SA Weddings

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Mina Levchenko

Married on Dec 18, 2019 in Western Cape


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Magical Moments


What started as the wildest idea, convincing all of our family and friends from around the world to travel to far-flung Goa, India soon became a dream, and then a very beautiful reality.

Our wedding day was not simply a day, but a week in what we call Palolem paradise, surrounded by palm-fringed beaches and emerald waters, the fragrance of curry and sounds of chanting from temples filling the air, where cows come to the beach to marvel at the sunset- a truly magical and completely different place to anywhere our bridal tribe had been before.

Our highlights have to be the venue itself, Sundowner- a secluded beach bar that becomes an island at high tide (so yes, our transport to the wedding were boats), which is surrounded by the sea, boasting the most spectacular sunset. Our sunset ceremony, which was held in the yoga shala, looking out over the sea, enclosed with hanging jasmine flowers, together with the ceremony itself, as my husband and I wrote the entire ceremony from scratch. We included various traditions, from a Hindu blessing, where 7 blessings were recited and with each blessing, us taking a step, while being bound and with my husband being Russian, a bread breaking tradition, where the person who breaks the biggest piece of bread is the 'boss' for 24 hours, along with the breaking of champagne glasses. Then the speeches, which were just so beautiful, honest and funny and then all of the dancing under the moon and stars with our feet in the sand, followed by a skinny dip with all the women at the wedding just after our 12pm fireworks show.

The Honeymoon


We went to Thailand, it being quite close to India and travelled to various islands offering different experiences.

From wild Koh Lanta, which is fairly untouched, staying in the most incredible private beach villa, equipped with our own personal Jacuzzi, to a cliff-hanging resort in the jungle in Railay.

Wedding Gallery


My Special Day

I'd like to think of my look as part class, part Bohemian glam and part Indian dazzle & festival fun.

My dress was tight-fitting and clean cut, hugging all the right areas, accentuated with a dazzling, handcrafted beaded top for some flair, texture and movement. My shoes were all about making a statement and being playful, as I only wore them for the ceremony and pictures- ALL the bling and glitter.

No lingerie was needed :)

My jewellery was made up of a single headchain in the same beading as my top, a pair of diamond studs that my hubby gave me as a pre-wedding gift and my grandmother's sapphire ring.

Hair was a simple low bun and makeup was minimalistic with big lashes and red lips.

My dress was created by the very talented Rene:

Rene H Couture

Rene H Couture

Western Cape Couture designer Rene Heydon believes that every bride deserves her very own bespoke handcrafted wedding gown on her wedding day

The Venue

Sundowner, Palolem, Goa, India.

My Bridal Beauty Regime

Lots of yoga and weight training in the morning and time in the sun working on a bronzed glow.

Wedding Elements

Decor was really important to us but with the naturally incredible backdrop we already had, we needed to take this into consideration.

It's difficult to pinpoint one specific theme, pops of rich colours and textures on muted tones with lots of brass and gold were the main colours used. A little Bollywood inspo paired with a Moroccan vibe was the backdrop for the reception and table settings, with a canopy of fairy lights and lots of lanterns hanging overhead. The ceremony space definitely had a delicate, boho sentiment and feel.

We created a canopy of Indian-inspired, colourful, hand-woven, material umbrellas above the welcome space where we served pina coladas in coconuts and for the picture wall. These umbrellas were then given as gifts to the guests.

My Groom And His Groomsmen

The groom wore a cream coloured, linen suit, paired with a baby blue shirt and dark blue waistcoat.

The groomsmen wore cream coloured shorts with white shirts and fedoras.

Beautiful Bridesmaids

My bridetribe wore bronze, sequins tank tops from YDE and cream coloured, wide leg, Palazzo pants from Zara.

Shoes were optional :) Bindis were not.

Marriage Officer

One of the groomsmen, Jon was our officiate.

My Captured Moments

We were incredibly lucky to have a few very talented friends taking photos, drone shots & videos of the entire wedding week and wedding, as well as two wedding photographers on the day.

The Wedding Planner

We did have a wedding planner assisting us with the wedding and welcome dinner, based in Goa:

Wedding Transport

Our wedding transport were long-tail boats.

Food & Cake

Sundowner prepared all of the Spanish tapas and Indian food for mains- two different types of curry with garlic naan and salads, as well as tandoori Kingfisher and 12pm pizzas. Bella Italia prepared our melanzane parmigiana as our fist dish and our mandala pattered, chocolate with vanilla frosting cupcakes.

Wedding Stationery

One of our art director groomsman designed our stationary/signage and we printed it in India.

The Reception and Entertainment

Musical entertainment for the wedding started with a traditional tabla and sitar duo playing melodic sounds as people arrived, a carefully curated playlist for cocktail hour and dinner, followed by a live DJ set by one of our friends.

We did take dance lessons with Sensagria Dance. Our first dance was split in two- first a slow dance to Chis Issack, Wicked Games and then we broke out into a sultry salsa to Despacito.

We also had a dazzling 12pm fireworks show on the beach.

Wedding Services Used

Rene H Couture

Rene H Couture

Western Cape Couture designer Rene Heydon believes that every bride deserves her very own bespoke handcrafted wedding gown on her wedding day