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Freya and Vishal both work in the film industry, he is the Head of Marketing at Excel Entertainment and she is a Freelance Assistant Director on English and Hindi films. They tied the knot in July at JW Marriott, Phuket. Freya, who is based in Mumbai, writes about their wedding planning journey and destination wedding experience.

Wedding Venue

As Thailand and Bali are very popular wedding destinations I wanted a different vibe, something like Sri Lanka or Maldives. However because July was the chosen month for the wedding and it's heavy rain for both those countries, I had to revisit the idea of Thailand - specifically Phuket.

It was a little difficult looking through venues in Phuket. We made three trips to Thailand and every hotel had one issue or the other- they weren't too experienced with Indian weddings, their ballroom sizes were too small or they were unable to give us adequate rooms. Ultimately it came down to the overall best 'experience'. Which hotel was going to give our guests that feeling that it was worthwhile for them to have flown from all parts of the world to be there that weekend? JW Marriott, Mai Khao gave us that confidence and so we finalized on it.

Wedding Planning

If I have to share one advice for any bride-to-be or to-be-wed couple, whether they are planning a wedding in their home town, within India or any destination, it would be- hire a wedding planner (provided of course you find the right profile person and someone you are comfortable with)! No matter how many family members are willing to play a part and help put together an event, you can't get the cohesion, organization and overall unity without a wedding planning team. That said you also need to spend the time to find the right team- it is as critical as finding the right venue/destination. Our planners were Nipunika and Kripa of Bangkok based Elan Events by Nipunika and they did a fabulous job.

The fun part of wedding planning was searching for creative and out of the box ideas for the themes, decor, invites etc. Our wedding was an extension of what both Vishal and I do best - throw a really good party! This time the guest list was the stressful part. One needs to ensure we invite those who we are close to and at the same time not offend those who we both know but couldn't invite due to the number limitation. Putting together the guest list is definitely one of the harder things to do - so I suggest starting with that first!

Wedding Functions

We started the first day with a sundowner at the Angsana Laguna hotel, which is a 30 minute drive away from JW Marriott. While the logistics and planning to shuttle 150 'youngsters' to and from JW Marriott seems a bit tedious- the beach club 'Xana' at the Angsana made it all worthwhile. The location speaks for itself. It was the wedding planner's idea to have a 20 foot 'FV' signage in the middle of the beach. I was apprehensive at first as it seemed incredibly 'self-indulgent' but the planners insisted and both Vishal and I were really happy as it took the experience of that party to another level. Vishal is a big fan of electronic dance music - so we flew in one of the top DJ's from Mumbai - DJ Nawed & his team. Together him and his team were able to keep both Bollywood & EDM music lovers happy.

Vishal and I met in Mumbai and the city in many ways has played a big role in our relationship. So to pay tribute to the city I wanted a 'Mumbai Bazaar' theme for the Mehendi. Every element of the function reiterated this.

I've always had a love affair with neon. So despite a few raised eyebrows, I decided to have a 'Neon Lights' theme for the Sangeet. We asked everyone to come dressed in a 'pop of neon'. Our planners did an outstanding job creating a world of neon in a fun fresh way - adding a traditional element with lotuses. The highlight was the eclectic bar backdrop!

One of the special features of JW Marriott is that you are allowed to create a mandap on top of their main lotus pond. So a sunset wedding gets full scope here. It was the wedding planner's idea to keep the mandap completely white with a sprinkle of orange to highlight the sunset and its colours (which were also reflected in my colour choice of lehenga).

Finally, the Reception! We called it a 'Red Tie Affair'. Everyone was told to wear anything black/red/white or gold. As the final note to our guests, we wanted it to be a formal affair but a fun one. So amongst the beautiful black and white drapery and cascading red orchids from the ceiling' we interspersed our logo's 'lips & moustaches' all over the ballroom. The highlight was the 'Mr & Mrs' sign in light bulbs at the front and centre. This was the event I had envisioned down to the tiniest detail and the planners executed it to perfection.

Advice for to-be-weds

Have a good time and make the most of the entire experience because you will treasure it once it's done. Be patient- wedding planning can be stressful at times, but it will also teach you a lot about yourself, your family, your significant other and your family to-be.

Wedding Details

Wedding Planners: Nipunika & Kripa (Elan Events by Nipunika)
Wedding Designing & Production Team: Elan Events by Nipunika
Make-up Artist: Ojas Rajani
Bartenders: Flaming Trio Thailand
Wedding Card & Signage Designer: Neha Bhansali
Photography Team A: Sharik, Monica & Hari
Photography Team B: Phuket Best Photography
Photography Team C: Nitesh Square Photography
Videographers: Colorblind Productions

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