Our bride Najuka Redkar did all her wedding shopping in just three days and remotely planned her dreamy wedding in Goa!
Picture this — you’re walking down the aisle with the man of your dreams at the altar (with the beach at the back!), both elegantly dressed in baby pink, hearing the waves crashing on a beautiful winter afternoon. It’s a pinch-me moment Sassy Mama Editor, Najuka Redkar had, tying the knot in her hometown in Goa, India on Christmas Day (also the auspicious date given by their priest). She talks managing budgets, balancing family expectations, supporting local businesses and more. Get ready for some swoon-worthy photos!
Let’s start with when he popped the question! What’s your proposal story?
The proposal was a complete surprise! We love going on hikes together and that day we decided to hike the Thousand Islands Lake. After walking for a while, we reached a point with a beautiful view where no one else was around. He asked me to turn around and face the reservoir so he could get an “artsy picture of my silhouette” (which is something he would never say so looking back, that should’ve been a dead giveaway!).
When I turned back around, he was on one knee holding a ring. All I kept saying was “What!! Are you serious?!” It was such a wonderful moment, and it’ll always be my favourite hike we’ve ever done.
Tell us about the ring, was it a surprise or did you pick it together?
I had sent him inspiration photos of the ring I wanted — a gold band with a princess-cut diamond. But the ring he got for me is a thousand times better than I had envisioned. It’s a lab-grown solitaire ring with an emerald-cut diamond and a white gold band. If we had gone ring shopping together, I would’ve definitely chosen this one over my initial pick!
Read More: Where To Buy Lab-Grown Diamonds In Hong Kong
What did you do for your hen party?
I celebrated it with two of my cousins, my sister-in-law and my sister (who was also my Maid of Honour). We wanted to keep it simple but super fun. Since we were in Goa, we decided to make the most of the sun, sand and sea. We went to a beachside restaurant for food and drinks, played games and took a lot of cute photos. We ended the day by dancing on a sunset cruise on the Mandovi River. It was such a blast!
Indian weddings have multiple events, how did you prep for all of them remotely?
We had four major events to plan: the mehendi ceremony, the haldi ceremony, the main wedding day and the reception cocktail party. We hired an event planner to help us with all the little details and logistics, plus my parents are based in Goa so having them there was a HUGE help.
There were a lot of weekend evenings spent on video calls, discussing every detail of what we wanted all the events to look like — from guest lists to food, decor, music etc.
Read More: Top Wedding Planners In Hong Kong
Tell us about your wedding outfit.
The first thing I did when we started planning the wedding was to finalise a colour scheme because I wanted the decor to complement our outfits.
We landed on a pastel colour scheme for the wedding ceremony. I wore a gorgeous blush pink net saree with embroidery work and silver sequins purchased from Kalanidhi in Thane, Mumbai and had the blouse custom-sewn by a local tailor.
Fun fact: I only had three days to buy all my outfits for the four events and found this saree within the first few hours of wedding shopping!
For the evening cocktail party/reception, the theme was more sparkles and shine. I wore a sparkly navy blue lehenga from a local shop in Mumbai. I had initially planned on buying a silver lehenga but I fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it!
Let’s talk about budget, South Asian weddings are known for their unrestrained lavishness. Was this the route you went for?
We had around 300 people attending the main wedding day so I would say it was on the bigger side but we still had a budget and tried to stick to it as much as possible.
We hosted a lot of our other big events at home, kept the catering menus small to reduce wastage and tried to find good deals on everything from makeup and henna artists to photographers and videographers.
What aspects of a wedding do you think couples can save on?
One of the easiest things that I found I could save money on was my outfits. I did most of my wedding shopping in Mumbai during the rainy season and was pleasantly surprised by all the monsoon deals.
Another thing we discovered is that many hotels and resorts are willing to give you the wedding venue for free or at a reduced rate if you book a significant number of their rooms for your guests. This was a huge money saver for us.
Your anniversary coincides with Christmas, how’d you decide on your wedding date?
We knew we wanted to get married in December because we both loved the idea of an outdoor beach wedding in Goa (it’s just unbearably hot during the rest of the year!). Traditionally in Hindu culture, a priest picks the most auspicious date and time for the couple to get married based on their horoscopes according to Hindu Vedic Astrology, our auspicious time just happened to be at 12:26pm on Christmas Day!
Goa is a popular wedding destination, tell us about the wedding venue. Did you get married on the beach?
We got married at the stunning Prainha Resort on a grassy lawn adjacent to the beach.
It was so magical to be surrounded by palm trees and ocean waves crashing into the shore.
What is something you wish someone told you about planning a wedding?
A lot of people told me that it would be stressful, but I didn’t realise just how taxing it would be. In most South-Asian weddings, family members are heavily involved in every decision. It takes a lot to balance your wants and desires with your family’s expectations and to do so without making anyone feel disrespected.
But it was also important for us to make sure that we stood our ground for the things we truly cared about without letting everyone else’s opinions get in the way. It’s a balancing act!
Any more tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
It’s important to plan and over-prepare but it’s just as important to stay flexible. There will be things that are not quite right and things that will go wrong, but don’t let that affect your big day!
Have a mantra to say to yourself every time something bothers you. For me, that was “Not today, b*tch!”
All images courtesy of Najuka Redkar.