Eugene & Arishma – Engagement at Denarau Yacht Club
We thought we’d share an engagement party! The engagement ceremony is an important pre-wedding ritual in many Indian cultures where the bride and groom-to-be come face to face and are formally betrothed to each other by their families.
Engagement or “Roka” is one of the most significant ceremonies that take place before an Indian wedding. The engagement ceremony marks the union of both the bride and groom’s family and friends.
Eugene and Arishma chose the Denarau Yacht Club, located upstairs from the Rhum Ba Fiji for their colourful engagement party. We catch up with Arishma on her engagement planning process:
BRIDE & GROOM TO BE: Arishma Prasad & Eugene Chand
THE DATE: 26th January, 2019
THE LOCATION: Denarau Yacht Club, Denarau Island
THE NUMBER OF GUESTS: 100
How, when and where you met:
We met online on a dating app of all places; I guess this is how people meet nowadays. We were both pretty busy with our lives and decided to give online dating a crack. We found each other by blind luck really and spent months talking to each other, using video calls and text.
Eugene had a cousin’s wedding in Fiji and we decided to meet up for our first date. We had been chatting on the phone for a couple of months at this stage.
We had spent months talking on the phone and we were nervous that when we were sitting face to face we would have nothing to talk about! We met up at Anna’s café in Nadi for coffee and the chemistry was just there. We spent 3 hours just chatting and having a really good time.
Why did you choose Fiji? And why that particular location?
We were both born here, so Fiji has a special place in our hearts and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a tropical paradise!
We chose the Denarau Yacht Club after months of researching. We initially looked at all the hotels in Denarau and had already gotten 5 quotes from venues. But something just wasn’t right.
Eugene’s mum suggested that we should have it at the Denarau Yacht Club. We then realised that it would be good option as we had our first dinner date there and wondered why we didn’t think of it earlier.
We couldn’t envision it as a function space at first (we only assumed the restaurant part existed) so we got in contact with Susan and set up an appointment.
We first spent all day looking at the venues (where we got the quotes from) and were no so impressed. Finally got to Rhum-Ba and Susan walked us upstairs to the Yacht Club function space. Imagine our surprise when we were greeted with the most amazing view of Port Denarau. Both of us literally went wow!
Our minds started racing and we were imagining the space with decorations already! I believe we were ready to pay in full that day!
What was involved in researching and organising your wedding?
Like every couple we wanted the best and everything we had ever seen on TV and movies was on the table (there was even talks about a fireworks show)!
But we had to reign it in and we set up a budget. We researched websites and prices of each and every aspect and decided how we wanted to structure the event and worked backwards from there. Susan helped us immensely by recommending a lot of vendors and ideas.
We both organised the wedding ourselves. We wanted to do a lot of things and also had to stick to the budget. One of the ways we could do that was to organise everything ourselves.
We did our couple photoshoot 2 nights before the actual engagement. As we wanted a night photoshoot and didn’t want to do it on the engagement day as we would have been way too tired. We just didn’t need the added stress.
On the day of the engagement, we started getting hair and make up done at midday. We didn’t do anything outlandish pre-engagement. Just wanted to be well rested for the event to come.
Eugene held a meeting with the photographer, MC, venue and decorator so that everyone was on the same page. We had a schedule of events ready to go. And made sure that everyone knew what was going on.
My hair & make up was done by “Makeup by Kajal”. Kajal did a fabulous job. She did my hair and makeup the way I preferred. Kajal is a talented makeup artist and specialises in bridal makeup.
Party & Events Hire provided the décor. We wanted a Fijian theme and lots and lots of flowers! Colours chosen were red/green flowers and white décor.
Esther from party events did a gorgeous flower arch and centre piece. We wanted the flowers to be big on the tables.
It was a very modern event. We already knew that the wedding was going to be traditional and we made sure that Eugene and I got our version of the ceremony. We wanted beautiful modern feeling with lots of colour. We wanted to celebrate what made us unique and essentially have a massive party with our closest people.
What did you choose for food and beverages?
Mojito & Cosmo we had a mango mojito which was a yellow drink and a pink Cosmo. Susan helped come up with that. Definitely loved the mango mojito and it was a definite hit.
But the highlight was that a giant canoe was turned into a ice bath for all the drinks!
We also had a traditional Tanoa set up for those guest that would have liked to indulge in kava. The bowl looked fantastic and went with the theme. Rhum-ba provided both items.
What was on the dinner menu?
Local Buffet Dinner – Lovo Chicken, Lamb Curry
Vegetarian option – chop suey, Ota salad, palusami, root crops, vegetable fried rice
Dessert – fruit platter and ice cream to go with the cake.
Who made your wedding cake and what type did you choose?
Cake was done by Fiji Cakes. It was a 3 tier strawberry and white chocolate cake. Ashika from Fiji cakes was very helpful and the cake looked gorgeous.
Photography was done by N Studios
I chose the photographer as I loved his work. He was the first vendor we chose. I had been following his work closely and really wanted him for the event. The photographer had a package which included the videographer and DJ. This was a big help as we had 3 things that we got taken care of at once.
We were looking for shots that had the traditional poses and also to do something different and candid.Something that brought out our playful nature.
We absolutely loved the shots and it turned out the way we wanted it. Every shot was amazing, the view on top of Denarau Yacht Club. The shots outside with the lights of the port in the background were Eugene’s favourite.
My fave is where Eugene is kneeling down and i’m is standing over him. But we were so happy with the shots. The event photos the next day, you could see how much fun everyone had and it we loved every photo of that.
ADVICE FOR BRIDES PLANNING AN ENGAGEMENT EVENT:
Have a plan, have a run through the sequence of events of the day and write it down. The event will feel like a massive beast to plan. But if you break it down to a sequence of events and try to plan each sequence individually it will all be ok.
We had a MS Project file with a list of tasks and vendors and tracked costs.
Communicate with your vendors, there is a difference between talking and understanding, make sure they understand your concept. Be meticulous in your details.
And plan for everything but remember something will go wrong, don’t let it get to you. Just enjoy your day!