Weddings mark a new chapter in every couple's lives, and Tanya and Geert's intimate beach ceremony was a beautiful ode to their next adventure. Shortly after getting engaged and having a civil marriage in Singapore, Geert was offered a new job in Abu Dhabi and the pair jet-setted off to a new home. Holding their wedding at Zaya Nurai Island Resort was fitting, both as a memorable welcome and a convenient halfway point for their Singaporean and Belgian loved ones to visit.
Letting Nurai Island's magnificent natural landscape shine through, the couple kept the decor simple yet sophisticated – the sandy solemnisation had an all-white palette, while the dinner had splashes of pink and gold. Their dinner was a thoughtful communion of both Geert and Tanya's cultures, and after, everyone danced under breezy skies. Below, Tanya tells us more...
On how they met:
"We met through mutual friends when we were both invited to brunch at their place. We started exchanging texts at first and gradually started hanging out and enjoying each other's company. Fast forward to a heady proposal in beautiful Sri Lanka with a lobster barbecue dinner, fireworks, and an 'Antwerp's Most Brilliant' ring topping it off. Shortly after, Geert accepted a new job offer, and off we went to Abu Dhabi as newlyweds to start our new lives."
On the destination:
"Having our wedding at Nurai Island was close to perfection. We thought it would be a really nice place for our guests to experience and enjoy since they took the effort to make the trip. Its breathtaking setting gave us the dream beach wedding we both wanted. Being in a private island, we have pretty much free play to set-up anyway we want and have the party go on till the wee hours of evening under the stars."
On the food:
"As the backgrounds of our guests was so varied, we thought that the menu should feature a mix of European and Asian favourites, without missing out on the delectable local Arab offerings. At the cocktail reception, we served seven warm hors d'oeuvres including duck rillettes, lobster tartar and sauteed shrimp. For dinner, we worked closely with the head chef to create a family-style menu that started off with an introduction to local Arab cuisine, followed by Thai and modern Japanese starters, Asian mains and a barbecue. Desserts were served buffet style, along with an ice cream station. Everything was complemented with specially concocted mocktails and cocktails, as well as the usual wines and spirits."
On the entertainment:
"Because my husband's and my musical choices differs extremely, we had to compromise on a playlist we both were comfortable with. No extreme heavy metal or sappy love songs! In the end, our DJ played a mix of bossa nova, acid jazz and chill-out lounge for the early part of the reception, followed by top 40s hits mixed with commercial house and disco funk."
The wedding favours:
"A selection of premium dates, something iconic to the country and culture, in a glitter gold box. We also had a bucket of flip flops for guests to change into or bring home."
On DIY touches:
"My best friend is awesome. She made the photobooth backdrop, ring pillow and Bride's & Groom chair decor. I also made a 'his & hers' montage of our baby pictures as signs for the bathroom doors."
Her advice for brides-to-be:
"Even if you feel like you can plan and manage everything by yourself, it's best to have a third person, like a planner, who can help you execute the event on the day itself. It's likely you won't have time to ensure everything is where you want it, as you'll be stuck in hair and makeup. Trust your planner and enjoy the preparation and moments with your friends and family. Even if the small things don't turn out as imagined, don't let it get to you! They probably won't be noticed by everyone else, so enjoy the present."
Bridal gown & veil: Andree Salon
Jewellery: Engagement ring from Slaets Juwelier; wedding bands from Orsini Antwerp
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Groom’s suit: Kachins Dubai
Groom’s shoes: Prada
Wedding planner: Tesoro Events & Travel
Florist: Ariel Wedding & Florist
Cake: Magnolia Bakery at The Galleria
Food and drinks: Zaya Nurai Island Resort
DJ: Stuart Kennedy (Professional DJ and Master of Ceremonies)
Photography & videography: Goldfish Photography & Video
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