Jacqui and Ankur, Hua Hin, Thailand
This Greek bride’s Indian wedding included a mix of traditions, including the smashing of plates!
A seaside district that was popular among Thai royalty, Hua Hin in Thailand is a place that combines the serenity of a beach town with the lively atmosphere of a bustling city. Impressed by its beauty, Jacqui and Ankur chose it to be their wedding destination, entrusting WeddingSutra Favorite – Shanaya Celebrations, to put together an unforgettable affair.
A thrilled Jacqui shared with us the highlights of the big day.
How They Met
“Ankur and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday over three years ago and we instantly developed a strong friendship. From hanging out every weekend, we started hanging out almost every day, although I cheekily friend-zoned him for a while! I guess I didn’t want to lose the special bond that we had developed in case it didn’t work out romantically. However, the more time we spent together, the more obvious it became how well suited we were for one another.”
She adds, “In many ways, we are complete opposites. I’m a pessimist, whilst Ankur sees opportunity in every negative. I’m quite an introvert while he is the life of every party. I’m the emotional one and he is logical and calm. Ankur is the yin to my yang. However, we both put love, family and friendship above anything else. I didn’t lose a friend; I gained an even better one. We do everything together and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.”
“Ankur popped the question on June 2, 2018, at one of our favorite holiday destinations: Uluwatu in Bali. He said it felt right as we both love Bali and I wouldn’t have expected the proposal at that time given that we were there for our friends’ wedding. Of course, he waited until after the festivities had ended before getting down on one knee. I was a little suspicious, watching him nervously make small talk as we privately dined looking out at the ocean. Always one step ahead, he smoothly assured me that it was part of a package and not a big deal. The experience was surreal and exciting, and we couldn’t wait to begin the next chapter of our lives together.”
“Having a large number of family and close friends based overseas, Thailand felt like a good place for everyone to gather. We chose the Avani+ Hua Hin Resort to celebrate our special event. The property is set on the beach and we were very impressed by the management’s eagerness to please. Many seasoned wedding attendees raved about the food that this hotel had to offer and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint!”
“The Shanaya Celebrations team is amazing. They are experienced, professional, attentive and ever so patient. They listen, work with you and make sure to laugh along the way. On the day of each event, they shine especially bright, making sure everything runs like clockwork. With them by your side, you really don’t have to worry about anything other than turning up at the venue. We could not have enjoyed our wedding festivities as much as we did without their help. They are the bomb.com!”
“There was no better setting than the beautiful beachfront lawn to host our welcome soiree. Commencing at sunset, this evening was an opportunity to see some of our favorite people reunite and watch new friendships take form. Given that I am of Greek descent, the theme of the evening was Mediterranean Chic. We had a fire-dancing show, an array of live food stations and some fun Thai-themed cocktails.”
“Hosted at Blue Biscuit, a quaint jazz bar located within the hotel, the after party was a hit that went on long into the night. We had with us Dj Tony, who played some great tunes that set the dance floor on fire! With catchy music, crazy lights and smashing dance moves, we ended our first day.”
“Ankur is Bengali and mehndi isn’t part of his tradition but a lot of my girlfriends excitedly asked if I was going to have henna applied on my hands and so we decided to incorporate it. We had an informal, intimate mehndi prior to the sangeet and spent some great time enjoying the company of our loved ones.”
“The theme for this function was ‘A Night In Morocco’. Being a Western bride, this was not only my first sangeet, but it was also a new experience for a lot of our guests as many of them had never been to an Indian wedding before. Everyone was so excited and the anticipation of dressing up in traditional kurtas, lehengas and sarees created such an awesome atmosphere. We didn’t expect our friends and family to pull off what they did with all the choreographed dances. They were amazing! Both of Ankur’s ninety-year-old grandmas stole the limelight on the dance floor and were so cute!”
“Called ‘Gaye Halud’ in Bengali, this ceremony was a small affair with close family and friends in our separate villas. My mother unexpectedly jumped in the pool after the haldi, my father threw me in after her and the whole family followed! It was so much fun!”
“Ankur arrived at the venue in a decorated ATB along with his baraat. There was passionate dancing, laughter and gusto. As the ceremony commenced, his didi (sister) played a prayer on the flute. I was brought into the venue in traditional Bengali style, on a palki (palanquin) with my brothers, nieces, who were flower girls, and nephew walking down the aisle in front of me. I covered my face with betel leaves, whilst being circled around Ankur seven times and removed them once I was lowered to see my husband.
“The mandap overlooked the Hua Hin Beach while the gorgeous sunset was our backdrop. The pink drapes over the four pillars and matching blooms bordering the structure made for a pretty picture. Since most of our guests were not Indian, a close family friend translated the significance of each ritual. This made the experience inclusive.”
“Opa! My Greek heritage came out at the reception. After all, it wouldn’t be a Greek wedding without the Zorba and smashing plates. My nieces and nephews stole the show and the lively party made for a great final event.”
Advice For Couples
“You’re not a bridezilla if you brief your make-up artist or go into details about your decor. If anything, it’s easier for all if you’re clear and direct up from the start. You don’t want to look back at your wedding photos and not recognize the girl staring back at you. Help the professionals help you. Try to live in the present and savor every moment. In what is the best week of your life, the time goes rapidly, so live every second to the fullest.”
The Wedding Makers
Venue: Avani+ Hua Hin Resort, Thailand
Wedding Planner: Shanaya Celebrations
Décor: Design by Niphon
Bride’s Outfits: Alice McCall (Welcome Soiree), Saroj Jalan (Sangeet and Reception)
Groom’s Outfits: Ralph Lauren (Welcome Soiree)
Makeup Artist: Trendi, Bangkok
Bar: Flair Mix Co., Ltd
Photography and Videography: Koro Films