Siri & Neel

If there is one thing I love about destination weddings it’s the warmth- tropical paradises abound and in the celebration of Siri and Neel who married at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan captured in all it’s warm and tropical glory by Nikola Janev the warmth and fun of a holiday certainly set the magical tone.

On their decision for a destination wedding, Siri tells, “We decided to have a destination wedding, so we could keep it to our closest friends and family. We chose Ubud in Bali on suggestion of the bride’s sister and brother in law who had traveled to Ubud previously. Planning an overseas wedding is very difficult without good communication. We had never been to Ubud and we couldn’t visit the venue until the day before the wedding. Siri chose Four Seasons Resort based on the e-mail communications from the wedding planner, Muliani Nyoman. In her very first e-mail, she described the day so well, that we knew we found the perfect spot without even seeing it! Boy were we right! ”

On how the couple came to be, Neel tells, “We met each other through common friends while we were studying at the University of Auckland. We have been friends for many years, eventually becoming the best of friends. Neel had been my constant support as I went through a divorce when my marriage failed. Over countless phone calls/texts/hang outs, we realized that what we felt for each other had moved from friendship to love. We both love travelling and all our travels cemented our relationship even further. Our first trip together in beautiful Queenstown in New Zealand was what made us realize that we’re in this for the long run! We decided to start fresh and move to Melbourne 3.5yrs ago. Starting anew with new friends, work, city can truly test a relationship and we were glad to have made it through without a scratch and if anything, stronger than we ever imagined and we’re here married now!

Siri adds, “I proposed to Neel!!! I know that’s very unusual, but it fits our relationship perfectly. I was married once before when I was younger and it didn’t work. I didn’t think I would ever get married again! I know Neel would have proposed to me several times if he could, but I made it abundantly clear that I did not want to be proposed to as I did not want to get married again. But….What can I say, Neel won me over! After another lovely Christmas break spent with both our families, I realized this time I cannot go wrong. I proposed in the first apartment we lived in together. I got the help of one of my best friends in Melbourne to keep Neel busy after work, while I rushed home after work and set up the place with candles, flowers, champagne, hearts and music in the lounge. From the doorway to the lounge I placed hearts leading up to me and on the final heart I wrote “Will you marry me?” Needless to say he was very surprised and we were both overwhelmed with emotion! Eventually, he said YES! I took him to 5 course degustation dinner at the Eureka Restaurant and through the entire night we couldn’t stop smiling.”

Judith Penak created the gown of Siri’s dreams. Siri remembers, “Although I wasn’t having an Indian wedding, I wanted my dress to have Indian roots to it. The gown was actually made from an Indian Sari I bought in an Indian shop in Dandenong, Melbourne. Because the fabric (Sari) was so extravagant, I wanted a very simple style to complement it. I took the Sari and my design to several bridal dressmakers in Melbourne.

I chose Judith Penak as she showed so much enthusiasm to work on something ‘different’ and I loved her style and creativity. I had my dress made nine months before the wedding. The dress did not need any alterations to fit me better closer to the wedding day. I felt so elegant and so comfortable in the dress because it fit me perfectly. And I loved hearing my friends/family’s beautiful compliments when they saw the dress. I like to plan for disasters! The day before flying to Bali, I decided to buy a ‘back up dress’ in case of any disaster to my original dress during the night or before the night. I bought a red strapless dress with asymmetric bottom from Myer. However, I loved the dress so much that I changed into the dress for the first dance and for dancing for the rest of the night.”

Of her morning, Siri tells, “I had a leisurely breakfast with my family and a few friends; after which, my friend and I went and had a long massage at the hotel’s spa. That really helped me relax. I had a long shower and got all my things together for the day. Our photographer friend arrived at 1pm, followed by the make-up and hair team. My sister, mother, mother-in-law and 4 girl friends came to the room to get their hair and make-up done. I organized my sister, mum and mum-in-law to have their hair and makeup done with me. I did not have bridesmaids as it would have been too hard to choose 3 or 4 girlfriends out of all the girls that were there as they were all very close to me. It worked out well that my girlfriends decided to use my hair team to get their hair done too as it was very nice having my friends with me while we were getting ready. We got some room service lunch while we were getting ready and our photographer captured all the essentials.”

The groom had an early start, remembering “My day started with a very early wake up as Siri & I didn’t spend the night in separate rooms. I was to wake up and leave without seeing her. I left my day’s essentials in my mate’s room and we went for breakfast. Following this was some down time where my brother, mate and I hit the spas for some relaxation. After some time chilling out we got changed & gathered up a couple more lads for lunch and went for some BBQ ribs which I might say were extremely good. Following lunch we went back to the hotel and slowly began to get suited up (showers, ironing, getting dressed etc) while our photographer captured the essentials and some pictures around the resort. After this I realized I needed my 3rd shower of the day as I had already begun sweating – not a good look with a white shirt. It was hot 30+ degrees and humidity 70-80%. My brother suggested I have a cold shower which I hated even in the heat and humidity of Ubud however it did work. Shortly after I made my way to the lobby of the resort as it was time for guests and I to make our way to the wedding venue. ”

The ceremony was intimate and beautiful, Siri remarking, “After Neel and all the guests were picked up from the hotel, I had some photos taken with my family. Our wedding planner, Muliani, sent the car for us to be picked up when all the guests were seated. We had the ceremony on the rooftop over the Lotus pond with the beautiful, lush Ubud mountains in the back ground. I was so happy and couldn’t stop smiling when I finally saw Neel and all our dearest friends and family there. My mum and step dad walked me down the aisle. My sister and Neel’s brother stood by our side at the ceremony.” Siri chose Norah Jones – Come Away With Me for the processional.

“Our dear friend officiated our ceremony with 3 friends saying a poem and a prayer during the ceremony. Neel and I said our own vows. I was so nervous and I was fighting back tears, but I was so happy that we were finally here. The ceremony ended with our friend singing a song. We had a toast straight after the ceremony with all our guests. Muliani organized it so that they had the champagne drinks waiting for us as we walked down the aisle with the guests throwing their flower confetti on us. ”

The day had a yellow and cream colour palette, highlighted by the floral arch the couple married under. The newlyweds tell, “Although we were having a tropical wedding in an Asian country, we wanted the style to be western, classic and elegant. Therefore our colour palettes and decoration were altered to suit this. The colour palette was yellow and white. Siri’s favorite colour is yellow. Also to accentuate the natural beauty of the vibrant green Ubud, we chose soft colours.

We had a wedding board with two flower pieces on top and bottom. We had a square arch covered with local and imported white and yellow roses and there were two large local yellow and white flower pots on either side of the arch. Flower petals were scattered down the aisle and each chair had white chair cover and yellow sash. Bridal bouquet was made with white Holland Roses. Also, the guests had flower confetti.”

Of their photographer, Siri tells, “Our good friend Nikola Janev was the photographer, he was amazing and made the whole experience fun and effortless with his professionalism and candid style. His suggestion of doing a pre wedding photo shoot so we could all get used to each other was a great help; us being in front of the lens and also to ensure we were happy with his style. As on the day you only get one shot, needless to say we were blown away with his work.”

“We had cocktail hour at the Jati bar downstairs, while Neel and I took turns taking photos with all the guests that made it to Bali for us. While the guests were continuing their drinks and canapés, Nik took Neel and I in a buggy around the beautiful resort to take photos.”

“By the time we were done with the photo shoot, the guests were seated at the reception venue at the Riverside Terrace Restaurant. We were introduced by our MC and went straight to cake cutting. The Riverside venue was spectacular as the sun set soon after we all were seated and the beautiful candles in the pool, fairy lights and tiki torches along the river stream made the venue magical.”

The tropical colours continued through the reception, Siri telling “Each table had four centrepieces made from white and yellow Holland roses, with petals scattered on the table, along with pearls and candles. We had local floating flowers and candles in the pool. There were white Balinese umbul and lantern along the river and tiki torches at restaurant entrance and along the river. Finally we had fairy lights on coconut trees.”

“The speeches started with two of our closest friends giving us a speech, followed by our siblings speeches (Siri’s sister and Neel’s brother). All the speeches were spectacular. They were so different but they were all very funny and heartfelt. After the speeches we started dinner buffet with the most fabulous spread by Four Seasons. Towards the end of the dinner, Neel gave his speech and toast thanking our family and friends making the trip and helping us on the day immensely in varying ways. The best part was of course his beautiful loving words to his new wife!”

“When the guests were seated with the amazing dessert delicacies, the fire dance group started their show. We were all blown away. It was a risk we took when we booked them as we hadn’t seen them perform, but we were very happy seeing all our guests truly enjoying the show.”

A fun first dance led to a costume change, Siri remarking, “After the fire dance, our talented musical friends, with 3 singers and 1 guitarist, started their performances. After the first song, I changed into a red dress. As the second song started, we walked down to perform our first dance. A dear friend of ours patiently taught us our first dance and we wanted to make her proud! The third song was more upbeat, for which we got all our guests to join us on the dance floor.”

Neel created the paper treats, including the invitations, explaining, “The design of the wedding invite was a vintage boarding pass which I initially designed on online software. Following this our friend who was also our photographer helped really bring the design to life on Photoshop and he subsequently printed and produced the invites including trimming and perforating. I hand wrote the names of our guests on the invites and they were placed in vintage style string tie brown envelopes. The envelopes were then sealed with a custom wax seal I had produced (I also designed the logo on the seal).”

Congratulations on your marriage Siri and Neel! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Nikola Janev for sharing today’s wedding with us!