The soaring Hajar mountains and Al Aqah Beach of Fujairah formed the backdrop for Indian couple Sunny Sawlani and Jenika Tilwani’s Sindhi wedding this April.
Sunny, a Dubai-based businessman, and his bride Jenika, who is into styling, fashion designing and make-up, met in Pune, India, and as Jenika puts it: “It was a yes yes thing for both of us”.
“When I met Jenika,” says Sunny, “I had that 100 per cent feeling, that I was going to marry her for sure.”
The die cast, it was time to get planning, with Sunny’s brother Jeetendra Sawlani helming responsibilities with help from Events by Saniya, Dubai-based event planners.
Celebrities, dance troupes, DJs, music bands and a menu to satisfy the fussiest foodie were integral to the Bollywood-esque extravaganza that packed six events over three days at the Intercontinental Fujairah.
Jenika was indisputably in charge of the couple’s wedding clothes, picking up brands such as Gaurav Gupta and Papa Don’t Preach. She chose to customize Sunny’s outfits, selecting the fabrics and designs.
“She has great taste,” Sunny agrees. “I just closed my eyes and said yes to everything. And I felt and looked good at every event.”
Sandwiched between a welcome dinner and cocktail night was the Comic Carnival by the beach. Despite the soaring summer temperature, organisers bravely pitched their huge carnival-style tent on the beach.
“In the Middle East, to put up a summer wedding is the biggest challenge for all wedding planners,” says Saniya Wahi of Events by Saniya. “The Comic Carnival, was by far the quirkiest décor we have done.”
The emphasis was on fun with the theme being loud, brash and over-the-top. Comic strip art, zany wording, and a colour palette that was unapologetically bold, bright and vibrant greeted guests.
As in all Indian weddings, particularly in the north, songs and dances are essential. Dubai-based band Rooh took charge of the music at the Comic Carnival, while Bollywood singer Mohit Lalwani came in a day earlier for the welcome dinner. For cocktail party on day two, the family had specially invited their personal favourite celebrity singer and song-writer Mickey Singh; singer, songwriter and composer Guru Randhawa rocked the reception party after the wedding.
‘A gesture I’ll cherish’
The day of the nuptials dawned on a flower bedecked wedding hall with the mandap (wedding stage) as the obvious focal point. The pink, white and gold décor served as a foil for the couple’s distinctly regal attire — Jenika in heavy, brocade and jewellery and Sunny in sherwani.
Sunny recalls how music blared as Jenika entered.
“My friends and cousins didn’t want my entry to be any less dramatic than Jenika’s,” he says, “so they started singing at the top of their voices to the sound of dhols (drums) as I entered. It’s a gesture and a moment I will always cherish.”
Possibly only second to the actual wedding ritual when the couple garlanded each other and were near buried in red rose petals.
Sunny credits his brother Jeetendra – “the one-man army” – for his “perfect wedding”.
Jeetendra in turn credit the event planners. “They were very responsive throughout the planning process,” he says. “Saniyaji thought of everything. She really knows how to tap into just what an event needs to create that wow factor.”
“It was a big fat Indian wedding,” declares Jenika. “And a dream come true.”