Our series, Featured Weddings brings you wonderful moments from weddings held at the finest venues across different cities. Here, bride Gayatri tells us all about how she met her husband Christopher, and their wedding celebrations at Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village in Goa.
Gayatri works in real estate in Mumbai, and she met Christopher in 2007 when he was in India for work. Hailing from Reading in UK, Christopher is a fitness addict. They met at a restaurant where she had gone with her friends. She was happy and high on a few drinks when she bumped into him by chance. They ended up meeting several times after that fateful evening till the time came for him came to return to UK.
Christopher and Gayatri knew that maintaining a long-distance relationship - with her in Mumbai, and he in UK - was going to be tough. Living almost 5,000 miles apart, and in different time zones, they had to work hard to make it work. And so they did for six years much to the admiration of their families and friends. Christopher decided he wanted to take things to the next level, and found the perfect ring for his proposal. He met her parents in 2014 and waited for the right time to pop the question - basically till he gathered enough courage to propose! Gayatri was figuring out why he was getting all serious and meeting her family, and then he asked her to marry him in a private moment. Christopher says he will never forget her look of confusion and the moment when she asked why he did not pop the question to her in front of her parents. They tied the knot in 2015, two days after Valentine's Day - on February 16.
It took six months to plan the destination wedding in Goa. Gayatri shares, "My brother, Larissa who is a wedding planner, and the Taj staff helped us pull off our dream wedding." Planned and executed by Goa-based Crosscraft Events where Larissa works, the wedding was a boisterous mix of tradition and merrymaking, rituals and revelry.
"Christopher is very particular about fitness, so our hotels shortlist was not based specifically on their locations, but on what kind of a gym or fitness centre they had! That was his only request when we started scouting around for venues. Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village had an impressive fitness centre and that's why we chose it for our wedding," recalls Gayatri. The five-star property in Candolim is styled like a sprawling resort with fully-equipped Portuguese-style villas and cottages that overlook the Arabian Sea.
Mehendi, Sangeet and Cocktail
The wedding celebrations began with triple pre-wedding events - sangeet, mehendi and the cocktail night - all on the first evening. Held on the resort's Bay View lawns which can easily accommodate 1,000 people, the sangeet and mehendi featured a heady mix of bright colors. Gayatri wore a beautiful anarkali-style cream and beige ensemble with stunning gold thread motifs. Guests enjoyed lounging on colorful divans and bolsters while getting their mehendi applied. A traditional swing was festooned with bright garlands and lustrous cushions, while another photo stop was the quaint aqua scooter standing in front of an avante garden decor frame. The sangeet saw Gayatri grooving to Bollywood numbers as her loved ones joined in. Christopher looked polished in his dark blue suit which was paired with a crisp white shirt
Yellow was the dominating colour of the haldi (turmeric) ceremony the following day which featured decor that included white and pink accents alongside yellow, such as garlands and pink danglers. Even the wedding guests wore these hues in an eye-catching and coordinated way. Gayatri donned an orange and yellow lehenga by Ritu Kumar which came with a comfortable yellow tank top instead of a formal choli (blouse). For trendy 'desi swag' she flaunted reflective RayBan sunglasses and interesting 'floral jewelry' in the form of a necklace, 'maang tikka', arm bands and earrings. She also wore a set of traditional red 'choodas' (Punjabi bridal bangles), while Christopher kept in casual in trousers and a tee-shirt and seemed to enjoy getting plastered with bright yellow turmeric paste which was applied to him by laughing ladies of Gayatri's family.
One of the most picture-perfect aspects of this fun February wedding was the circular chandelier mandap that was set up on the Sunset Deck of the resort. Resplendent with billowing white drapes along the pillars and roof canopy, floral arrangements around the rim and garlands dangling from the centre of the canopy, the mandap was set up on an elevated stage and overlooked the beautiful ocean right behind it. It looked magical when the evening darkened as the 'phera ceremony' commenced. Even the golf carts used to escort guests were nicely decorated with floral arrangements and white drapes. White chairs with yellow bows and bands matched the overall theme perfectly. Gayatri added a burst of vibrant colour in her pink velvet wedding lehenga with gold thread motifs by Sabyasachi, while Christopher kept it classy in an ivory sherwani from Mumbai-based men's clothing store Telon. The beautiful bride made her way to the mandap escorted by the male members of her family who held aloft a floral canopy over her head, and mirrored her outfit with their elegant traditional pink safas (turbans). The grand garland around her neck was matched by her ornate bridal jewelry from Amrapali which included a 'maang tikka' as well as a 'maatha patti', neckpieces and earrings. Christopher's elegant light gold safa, also from Telon, made him look every inch a traditional groom, and paired well with the color of his sherwani .
The reception took place after the wedding rituals were over, and saw some heartfelt speeches from friends and family members alongside champagne toasts. Everyone tucked into a delicious range of food which they relished in the cool Goan air with its pleasant nip.
Most Memorable Moment
"My father's speech during the ceremony was the most memorable and emotional event during the entire wedding," shares Gayatri.
The Wedding Makers
Location: Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village, Goa
Jewellery and Accessories: Amrapali
Bride's Trousseau: Anita Dongre (Sangeet, Mehendi & Cocktail), Ritu Kumar (Haldi) & Sabyasachi (wedding)
Groom's Trousseau: Telon, Mumbai (Wedding Sherwani & Accessories - Safa, Brooch, Watch)
Makeup Artist: Shibu Khan
Hair Stylist: Reena Creado
Decor & Florist: Crosscraft Events, Goa
DJ/Entertainment/EmCee: Crosscraft Events, Goa
Wedding Planner: Larissa from Crosscraft Events, Goa
Wedding Cake: Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village, Goa
Caterer: Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village, Goa
Photos Courtesy- Navdeep Soni, Pune