Shreya Giri recently got hitched to her beau at an intimate, fuss-free affair held in Intercontinental Fujairah. A sight to behold at her wedding, she recounts the forethought of her experiences including the major preps before the big day.Beautiful weather, Instagrammable settings and memories of a lifetime for you (and your guests) tied in with your ‘I dos’... the idea of getting married far away from your own home town is much coveted by brides-to-be these days. It’s about the joy of committing to love surrounded by those most important to you. This also sums up the story of newlyweds Shreya Giri and Abhimanyu Golchha, who after four years of dates, crappy jokes, silly fights, cuddly hugs and ever-growing love, tied the knot in an intimate, fuss-free and fun set-up back in February. A celebration that witnessed equal doses of glamor, tradition, heartfelt moments and innovation, Shreya’s wedding with Abhimanyu was a minimalistic magical affair.
But planning a wedding that’s potentially thousands of kilometers away from home requires a lot more than just buying travel tickets and booking a hotel. The bride draws from her personal experiences and shares tips on everything from timelines to insider info—to help you plan yours.
Shreya Giri is the Director of Prithivi Printing Press Pvt. Ltd. Apart from that, she is also overlooking the operations at her family’s tea estate in Jhapa and restaurants in Kathmandu. She bumped into Abhimanyu Golchha, Director of Golchha Group four years ago at Level 3. “We were at a bar trying to order a drink and that’s how we started talking. We often bumped into each other on Friday nights.We started getting along, came across a lot of similarities and mutual friends. One thing led to another and well, we started dating,” says Shreya.
After three years of dating, her beau Abhimanyu proposed to her. “We went to Le Sherpa for our first date. Every year we would go there on our anniversary. So even on our third year, we went to Le Sherpa. When I reached there this time, the restaurant was empty barring two musicians he hired. The place was adorned with candles and photographs of us. He took me through each photograph hung in chronological order. There was a note placed on the table which stated he didn’t want me to be his girlfriend- that’s when I knew it was a big moment. So yeah, bent the knee and put a ring on my finger. The proposal was so thoughtful and very heart-warming. In fact, he got 19th July engraved on the ring too! It was evident he made a lot of effort. I’ve always wanted to be proposed to but this surpassed my expectation,” she recalls.
The couple got married on 11th February 2022 accompanied by a close family circle and friends. “After my engagement everything went super-fast; I thought we’d get married a year later but it happened within six months. Abhimanyu and I both wanted an intimate wedding with only our close ones. Abhimanyu wanted the wedding in Rajasthan but I didn’t second that because I studied in Rajasthan and the last place I wanted to get married was there. To be honest, I always wanted a beach wedding and considering our wishes, we narrowed it down to Inter Continental Fujairah,” says the bride.
The wedding wardrobe
After the couple zeroed down to having around five functions, the hunt for the wardrobe began. What ensued was the wedding trousseau curation. Shreya had a very clear vision for her bridal wardrobe—it had to be comfortable, true to her personality and devoid of typical bridal colors. “I prefer lehengas over sarees. For this, I made several trips to India with my mother and mother-in-law. They guided me through the whole process and accompanied me for the shopping. My main pheras outfit was from Tarun Tahiliani in baby pink color embellished with pearl work. I loved Shantanu & Nikhil’s designs so much that I got two outfits from them- one was from their Oasis collection for Sangeet and the other a red lehenga with leather work for the first part of the wedding. My Swayambar outfit was designed by my sister and Abhimanyu chose to wear a daura suruwal by Siwangi Pradhan to celebrate the first Nepali wedding in the Golchha family. For the sit-down dinner, I chose a western gown from Jovani-this was the toughest to find as I was adamant on the color emerald green for this event. My Kathmandu reception outfit was from Jade.” she reminisces.
Shreya reveals how deciding upon the outfits took months. She is very particular about her style and prefers more of a monochromatic look. She further added how she already had a rough picture of what she wanted for each event. She was clear that she didn’t want a Sabyasachi kind of vibe. A modern bride who chose to refrain from traditional colors and style, one of her lehengas had leather work which is very unusual when it comes to the bridal wear.
“It was a whirlwind during those months, but it all came together beautifully thanks to my incredible designers. Out of all designers my experience with Jade was the best. They’re open to customisations and the service was really impressive,” she adds.
The celebration begins
The bride’s overall vision revolved around turning the special occasion into a beach celebration-cum-getaway in a far-flung locale for their 250 close friends and family members. “I never wanted to have a big fat wedding, instead pictured it to be intimate and special.” The groom was on the same page. Although a close-knit affair, the festivities weren’t bereft of double-tappable decor and a fun-filled sangeet.
First off, the number of functions were decided- they wanted a wedding that honored both traditions. It had to be a blend of cultures so the couple decided to incorporate the important functions from both sides. “I hate the odor of Mehendi, I have never put it in my life. Luckily, my planners found odorless Mehendi in Fujairah. Was never fond of traditional designs so ditched it and instead chose to personalize and make it quirky. I had five of his favorite things, five of mine as Mehendi designs. My Mehendi design had our wedding logo, Abhimanyu’s favorites such as Chelsea, Formula 1, cheese, croissants, my dog Ruckus, a few of my favorties and a photograph of Abhimanyu riding a rickshaw and me sitting behind. The entire design was personalized. That’s the reason it took 6-7 hours to complete.”
The couple didn’t have a proper Mehendi ceremony. However, the Mehendi artist was called for the friends and families of whoever was interested. They chose local photographers, and planners. Bride’s makeup and hair was done by the celebrity MUA Nina Ubhi.
The first night of the celebration was casual where the bride put her mehendi. The next day was a welcome-lunch for the guests organized in a beautiful-indoor setup. It was followed by an evening Swayambar which was in an infinity pool that overlooked the sea and looked absolutely breathtaking in the golden hour during sunset. The couple exchanged their Dubo Malas and their rings. It was further accompanied by a cocktailer which was a fun and energetic night with music and dance. The bride’s entrance was a dance performance with her friends which set the mood for the entire night. Later, there was a frat themed after party as Abhimanyu was in fraternity in the US and it was more of a goodbye to his frat life. The third morning had a fun-filled Haldi. “Abhimanyu’s friends went crazy and poured so much leftover food from breakfast on him. I escaped from there (laughs). Before Haldi, we also had a Kumaoni ceremony, practiced by my mother-in-law as we wanted a little of everything from both sides.” The evening witnessed an Arabian themed Sangeet party and what garnered a lot of attention was the hilarious surprise dance performance by Abhimanyu’s guy friends on Babydoll with chairs and props.
The next day was the Baarat where Abhimanyu came in an ATV. Shreya elaborates, “The Baarat went on forever. It was supposed to start at 10 AM but it went on till noon. I wonder how they could dance for so long in the scorching heat. I was aware they would take time so got ready only once they started, didn’t want to be decked up and waiting for hours. My makeup and hair alone took three hours. I wore my red Shantanu & Nikhil outfit. The bridal entry music was a song by Ang Tshering Sherpa which I had heard while casually chilling with my mom. I entered with my dad walking beside me followed by my mom and sister behind.”
The wedding was overall a healthy blend of both families’ cultures. The pheras were performed in Nepali style and the Marwadi style. Held on a beach during the sunset, it was a sight to behold. Later, the couple and the families had a sit-down dinner where Shreya wore a green gown by Jovani. The parents gave their speeches that made the night very emotional. The couple ended the night by flying lanterns on the beach.
How to get it right: tips from the bride
- Personally, long hair looks good with Indian wear. You can have multiple hairstyles with long hair. I suggest: don’t cut your hair short for the wedding
- Wear a comfortable pair of wedges. Don’t wear Stilettos!
- Clothes are very important. Don’t rush, do your research and be true to your style. Don’t go by what’s in fashion
- Don’t settle. If you wish for something, go for it because you get married only once. Choose your venue and guestlist right. Plan your events properly keeping the time factor as top priority
- Choose a very good makeup artist and photographer because 10 years down the line you’re only going to rely on your wedding photos and videos
- Make a mood board for décor set-up, makeup, hairstyle, color themes, etc.
- Most importantly, I urge every bride to go on a family holiday before the wedding. I did that and it was the best decision ever.