Pooji and Dhiraj, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Pooji and Dhiraj’s destination wedding at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Abu Dhabi was a beautiful prelude to their lifelong journey!
Planned to perfection and designed to impress, Pooji and Dhiraj pulled off a spectacular wedding ceremony and several celebrations in Abu Dhabi.
Here, bride Pooji shares some moments from her special day.
How we met
“We’re both from Las Palmas, Spain. We knew each other but it wasn’t until we met, a couple of years ago, at a friend’s wedding that we were seated at the same table. We got talking and got along really well. There was a lot of chemistry but nothing happened because Dhiraj then moved to Barcelona. He wanted to focus on his career and I wasn’t keen on a long distance relationship.
Fast forward 7 whole years later to 2015 and we met again, at another wedding, in Goa. Every feeling we’d suppressed resurfaced and we started dating. And now, here we are, two years later, tying the knot.”
“We travelled to Bali, Thailand, around the UAE and India in search of a venue for our wedding. We looked at what felt like a hundred properties and then we walked into The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. The minute we walked in it just felt perfect. It ticked all the boxes.”
“The Mehndi was the first event. We wanted our guests to have a taste of Middle Eastern culture so we planned an Arabian theme. The event was called ‘Flavour of Arabia’ and held at the entrance lawn of The Ritz Carlton. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque as a backdrop is absolutely breath-taking and perfect for the theme. We had a bridal seating area with an arch and floral backdrop, colorful majlis for the guests, lanterns, flowers and candles set up across the lawn. We had an all Arabic menu planned with shishas and local entertainment.”
“For the Sangeet I was inspired by the book ‘The Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee. I wanted a Mughal feel so we used LED screens projecting palatial imagery, chandeliers, candelabra and roses across the ballroom. The bar was covered with red roses, our initials spelled out in acrylic.
I entered in a doli like a Rajput princess, wearing Manish Malhotra. The outfit had golden jharokas all across the lehenga and a floral top, designed especially with the theme in mind. We had the popular Indian rapper Badshah perform that evening.”
“Our wedding coincided with carnival season in Brazil and Spain so we decided to theme our pool party to resonate. There is a very famous Spanish carnival song ‘La vida es un Carnaval’, the lyrics of which go, “It’s more beautiful to live singing and dancing, for life is a carnival.” And that’s exactly what we did – we sang and danced the night away. The venue was festooned with colorful flags, drapes and we customized the dance floor and bar in accordance with the theme.”
“Dhiraj and I absolutely love retro music so we hosted an event where we could have a night for the young and the not so young, dancing to tunes from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was a total hit!”
Baraat and Phera
“Our wedding took place at the beachfront of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. I had my bridesmaids dressed in golden sarees with floral borders that matched my Sabyasachi lehenga. My brothers and bridesmaids performed a beautiful dance preceding my entry and my dad walked me down the aisle which was a very precious moment.”
“The reception was an all-white event set off by chandeliers, a truly sparkling soirée. For our final entry, we had ‘Bailarinas’ with LED-lit outfits perform a beautiful ballet to ‘My heart will go on’ by Celine Dion. Our family and friends held flares up high as we entered.
And just like every girl dreams of that perfect outfit for their wedding, I’d envisioned my reception outfit right from my teens. I conjured up an all-white crystal encrusted embroidered outfit with a 3-metre trail. To complete the look, I wore a custom-made Swarovski crystal crown especially ordered from the USA. Dhiraj looked handsome in a custom-made white suit by Troy Costa.
It was so magical!”
The Wedding Makers
Venue: The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Wedding Planner and Decor: Red Velvet Events (Dubai)
Makeup Artist: Chandni Girdhar (Mumbai)
Hairstylist: Saeida Alqassem (Abu Dhabi)
Bride’s Outfits: Archana Kochhar (Mehndi), Manish Malhotra (Sangeet), Sabyasachi (Pheras)
Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo (Mehndi, Sangeet and Pool Party), Manolo Blahnik (Retro Night), Christian Louboutin (Pheras), Sophia Webster (Reception)
Groom’s Outfits: Troy D’costa (Pool Party and Reception)
Grooms Shoes: Christian Louboutin (Reception)
Jewellery: Anmol Jewellers, Gehna Jewellers, Bvlgari, Chopard, Swarovski, Minerali
Accessories: Purab Paschim
Artist: Badshah (Mumbai)
Anchor: Junaid Currimbhoy (Mumbai)
DJ: DJ Manoj (Dubai)
Photography and Videography: Pooja Studios (Dubai)