Nisha and Sono – Cebu, Philippines
Funky, fusion themes wowed all at Nisha and Sono’s wedding at Cebu’s Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa
Sono and I first met 10 years ago through mutual friends during Thanksgiving weekend in New York. However, we did not seem to get along at that time, so we went our separate ways. A few years later, we met again in New York over a similar long weekend, and he ended up taking my number from a common friend. We stayed in touch after that as he was working in Montreal and I was still living in New York.I ended up moving back to Hong Kong to pursue my MBA and soon after, his family asked him to return home to the Philippines and we, somehow, ended up together! We got engaged in Balesin, in the Philippines, and now live in his hometown, Manila – literally on the other end of the world from where we first met.
We chose the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa in the beautiful Philippines island of Cebu for our wedding. We had explored options in Vietnam and Thailand, and while we loved these options, the logistics of getting everyone there seemed overwhelming. Plus, Sono and I would have had to undertake multiple trips to these places to plan events. We had attended weddings held at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa before, and remember enjoying our times there. So we decided to pay it a visit. We were reassured to hear that the hotel’s events committee was very familiar and experienced with Indian weddings, and their assorted ceremonies and customs.
We also realised that being 15 minutes from the airport had its perks. Many of our friends would arrive from the US, while assorted members of our families were flying down from different cities across Asia. Even before I got to my computer, the hotel had a list of airlines that flew direct into Cebu. We chose Thanksgiving weekend in 2014 for our wedding, and had just over seven months to prepare for it.
Wedding Functions, Décor and Themes
As with all Hindu weddings, there were a few days of festivities. We started off our first day with the pre-wedding poojas, a formal engagement, and a Cuban-themed welcome dinner. On our first official date, Sono and I had visited a salsa bar, and it had been one of our most memorable nights. So that’s why we chose to welcome our loved ones to Cebu with the ‘Misri and Mojitos’ theme. Our wedding planner and the décor team used paper flowers, Cuban cigar boxes and lots of vibrant colors to set up the ballroom.
We decided to have our wedding pheras on the second day, followed by lunch. We completed all the Hindu Vedic traditions as well as our personal rituals with regards to Sindhi customs. This was the only Indian-themed event we had and we titled it ‘Sono + Nish: The Wedding’. It featured a simple mandap, scattered gerbera daisies (my favorite flower) and lots of love! We had gotten the important stuff done, and really just wanted to enjoy our own wedding with our loved ones. That evening, we had an interesting Japanese-themed party, termed ‘Sakura + Sake’. My husband loves all things Japanese – from anime, to the food and even kimonos. We ordered outfits and katana swords for our guests, and brought them all along to Cebu! This was all him! Sono really put his effort into ensuring fun activities like a sake bomb bar, origami building, and even gypsum boards for guests to try and bring back their childhood skills.
For the third and final day, we had a relaxed poolside lunch, where everyone could recover from the previous night, enjoy the amazing menu at Acqua, and spend time around the resort. The ‘Rays + Reggae’ afternoon was filled with lots of sunshine and had a live local band playing reggae tracks. For the final occasion, ‘Sono + Nish: The Celebration,’ we had garden-theme décor at the hotel’s Marquee Ballroom. This was our formal reception where loved ones made speeches, we enjoyed dance performances like a typical sangeet, and shared our cupcake moment.
Sono fell quite ill during the wedding, but not many people know this happened or the amount of work and coordination that went on behind the scenes because of it. He could not have a drop of alcohol during any of the wedding ceremonies, and we had nurses on call through out the night. Our priest, wedding planner, and the hotel staff all came together to ensure he was well taken care of, and carried on with all the events efficiently so that our planning would not go to waste. All the occasions went on as scheduled albeit with some of the major parts shortened. When Sono’s presence was not required, we sent him to rest in his room or meet with the doctors. And at any time I wanted, there was always a buggy waiting for me to go and check on him.
I planned a 7-day trip to Delhi and got all of my outfits, bangles and kundan jewellery from there.
My ‘Misri + Mojitos’ outfit is an Arpita Mehra creation from Aza Fashions, while my wedding and reception outfits were from smaller boutiques around the area, like UM Delhi and Roop Vatika. Most of my jewellery, including our engagement rings, wedding necklace and other sets were from family jewellers in Hong Kong and Dubai.
The Wedding Makers
Our wedding all came together thanks to the following groups that we worked with:
Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa’s Events Committee, the catering team, in-house nurses and general staff. They were absolutely great to work with and have around at the wedding.
Caterer: Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa
Our Wedding Planner: StanzCatalan& Team (Philippines)
My Make-up Squad: Gari Son & Team (Philippines)
Our Décor & Flowers: Pink Flora (Philippines)
Our Photo & Video: LitoSy Photography (Philippines)
Sound & Lights: Pacific Audio (Philippines)
Our DJ: Maxx Entertainment & Sadhu Beats (USA)
Mehndi: Sonali(Hong Kong)
Baraat/Dhol: CJ Manila (Philippines)
Cake: Cakes Couture by Trina (Philippines)
Photos Courtesy- LitoSy Photography