Dhara Bhatia, a Journalism student, and Karan Dhakka, a Business Management major first met as students in the bustling school halls of the American University in Dubai and became friends before gradually falling in love

In the bustling halls of the American University in Dubai, Dhara and Karan’s paths crossed in 2015. Dhara Bhatia, a Journalism student, and Karan Dhakka, a Business Management major, were in entirely different buildings, but fate had its own plans. “There was a cafeteria area where everyone would hang out, and that’s where a mutual friend first introduced me to Karan,” Dhara recalls. “At that time, I instantly found Karan cute and became quite inquisitive, but it wasn’t the right time for us.”

Their initial meeting blossomed into a deep friendship over the next two years. “We got to know each other, became best friends who would confide in each other, and created a bond that no one could break,” says Dhara. They discovered shared likes, values, favourite shows, and songs, often finding themselves thinking the same things. “This happened so many times with songs, phrases, jokes, etc. We couldn’t really ignore fate giving us a sign,” Dhara adds.

In the summer of 2017, their bond grew even stronger through road trips, burger dates, and late-night conversations. “Karan told me he wanted to be with me, and I remember telling him, there’s no going back now. Karan said, never,” Dhara reflects. Their deep friendship transitioned seamlessly into a romantic relationship, cemented by their mutual understanding and unwavering support for each other.

For Dhara, planning her wedding with Karan was a dream come true Image Credit:

For Dhara, planning her wedding was a dream come true. “I’ve been planning my wedding since I was in 6th grade. I’m that kind of girl who has a wedding book with a clear vision of what I wanted our special day to look like,” she admits. The wedding, held at Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa, spanned three days with six events and two smaller parties. Every detail was meticulously planned, from the venue and photographer to her outfits and hair and make-up.

One of Dhara’s favourite wedding elements was a holographic performance she choreographed for Karan at the sangeet. “I love dancing, but I didn’t want to do something that was already seen. My choreographing team from Mumbai really helped me conceptualise the whole thing,” she explains. Another memorable moment was her grand entrance on a boat, decked out with flowers, to the song “Kinna Sona,” specially recreated by a Mumbai artist. “As I started walking down the aisle, this song started to play, and everything else just faded away. It’s just us, in this beautiful moment, stepping into our future together,” Dhara reminisces.

The wedding was a dreamy affair with a pastel colour palette and a breathtaking Bahrain sunset as a backdrop. Dhara and Karan even incorporated personal vows into their ceremony, placing them at the venue entrance for guests to read. “We don’t have vows in Hinduism, but Karan and I believe in it. So, we did our vows and printed them for everyone to see,” Dhara says.

Reflecting on their special day, Dhara and Karan have countless cherished memories. “Dancing the night away with all my friends and family members till sunrise every day,” Dhara shares, was a highlight. Karan’s surprise solo dance performance, a mash-up of Ranbir Kapoor’s songs, brought Dhara to tears. “I always kept telling him he should definitely do one for me, and he would always tell me – ‘never Dhara.’ But he did it, and it definitely made me cry – a lot,” she says.

Dhara and Karan’s wedding was filled with heartfelt moments that Dhara says she will cherish forever. One such moment was her sisters’ dance performance at the Mehendi, which moved her to tears. “I have three elder sisters whom I love dearly. When they started dancing, it was just becoming too real. This was a special moment for me,” Dhara shares.

Another touching memory was when her parents walked her down the aisle. “In Hinduism, it’s usually the brothers who accompany the bride, but I told everyone that it had to be my mom and dad who take me to the mandap,” Dhara explains.

Dhara’s niece, Saina, also left a lasting impression with her speech at the reception. “Saina is only nine years old, but she’s my first child. She was the most excited for my wedding and prepared the cutest speech about how sad she was that I wouldn’t be at nani’s house anymore, but she knows how much I love her and the lengths I would go for her,” Dhara recalls.

Additionally, Dhara was deeply moved by speeches from her brother-in-law, Nishan, and their best friend, Kavish, who was always the third wheel in their relationship. “Nishan’s speech meant a lot to me, and Kavish’s speech is something we will remember forever,” Dhara says.

Dhara’s sisters, parents, and friends played significant roles in making her dream wedding a reality. “My dad always tells me to cut my expenses, but for my wedding, he told me, ‘Just go do your dream wedding.’ My mom was there for me whenever I needed anything, and my sisters sent me countless recommendations to help decide on outfits and jewellery,” Dhara recalls. Karan, too, was her rock throughout the planning process. “I told him, ‘I’ll do everything, just handle me.’ And he really did. He took care of me when I couldn’t take it anymore and supported me throughout the whole process,” she adds.

Looking back, Dhara wouldn’t change a thing about her wedding. Her advice to other couples? “Plan the wedding as much as you can, but once you reach your venue – just let go. You need to enjoy every moment of your wedding and be present. You’re not going to get this moment again, so live it as much as you can.”

Dhara and Karan’s story is a testament to the beauty of friendship blossoming into love and the joy of sharing life’s most precious moments with loved ones. Their wedding was a perfect celebration of their unique bond and the start of a beautiful journey together.