Lucky or Blessed?
Haven’t you dreamt about being invited to a destination wedding party, and if I say the destination wedding party is an International Destination then you call yourself lucky, and if that International Destination is Maldives, then O’Boy you are blessed. So this blog is about witnessing the wedding party of my friend Rashmi, a sweet Indian Marathi Mulgi (Girl) and her beau James, a smart handsome Australian Boy which took place at Eriyadu Island Resort in Maldives.
HONG KONG – MUMBAI – MALDIVES.
With the last minute decision of attending the wedding party and not cancelling it, made my trip a bit hectic. It was time to pack my bags in Hong Kong and start a long journey from Hong Kong – Mumbai – Sri Lanka – Maldives, calling for last minute shopping at HK airport to look beach friendly (Ray Ban, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Nautica, US Polo to the rescue).
Step 2 – Needed a Haircut to look good, so I rushed to my Hairstylist ZEEBA and JAIPAL from WHY NOT BY ZEEBA salon making them miss their movie, after which at home I had just 1 hour to unpack, repack take a shower eat some food and rush back to the airport for my next flight. And there I was ready to board my flight to see the beautiful couple made in heaven get married on earth. I must tell you I was already dead tired and needed sleep badly so that I can enjoy my time at Rashmi’s wedding the next day, and the time to interact with other friends of rashmi in the flight failed because I was sleeping the whole time on the flight. Nevertheless met them all at the arrival hall and immediately knew I am gonna have one hell of an awesome trip.
The Maldives, officially The Republic of Maldives, is a small island nation in South Asia, located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 1,000 kilometres from the Asian continent and is a spread over of 200 Islands with over 132 resorts to enjoy.
We were booked at one such Island Resort called Eriyadu.
Airport to Hotel Journey
Male Airport to ERIYADU Island Resort one has to take the speed boat which takes around 45 mins to reach.
Hotel and It’s Location
Eriyadu Island Resort is a simple, beautiful and secluded hotel resort on an island of tropical beauty situated in North Malé Atoll. The hotel is the only one on the island, reflecting its surroundings of bamboo and tropical palm trees.
Eriyadu is one of the few remaining islands that remains true to the Maldivian entity.
Eriyadu has 76 Rooms divided in two categories – Beach Rooms and Deluxe Beach Rooms(Villas). Eriyadu has two bars, one restaurant, swimming pool, spa, own coral reef diving areas, small shop, water sports activities and gaming area.
Eriyadu is close to white sandy beaches, while the lagoon is home to a natural coral reef that can be explored by snorkeling or diving with the hotel’s professional dive center. Its central location is very close to 35 of the best dive sites of the North as well as the South Male Atoll, providing a prime location for divers.
My stay at Eriyadu was one of the most simple yet beautiful coral reef beach facing villas I have ever stayed at.
Maldivian Hospitality adds up to Indian Tradition
At the Deck, we were warmly welcomed by the hotel staff along with the bride and groom. This is the Indian Tradition wherein we ourselves welcome the Guests even though they are the centre of attraction. The staff was giving the information about their beautiful property and island while we were walking towards the reception which is a little walk from the boat deck.
While waiting at the reception for our room keys we were greeted with the much needed nice cold welcome drinks, which was specially made by their chef to hydrate us, as the weather was little hot.
The reception area was huge and it had simplicity with open wide spaces with many seating areas for the guest to relax and enjoy till they finished their check in formalities.
And soon my room was dedicated to me and a humble local bell boy was sent along for my assistance to reach my room.
As mentioned this not a small island, so one can get confused the first day if you are not guided, from next day you will feel at home. We were all booked in the Deluxe Beach Rooms and My Room was quiet a walk from the Lobby Area and i had to cross through the beautiful trees and surroundings and i could really feel myself in the beauty of nature.
While walking I took all the information i could about the property and its facilities from the staff.
All of Rashmi’s guests had their own beach front villas so that they can have the direct access to the beach from their rooms.
The Deluxe Beach Rooms is a Villa wherein two rooms adjoining to each other are created. The Villa has a small Balcony space for you to chill relax have your drink and read the book looking at the view of god’s perfection.
Once in the Room it’s a huge nice set up with two chairs on the left, a king size bed, television, wardrobe and mini bar on the right.
The room decor matches the tropical paradise keeping it light white colour with matching brown furniture.
After this comes the beauty of the room actually the bathroom – The bathroom is half the size of the room and had its own entry exit door. It had a Bathtub, a open shower area, toilet and lovely washbasin. All of this made me have a wish to stay here forever and never go back.
The Wedding Party
Now time to even talk about the reason I was in Maldives, Wedding Party of the beautiful couple Rashmi and James.
Rashmi is a sweet cute little happy go lucky girl from Mumbai who is a fellow libran like me, she is full of energy having the most cute and adorable smile, is a fitness freak and a motivator.
James on the other hand is a most humble human being I have met, his simplicity is charming , and with his Australian accent you would just wanna keep listening to him. This two had met in the year 2009 and it was love at first sight for James, and they both knew since then that one day they would tie a knot to start a beautiful family.
The Wedding Party was on the same day and had very minimal ritual as the entire focus was to actually enjoy the party with beach, dancing, drinking and adventure sports.
The Bride and The Groom – Wedding Dress and Makeup
As per Rashmi clothes weren’t the main attraction the wedding, though I think this statement was restricted to James and she chose to wear a golden gown created by herself and the ocean blue gown was created by Aneesh Agarwaal and James was fairly casual and perfectly dressed for the beach orange shirt with white trousers. With her the only people who were colour coordinated were the Bridesmaids wearing lovely blue dresses in different styles. Rashmi’s makeup and hair was done by Maheleqa Mohseni who is also her close friend so it was all the more special for her.
Wedding Party Photography Team
Rashmi had a parade of good photographers as guests to cover her wedding party and make it memorable for lifetime in pictures – Abhijit Kolhe and Pushkaraj Shirke.
But no bride would be happy with friends clicking you alone so she hired a top team of professional photographers from India – Stories by Joseph Radhik with his team Raj Mohapatra and Shivali Chopra (stories team are famously known to shoot Anushka Sharma – Virat Kohli, Priyanka Chopra – Nick Jonas, Samantha – Chaitanya and many other celebrity weddings) and videography was done by Asad Ibrahim from Maldives.
The Wedding Party Venue and Decor
The Wedding Venue was on the beach front of the Island and they had set up a small beautiful tent for the vows. The theme was orange, navy blue and gold. The marquee structure was mix of red and orange with flowers, the seating chairs were all in white and bouquet of orange flowers on the pathway with yellow petals on the sand to give it a fell of the yellow carpet for the bride and groom’s walk towards the marquee for exchanging the vows . It looked so surreal and beautiful, as by the time this two would get married the sun would change its colours giving the most beautiful moment of life.
Both the bride and groom had personalized vows which they exchanged in few minutes and locked it with a kiss.
Post Vow Celebrations
Soon after the vows were exchanged we all danced to the local maldivian music and instrument BoduBeru Dance.
(BoduBeru Dance dates back to the 11th Century and is the traditional dance of Maldives, Performed by a group, it consists of one lead singer and lots of drums apart from variety of thumping instruments. The pace of the music and dance gradually picks up, and usually at the end of it the spectators would be dancing along with the group. The songs and dance styles are similar to the ones found in East and South West Africa giving rise to speculation that these might have been introduced to this tiny island nation by sailors from the African continent.)
They were singing songs in local language but with the music we understood those were Indian Songs dubbed in their language.
The night was getting younger, then came in an uncle on his little guitar singing songs and invited us to sing along, and in few minutes I took over the mic to sing, though not a great singer I guess I did keep the entertainment alive.
Heading from here we went for a lovely dinner, got ourselves changed to Party all night with the DJ of Eriyadu. Continuing we all were inside the pool taking this party to another level.
As we said destination wedding parties are never ending, but I had to call it a night at 1am, a little early then others as i had a dream photoshoot planned with Asad starting at 3 am. You can read “A Night with the Shooting Star” and “The Maldivian Sunrise.” to know about the shoot.
Back to the Rooms
So after finishing the shoot at 6.30 am in the morning, it was time to go to sleep as the agenda for the whole day was to explore the island nothing else.
So I slept like a baby for few hours in the most comfortable bed.
The rooms are well-appointed with modern conveniences and a trendy islander decorative theme that promotes a peaceful atmosphere.
And as it was exploration time it was even time to enjoy the bathtub and read a book. I guess i have never been so relaxed the way i was in Eriyadu and in this bathtub, as it was just me and myself.
The bathroom space is so huge it’s almost the size of a hotel room in many hotels in India. So this time it was time to relax in the bathtub and read a book.
Food and Drinks
Being on an Island means you are restricted to the food made in the restaurant in the island only, but if it is Eriyadu Island then it’s like having a blast. You have a huge variety of food. So our stay had all meals included, so we were enjoying Breakfast, Lunch, High Tea and Dinner menu at the hotel restaurant itself. I am always worried being a vegetarian but to my relief they even had a huge variety of vegetarian food in the menu. There was a huge fruit section with a collection of exotic tropical fruits like Dragon Fruit, Passion Fruit, etc.
Other than this, Eriyadu had two Resto – Bars and all of the guests enjoyed unlimited alcohol and other drinks.
So overall we were having a blast living on an island.
You don’t need anything else than a lifestyle of that of a Maldivian Holiday.
Scuba Diving with Euro Divers
Eriyadu is the perfect island for your scuba diving.
Euro-Divers at Eriyadu offers a full range of PADI diving courses, there are activates for all levels, from snorkeling to new divers and up to experienced level.
This was my first time scuba diving and i was very very excited. Euro Divers suggested to enjoy the house reef around Eriyadu which is simply breathtaking and offers a nice variety of marine life with over 350 different species of fish. So I decided to explore the house reef with a dive buddy. The house reef exploration took nearly three hours with some training session in the beginning.
I can’t express in words how I felt because it is not to be told but to be experienced yourself.
And to make this dive a memorable one Pushkraj clicked my images with his GoPro.
We did go deep inside the water till we could visibly see the water and i was swimming with the fishes, for the first time made me realise there is such a beautiful life underwater and its their home, and we are making it dirty, but throwing our trash inside.
The coral reef, the fishes, the plants, I could feel being away from this body and suddenly being a fish with them.
I request that once in life one should surely swim underwater and experience their life.
We also had the opportunity to swim with nurse sharks. It was a surreal experience.
- Other than this Euro Divers even offer other water sports activities:
- Stand up paddleboarding – sup
- Catamaran sailing
- Jet ski rides
- Banana & fun tube rides
- Waterski, monoski, wakeboard & kneeboard
On certain days of the week, Eriyadu organises cruise rides to see the beautiful sunset from a sunset point. So was lucky to be on the island on this day. Our tour was a 60 minute ride, where we enjoyed the sunset dancing on lovely music along with snacks and drinks.
Coral Reef Snorkeling
It was again time to enter the Maldivian Sea. We took the snorkeling gear from Euro Divers office as they were complimentary to us.
It was me, Rashmi and James on this one. They were clicking some pictures with Asad and its team, and yes they did get some lovely shots.
The Bougain Spa
After the hectic schedule from my travel, to attending the wedding, to missing my sleep to shoot, and then going for scuba did ask for some nice spa and massage time.
The Bougain Spa at Eriyadu Island Resort & Spa brings together the rich heritage of international wellness philosophies to offer guest some of the chosen signature therapies and unique therapeutic experience that relax and rejuvenate.
So one hour of spa made me feel amazing and totally refreshed and a totally new me.
Time to Say Goodbye
The saddest part of the journey arrived when I had to say Goodbye to this Island and the time I spent here, but taking back some beautiful memories which would last forever with some amazing TravelPostCards.
On Day 3rd most of the guests had to say goodbye, but the bride and groom further enjoyed another 3 nights at this same island with their close family.
If you looking at a trip to Maldives then without any hesitation and doubts book:
Eriyadu Island Resort
North Male’ Atoll Kaafu Atoll, 08210, Maldives
Tel: +960 664-4487
To contact all the above photographers, designers and make up artist who made this whole event and this blog become reality:
Abhijit Kolhe (Photographer)
Instagram handle: the.wanderingfox
Instagram handle: asad.photo
Joseph Radhik (Photographer)
Instagram handle: storiesbyjosephradhik
Pushkaraj Shirke (Photographer)
Instagram handle: credosian
Aneesh Agarwaal (Designer)
Instagram handle: aneeshagarwaalofficial
Maheleqa Mohseni (Makeup Artist of Rashmi)
Instagram handle: makeupbymaheleqa
Zeeba Mortezai (My Hairstylist)
Instagram handle: whynot_byzeeba