Story and photos by Haley Shandro of Shandro Photo
When Shanika and Abir met, Abir was working as an intern at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in Brisbane, Australia in the Psychiatry ward, and Shanika had just started her Psychiatry placement as a third-year medical student in the same ward. Their impressions of each other when they first met were quite the opposite of how they actually feel about each other now. However, their senior colleagues felt that they had a ‘natural chemistry’ and that chemistry developed into a relationship a year later, once they got to know each other better outside of work.
Abir proposed on Shanika’s birthday weekend. He surprised her by organizing a romantic date night at the Stanford Plaza in Brisbane, which is situated near the Brisbane River and the Botanical Gardens. The evening started off with a Seafood Buffet Dinner near the river (Shanika’s favorite cuisine), followed by a drive to Mt. Coot-tha, which is where the couple had one of our first dates. Mt. Coot-tha is a lookout point in Brisbane that showcases beautiful panoramic views of Brisbane city. Abir’s original plan was to propose to Shanika on top of Mt. Coot-tha; however, due to the overwhelming number of people that were there that night, he ended up taking me back to their hotel room which had stunning views of the Brisbane river, rose petals placed all over the room, along with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (also her favorite), where he got on one knee and proposed.
The couple planned their wedding all the way from Australia! Shanika had attended medical school there, and along the way, she fell in love with Abir. Family is very important to both of them, and so they decided to celebrate their wedding on both continents. That way everyone that they love could join in! The Australian delegation that attended the Sri Lankan wedding in Edmonton was so much fun! And it was great to see Shanika celebrating with her family here after having been away.
The Hotel Mac is one of the most gorgeous venues in Edmonton and I was delighted to work there so many times this summer.