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Kavita Rao and Neel Trikha, Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa, Goa

Courtesy By – Wedding Sutra

From a Mehndi pool party to an Enchanted Forest wedding, the myriad moods of this Goa wedding will inspire you!

Choreographer Kavita Rao and Digital Strategist Neel Trikha celebrated a decade of love with a dreamy Goa wedding that reflected their spirits and charming bond. Hosted at the elegant ocean-view properties of Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa and Taj Holiday Village Resort and Spa, the revelries were as exclusive as they were unforgettable. Watch it all unfold below.

How they met
Kavita shares, “Neel’s uncle from England happened to be good friends with my dad, but little did they know their friendship would end up making a match. We met when Neel and his family were invited by my dad to come watch a show I was performing in at the time in Los Angeles. I remember walking into the lobby of the theater and seeing the most handsome guy I had ever laid eyes on. Thus began a three-year friendship that turned into a relationship of a decade. Neel popped the question in Miami after our families vacationed together on a Caribbean cruise in December of 2018.”

Wedding venue
The couple chose the exotic locales of Goa and the timeless elegance of Taj Hotels as the backdrop of their wedding, hosting their festivities at Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa and Taj Holiday Village Resort and Spa. Kavita shares, “My grandmother is my last surviving grandparent and was essential to the wedding. Considering she lives in Mangalore and can only travel by car, Goa turned out to be the best option. Also, since we had friends and family coming from 33 countries across the world, we wanted it to be a destination they could enjoy. Both the Taj properties we chose provided us with unforgettable views and warm hospitality.”

Wedding Planning
For a total of 7 functions, the couple entrusted the team of Reynold Weddings to plan and orchestrate their wedding, while Team Shades Photography captured their special moments.

Wedding Functions
Ganesh Puja and Haldi
“It was important to us that we combined our traditions and included what was important to both our families. There are so many beautiful rituals and ceremonies from both the North and South of India, and I love how this day represented a union of our traditions and cultures. It was a small and intimate ceremony right on the front lawn of our villa at Taj Fort Aguada. I told Neel he couldn’t get haldi in my hair but a Haldi battle ensued nevertheless, and I won!”

Bridal Mehndi
The fun and frolic of Haldi was followed by the bride’s mehndi function, where Henna artist Halima adorned her hands with designs that told a story of their lives and love. The choreographer for the wedding, Kavita tried her best to direct her friends’ dance practice while being unable to move her hands and feet, leading to a lot of funny moments and laughter. The thoughtful groom even stopped by to feed her as she got her hands painted.

Welcome Dinner
“The Portuguese influence on Goan architecture, cuisine, and culture is what makes Goa so unique and a one-of-a-kind destination in India. For our welcome dinner, we wanted our overseas guests to see, taste, and experience what makes Goa so special.

The guests were greeted with a live serenade, endless Goan food and drinks, caricature artists, and a live band on their arrival. The day started with a crazy adventurous shoot with our amazing photographer Ashwin. With just one rice cake to split among the three of us, My friend Vidya tried to do my makeup in the bumpy 2-hour car ride as Neel tried to not get car sick. But the photos from this shoot turned out so epic it was all worth it. The evening followed with a beautiful high tea overlooking the ocean.”

The next morning began with a relaxing yet fun pool party. Kavita shares, “Neel and I wanted to recreate our dream pool party for our friends who had journeyed across the globe to celebrate with us. Reggae, Indian street food, a fresh coconut bar, and tons of games like beer pong, corn hole, basketball, tug of war, and archery made for some memorable moments of enjoyment. There were of course mehndi artists for the guests, and head and foot massages for those who wanted to unwind!”

“The Sangeet was the most anticipated function of the whole wedding. Being a choreographer by profession, the expectations for the performances were running high! I wanted everyone to feel involved, and had sent video tutorials to friends and family all over the world. Over 60 of our friends from the US and Europe attended, quite a few of whom are professional dancers. We also had a few professional singers, so needless to say, we put up quite the show!”

The performances saw a mesmerizing Moroccan theme, with everyone dressed in white and gold custom-made dresses by Cherie D. The performances were dazzling as expected, and included a surprise number by the bride that she dedicated to her beau.

They say ‘True love stories never have endings’. Kavita got her fairytale wedding with her prince charming with an ‘enchanted forest ’-themed ceremony. The morning started with an epic 90s hip-hop baraat with an inflatable giraffe with friends and family from both sides. Inspired by Neel’s love of the color purple, the ceremony was designed in shades of purple hues. The couple tied the knot amidst great cheers in a story-book mandap which rested under a massive peepal tree on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Kavita shares, “This was the one event where we both wanted to keep things very traditional. I always wanted to look like a traditional Telugu bride for my ceremony, and my mom helped curate the perfect outfit. My friend Vidya gifted me stunning shoes from Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika to finish off the outfit. My nieces were the cutest flower girls and all of our friends came together to form a massive bridal party in matching sarees and kurtas. We wanted everyone to feel as if they were a part of our tribe, especially when we had people travel so far.”

Kavita shares, “At the beginning of our relationship, whenever we attended any weddings together, Neel always said – Why do couples sit on a stage and look so serious? I’m going to hide clowns under the table and have them come out at the most serious moment.” So our goal was to turn this reception upside down while still keeping it glam!

Our wedding was followed by a sunset black-tie reception with a live band and a seated 5-course dinner. We entered to a bone thugs song, emceed the entire night, hid cards under chairs for a footie match, polled our guests for advice, performed a rap for my hubby, and finished with fireworks as Neel dipped me for the last time in our tango dance that I choreographed to the beats of his favorite artist. Our brothers and parents gave heartwarming speeches while our friends roasted and toasted us. 5 courses later, we kicked off our heels for a nonstop dance after-party by DJ Vally.”

Advice for couples
“It is important to hire vendors you can trust and allow them the freedom to do what they do best! I didn’t get stressed about the small stuff, and Neel and I both agreed that our main goal was to make sure that every event was arranged with our guests in mind, with activities, giveaways, abundant food, and more. Right from the start we made sure to mark out the top three things that were important to us, and then let the vendors and our family members take over from there. We also each had our tasks to handle, so no one was ever stretched out too thin!

The biggest tip would be to enjoy your planning process but not get caught up in things that won’t matter when you look back. At the end of the day, it is all about celebrating a union of two people and two families, and showing love to all the people who took the time to be a part of such a special event.”

The Wedding Makers
Venues: Taj Fort Aguada Resort and Spa (Welcome Dinner, Mehndi, Wedding); Taj Holiday Village Resort and Spa (Sangeet, Reception)
Wedding planner: Reynold Weddings
Groom’s Outfits: Aza (Welcome Dinner, Mehndi), Cherie D (Sangeet), Vivek Gupta (Wedding, Reception)
Bride’s Outfits: Cherie D (Welcome Dinner, Mehndi, Sangeet), Aza (Welcome Dinner), Monique Lhuillier (Reception)
Makeup: Lulu Nguyen
Mehndi: Halima K Gannizami
Choreographer: Karmagraphy
DJ: DJ Vally
Photography and Videography: Shades Photography

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