More British couples, than ever before, are opting for destination weddings and choosing international locations to tie the knot.

That is exactly what, DJ and popular Sunrise radio host, Vallisa Chauhan mutually decided to do with her now husband Mittal Patel. Both of them had an unforgettable beach-side wedding in Spain attended by close family and friends.

Eastern Eye caught up with the couple to talk about their destination wedding, marriage and more.

Tell us about your wedding proposal?
Mittal: It started as a simple idea, but I wanted to make it epic and something we’d remember forever. We were on holiday in Dubai and I hired a yacht, but my cousin who lives there pretended we had to check out the yacht for her as she works in real estate. Once we were on the yacht, we stopped near the Burj Al Arab to take some pictures and that’s when I got down on one knee. Let’s just say, my radio presenter was speechless for once.

How did you feel when Mittal proposed?
Vallisa: I had chosen my own ring so I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when, so yes, I was speechless. Which is surprising for me as I usually have a lot to say.

Why did you think about getting married in Spain, in particular, for a destination wedding?
Vallisa: I’ve always wanted a beach wedding. My aunt and uncle were in Spain as they have a holiday home there and bumped into a couple that got married on the beach there. That set everything in motion. Plus, it was an affordable family holiday for all.
Mittal: It was always Vallisa’s dream to have a beach wedding and we flew to La Manga to see a venue her uncle had suggested and it was perfect.

What was the biggest challenge of putting the whole wedding together?
Vallisa: Firstly, La Manga is very Spanish with very few Indians and so it was hard to find someone who could cook Indian food, put a mandap together and find a priest, but we managed. Then came the language barrier, as I had to figure out how to explain what we needed for the Indian wedding to suppliers whose English wasn’t great.

What did you like about the venue?
Vallisa: The venue was perfect and exactly how I envisioned I wanted my civil ceremony to be. The Indian wedding was on the beach behind our villa. We chose this particular villa because of the size, location and terrace. It looked beautiful.
Mittal: The private villa we hired was the right location and size to hold the 120 guests on the wedding day. It just so happened that the Indian wedding was supposed to be on the terrace, but a month before the wedding, we managed to get clearance to have it on the beach. Sun, sea and sand, what more could you ask for?

Who took charge of arrangements?
Mittal: Vallisa, her mum and her masi did most of the planning and then it was discussed between the families. But ultimately, Vallisa and I made the final decisions.
Vallisa: But once we landed in La Manga, I became very ill on the first few days and my mum and masi were on hand to sort everything out for me.

Did you two have any differences of opinion?
Mittal: Yes, there were ups and downs. But we came to a mutual agreement in the end and everyone was happy with the outcome.

How was the guest list decided?
Mittal: It was decided on the number of people that could be accommodated in the venues. I am sure our parents would’ve invited more people if the venues allowed.

Please tell us about your outfits?
Vallisa: I bought all my outfits in Dubai. I went for shopping with my mum and great aunt. The civil outfit was made from material I found in a market and was perfect for a beach wedding as it was light and airy. My wedding outfit was actually one of the first ones I saw. Everyone chooses the blingy Swarovski crystal outfits, but they were too big and heavy for me and made my face look really tiny. The outfit I chose looked as heavy as it needed to for an Indian wedding, but didn’t weigh too much which was great for the 40-degree heat we were going to face.
Mittal: My outfit was custom made for me and matched perfectly to my fabulous, beautiful wife. But she looked absolutely gorgeous on the both the civil and Indian wedding.

Tell us about the hair and make-up looks you went for?
Vallisa: I’m actually a very simple person and don’t like over-the-top make-up. For the civil ceremony, I really wanted to wear a veil, as you only get married once. So I bought a tiara that would look great with the veil and once it was taken off. For the Indian wedding, I chose a more traditional look with my hair up in a bun. I was supposed to cover my hair with the chuni, but due to the heat, we decided this was not a good idea.

I actually told the make-up artist to keep it simple, but I let her decide what she felt worked for me.

Tell us about the ceremony?
Mittal: The ceremonies were unforgettable. Each moment was epic, but the best part was watching Vallisa at the civil ceremony walk down the aisle and then at the Indian ceremony, having her sitting next to me looking like a queen. I will never forget our wedding.

What was the most memorable aspect of the day for you?
Mittal: From saying I do at the civil wedding and walking around the fire on the Indian wedding, completing both ceremonies so we are officially married by culture and legally.
Vallisa: At the civil, it was my dad and my older uncle walking me down the aisle. Again at the Indian ceremony it was my mamas (uncles) walking me to the mandap. My mum’s cousin had flown in from special Australia and walked me out of the villa followed by each of my mum’s brothers and sister-in-laws, swapping places until we reached the mandap. I thought it was going to look a mess, but it worked perfectly. And, of course, seeing Mittal when they dropped the curtain.

Were there any last minute emergencies?
Vallisa: Only when I became ill four days before the wedding, my masi had to sort out my seating plan; sitting outside the bathroom while I sat in a hot shower. And my mum ended up having to go to the final food-tasting, as I couldn’t make it. It was all a hot mess, but we have an amazing family, so it was all sorted and went flawlessly.

Tell us about the reception afterwards?
Vallisa: Our main reception was back in the UK. I am the eldest on both sides of the family, so we ended up having a Disney-themed reception for 500 people in the UK two weeks after the wedding. Just as I planned the reception was amazing and I felt like a true Disney Princess.

What is the best thing about being married to each other?
Vallisa: Being able to spend every day together. I work a lot and my work patterns can be erratic and we lived an hour away from each other, so finding time to meet up was always a problem, but now I know it doesn’t matter what time I get home, I get to see Mittal. And I now have a life partner to travel with me around the world.
Mittal: We understand each other in every way and never forget about each other. We always make sure we are both ok and now we can start to make memories as a couple and start a new adventure together.

What top tips would you give brides?
Vallisa: Don’t try and do everything yourself. It’s hard as it is your big day and you want everything to go right, but make sure you have assigned people to do different things and trust that they will get it done.

I made lists, floor plans, boxes and so on and every part – from my engagement and all the way to the reception – looked exactly how I had wanted it to be and that is solely down to having amazing people around me to execute my vision.

Why do you feel like the world’s luckiest man?
Mittal: I feel like the luckiest man alive because I have got more than winning the lottery. They say money can’t buy you happiness and that’s the truth. I wake up feeling like a million bucks and I have everything I could ever ask for when I look at her.

Destination wedding tips

  • Think practically: Choose a scenic venue, but also think if the place is affordable to reach and has hotels nearby, where guests can stay.
  • Visit in advance: The destination may look nice in photos, but there is nothing like visiting in advance to check everything your heart’s desire is in place. Then make another visit closer to the time of the wedding.
  • Research: You are dealing with vendors, including professional planners from another country, so do that extra research on who you hire. Also, research on everything associated with the wedding, including local marriage laws, weather conditions, permissions needed, logistics, transport and so on.
  • Budget: Make a budget taking everything including variables into account. Leave contingency money in case of emergencies or unexpected costs.
  • Advance warning: Give guests attending plenty of advance warning so they can book time off work and get good travel deals.
  • Get help: It will be impossible to do everything yourself, so get help from friends, a professional wedding planner and whatever assistance the venue may offer.
  • Right outfit: Consider the weather when selecting the wedding outfits. You don’t want something very heavy if the climate will be very hot or humid.
  • Be hospitable: Remember, guests are coming from far, so make sure they are well looked-after. Try creating an experience your guests won’t forget.