Cara Lai and Anant Singhania, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Thailand
Fusing the best of both their cultures, this Indo-Chinese wedding in Thailand was rich with traditions and modern glam.
Cara Lai, a Physician and Anant Singhania, a Software Engineer tied the knot with a fusion wedding in Thailand where they celebrated both their cultures. The Indo-Chinese wedding was a testament to the fact that ‘love conquers all’ as the couple paid homage to their rich heritage with a series of vibrant events.
How They Met
Cara shares, “We met in high school at a robotics competition. We went to different high schools, but we were both captains of our team and played against each other on the field. Then that summer we both interned at NASA together. We were just friends for about a year, but then I asked Anant to go to the prom with me and the rest is history!”
When it came to choosing the wedding venue, the couple opted for Thailand for its convenient location and keen understanding of the Indian and Chinese cultures. The couple shares, “We both love to travel and were excited about the idea of a destination wedding, and Thailand was somewhere that was also relatively easy for our family in China and India to get to. Thai culture also shares many traditions with both Chinese and Indian cultures, and it was easy for us to source some of the special items we needed for each of our ceremonies.
Phuket especially is a relatively easy place to get to, as it has its international airport and is easily accessible via connecting flights in the region.
We chose the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa because we wanted the predictability and standards of a Western hotel chain, but would still be a property that is well integrated into the surrounding environment and feels authentic. We found the location on the beach beautiful and the property itself very dynamic, with beautiful landscaping and décor, not to mention the fabulous food that we ate when we visited!”
Orchestrating a fusion intercultural wedding is not an easy feat. However, the couple had a stellar wedding squad to back them up. They share, “Our wedding planners, Wonders & Weddings, were not just organized and knowledgeable but served as our advocate in every respect of the wedding. We had many different priorities to balance, including the experience of our guests, the inclusion of our families, and doing justice to all the wedding traditions we wanted to observe.
We don’t take it for granted that it was a lot of effort to fly across an ocean to get to our wedding, and we feel so lucky that we have such an amazing community that came out to support us.
All the outfit changes were dizzying but also so much fun! I loved working with different designers who are experts at their craft, and it was an honour to get to wear pieces that were hand embroidered and took so much time to make. The level of craftsmanship and artistry was unparalleled and I feel lucky to have been able to wear such fine work.”
Hipster Wedding captured their special moments in candid frames.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
The Chinese Tea Ceremony is usually hosted on the day of the wedding where the bride and groom serve tea to both their families and parents. The bride and groom wear their traditional wedding garments and kneel in front of their elders as they serve them tea. Cara shares, “Putting together the Chinese tea ceremony was very special, as it’s becoming increasingly uncommon for Chinese brides to carry out some of these traditions. We did our version with indoor games, where we had friends play games against each other to win red envelopes, and we honoured our ancestors at the ceremony before serving our families tea. It was a very intimate experience that was also deeply moving for us and our parents.”
Cara shares, “The Chinese banquet is an integral part of the Chinese wedding –in many places in China now, there is no official ceremony, but the banquet is where the real party is. There are traditionally ten dishes on the table that are full of symbolism: fish for abundance, noodles for longevity, lobster and chicken representing the dragon and phoenix, to name a few. We worked closely with the chef at the venue to make sure that we had lots of vegetarian dishes to make sure that everyone would be able to partake in the meal.”
After the Chinese wedding celebrations, it was time for the grand Indian wedding sangeet! Anant shares, “The sangeet was an absolute blast – we worked with a choreographer based out of Mumbai, to help us put together all the dances. We had a lot of friends who were dancing in a sangeet for the first time, but they were so enthusiastic and well-practiced that it was hard to tell! Dancing is such a great way to bring a community together, and we’re very happy with how the evening turned out.”
Next in line was a close-knit but fun haldi as Anant shares, “We did the haldi the morning of the wedding. It was intimate and small, and afterwards, our friends had a lot of fun hosing us down by the pool!”
Cara shares, “It was important to us that the Hindu Wedding Ceremony reflect our values, and we wanted it to reflect our belief that our wedding was about our two families coming together to become one. We had Kutumbha Sammelanam, when our parents joined our hands together, and we each took two pheras around the fire. We had one of Anant’s relatives translate everything into English so that everyone could understand the ceremony.”
Advice For Couples
The couple says, “Weddings are so busy that it can be hard to spend time with all your loved ones once everything starts. We did a retreat just with our friends to Koh Yao Noi, an island off the coast of Phuket for three days before the wedding started. It felt like summer camp –we went island hopping, hung out by the pool, took a cooking class, and just enjoyed each other’s company in a relaxed setting. It also helped all our friends get to know each other so that by the time all the wedding festivities started, people were ready to party!”
The Wedding Makers
Venue: JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Thailand
Wedding Planner: Wonders & Weddings
Décor: M Luxury Events
Bride’s Outfits: Madam Shanghai (Chinese Tea Ceremony), NAUMI (Sangeet, Haldi, Hindu Wedding), Monique Lhuillier (Reception)
Accessories: Madam Shanghai (Chinese Tea Ceremony)
Makeup: Paiko Makeup (Wedding)
DJ: DJ Michael, DJ Ben Jay
Choreography: Kunal Jessani (Sangeet)
Photography: Hipster Wedding
Videography: Kurt Robert Videography