Priya and Puneet, The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand
From surprise musical and dance performances to sensational floral decor, Puneet and Priya's wedding celebrations in Thailand were a treat for all the senses.
This bride planned her wedding over WhatsApp! With ceremonies incorporating Gujarati and South Indian rituals, it was no easy task. Bride Priya shares what went into organizing her picture-perfect destination wedding to Puneet at The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai luxury resort in Thailand.
How We Met
“Puneet and I first met at a New Year’s function at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. We both are from Fiji but live in New Zealand. However, we never came across each other in New Zealand and our first connection was in Fiji on January 1, 2010. He was talking to my cousin as they are friends from university, and I was going around the room looking for my cousin. I found her chatting with Puneet and that’s where our love story began.”
“Five years after we first met, Puneet and I went back to Fiji. He proposed to me at the same spot where he first met me – at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. He had a private cabana set up at the beach and just before sunset he popped the question. He was so excited and nervous that he forgot to get on his knees, but I said ‘Yes!’ anyway!”
“We have had a lot of family weddings at Fiji, which is our home country, so that was out of the question for us as a wedding destination. One day I just woke up and decided we could get married in Thailand. It would also mean a holiday for our guests! Thailand offers great food, beautiful landscapes, and an amazing culture, so it would be a different experience for all of us. We wanted an authentic Thai vibe for our wedding, and after researching options, we came across The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. We also researched about Chiang Mai to find out more about its attractions and traditions. We had three functions at The Dhara Dhevi itself because the resort has so much to offer. Our sangeet was held at a government-owned park which was stunning. Our wedding planning team helped us with the sangeet venue logistics.”
“After much research, I found our wedding planner Keeran who was my first choice. She was prompt with all the queries I had for her and I personally wanted someone who was proactive and quick especially since I was in New Zealand, and had to plan my entire wedding over WhatsApp. I had put together a 120-page presentation for Keeran explaining how I wanted the decor to be at each function and her team truly impressed us. They replicated exactly what I wanted – and they did it better. The wedding invitations were designed by myself. I had a concept in my mind, and when I went to India for wedding shopping my uncle helped me find a guy who could execute my concept. I wanted each card to represent the color of my outfits and the background to resemble that of a royal wedding.”
“This was the night most of our guests were arriving, so we wanted to have a very informal Welcome Night for them. We organized Thai massages and had performers do a Thai dance. We had local snacks packed in gift hampers. These hampers were prepared and placed in rooms as welcome gifts. We also gifted silver cups engraved with our initials as a ‘Thank You’ gesture.”
Haldi & Sangeet
“The ‘haldi’ (turmeric application) and sangeet events took place on the same day. The haldi ceremony took place during the day and the sangeet in the evening. I had a traditional Gujarati haldi function, while Puneet and his family had a South Indian haldi ceremony. The decor for these rituals included beautiful jasmine flowers and the sitting areas looked amazing.”
“The sangeet was a fun affair with lots of games and performances. A good friend of ours hosted the function, and since he knew both of us personally, he was able to entertain everyone with his performance. What set the night apart was a surprise performance by me and my mom. Also, Puneet sang a song for me while his dad played the guitar – and this was an amazing surprise for me! My mom and I danced to the Bollywood number “Mehndi hai rachne wali” which was also very special and really set the mood for our sangeet because no one was expecting it. The decor included floral bells (replicating the bells in the temple) hanging from the ceiling at the entrance and even a floral elephant and a beautiful swing covered in pretty blooms.”
“Our wedding ceremony was a long one as it included a combination of Gujarati and South Indian rituals. Our mandap and the aisle leading to it was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. A temple behind our mandap made for a picturesque backdrop as it was part of the resort itself.”
Priya wore a beautiful beige and red lehenga with stunning embellishments and motifs with a hint of green. She paired this with a gold and pearls ‘maang tikka’ (forehead ornament), and elegant necklaces. Her bridesmaids all wore matching blue sarees with glittery silver borders. Puneet wore a classy off-white sherwani-dhoti ensemble that had peach and pink accents. He paired this with ornate ‘mojris’ (ethnic Indian shoes). His groomsmen wore blue Nehru jackets over white kurta-pajamas to match the bridesmaids.
“Since it was the last night to celebrate, we made sure it was a memorable one for our guests. We had a live local Thai jazz band for entertainment. When we cut the cake, the singer of the band sang our favorite Hindi song. For the reception décor, I wanted mirror tables and acrylic chairs. The tables were made from the scratch by our decorator and went into a factory for production. Our wedding planner would keep sending us pictures occasionally to ensure I was happy with it. We had amazing fresh flower centerpieces and the decor was inspired by a Japanese garden. By the entrance, we had extremely big tulips hanging upside down from a tree with few of our favorite quotes written on a clear plastic. We also had a hanging photo frame where people could click their selfies. The intricate gold work on my ensemble that night matched perfectly with the details on Puneet’s outfit.”
Advice for couples
“Be organized and not indecisive. I believe this is what kept me from getting stressed. Have a spreadsheet that helps you track things such as payments made and tasks pending. Enjoy the planning process and even the functions with no stress as everything goes by really fast. You also have to come to terms with the fact that not everything will go as you want it to and it’s ok.”
The Wedding Makers
Location: The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wedding Planner: Keeran The Wedding Planner
Caterers: Coco Catering
Brides Outift – Magic Mirror, Mumbai (Reception)
Photography and Videography: DotDusk Studios