Rajiv knew that Riya was the girl he wanted to marry so he proposed with a sweet gesture.
“He had me unpack 5-6 boxes with smaller boxes inside them and proposed with a cupcake,” said Riya.
“This was all just in my living room, he made my family hide in the closet because he was nervous.”
“Our inspiration came from a few things,” said Riya. “We are both originally from Africa. I grew up in South Africa and Rajiv in Madagascar. So the food and reception decor reflected an exotic and tropical theme,” the bride said.
“My husband is heavily into soccer and so the guys from my side and his side kicked off the wedding week with a match.”
Q: What three elements of the wedding were most important to you when you started the planning process?
1. That our guests felt important and bonded during our wedding week. The majority of our guests were from London, USA, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand. There were a total of 150 overseas guests between both of us.
We made welcome packages with Canadian goodies, skytrain tickets, Tim Hortons cards, mini alcohol bottles and other fun items.
2. That our wedding reflected us as a couple. We are a simple, classy and sarcastic couple. Our wedding week needed to reflect just that!
The wedding was held in the bride’s backyard under white flowing tents, overlooking Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, Canada rather than at a big banquet hall; it was intimate and meaningful.
Q: What was the biggest challenge when it came to planning your wedding? How did you tackle it?
Biggest challenge was having the wedding in my backyard. People don’t consider this but you need to basically build a venue from nothing.
Things like bathroom trailers, hand wash stations, electricity and lighting, water sources and other requests from caterers and vendors. This was our toughest challenge but we tackled it by delegating tasks to different family members and checking in with them every other day.
I don’t like extravagant decorations, big floral bouquets, and overly feminine colour themes.
So we kept decor simple and invested on things that we saw value in like a killer cocktail menu with higher end liquors, fancy cocktail garnishes (mint, basil, raspberries, lychees, olives), live musicians, appetizers served on banana leaves, and plated dinners for example.
Q: What, if anything, was the biggest surprise on your wedding day?
Biggest surprise for me on the wedding day was how perfectly everything worked out.
The weather turned out to be amazing, the sound of the acoustic guitar that played as I walked in was perfect, the timing of everything was on point, and it all created such a majestic calming vibe. It actually surprised me, it was my favorite event and it turned out better than I had imagined.
Q: What advice would you give to newly engaged couples about wedding planning?
My advice to newly engaged couples would be to make everything authentic to you. Don’t try to one up people or keep up with mainstream fads because life goes on after your wedding.
Make things as personal as you can (welcome bags, hand written place cards, personalized napkins).
I also urge couples to look into wedding venues outside of banquet halls. It was hard to find the perfect venue and manage all the vendors but I’m so glad I went through it now.
Lastly, make sure the wedding reflects you as a couple and not just the bride. I can’t imagine any groom enjoys sitting on a golden chaise under a chandelier amidst pink and white roses pouring out of a crystal vase.