Tasneem & Shavak (Eco-Friendly Wedding)
FEATURED WEDDINGS Tasneem & Shavak (Eco-Friendly Wedding)
Tasneem and Shavak have known each other since their days at Warwick University, when she was studying law and he, mathematics. After graduating, Tasneem remained in London while Shavak returned to his native Trinidad, and they embarked on a five-year, long-distance relationship. Not even the Atlantic Ocean could dampen their love!
In 2015 Shavak upped the ante, flying six thousand miles to join Tasneem and her friends in Turkey where he went down on bended knee and proposed. In conventional style, the couple eloped to St. Andrews, Scotland, intending to hold a ceremony with family and friends at a later date.
That date was to be 7th December, 2019 and Saint Lucia was the destination of choice! Pigeon Island proved to be the perfect venue to fulfil their wish for a natural, eco-friendly wedding. The combination of the sandy beach with the lush vegetation provided an ideal setting for the couple to realise their vision of an elegant affair with minimal impact on the environment.
Why have just one day of celebration when you can have three? Festivities kicked off with a Mehndi night at Mystique Royal Resort in Rodney Bay, where guests were staying. Ladies had their hands painted with henna while Tasneem and Shavak greeted their friends and family with eco-friendly party favours: a fetching cotton tote bag containing organic sunscreen; a safari animalsoapstone figurine; a cotton kikoy (similar to a sarong), organic kombucha tea, and an eco-friendly pencil for the personalised crossword, designed to encourage guests to mingle and trade answers.
The next day the party continued with a fun catamaran cruise. Sun, sea and Soca; a perfect welcome to the Caribbean for those traveling from colder climes. Then Saturday was the main event: the wedding at Pigeon Island.
Tasneem and Shavak wanted a relaxed and informal affair – definitely no jackets required, shoes optional – with a Kenyan theme and plenty of revelry – the bacchanalia. Above all, it was eco-friendly, from the use of glass drinking vessels and bamboo straws through to seating and a tiki bar made from recycled wood.
Stage 1: A traditional Indian Panu ceremony on the beach. The women from Tasneem’s side of the family, together with Shavak’s mother, performed the ritual that signifies joining the new family: adorned in a gold necklace and new shoes, Tasneem’s head was covered with a red veil and a coconut passed over it. This was an excellent prelude to popping champagne corks, sipping rum and taking a refreshing drink from the coconut man while enjoying vegan canapes.
Stage 2: A vegan dinner on the lawn, under a burlap-trimmed tent, and it was a feast! Guests were impressed by the tasty and filling fare: lasagne, rice and peas, a tofu noodle wok station, even a vegan chocolate cake! True to the green aspect, there was not a piece of single-use plastic in sight; even plastic wrap that is used to cover buffet items was substituted by a re-useable waxed cloth alternative.
The African theme was promoted with the decor: colourful kente cloth table runners and Masai statuettes; the Caribbean influence was the steel pan band which was a hit with all nationalities.
Stage 3: Dancing until 3 a.m. at the illuminated ruins. The tiki hut was brought up from the beach and repurposed as the DJ booth while old barrels made perfect tables for drinks. Tasneem and Shavak had a “first dance” but in their own unique style – in London they had practised with a choreographer and perfected a dazzling routine, combining the music and moves of Bollywood and Soca. Dancing under the stars, they wowed the audience!
With the party in full swing, drinks flowing and guests dancing, there was only one item that could be served as a midnight snack: vegan Trini doubles!
- When we started out on our mission to have a destination wedding we were not too sure what to expect or how we would be able to manage everything from afar! Our hearts were set on having our wedding somewhere in the Caribbean given one of us is from there and after our first meeting with Michele we were convinced that St Lucia was the best place to host a wedding for a guest list of 100 people.
Our vision was to ensure that our entire wedding would be eco-friendly, including a delicious vegan, yes delicious, menu (a huge shout out to Coco Palm for their fantastic catering and bar service)! We also had very specific and unconventional ideas about our décor. Michele and the Azuk Events Décor team worked with us over a couple of months and took the time to understand our vision and get to know us as a couple. Our wedding had three events and from the start to the end Michele was always a “yes” person and accommodating to any of our requests to ensure that every element of each event met our eco-friendly mantra – from bamboo straws to no single-use plastic. She always tried to find options and solutions to our tricky requests.
Michele was very professional and introduced us to a number of great vendors based on what we wanted, often giving us options, this made it easy for us to plan a destination wedding. Being so far away, Michele’s advice and objectivity helped us manage things and be decisive. Michele also made it her priority to ensure that all vendors understood our eco-friendly stance and made sure that they delivered against this. Most importantly, Michele helped us stick to our budget and was clear about what we could achieve, advising us where it would be worthwhile to spend money and where it was not. Michele knew quality and elegance was important to us and helped us achieve this.
Our wedding was indeed a fun experience! Our wedding itself had three different sections and our décor was stunning, incorporating elements of our Kenyan and Caribbean heritage and ending with a retro feel dance/bar area. Michele’s planning and execution had taken away all the stress and worry so that we were able to completely enjoy all our wedding events. We cannot recommend Awesome Caribbean Weddings enough. Lastly, Michele is an absolute joy to deal with and made our wedding planning so much fun and to have her by our side at the wedding itself was great. Awesome Caribbean Weddings exceeded our expectations in every way. In our first visit to St Lucia we met Michele as a wedding planner, by the end of our wedding Michele had become a dear friend.