Leena and Vishal – Bali, Indonesia
An intimate and fun-filled three day weekend celebration at Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali
Vishal was born and brought up in London while Leena grew up in Nigeria. She later moved to the U.S. and then to UK to further her higher education. The newly-weds shared their ‘how we met’ story and tell us about the most special and fun-filled moments from their destination wedding which saw guests arrive from 26 different countries.
How they Met
Leena and Vishal met in 2013. Vishal asked Leena out on their first date for drinks at Quilon in St. James’s Park. He was super early (surprise surprise!) and was waiting for her by the bar. Leena arrived fashionably late (taking full advantage of the ‘7pm?ish’ time indicated by Vishal). They chatted and laughed endlessly throughout the evening, with Leena finding his jokes very funny which came as a nice surprise – “Jackpot!”, he thought. From the moment they started dating, both felt there was definitely something special! Over the next few weeks Leena was travelling while Vishal was busy training for a fitness challenge. He ensured they kept in touch over text messages and some very long laughter-filled phone calls. They couldn’t wait to see each other again! After she returned, Vishal asked Leena to go ten-pin bowling with him. There was no looking back after that- it was one amazing date after another. After several wonderful dates, French Tuesdays’ parties, meeting the parents, lots of meals and giggles, they both felt they were made for each other and that a life together would be beautiful.
After asking Leena’s father for his permission to take Leena’s hand in marriage, Vishal started planning a surprise proposal. He asked her to take Friday, July 11 off from work as the next day was his birthday. He told her they would be spending the weekend in Beckenham with his family. However, this was all a ruse! On the Thursday before his birthday, Vishal sent Leena a bouquet of roses with a very special note with instructions to pack her bags for Paris. The weekend was fabulous and one evening while strolling along the Champs-Elysees, Vishal asked Leena to take a seat on a bench and before she knew it he got down on one knee and popped the question. Leena said ‘Yes!’ and the planning for the wedding began shortly thereafter.
Wedding Venue-AYANA Resort and Spa, Bali
Much before the couple got engaged and while Leena was on holiday in Nigeria, Vishal sent her an email saying “What do you think of this resort for a holiday?” with a link to AYANA Resort’s website. He just happened to be looking at resorts in Asia and found this one that they just could not get off their minds. They talked about how they would love to visit this resort someday. Little did they know it would end up being their wedding venue!.
The AYANA Resort and Spa is located on 90 hectares of cliff-top land perched above Jimbaran Bay and is one of the most sought-after venues for Indian Weddings in South East Asia.
Leena and Vishal always dreamt of an intimate and fun-filled fantastic three day weekend celebration with their close family and friends at a destination far far away from cold and rainy England. They both wanted no more than 150 guests to join them in creating memories that would be with them for a lifetime. Leena was always very particular about the little details and wanted everything to be very personalised and special for both the couple and the guests. From the Save The Date, which was a cartoon animation video of the couple, to the invitations, which were specially designed to reflect their personality, to the welcome baskets, door tags, key cards- everything had to be very personal to the couple. And they spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the three days most memorable not only for them but also for those who had traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to be there.
Balinese Welcome Dinner
What better way to welcome guests to the wonderful culture Bali offers than to have a Balinese-themed night- Balinese food, decor and entertainment. The decor, an intimate setting with traditional colours and candles, the bamboo and wood look of the venue together with Balinese entertainment namely local fire dancers truly made it a welcome to the island paradise. Leena and Vishal enjoyed chatting with their guests and meeting friends some of whom they hadn’t seen for several years. Guests from different parts of the world met and mingled and took lots of photos hashtagging #lvstorybali along the way and enjoyed a feast of Indonesian delicacies.
After the Balinese dinner, it was time for the world famous Rock Bar. Ayana’s Rock Bar is the most famous bar in Bali where people queue up for hours just to see the sunset. A host of leading travel, leisure and lifestyle magazines have named it one of the top 10 bars in the world and getting to the Rock Bar itself is an experience. Past Ayana’s green cliff-top lawns there are two ways to descend, and both provide spectacular bird’s eye views. First is the ‘hard way’ down the extended flight of stairs. The second access is an effortless option, by means of a funicular ride down. The senior family members especially enjoyed the adventure trek down to the Rock Bar while all the guests enjoyed the music, the company and splendid views.
Leena and Vishal picked their favorite cocktails to be served at the venue and to bring everyone together, there was a beautiful balloon release which was very symbolic of everyone coming together on the first day of the celebrations.
After the Ghari Pooja and Vatna ceremony during the day, it was time to splash about at the Pool Party. Leena had her mehndi done by Imaa Habysi, who is one of the most well known Mehndi artists in Indonesia and who specialises in intricate henna design, while Vishal splashed around the pool trying all sorts of dives with his friends. Guests went crazy spraying water with water guns with some even pushing each other into the pool! The BBQ style food, music and cocktails kept the party going till the evening.
Rajasthani Palace- Mehndi & Sangeet
After the pool party, it was time for the Mehndi & Sangeet. Leena’s family are from Rajasthan and she has always been in love with Rajasthani palaces. She dreamt of having one built for her Sangeet. Leena worked closely with the decorators to create the royal, bright and colourful look for the event. The Sangeet was very entertaining with dances, singing and a comedy dance by Vishal’s brother in law! Leena and Vishal did a romantic Bollywood remix of ‘Manwa Lage’ and ‘Mast Magan’ which involved Vishal lifting Leena several times in her heavy mirror work lehenga! Vishal also had a surprise performance for Leena on the ‘Tu Meri’ song from Bang Bang.
The final day started with the Wanwa Pooja at the bride’s villa followed by the Baraat which proceeded to Ayana’s new oceanfront wedding venue- The Sky Cliff. The decor was natural and elegant with a coral mandap surrounded by stunning roses and gorgeous crystal chandeliers hanging along the pathway to the mandap. With views of the blue skies and Indian Ocean, the whole scene was nothing less than Picture Perfect! After the ceremony, guests proceeded for the delectable lunch spread put together by Ayana which included several popular street foods like chaat and more Indian vegetarian delicacies.
Reception- A Night in Paris
After the wedding ceremony, guests freshened up to get ready to party at the evening reception which was at the magnificent and grand Ayana Ballroom. The theme for the evening was ‘A Night in Paris’ inspired by Vishal’s surprise proposal in Paris. With the entrance of the Arc de Triomphe and a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower specially built for the couple, the whole atmosphere took Leena and Vishal back to their dream engagement night in Paris. Each table was named after a place in Paris that was special to them- the couple’s table was named Le Restaurant de L’Hotel which is where the couple had a fantastic meal before Vishal proposed to Leena. The personalised thank you notes for each guest deserve a special mention- these brought a few tears and some very emotional moments for many of them there. The thought of a couple writing special notes for each person in attendance was incredible and exemplified the attention to detail and thoughtfulness of the Bride! After their first dance to Ellie Goulding’s ‘How long will I love you’ and the speeches (not forgetting the very emotional speech by the groom), the couple mingled with guests and danced the night away! Without a doubt, the guests will forever remember and cherish the beautiful wedding and fun-filled ‘LV’ celebrations in Bali.
The Wedding Makers
Makeup Artist and Hairstylist- Ojas Rajani (Mumbai)
Mehndi Artist- Ima Habsyi (Indonesia)
DJ- DJ Vishal (Jakarta)
Decor & Co-ordination- Butterfly Decor (Jakarta)
Wedding Planners- Eventures (Indonesia)
Photos Courtesy- Picture Perfect India