Love is in the air in the UAE

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, couples in the UAE divulge their tales of love and enchanting weddings. Amid the anticipation of V-Day, heartfelt narratives of romance and fairytale unions showcase the diverse expressions of affection that grace the vibrant cultural landscape of the UAE.

Their passion for dance is exactly what brought Krishika Mahesh and Kevin Alexander together the first time. And it’s a tale that goes back 11 long years, to the winter of December 2013.

Krishika says, “The dance school where I was studying at predominantly had female students, and for an upcoming production they needed male dancers. A group of 7-8 male dancers joined the troupe including Kevin.” Ever since, Krishika and Kevin have journeyed together, from being dance partners at events to becoming partners for life. The journey included going through all the formative phases of love — being part of a friends circle to becoming best friends and that later blossomed into a relationship as the two dated each other, before committing to a lifelong relationship and becoming husband and wife.

Krishika and Kevin got married at St. Mary’s Church in Oud Metha, Dubai on January 25 in 2022. The Hindu wedding took place a day later on January 26
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Krishika is a communications professional, a 3rd generation UAE kid, born and raised in Sharjah (her family moved to the UAE 55+ years ago), while Kevin is an entrepreneur, born and raised in Dubai, and an IHS student.

Although initially meeting in 2013, Krishika and Kevin started dating each other in 2016. Both victims of broken relationships, they soon became each other’s support systems in times of crisis. This was eventually to bring them closer to each other.

Dance played a significant role in us being united, Krishika says. “We were performing for a show by Avega Dance Creations, where we were paired with each other to perform a love story. This was one of the many things that made us realise how we felt about each other.” That, and Bollywood singer and musician Arijit Singh’s love songs at his concert sealed the deal, recollects Krishika with a laugh. “Eventually, Kevin asked me out and we started dating.

“We are both passionate about dancing, so that was our first connection! When we started spending time together, we realised we had quite a few things in common. For example, we are both math geeks and are crazy about the sitcom Friends. We also complete each other in many ways. He is the silence and calm to my hyper and talkative self. He is logical and practical and I am emotional.

“We both just naturally gravitated towards marriage. All we wanted to do was spend time together, and that’s when we knew. It felt just right. Like Pheobe in Friends says, “He’s her Lobster!”

“Our courtship wasn’t smooth sailing. Kevin is a Christian from Kerala and I am Hindu hailing from a Gujarati/Sindhi family. In addition to this, Covid hit, which put a dent in our finances. However, we decided not to let any of this stop us, as we wished for a future together.”

Initially, the two families did not accept the relationship, but several sitdowns later the couple got the go-ahead from their elders.

Marriage was a Dubai affair. “Our wedding was quite interesting because we got married not once, but twice,” says Krishika. We both knew how important this day was not just to us, but to our families as well. Hence, we decided to have both a church wedding and a traditional Hindu wedding. We got married on January 25, 2022 at St. Mary’s Church in Oud Metha, Dubai, with a Hindu wedding being held the next day on January 26.

“Going back to 2021, Kevin actually planned a proposal on the beach (I love beaches!), with the help of my family, friends and even my manager being part of the think tank. Held on February 16, it was just two days after Valentine’s Day,” recollects Krishika. “It’s undoubtedly going to be our favourite Valentine’s Day memory.”

Vijay and Radhika Valecha

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A shared love for Bollywood, an integral part of their romantic journey, inspired Vijay Valecha to craft a wedding proposal mirroring the grandeur of the films that he and his wife Radhika cherished
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Married for over three years, Vijay and Radhika Valecha are both financial wizards. While Vijay is CIO, at Century Financial, Radhika works for Bank of Singapore.

School sweethearts since their days spent in Indian High School in Dubai, there’s nostalgia in Vijay’s voice when he reminisces: “Our paths first crossed 25 years ago when I was in Grade 9 and saw Radhika, a Grade 10 student, on the school bus.” Little did he realise that the schoolgirl would go on to become his life partner. With a love story that mirrored the classic Bollywood movie, Vijay recalls approaching Radhika took courage, especially since he didn’t know her name.

“Despite initial reservations from our families, Radhika and I remained steadfast in our commitment to each other,” says Vijay. Navigating a long-distance relationship while pursuing our careers strengthened our bond. Our shared love for Bollywood, an integral part of our journey, inspired me to craft a proposal that mirrored the grandeur of the films we cherished.”

The courtship period for them has been full of ups and downs. Vijay explains, “We have had great days and bad days, as long distance was not easy before the current technology boost.” Their marriage took place during the lockdown, in 2020 in Dubai in a very small, intimate wedding setting. “We had planned for a destination wedding in Goa, one of my favourite places, but had to call that off after many logistical problems during Covid,” says Vijay.

“The proposal unfolded in five acts, each representing a letter of Radhika’s name. “R-adda” resonated with Bollywood music, “Al Seef Corniche” held memories of our numerous dates, while Downtown Dubai marked the place where we first met on her birthday. A helicopter ride, symbolised by the letter “H,” added an exhilarating touch. And of course, “I” had to signify our beloved alma mater, the Indian High School, where we etched countless memories. We have been married more than three years now, and it has been the best years of our lives so far.”

The formula for a happy married life: Radhika believes a successful marriage is always to be best friends and enjoy every experience together, be it work, home management, or travel. For Vijay, the formula is as simple as it is ageless — a happy wife means a happy life.

Nida Ansari and Raj Dhakan

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Hailing from different communities and observing different religions, UAE couple Nida Ansari and Raj Dhakan opted to get legally married in Tbilisi in Georgia, before hosting their wedding reception in Dubai
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Indian couple Nida Ansari and Raj Dhakan’s first coffee date was at Starbucks on Shaikh Zayed Road, a meeting where they hoped to break the ice and get to know one another. Initially connecting on social media, they added each other as friends on Facebook and Instagram through a mutual friend’s account. They then started chatting over WhatsApp and Instagram before deciding to meet in person.

Nida remembers the first coffee date all too well, as a funny incident anchors memories to the day. Recalling the event Nida says, “There was this guy selling heart-shaped keychains who came up to Raj and me and he said, “You can buy this for your girlfriend”. Little did we know that his words would actually come true just a few days later. The keychain man, coffee at Starbucks, they all possibly played their parts, for Nida and Raj have been happily married around three years now.

Not the ones to rush into marriage, the couple did date each other for four long years before deciding to tie the knot. Nida says, “The most challenging time was during Covid, when we couldn’t see each other for two to three months (one lived in Dubai and the other in Sharjah). “That’s when our love got more robust and we knew we couldn’t stay apart,” says Nida with a happy shrug.

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Polar opposites when coming to behavioural traits, Raj and Nida believe they vibe off each other’s differences, and they do it well

Coming from different religions, it was also difficult for Nida and Raj to get legally married in Dubai. So as Covid restrictions eased, the couple decided to get on a plane and fly to Tbilisi, Georgia to get legally married. D-day – August 12 in 2021.

“When we came back, we started looking for venues to host our wedding reception for close family and friends,” says Raj. The 31-year-old, born and raised in Sharjah is a digital marketer by day and a well-known DJ by night, going by the sobriquet, DJ ACE.

“I think what clicked between the both of us was that in mannerisms we were polar opposites, but still vibed off each other’s differences. While one is usually hyper, the other brings a sense of calm to the relationship.” Raj is careful not to identify who is hyper and who is calm, though. Wise man.

But he does drop a hint or two. “As much as I love to go out and meet my friends, Nida is the complete opposite, preferring to relax at home, order food and watch a movie.” Physicality mattered for the lovely couple as did social mannerisms. So while Nida fell in love with his big eyes, Raj fell in love with her dimples. But what actually makes this lovely couple click?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula in marriage, says Raj, but he does believe observing a few basic principles goes a long way in keeping that spark alive — the principles of communication, trust, respect and compromise.

“These are just some of the things we try to maintain in our relationship.”

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Jose Reber

Jose Reber is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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