Neha & Shubham: Hua Hin, Thailand
It is not everyday that you cover an Olympian’s wedding. We had the good fortune of covering Neha Aggarwal”s wedding, an Olympian who represented India in Table Tennis in Beijing Olympics at the age of 18 in 2008. The ace player got hitched to a businessman and erstwhile TT player Shubham Sharma from Hyderabad. Their wedding was a beautiful destination wedding at Sheraton Hua Hin, Thailand. So let’s begin with a small teaser of their wedding.
The wedding festivities were spread over 3 days with people attending the wedding from all over the world. The Sharma and Aggarwal family wanted to throw a grand wedding where everyone can have non-stop fun and the obvious choice was the popular destination of Thailand, a country which has become a favourite with Indians for its spectacular natural beauty, hospitality and easy accessibility from all major cities of India. Hua Hin a popular coastal city, 3 hours away from Bangkok has some beautiful 5 star hotel and resorts and Sheraton Hua Hin has the distinction of hosting most number of Indian weddings than any other property in Thailand.
As soon as the guests landed at the gates of the hotel, they were greeted by the traditional Thai dancers with Sharma and Aggarwal family ready to welcome them. For us the real thing started with the bride’s Mehendi in her suite. As soon as we entered her room an excited Neha greeted us with a wide grin and at that moment we knew we are going to have a great time covering this wedding.
Following the Mehendi we took some fun photographs outside where she jumped, she smiled and even posed with a TT racket for us! Soon the evening arrived and the sea facing lawns overlooking the pool were decorated for the Mehendi function where cocktails flowed and the bride and groom made an entry on a ATV vehicle. The DJ and the music kept rolling and people danced throughout the night. Now normally the day would end there, but it was followed with a black after party in the Resort’s club. As soon as the door the club opened a dancer welcomed people with her seductive moves. It was a sight to behold where one dancer was swaying on a swing and another was dancing in a big metal cage. While we could go on and on about the after party we feel its best left for the photos to do the talking as they say a good photograph is worth more than a thousand words.
The second day started with Haldi ceremony of the bride and the groom which was followed quickly by a bohemian themed pool party. A carnival set up offered people chilled coconut water in the scorching heat. But the highlight remained the Table Tennis game between the bride and the groom! Any guesses who won?
Then came the evening and the grand ballroom was lit with lights and a grand stage was set for the Sangeet night. The groom arrived and soon was surrounded by pretty ladies all over. He made his way to the stage and while he performed the ceremonies he waited for his bride anxiously. As soon as the bride arrived, all eyes were set on her. Both the families took the stage by storm and it was a beautiful spectacle with some great light work by the lights team. Pink Palki, the event organisers did a brilliant job with the decoration and setup. Once the performances ended, the DJ took over and people danced till late in the morning.
The third day started with Gaur Pooja and post lunch the bride and groom went for a relaxing spa. After all a trip to Thailand is incomplete without experiencing the Thai spa. Immediately after the bride and the groom left to get ready for their big day and their excitement was palpable that it spread to us. The bride made her entry with her brothers and father. It was an emotional moment when her father held her hand and walked her to the mandap. Sparkles lined up their entry and a cute little girl held the sign board – Here comes the bride. The bride and grooms eye met during as she climbed the staircase for the JaiMaal. The groom popped a bottle of champagne post the Jaimaal. Finally they took the pheras in a beautiful Hindu ceremony and when it finally came to Neha’s bidai it was yet another emotional moment. She got ferried in a Thai style Palanquin and she also danced her way through the journey and thus this beautiful wedding marked a new beginning in Neha and Shubham’s new #MixedDoublesForever journey!