Kuldeep and Vinay, Ajman, UAE
This destination wedding in Ajman combined Sindhi and Punjabi customs with Arabic influences, elaborate decor and luxury.
Vinay and Kuldeep gave their loved ones a once-in-a-lifetime experience with an amazing wedding that was planned by WeddingSutra Favorite – Vivaah Weddings. The celebrations were hosted in Ajman, blending Indian traditions with Middle-Eastern luxury.
How They Met
The bride says, “Vinay and I come from Sindhi and Punjabi families respectively. While he grew up in Ghana I come grew up in London. We both moved to Dubai in 2014, one month apart. We met six months later at Siddartha Lounge at the Grosvenor House and connected over strawberry mojitos. We were both expats with no immediate family in Dubai. Both our families met two years later at Vinay’s sister’s wedding in Portugal.”
It wasn’t long after the families officially met that Vinay decided to propose to the woman he was madly in love with for two years. Kuldeep says, “Vinay proposed on a fisherman’s dhow boat on the Jamuna River, beside the magnificent Taj Mahal. He had arranged a photographer from a photography service called Red Room. The photographer was also called Kuldeep! He was recommended through a family friend and they arranged everything. It was a really exclusive yet low key area, with just locals around. There was a mandir near the river and a prayer played as we got into the boat. We also saw five peacocks around the time of the proposal. This inspired us to incorporate it into our wedding logo. We then did a small photoshoot at an archway near the Taj Mahal. It really captured the beauty of India.”
“We decided to get married in Ajman, UAE, as Vinay had lived there for some time and knew the area well. For me, having a wedding abroad was a unique experience as traditional weddings in the UK are very simple. We opted to go all out and show our guests a good time overseas. We chose the Fairmont Hotel in Ajman as it seemed the best to accommodate the wedding we wanted. Plus, we fell in love with the ballroom and the beach,” says Kuldeep.
“While planning the wedding, one thing we wanted was a different playlist for each function. We didn’t want the same songs played at every event, which is usually the case at weddings.” The couple wanted to personalize the wedding as much as possible. The bride adds, “We created a newspaper that was sent to all the guests called ‘Vinkul Times’. We had each copy ready in the morning, every day. For the first edition, we had a ‘Welcome to Vinkul’ article and the ‘Who’s Who’ of the family. Some family members also contributed articles about us and there was important information for the guests, such as medical contacts, emergency contacts, and hair and make-up bookings. The second and third editions highlighted funny events that happened and featured some photos.”
The wedding festivities began with a Punjabi tradition – the Mayian ceremony. This includes many rituals such as batna and chooda. It was an intimate affair with only close family members in attendance. The ceremony was followed by dinner at Bukhara – Culinary Passage to Northern India in Ajman. The couple shared a special connection with this location as it was an outlet of the same hotel in Agra that they had visited after Vinay proposed.
After the Mayian ceremony, guests received a grand welcome to the ecstatic beats of dhols. The welcome dinner was a glitzy sundowner with Arabic-themed decor and belly dancing for entertainment. The couple wanted an Arabian vibe as their guests had flown in from all over the globe, and most were visiting the UAE for the first time. Bibi Luna performed at the event, as the couple had watched the singer perform at La Cantine previously.
The Pink Party was an old-school, R&B/hip-hop after-party with the dress code being the bride’s favorite color: pink, teamed with bling. The soiree took place at the hotel’s Cave Bar. This underground bar was transformed into a nightclub with VIP seating and pink decor. Kuldeep adds, “We played all the hip-hop and R&B songs that we used to listen to growing up. Both of us are passionate about music.”
The mehndi ceremony was hosted on the beach. The groom arrived on a jetski, holding a rose in his mouth. He then sang ‘Kiss by the rose’ on the microphone to his bride. Kuldeep looked every bit a contemporary bride in a glittery champagne-colored dress with floral jewellery. Keeping with the beach vibes, guests were requested to follow a beach-chic dress code. DJ Manoj played light-hearted house numbers to get the party going.
The sangeet ceremony had Sindhi and Punjabi flavors. The entire stage was made to look like the Taj Mahal’s facade, the location where Vinay proposed to Kuldeep. The bride’s family entered with a very traditional Punjabi ‘jaggo’ (a Punjabi tradition of singing songs and dancing, as the bride’s aunt carries a metallic vessel with a lit oil lamp placed inside it).
The jaggo kicked off the events of the evening and was followed by dance performances from the couple’s family and friends. Kuldeep says, “We had a performance by Drumline and Saxingh with DJ Manoj. Both Drumline and Saxingh had performed at previous family functions on both sides and were well known to the families. As we had guests fly in from all over the globe, we asked them to wear Indian outfits or their national attire. We had Ghanian fashion and Scottish kilts along with people wearing traditional Indian wear! We had traditional Indian music playing throughout the night.”
An intimate chooda ceremony with the bride’s family in attendance was hosted on the morning of the nuptials. This was followed by the wedding rituals. The bride says, “Vinay started the baraat from the helipad of the property, making his way to the hotel on a camel with his family and friends dancing to the beats of the dhol. We then had a traditional milni ceremony, where men from both the families exchange garlands.”
The traditional Sikh ceremony called Anand Karaj was held at the hotel’s ballroom which overlooks the ocean. The couple wanted an indoor ceremony for a peaceful ambiance consistent with an actual Gurudwara. Speaking about the decor, the bride says, “We had a red and gold theme with roses on the stage. We wanted to ensure we got married before 12 pm to follow the mahurat (auspicious time-frame). Everything went as planned, with the wedding ceremony beginning as scheduled. ”
The bride wore a traditional red outfit and the groom wore a beige sherwani with a red turban and scarf.
The couple’s reception was a black-tie event hosted on the hotel lawns. The bride wore an elegant white gown with a trail while the groom looked dashing in a black suit.
She says, “We wanted to do the reception outside the hotel as we had already used the ballroom twice the day before. We had an octagon-shaped marquee that was covered in fairy lights. There was a live band playing music and a violinist playing as you entered the marquee. We wanted all the parents to relax and enjoy themselves during the reception, so we had an entertainer for the kids outside the marquee, with games and face painting to keep them occupied. We served kid-friendly food like pizza for the children. The evening was memorable as our family and friends dedicated heartfelt speeches to us.”
The reception was followed by an after-party with bhangra music and drumline performing. A celebration as big as a wedding deserves to be enjoyed to its maximum, which is why the couple also hosted an after-after-party at the penthouse of the hotel.
Advice For Couples
“Honestly, just step back and enjoy every moment during the wedding. The whole thing just feels like a dream and I really wish I took time to take everything in. Also, go for massages and facials every week to relieve your stress!”
The Wedding Makers
Venue: Hotel Fairmont, Ajman, UAE
Wedding Planner: Vivaah Weddings
Décor: Timeless Events Management
Makeup and Hair: Aishaa Khan
Mehendi: Vandana Makar
Entertainment: Bibi Luna (Welcome Dinner), Drumline UK (Welcome Dinner, Sangeet, Baraat, After-Party), Saxsingh UK (Sangeet)
Face-Glitter Artist: Glitterati DXB
DJ: DJ Manoj (Mehndi, Sangeet), Dj Flipside (Pink Party), Dj SOL (Reception)
Photography: The MelRish Studio