers to ensure we were really ready to commit to one another. I traveled to eastern Europe alone, and Amit headed to the US.
Currently, Amit works as a community pharmacist for a large retail chain, and I work as a final signatory pharmacist for Abbvie Pharmaceuticals. I love bhangra, reading, dogs and drinking whiskey, and Amit loves Bollywood, football, Deepika Padukone and me! Also, we were born four days apart (me on the 10th Feb and Amit on February 14 – Valentine’s day) so we always celebrate our birthday together!
Amit proposed to me after a decade of us knowing one another – exactly to the day! He whisked me away to Porto – a small coastal town in Portugal – for a surprise weekend and got down on one knee on 27th September 2014. He asked for my hand in marriage from my mother, father and grandfather! He even obtained a ring from my father that belonged to my deceased paternal grandmother.
The proposal weekend was magical – full of food, fun and laughter! Amit took me to the highest point of Vila Nova de Gaia – the highest point opposite Porto under a monastery. It was only the two of us which made it even more personal and special. I managed to say yes (I think) through my tears! Upon arriving back in the UK, we shared our happy news with our family and friends. Amit then whisked me off to a jewellery store to have my engagement ring custom made!
Different functions were held at different venues. The civil wedding was held at Twickenham Town Hall, followed by dinner at Kew Gardens Hotel in Richmond, England. We moved to Kew last year and wanted to get married close to our first home. Kew Gardens Hotel is our local pub which we frequent often.
The ‘Dholki’ night was held at my mother’s home as I wanted to have one party in my childhood home. The rest of the functions were held on the beautiful island of Santorini in Greece. The ‘Vatna/Pithi’ and ‘Chura’ ceremonies as well as the Mehndi were held at Heliotopos Hotel, while the Sangeet was held at the Theros Wave Bar. The wedding and reception took place at Santorini Gem.
We chose to have a destination wedding as we wanted an intimate wedding with only our friends and family. Indian weddings can spiral out of control but we wanted to share our special moments with those who have been on our journey with us so far and those who will continue to be a part of our day-to-day lives. Our celebrations lasted a week and in total we had 75 guests. We planned everything over a year and a half with the help of a Santorini-based wedding planner – Lila Konstantinidou of Heliotopos.
The theme for our civil wedding was ‘Vintage’ and the décor included customized bunting, drinks in jam jars and chairs that didn’t match and even a vintage convertible car. The highlights of the ceremony were the personalized wedding vows and a surprise pub quiz organized by Amit which featured old black-and-white images of both sides of the family for a guessing game!
I wore a grayish blue skirt paired with a peach blouse from Coast stores and paired it with gray Manolo Blahnik shoes and vintage diamond bracelet which was a family heirloom. Amit wore a three-piece suit from Reiss paired with Ted Baker shoes.
The ‘Dholki’ night was my mother’s party and we had a Bollywood theme for that. The décor included bright colors and the dress code was all about ethnic Indian wear. I wore a pink bandhej and gota patti sari from Rajasthan, while Amit wore a traditional outfit from Manyavar in New Delhi.
Our Boat Party in Santorini had an 80s theme, so the venue included an old wooden boat. The music included all old Indian and English songs. The highlight of the party was Amit jumping into the sea and my nephew Troy singing Prince numbers! I wore a white dress from the White Company along with red shoes from Zara while Amit sported a casual shirt and shorts from Reiss with flip flops.
As Amit is Gujrati and I am Punjabi we respectively held a Pithi and Vatna ceremony in the natural cave of the Heliotopos Hotel. Both ceremonies had a very homely theme. The highlight of the event was when my father’s kurta bottoms fell down when he was escorting me out of my ‘vatna’! It was beyond hilarious!”
The Mehndi was held at the rooftop of Heliotopos Hotel and the theme was Electric Swag. The décorincluded blue, purple and orange accents. The highlight of the ceremony was the ‘dholki’ played by our families. The stunning water views and bright drapes of mehndi stalls against the serene backdrop were picture-perfect. I wore a Punjabi patiala suit made from my grandmother’s sari, paranda and khola puri shoes from Janpath in New Delhi. Amit wore a yellow dhoti salwar from Manyavar and teamed it with shoes from Janpath in Delhi.
The Sangeet ceremony had a Beach theme as it was located at a venue on the edge of the island where there is only black sand. The décor included twinkly lights and lots of candles. There were group dance performances followed by raising Chinese lanterns in the sky. I wore a Rohit Bal suit accessorized with spike earrings from Amrapali, while Amit chose a traditional kurta pyjama from Manyavar.
For the wedding, the décor was very simple and the highlight of the event was Amit arriving on a white donkey. The views from the venue were breathtaking. I wore a cream, turquoise and pink bridal lehenga from Frontier Bazaar and jewellery from Symmetree in New Delhi. Amit wore a fawn sherwani with a matching safa and deep maroon stole.
The reception was a Black Tie event with a classy décor. There was jazz music, speeches by loved ones, live Greek dancers performing and everyone dancing. I wore a beautiful dress from Alice and Olivia, while Amit looked dapper in a tuxedo from Armani.
Amit and I created our wedding website together. We stayed up for hours building it after work and tried to include all our loved ones in some way
There were many tears during our wedding celebrations! There were even bets placed on who would cry the most as we all are so close.
Push ups and shots on the dance floor at the Sangeet
Dance and speech rehearsals with family and friends
Advice for Couples-to-Wed
Although we thoroughly enjoyed the planning and took the time to chalk out all the events of the wedding week, my advice is not to take it too seriously. If the cake is not sweet enough or the music is not loud enough, it does not matter because, at the end of the day, you are marrying the person you love, your soulmate… and this is one of the only times all of your loved ones will be together in one place at one time… so enjoy everything!”
The Wedding Makers
Wedding Planner: Lila Konstantinidou and team at Heliotopos
Bridal Trousseau: Coast, White Company, Rohit Bal, Frontier Bazaar, Alice & Olivia
Groom’s Trousseau: Manyavar, Reiss, Armani, Ted Baker
Hair, Makeup & Mehndi: Ravita Pannu and Reena Sangar (Santorini), Harps Brar (UK)
Priest: Ravi Sharma
Marquees: First Klass Marquees
Florist: Longacres (UK), Wedding Wish (Santorini)
Photos Courtesy– Salshan and team