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Neha & Amar - Destination Hindu Wedding Punta Cana
|Neha & Amar - Destination Hindu Wedding Punta Cana
||Destination Wedding Ceremony & Receiption
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Punta Canad
Surrey Wedding Reception Venue: Paradise Banquet Hall Delta BC
Vancouver Wedding Cinema: Rosette Films Inc.
DJ: Priyesh Mistry
Henna: Sonia's Henna Art
Wedding Coodinator: Jamica Andani, Dreamy Destination Weddings
Bridal Outfits: Frontier in New Delhi, India
Neha & Amar
Neha was introduced to Amar through a mutual friend. “My friend Mandy mentioned she knew this down to earth guy named Amar, who happened to be working in Vancouver and thought we would hit it off,” explains Neha. “She gave me his credentials and told me to check out his profile on Facebook.
Neha was intrigued and Facebook-stalked Amar that night. Although she found him very attractive, his profile gave Neha the impression he was not looking to settle down. She decided to leave him alone, until her friend followed up a few weeks later.
“I began to reply that I had seen the profile but didn’t think we would have anything in common,” says Neha. “For some reason, I stopped writing mid sentence, erased what was there and told Mandy to go ahead and give him my number.”
Unbeknownst to Neha, Mandy, affectionately nicknamed cupid by the couple, had already given Amar Neha’s picture. Although Amar liked Neha’s picture, he didn’t know how to introduce himself. Mandy’s news that Neha had provided her contact information encouraged him to connect.
Upon their first meeting Neha noted that she felt a great energy around her groom-to-be. Amar experienced the same: “I had never come across such a genuine and down to earth Indian girl. I knew when I first met Neha that she was very special.”
After seven months, Amar and Neha knew their love was meant to be. “I was lucky and got two proposals,” smiles Neha. “The first was on my birthday in February. I flew down to Toronto to be with Amar for my birthday. At dinner we were pondering about the future and I said something about us potentially getting married.”
Although Amar teased Neha a bit, they eventually decided to get married in February. However, Amar wasn’t done yet.
In June we flew to Punta Cana to attend a friends destination wedding,” explains Neha. “While we were there, we decided to spend one night at the resort where we would be having our wedding—the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.” It was the one resort that had something for everyone, such as spa, dance club, casino, golf and arcade,” she continues.
“Our party had a range of people including young kids, so we wanted to make sure that there were activities for them as well and this resort was perfect for people of all ages.”
Neha and Amar walked the grounds and saw the exact location on the beach where their ceremony would take place. “I asked Amar if we could go back to that spot, so that I could practice walking down the aisle to a specific song I had chosen,” remembers Neha.
Neha’s special song was Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai (I See My God in You). “I knew that when and if I ever met the right man, I would walk to this song,” says Neha.
Knowing how important the song was to Neha, they returned to the site, and Neha began practicing her walk. She was off time at first and asked Amar to wait while she tried again.
“I went and restarted the song on my iPhone and walked back towards him,” says Neha. “When I got to the end, Amar was down on one knee with a ring in one hand. In his other hand was a video camera, capturing my reaction. It was the best surprise,” says Neha, who adds that she wasn’t expecting anything, since they were already halfway through the planning process.
“We decided to have a destination wedding because we appreciate the beauty of the beach, sun, and sand,” explains Neha. “Our invitations and decorations were exceptionally colourful and fun with a tropical theme. Each major event during the week long celebration had unique twist like a Hawaiian welcome lunch, Arabian Nights based sangeet, Bollywood-style wedding ceremony, and glitz and glam reception. Since Amar’s family is Maharhastrian and my family is Hindu Punjabi (we’re also both Canadian), we amalgamated traditions from all our cultures into the event.”
On October 24th 2012, about 76 people were gathered on the beachfront at the Punta Cana Hard Rock Hotel when Neha made her appearance in a red lengha and stunningly coordinate jewelry. “My shoes were a bit of a problem,” confides Neha. “I ordered shoes online to wear for the wedding and found out a day before leaving they weren’t going to be delivered. I ended up wearing an old pair. In the end, it didn’t even matter because no one saw them and I took them off for the ceremony on the beach.”
All the bride’s outfits were bought from Frontier in Delhi. “Clothing and accessories were very important to me,” says Neha. “I spent a lot of time researching what I wanted before I went to India. For my reception in Punta Cana I wanted something different, like an Indo western gown. I found exactly what I wanted.”
Amar wore a custom made Achkan that matched Neha’s outfit. Amar had something specific in mind that even the tailors in India could not even comprehend. Eventually, it was Neha who ended up picking the material and designing an amazing outfit for Amar, which was also made by Frontier’s in Delhi.
To design their dream destination wedding experience, Amar and Neha relied heavily on their wedding planner Jamica. “She booked all the vendors we had to use in Punta Cana, made all the reservations, and executed all the events on site beautifully,” explains Neha.
DJ Priyesh Mistry was flown in from Toronto to perform at all the major events. Additionally, the couple imported a pandit from Vancouver for the Hindu ceremony as well as mendhi artist Sonia from Sonia’s Henna Art in Toronto.
“We provided welcome beach bags to all the guests, and at the sangeet we gave out little gift bags to all the women,” says Neha. “Each had a little jewelry box with a silver toe ring in it, a pack of bindis, and a set of earrings. All the men received silk scarves. In addition, groomsmen and close male family members from both sides were given liquor flasks personalized with their initials and our wedding date. For the reception, which took place in the Hive Ballroom, the bride and groom provided tea steepers as favours to almost 200 well-wishers.
“There isn’t anything we’d do differently says Neha, who adds that her highlight of the day was being able to hold the wedding on the beach. “We woke up to cloudy skies that morning,” she explains. ”The hotel warned us that we couldn’t have the wedding on the beach—it looked like it was going to pour at any moment! Jamica keeping a firm stance and told them she was not moving our mandap. We were able to have the wedding on the beach and take pictures. Not a drop of rain fell during our entire ceremony. It was perfect.”
“Everyday,” adds Amar, “I envision Neha walking down the aisle dressed like a princess in her red langha with tears in her eyes. Our song Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai is playing in the background, and I can hear the wind and the waves from the ocean.”
While planning the event, Neha and Amar say they relied heavily on family and friends for advice. They also did their own research using the Internet, bridal magazines, and the Cultural Wedding Planner, which Neha adds was particularly useful for its stories, information, and advice. “We liked having easy and organized access to all sorts of vendors and information, and we especially liked the stories of other couples that had just gotten married and the advice they had for couples, like us, that were about to get married.”
Neha and Amar’s advice for minimizing wedding stress is to stay organized and flexible. “With destination weddings, you have to accept that things go wrong,” says Neha. “For example, our sangeet was supposed to be a private party on a beautiful terrace. When we got there, we were told that the terrace had a crack and was unsafe. Our wedding planner gave us the option of setting up around one of the pools. It looked amazing, but then it started to rain! Again, our wedding planner took care of it. She told everyone that the sangeet would be delayed and set up everything in a ballroom. It was beautiful. If you are open to changes, everything will work out fine.”
As newlyweds, Neha and Amar claim that the best thing about being married is getting tp experience their lives and the world together. “We want to get to know everything about each other and help each other become the best individuals we can be,” emphasizes Neha.
Their advice to new couples is to maintain an open dialogue and understand that your partner is his/her own person. “In addition,” Neha adds, “it’s important to understand your partner’s dreams and desires and help them him or her towards realizing them.”