Since sharing their first kiss to fireworks on Bonfire Night, it’s fair to say that for Danielle and Ashleigh the sparks never stopped flying. “Ashleigh loves to try new things, so I have him to thank for all kinds of adventures… Swimming with dolphins, quad biking through Mexican jungle and even sailing around the Sardinian coast!”


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


The proposal, however, was a far more understated affair at home, complete with all the sentiment you could wish for. “Ashleigh proposed on my late grandfather’s birthday. We were extremely close so it’s a day that means a lot to me. My birthday was two days later, but he insisted I open my card there and then… and it was addressed ‘to my fiancée’! We chose the ring together the very next day.”

Danielle’s Kenneth Winston mermaid gown stole her heart while visiting Samantha K’s boutique in Swansea.

“There’s an impossible amount of detail to describe,” she gushes. “I loved the lace appliqué, bead, pearl and crystal detail, and the dramatic back.” The bride sourced her floor-length veil with matching lace detail on the same visit, adding Jimmy Choo shoes, gifted by her parents, and stylish Swarvoski drop earrings.


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


Ashleigh enlisted the team at Slaters to outfit him.

“We decided to purchase rather than hire the suits so that they could be properly tailored.”

A Royal London pocket watch gifted by his parents, Topman shoes and a tie and pocket square from Dyfed Menswear completed his look.


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


“I asked my four closest friends to join me as bridesmaids. We wanted lemon dresses, which are harder to find than you might think. Kelsey Rose dresses from White Orchid Bridal, Swansea, fit the bill perfectly, though, with a soft chiffon skirt and V-neckline that flattered all of my girls.

“Most people questioned why I didn’t hire a makeup artist already in Italy for our Sorrento destination wedding, but Farhana Ali is incredible and I knew she could create the look I wanted.”

“I wore Bobbi Brown’s ‘Cosmic Raspberry’ on my lips, also using MAC, Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel products.”


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


Danielle and Ashleigh made the most of their magical Italian surroundings with a garden ceremony for their Sorrento destination wedding. “The huge stone archway complete with iron lanterns at the entrance to the gardens are what made me fall in love with our museum venue. The aisle runs right through into the gardens to create a romantic, Italian ceremony setting.” The soft notes of a harpist accompanied their vows.


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


The wedding party then moved on to their villa reception, where a culinary greeting of canapés, tartlets, olives and drinks welcomed all. A four-course Italian feast ensued, with the couple’s lemon wedding cake served for dessert.

“I love being creative so even though we were marrying abroad, I chose every decoration and flew them out with me!”

“I wanted our wedding to be elegant and classy, working from a palette of white and silver, with the flowers and bridesmaid dresses introducing lemon accents. The featured weddings in Wedding Ideas helped me to pick up lots of tips and ideas.” GPS Stationery supplied all the couple’s paper goods, using a cohesive theme from the invitations to the table plan and place cards.


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


Decorating with large white lanterns, silver and white frames, crystal candleholders and ivory rose petals introduced a classical touch to their romantic Italian venue. Teamed with A&D letters for the cake table, Mr & Mrs bunting on the bar and crackled glass vases, their wedding décor glistened with understated style.

“I changed up the usual set up so that the guests could face the incredible views and all of the photographs taken of our top table would have it in the background.”


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


Sophisticated Weddings’ Victoria Morris aided the couple as they planned their wedding. “I chose Victoria because she creates many bespoke weddings. I knew she would be able to find exactly what I wanted. She was amazing!”

Local florist Giovanni Castellano supplied the flowers. These included a bouquet of ivory, lemon and pink roses, as well as the bridesmaid posies, buttonholes and table centres. “All the groomsmen had a white rose buttonhole apart from Ashleigh. He wore lemon to stand out.”

The villa venue provided the DJ. This offered a simple means of abiding by Italy’s strict laws on playing music outdoors.


Stylish, classic, elegant - this Sorrento destination wedding has it all, AND it was held in stunning museum gardens. Ready to be inspired?


“We chose Ella Henderson’s ‘Yours’ for our first dance, quite simply because the lyrics are so beautiful.”

Having celebrated their marriage in the Italian sunshine, Danielle and Ashleigh opted to delay their honeymoon to make the festivities and gorgeous weather last longer. Thailand is their destination of choice, where they will spend two weeks. The couple plan to explore Patong, the Phi Phi islands and an elephant sanctuary from their base in Phuket.”


‘Indian packages’ let more South Asians opt for destination weddings

When Sabrina Sandhu and her fiancé Kultar Rai first told their families they wanted a destination wedding, their Indian parents didn’t understand the concept.

“Or how we could possibly carry out each event without losing the integrity of the traditions,” Sandhu tells Global News. “Once we explained the benefits, and the fact that would mean less work for everyone, they were fully on board.”

The couple got married in September 2016 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with 150 guests in attendance.

kultar and sabrina

Sabrina and Kultar at their reception.

Courtesy of Sabrina Sandhu

“It was a simple solution to the challenge of hosting a wedding in Toronto where we would have expected over 800 guests,” the 26-year-old continues. “We wanted our parents and immediate family to enjoy the wedding festivities versus spending the week hosting and cooking.”



But part of the rise can also be linked to the challenges of hosting a wedding at home.

In large South-Asian populated Ontario cites like Brampton and Mississauga, securing a large venue for up to 1,000 guests can take two years, experts say. And instead of hiring planners or caterers, many families pick up the work for the multiple events leading up to the wedding — leaving little time to enjoy them.

Hindu and Sikh weddings also come with several components, for Sikhs in particular, a Sikh Granthi (a Sikh official) and the Guru Granth Sahib (religious scripture) both need to be present at the traditional ceremony.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

But not only are some hotels offering officiants because of high demand, Sandhu says the one who officiated her wedding, Sat Purkh Singh, lives in Mexico City.


“We wanted to get married and enjoy the process of planning the wedding, while also doing something that was different, memorable and meaningful to us,” Sandhu says.

Kultar Rai and Sabrina Sandhu

Hotels targeting South Asians

Both the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels and Palace Resorts offer Indian wedding packages for countries like Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Cessie Cerrato, a spokesperson for Palace Resorts, says out of their weddings so far in 2017, 20 per cent are Canadian, and 20 per cent of those couples have Indian ceremonies.


“All 10 of our Palace Resorts all-inclusive properties offer Indian weddings, and our most popular among them is Moon Palace Cancun,” she tells Global News. “Brides have been incorporating ‘traditional [Western]’ decor details to their events such as the sweet tables, and many are now doing two ceremonies, the Hindu/Sikh and a symbolic ceremony.”

Moon palace Resorts

A couple getting married at Palace Resorts.

Courtesy of Moon Palace Resorts

The package, which has been offered since 2012, features Indian catering, fireworks, drummers, mendhi (henna) artists, and a mandap (wedding stage).

Frank Maduro, VP of marketing for AIC Hotel Group of all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, says the hotel’s Indian wedding package, “Ishq Rocks,” launched in 2015 for couples who wanted to personalize their traditional matrimonial experiences.

“We have local in-house vendors for decor, entertainment, flowers, make-up, mendhi, and catering,” he tells Global News.

hard rock resorts Indian wedding

Venue space at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana.

Maduro says there are also out-of-the-box things couples are adding to their destination wedding packages, including drone cinematography, acrobatic performances and lavish grand entrances for the groom on either a horse or yacht.

Mixing the old with the new

But the true beauty of destination South Asian weddings is being able to mix both traditional aspects of a religious ceremony with modern wedding trends. Mahal says couples still take part in traditional ceremonies like the sangeet and mehndi night, but have many of their events outdoors.

“All old traditions are kept,” Mahal says. “It comes down to a beach/resort versus local banquet halls.”


Ashna Tanna, who tied the knot in May 2016 at the Moon Palace resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, says when it came to the Hindu ceremony, they were able to do all of the components they could’ve done in Toronto.

south Asian destination wedding

Ashna Tanna and her husband, Rikesh Shah, at their Jamaican destination wedding.

Courtesy of Melanie Gillbrand

The 26-year-old, who now resides in London, England, had 120 guests — one-third of the size her wedding in Toronto would’ve been. And with family from Toronto, London and Dubai in attendance, it made sense to choose a location everyone could fly to.

Indian destination weddings

“It was important for my family to have the priest who has married many of my family members be the person who married us, so we decided to fly him out,” she tells Global News. “Everyone was also dressed in Indian attire on three of the ‘Indian events’ and for the wedding lunch, we were able to have Indian food.”

The cultural divide

But for some couples, there’s always the initial hesitation from family members. Preet Kala and Aman Saini got married in January at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun. For their 50-person Sikh wedding, Kala says the couple flew out a priest from Toronto for the ceremony.

Preet Kala And Aman

Preet Kala And Aman Saini

Courtesy of Preet Kala

“Both our families were mainly concerned about the religious aspect of the wedding,” Kala tells Global News. “It was more about having the Guru Granth Sahib Ji present, and to take the four lavaan [four hymns]. Once we introduced our families to the priest and had him explain how the wedding would take place, they were much more comfortable.”


She adds that for Canadian South Asians, it’s also about educating older family members about these types of weddings as options. And with so many customs that have been ingrained in families for decades, it’s just as important to start new ones.

Aman Saini and Preet Kala

“The entire family gets to be together. It not like the bride side or the groom side, everyone laughs, stays, and celebrates together.”