It is perhaps no coincidence that Japjeev Chadha and Aashna Narang’s unique couple portmanteau was Jashn, the Urdu word for celebration. The hashtag foretold the string of celebrations that marked the couple’s union at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa last December — a proverbial big fat Punjabi wedding that lasted a rollicking five days, replete with a wedding procession (baraat) that danced all the way to the Gurudwara in Jebel Ali flanked by a truck full of speakers blaring music. ‘We wanted a fun and friendly wedding full of stories we’d laugh about for years to come,’ says Japjeev.
The Mumbai-based businessman, 29, decided to wed Aashna, a make-up artist from Pune, in Abu Dhabi because the couple desired a destination wedding that was close enough for guests to travel from India on short notice but was a fresh change from Dubai. In the vein of their whirlwind romance, the couple decided to get hitched too without wasting precious time. ‘We met two years ago in Pune through mutual friends, lost touch, then he reconnected with me on Instagram last May and on a trip we took to Goa we knew we wanted to spend our lives with each other. Here we are now, married!’
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Aashna, 23, describes the three-night, four-day wedding festivities as an extended staycation with family and friends that involved a schedule of successive functions that saw both the couple and their 300 guests roll through a number of venues and events marked by glamorous outfit changes, choreographed dances and magical memories, all timed and planned to clockwork precision by Japjeev’s sister, who lives in Dubai, and wedding planners Menka Bhatia and Preeti Shahpuri of Love Details. ‘Indian weddings require a lot of coordination and there are so many sensitivities involved, which makes planners a must,’ Japjeev points out. Aashna adds, ‘Everyone left our “Jashn” feeling happy.’
‘It allowed our family to relax and enjoy the party the whole time.’ And of parties, there were no shortage at this wedding, beginning with a Sufi night-themed welcome dinner, a tropic-themed poolside mehendi replete with pink flamingo floats the next morning, followed by a glamorous sangeet in the evening that doubled up as a ring ceremony. The wedding ceremony at the Gurudwara the next morning made Japjeev’s and Aashna’s love official and the celebrations continued into a black-tie reception in the evening.
Aashna and Japjeev describe the two-month run-up to the wedding as a rollercoaster ride of outfit trials, accessory shopping, finalising wedding hampers and menus. But that taught them to just relax and enjoy the wedding once they’d planned as much as they could. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff. Dance as much as you want, laugh, crack jokes, just let loose!’ advises Japjeev.