Real Weddings Winners: Shalini and David

Where it all Started

The night Shalini and David met, Shalini was in the middle of a running joke with her friend who introduced the two.  She had decided, for the sake of her friend’s birthday, to go the whole night speaking in a fake accent (which always made her friends laugh) and yet would seem convincing to strangers.  When she and David were introduced, Shalini kept up the charade and while David didn’t fall for her party trick, it at least got him to fall for her. They went without seeing each other again for a few months until a Halloween party brought them together once more.

For their first date, David cooked Shalini an amazing steak dinner at his place and Shalini brought her dog along to test his character. Luckily he won them both over with ease, and the couple has been inseparable ever since.


Shalini and David were the winners of the Wedding Vacations Photo Contest from Volume 06 Issue 1. The two won a romantic trip to Memories Varadero. Scroll to the bottom of the page to enter the latest contest.


Planning the Wedding

Both Shalini and David always knew they wanted a destination wedding from the very beginning. Since David is from the USA and Shalini is from Canada, the couple hadn’t had the chance to get their friends and families to connect yet and they knew a destination wedding could help break the ice. They wanted a chance for their families and friends to be together for more than just one day and have an excellent vacation at the same time.

Shalini and David selected the Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa for their 65 guests. This luxurious resort was the perfect option for all their guests while a private beach club off-site offered the intimacy and flexibility they were looking for in their celebration.

By the end of the destination retreat, the guests had gotten the chance to spend time together during both ceremonies and the reception and it brought them all that much closer and feeling like one big family. It was exactly what Shalini and David had wished for and they wouldn’t have had it any other way.



Day Details

The wedding day consisted of two celebrations: a Hindu ceremony and a symbolic beach wedding the next day where Shalini and David were married by a friend. The resort hosted many of the Hindu elements of the wedding including a henna Party, a prayer service and a welcome dinner. The beach club and ceremony was a secret event that celebrated their love for travel and each other.


The couple poured details into as much of the wedding as possible, making the day they tied the knot more personal and special for their guests. Shalini made almost everything for the wedding, from decorations to welcome bags and even ‘Team Bride’ and ‘Team Groom’ shirts for the guests. They kept all the elements travel themed because of how much time the couple spent together exploring different cities around the world and it let the guests learn more about them and the places they’ve been.


The programs for the guests were actually fans, made by Shalini, which were decorated with details about the two different ceremonies. She wanted the guests to know what was happening during the Hindu ceremony to let them feel included and understand the significance of each moment.


The seating chart was arranged using city names as table numbers complete with photographs of the couple in each location in the centre. Instead of seating cards, guests received rustic bronze compasses that had their name and the city. For the guestbook, Shalini hand painted a globe in white and rose gold to have the guests sign with wishes and hopes for the couple on their new journey together.




Wedding Day Wear

Shalini’s gown:Custom-made ivory lace dress with an illusion neckline and open back.

Shalini’s shoes: Customized pink Converse sneakers with the couple’s names on one shoe and the wedding date on the other.

Shalini’s accessories: Crystal and pearl drop earrings as well as a white gold Pandora bracelet with wedding charms that the groom gave to her before the ceremony.

David’s attire: All the groom’s wear was custom-made in India, he wore light grey pants, a light grey vest with a white linen shirt.

David’s accessories: The groom had a coral tie as well as white Converse personalized with the wedding date.

Bridesmaid dresses: For the beach ceremony the bridesmaids wore custom-made dresses in different pastel colors and had matching parasols.

Groomsmen’s attire: The men wore custom-made grey linen pants with white linen shirts, with grey suspenders and different coloured pastel bowties to match the bridesmaids.

Small Details

Flowers: Custom-made during one of the bride’s trips to China, they were various pastel coloured flowers.

Photographer: Revos Photos.

First Dance: Jeena by Atif Aslam.

Since the wedding was multicultural, the couple wanted to include Hindu wedding traditions in destination.  On the beach, they had a henna party with colourful pillows and paper lanterns. A Punta Cana artist and some friends of the bride gave guests beautiful and intricate henna designs including Shalini’s henna designs on her hands and feet. The couple also held a Choora ceremony where prayers are said for the bride and her family gave her traditional bracelets to wear for six months. The last ceremony that the couple took part in is called a butna. The wedding guests put a pasty mixture made with turmeric all over the bride and groom to cleanse and beautify them in time for their wedding.


Old | New | Borrowed | Blue

Old: The bride’s earrings.

New: The bride’s garter.

Borrowed: The veil was borrowed from one of the bride’s closest friends.

Blue: The bride’s Indian wedding dress.



Tips for Brides and Grooms

  • “Prepare for the unexpected”
  • “Remind yourself ahead of time that some things may not go as planned but at the end of the day you are marrying your best friend and that is what truly matters”





Want to Share Your Destination Wedding?

By submitting your destination wedding to be featured in Wedding Vacations magazine and online you will be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Riu Palace Pacifico. Submit up to ten photos and a little explanation of why you and your sweetheart deserve to win. Click here to enter and learn more.