POP! POP! POP! And if you listen out for it, you would have just about heard a slight fizz as bottles and bottles of ice cold Moet & Chandon were being opened. Ambient temperatures were stifling. Strangely enough, they hadn’t dropped even though the sun had gone down half an hour ago. This is the hot humid heat of Mombasa in March! As someone who was documenting the guests’ reactions, I noticed time after time, the first sip that touched the palate always resulted in a pleasurable emotion, usually followed by the lick of a lip. Maybe it was the refreshing relief of hydration to the throat, or maybe it was the signature Moet taste that hits the tongue, or that feeling of hundreds of minuscule bubbles in one’s mouth. The message was simple – Keep hydrated with champagne! However, above all this, what I was amazed by was that the barmen were all holding the bottles at a certain angle when popping them (under the supervision of Pankaj – the event planner at Moyo). The optimum angle to open champagne bottles supposedly. This attention to detail summarised the whole wedding. Not a single thing was missed. Every little thing had been thought of and taken care of. The rest of Victoria & Karan’s Reception involved an exquisite seated dinner with lots of interesting entertainment including some hilarious speeches (the father of the bride got a standing ovation for his speech), fireworks literally lighting up the Indian Ocean at Serena Beach Resort & Spa and then a crazy afterparty which DJ Raahi & Sarit kept going until the next morning!
I still remember that first phone call from Victoria & Karan – when she thought my name was Cheka Shah! Their brief was very simple – Keep things candid. Keep things fun and above all, lets try and capture as many emotions as possible. During the 3 day celebration in Mombasa, we had so much content and material to capture – At times, we didn’t know where to look! The festivities all kicked off with a sunset party on board the Tamarind Dhow where countless dawas kept on flowing whilst the guests watched the sun set over the Old Town of Mombasa. Upon docking, we all found ourselves presented with one of the biggest spreads of food that I have seen – a few hours on, despite everyone having eaten to the brim, the Calabash Band at Tamarind managed to pull most people on the dancefloor. The constant feed of dawas earlier in the evening was the perfect insurgent to some very creative dancing! The swansong for that evening was the hot, freshly prepared egg chappati a la Rehmani! For those who have grown up in Kenya, you know how inviting this is after a night out. For the rest, I am sorry you haven¹t yet experienced this.
The next day, when the hot sun came out to play at the pool party (some guests still hungover from the night before), so did the bikinis, sunnies, and cold Tuskers – to the soundtrack of hip hop and R&B. Later on that evening at the Sangeet night, we were entertained by the captivating sufi singer from India – Arshad Khan and his band. These guys knocked my socks off – the way he could carry his voice to both classical and modern Indian songs was impressive. Every artist who played an instrument in his band was incredible, but the santoor player was simply mesmerising.
The wedding itself on the next day was a simple yet very classy affair. With the perfect background of the Indian Ocean, and a fusion of a Swahili/ Indian mandap flanked by 2 Masai warriors throughout the meaningful ceremony, Victoria and Karan exchanged their vows in the presence of their friends and families. We will not forget the look on both Victoria and Karan’s faces when they saw each other for the first time on the mandap. Priceless!
Thank you Victoria. Thank you Karan, and thank you to both your families and friends for giving me this wonderful opportunity to create memories for you and your future generations. Here’s to a lifetime of happiness. One love!