Wedding festivities began with a Hindu marriage ceremony at the Lakshminarayan Temple in Freeport and a “slamming” party at home to celebrate. The couple was then ready for their next main event: a glitzy reception at the Magdalena Grand, Tobago.
They wanted an outdoor setting and a destination feel that would remain accessible to their guests, so it was the perfect option.
The effervescent Dana was the picture of elegance in an Oleg Cassini dress and Christian Louboutin shoes. She wore mother-of-pearl and white sapphire earrings, a Swarovski bracelet, and an adorable fascinator—handmade by Hanna Sebestova (available on Etsy).
After a delectable dinner, which included Chicken Scallopini and Grilled Pink Salmon with Chimichurri, guests danced under the star-lit night sky and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the ocean. A fireworks display brought the memorable evening to a close, but not before guests were treated to some after-party snacks: wings and corn soup!
Photos by Gary Jordan
Both Anita and Zaheer were members of the West Indian Students’ Association at the University of Toronto where they were both studying. They began dating soon after Zaheer called up Amita for a coffee date, and not long after, Zaheer planned a special ‘one-month anniversary’ treat. Using a ‘reminisce’ theme, the couple retraced their dates and visited all the places they had gone together during that month.
Though the couple had been together for six years, Zaheer knew for a long time that Amita was ‘the one’. When he felt ready to provide for his future bride, he approached his parents, and sealed the deal with a custom-made engagement ring.
Venue & Program
Amita and Zaheer, both living in Toronto, chose the picturesque Ohana Villa in Tobago for their wedding and reception. Day 1, the wedding, featured a traditional Hindu marriage ceremony. On Day 2, the couple hosted a reception dinner and party with a ‘Trini flair’.
Theme & Décor
The wedding and reception were designed to feature two distinct looks. For the wedding, the mood was warm, inviting and tropical with hues of gold and red accented by crystals. The beautiful mandap (wedding area for a Hindu marriage ceremony) paired well with Ohana’s modern Tahitian-styled wooden villa. The reception featured a medley of white, silver, turquoise, fuchsia and orange that complemented the breathtaking ocean view.
Amita wore a brilliant yellow sari for the marriage ceremony, and then changed into a luxurious red lehenga for the afterwedding festivities. Zaheer wore a cream-coloured sherwani with deep red and crystal accents. At the reception, Amita was resplendent in a crystal-embroidered strapless gown from Mona Richie in Toronto, and her groom donned a grey suit, blue shirt and a white tie.
The couple’s cake featured the wedding colours: fuchsia, turquoise, orange and white. To accommodate their vegetarian guests, they chose an eggless vanilla cake with rennet-free fondant for the top tier.
The bride’s bouquet was a tropical mixture of pink and orange florals, while the centerpieces showcased bright pinroses as well as orange and pink tiger lily arrangements.
The couple tried to avoid (in the words of Zaheer), “a wedding where guests just come to the banquet hall, eat dinner, and cry!” The couple styled their wedding invitations like a boarding pass with travel stamps, since their guests were flying in from all over the world. To honor their Caribbean heritage, they designed a logo of a hibiscus flower—to highlight their Trinidadian origin—and a water lily, the national flower of Guyana, as Amita’s father is Guyanese. This logo was then emblazoned on their wedding stationery and guest book.
Amita is a woman who believes in signs. She remembers waking up early on the morning of her wedding to the sound of pouring rain—they had forgotten it was the rainy season! But just then, she experienced a nice omen when the clouds began to part, the sun began to shine, and she knew everything would go well for her wedding day. Zaheer’s favourite memory is when the DJ played “Palance” at the reception and most of their wedding party got up and began ‘palancing’ with them!
Photography: Relate Studios, www.itsgoodtorelate.com
Wedding Planner: Tricia Ng-A-Mann, Events by Tricia, 868-740-2015
Décor: Brian Pantin, Absolutely Fabulous Events, 868-355-0451
BELLE recommended food: Monix
BELLE recommended cakes: Cakes Your Way
Alaric and Ngozi
The ceremony was held at St. Joseph’s R.C. Church, Scarborough, with the reception at Brash Villa, Mt. Irvine, Tobago. The grounds of the villa were beautifully lush and full of character, thanks to the Spanish-influenced architecture. The swimming pool—of great significance to Ngozi, Nigerian Olympic swimmer—provided a serene glow, while the unobstructed view of the Buccoo Reef was simply breathtaking.
Theme & Décor
The couple set out to create an enchanting, romantic, and sophisticated outdoor experience for their wedding. White with vibrant accents of blue and berry—expressed in different elements and luxuriously illuminated—effectively showcased their personal style: minimalist and elegant, with punches of colour. Ngozi and Alaric designed every element of their wedding, with ample help from their family and friends in putting it all together. The entire event was the couple’s ‘DIY labour-of-love’, as almost every aspect of the wedding was emblazoned with personal touches.
The bride had her dress custom-made at Designer Loft in New York. Designer Elen Paumere created the lace, open-backed, V-neck item with an empire waist, ending with layered lace and chiffon at the bottom. Her shoes were by Calvin Klein and jewelry came from thebridaljewelrystore.com and Akribos.
In line with incorporating splashes of color throughout their wedding, the couple thought that colourful socks for the groom and groomsmen would be a hit. Alaric’s berry-coloured striped socks matched his tie and the lining of his custom-made suit, complementing Ngozi’s berry crystal-accented shoes, flowers and bridesmaids’ hair accessories. The groomsmen’s blue socks balanced their blue-checkered ties, which was well-paired with the bridesmaids’ blue dresses.
Wooden “I am His” and “I am Hers” signs hung at the back of the bride’s and groom’s chairs, and other wooden signs spelling out words such as “Love”, “Dream”, “Laugh”, and “Live” decorated various areas of the venue. The guest book was a unique wooden box containing wooden hearts on which guests could write their wishes.
The favor boxes, accessorized with a blue ribbon and a heart label, each contained a bracelet—as a token of the donation that the couple made to the charity One.org on behalf of their guests—along with Serbian sweets.
Candle holders on the tables and the white Chinese lanterns framing the dance area added a soft, romantic glow to the setting. The couple took advantage of the outdoor setting with its breathtaking views to send berry-coloured lanterns wafting into the sky along with their hopes, prayers, and wishes. It was an absolutely beautiful moment as Alaric and Ngozi each sent off their lanterns, while the guests lit and held sparklers.
This wedding symbolised not only the union of two families, but also the harmonious blending of three cultures: Caribbean (from Alaric’s side), African (Ngozi’s Nigerian roots) and European (Ngozi’s Serbian background). Aside from hosting the wedding in Tobago, the Caribbean isle was also represented in the wedding cake—a traditional black rum fruit creation. Nigeria was represented by a special ceremonial tradition of the Igbo people (Ngozi’s Dad’s tribe): breaking of the kola nut, performed by Ngozi’s Dad at the start of the reception.
Then during the reception, the newlyweds, along with the wedding party and the bride’s parents, changed into traditional Igbo-inspired attire and performed a dance. Serbia was abundantly represented by the sprig of rosemary that adorned every guest on arrival, symbolising good luck, warding off the bad, and bringing the couple fertility. The rosemary sprig was also incorporated into the bride’s bouquet and the groom’s boutonniere. Everyone also had the chance to sample Serbian treats, some of Ngozi’s favorites, as part of the wedding favors.
Nichola and Dion got married on the Tobago Princess (day cruiser). The boat is famed for its scenic coastal trips to Bon Accord Lagoon, No Man’s Land and the Nylon Pool. The bride confided that Tobago is her secret love, and she wanted that fun wedding with a difference.
The bride wore a white two-in-one dress with lace and bead details; she’d spotted a dress just like it and fell in love with the idea. The dress was put together by The Bridal and Curtain Shoppe. Her mother added some finishing touches and sparkles to it. The white hair-fastener veil was handmade by the bride.
The groom wore a dark grey suit with a crisp, white French cuff shirt; the suit was tailor-made at Saville Row in St. James.
The couple opted for a beach-slippers-in-sand initialled cake to complement the beach theme. They felt that the relaxed, casual feel represented their vibe as a couple.
The couple invited several relatives from abroad so it was important that they incorporate local cuisine. Their cocktail reception included samplings of roti, curry crab and dumpling, corn soup and cheeseburgers.
The processional songs were Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Black Eyed Peas’ Let’s Get it Started; the soundtrack for first dance was Etta James’ At Last; the song for mother and son dance was Boyz II Men’s Mama; the father-daughter dance song was The Temptations’ My Girl.
The couple opted for a Carnival Cruise Lines’ honeymoon, which best satisfied their need for a good mix of romance, adventure, sightseeing and relaxation. They went on a five day Western Caribbean cruise to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico.