It’s a summer Saturday so in no way should work be done today. Instead, let’s pour ourselves another round of ice cold coffee and dive into this beauty before us. These lovebirds are proof that fate can be oh so strong (don’t miss their adorably romantic story told by both parties below) and celebrated their union with a beyond amazing bash thanks to Luxury Events Phuket and Iam Flower. Julian Abram Wainwright snapped away and Imageforge Asia’s film below just made my day a whole lot brighter.
From Luxury Events Phuket… Melissa and Ishay’s love knows no border. Let them transport you into their love story which truly looks like a fairy tale…
From the Groom… It was a typical beautiful night in Uganda when I met Melissa. I went with my co-workers to the go-to Irish pub, Bubbles. I saw her from across the bar, standing with her friends, laughing as usual… lighting up the room as she always does. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her but I never dared to walk up to her. For some reason, that night, I had the courage to talk to her. As introductions typically go in Uganda, the first question is often, “Why are you here in Africa?!” I told her I was a Greek cucumber farmer. She called me out on my bullshit right away. I was immediately attracted to her feistiness and directness. I told her that night that she and I were going to be serious. I knew it was true… she told me I was crazy! We said goodnight and I gave her my phone number, hoping she would call me. She never called.
From the Bride… I met Ishay in December 2009 when I took a year off from medical school to do research in Africa. We both were just like any other ex-pats in Kampala, hanging out at THE Irish Bar in town. I just spent the whole day out with my girlfriends. I almost didn’t go out that night, but fate decided otherwise. I have to admit when I met him, I thought he was attractive. I remember not even being able to pronounce his name. I put his number in as “I, the pilot.” The following week, I was at the Irish Bar, again… and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and there he was. We spoke and had a real conversation. I thought he was intriguing, intelligent, and fascinating. He kept up with me… even in his Israeli English! I was impressed.
From the Groom… As small communities go, we kept running into each other at the trusty Irish Bar and I asked her out on a proper date. I invited her to drive a boat in Lake Victoria that weekend. She wore a black jumpsuit and big sunhat. Of course, as a future dermatologist, her face was covered in sunblock. I’ll be honest, it was weird but even then, she looked so cute. She always managed to surprise me. She was full of determination and tried so hard to keep the boat straight on the water. It kept curving to the left and right. Who was this girl?
From the Bride… Later that week, we went to dinner. He asked me to wear my glasses. I was so embarrassed since I never wore my glasses out in public. But I did. And he made me feel so beautiful. That night, we never stopped talking until the next morning. We kept having nights like this; it was like a movie! A week later, we went to northern Uganda on a safari; we spent the entire night listening to music, laughing, and sharing our life stories. I had never seen the sky so lit up with stars. He traced out different constellations for me, pointing out the “Great Wagon” to me. Of course, I corrected him immediately and said it’s the Big Dipper.
From the Groom… One month later, I returned to Israel for a business trip and asked her to join me. That’s all it took. One month after knowing her, I knew she was my wife. Six months later, Melissa moved back to California. We spent hours talking on the Internet. For the next two years, we flew back and forth – from Uganda to San Francisco, from Israel to San Francisco, from Israel to Thailand, from San Francisco to Thailand. In July 2012, I moved to Philadelphia and Melissa moved to New York. We weren’t living together yet but at least, we got closer.
From the Bride… Everyone told me we were crazy, that this relationship would never be. We came from worlds apart. We lived worlds apart. But, Ishay was never an average man. He left his dream job in Africa. He left his life, his family, and his friends in Israel. He got accepted to a school that was once my dream school when I was younger. I consider myself so lucky to have met such an incredible person.
From the Groom… Our time in Uganda changed my life. To this day, I still miss my life in Uganda. But today, five years after I approached her in Kampala, I have my true love and she is forever my wife.”
From Luxury Events Phuket… The couple wanted their wedding to be elegant and bohemian with colours to be more overwhelming. The theme colors were white with pops of soft pastel colours (blush, peach) with hints of green and gold, in order to create something classy but with a warm romantic garden-like feel.
What was most important to them was to have a wedding with all the formal elements but in a fun atmosphere incorporating touches of Thai. Melissa’s brother was the wedding celebrant so as the couple were already legally married in the US, Melissa and Ishay wrote their own vows and said them under a chuppah (representing Ishay’s side of the family) in a private villa in Phuket, Thailand. We added in mozoltov at the end. The night was a mixture of Thai and Western elements with the beautiful Thai orchids mixed with the imported flowers in all the arrangements. The guests drank stunning Thai wines, Thai beer. There were three signature cocktails for the evening with one of them being a Thai Cucumber Mojito. Thai canapes were served during cocktails, after the ceremony, followed by a very Western style menu but there was homemade coconut ice cream served with the dessert followed by late night snacks of a local beef noodle soup station which is a dish that the local Thais love to eat on the streets late at night.
As we were in a private villa we could not do the wishing lanterns but instead we set off fireworks after the first dance which are still allowed in Thailand.
Photography: Julian Abram Wainwright | Videography: Imageforge Asia | Event Planning: Luxury Events Phuket | Floral Design: Iam Flower | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Mango | Catering: Daniel Isberg | Groom's Attire: Ben Sherman | Venue: Private Villa | Cake Designer: Les Diables Phuket | Hair & Make Up: Lisa Allen