Pankhuri and Nikhil, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
With traditional Arabic dancers and desi dhol drummers, Nikhil and Pankhuri's wedding in Dubai incorporated a wonderful blend of Indian and Middle Eastern cultures.
Pankhuri describes Nikhil as the ‘life of the party,’ and the pictures of their nuptials at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai clicked by WeddingSutra Favorite – Shutterdown show how right she is! He is captured winking at the camera, pulling a relative’s nose, dancing with his bride, making funny faces and thoroughly enjoying the functions. The happy bride shares how they met and highlights of their wedding celebrations here.
How We Met
“A few years ago when I was pursuing my MBA in London, Nikhil was visiting the city, and we met through friends. He was funny, the life of the party, and very intelligent! We kept in touch after that first meeting. A few years later he was doing his MBA at INSEAD and visited Dubai on vacation. That’s when we met again and immediately hit it off.”
“On New Year’s Eve in 2016, we got together as he had thrown a party for friends and family. At midnight he said he wanted to talk to me about something. He took me outside, and when I looked down, I saw the entire ground terrace was lit with candles. I heard Nikhil saying, “Be mine” – and then he went down on one knee and offered me the ring. I wasn’t expecting the proposal that night and was genuinely shocked.”
“We wanted to create a unique experience for our guests who would be coming from 20 different countries. We scouted for multiple venues because we desired grandeur along with stellar service.
Dubai offers the best in hospitality, gastronomy, and entertainment. Moreover, I had grown up in Dubai, so it had an emotional connect for me. Our functions were spread across various hotels in Dubai. Our mehndi and cocktail party took place at the Hyatt Regency Dubai while our wedding and reception were hosted at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. The property is so grand and its architecture so regal that we could not have chosen a better place for our special day.”
“The overall wedding theme for our wedding celebrations was a fusion of Middle Eastern and Indian cultures since both of us grew up in the Middle East but have deep have roots in India. We incorporated this combination into the menu and entertainment as well.”
“The theme for our mehndi was traditional funk, and we had used a lot of bright colors in the decor with elements such as marigold blooms, drapes and string curtains. Pictures of Nikhil and me were also included as part of the decor at the venue. Guests enjoyed the fusion food that was served. I wore a light pink lehenga from Carma and Nikhil opted for an orange bandi jacket and blue kurta by Samant Chauhan.”
“We had an ivory and pastel theme for the cocktail party decor and incorporated elements such as cherry blossom arches and a beautiful stage with a floral backdrop. This was a black-tie event, so I wore a gorgeous white ballgown and Nikhil opted for a Dhruv Sehgal tuxedo. We both performed at this fun event which also featured a few couple games and lots of dancing.”
“Our wedding was hosted at the Joharah Ballroom of Madinat Jumeirah. I arrived in an ‘abra’ (traditional Arabic boat), and Nikhil arrived with his baraat of 50 friends, some of whom carried him on their shoulders. He was like a prince floating over a sea of red turbans – it was an unbelievable sight! We exchanged our garlands in an outdoor setting and moved indoors for the pheras. I wore a red lehenga by Sabyasachi for this function and Nikhil opted for an ivory sherwani by Shantanu & Nikhil.”
“Our reception was held at the same venue as our wedding. Therefore, a large part of the setup remained the same. Regarding the outfits, I changed just a few things like my blouse, dupatta, and hairdo while Nikhil decided to not change anything at all. For entertainment, we wanted to give our guests a taste of Middle Eastern culture, so we invited a troupe of ‘dabke’ (Arabic folk dance) performers. We also had traditional drummers at the function to bring in an Indian element. The night was made fun when both these groups decided to have a ‘jugalbandi’ (duet) session. That truly was a standout feature of the night.”
The Wedding Makers
Venues: Hyatt Regency Dubai (Mehndi and Cocktail), Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai (Wedding and Reception)
Bride’s Outfits: Carma (Mehndi), Esposa Couture (Cocktail), Sabyasachi (Wedding)
Groom’s Outfits: Samant Chauhan (Mehndi), Dhruv Sehgal (Cocktail), Shantanu & Nikhil (Wedding)