First Apprentice wedding ‘like an Alan Sugar task’

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Akshay Thakrar and Harpreet Kaur are the first Apprentice couple to wed

By Hayley Coyle
BBC News

The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur said organising her week-long wedding extravaganza was like completing a task on the show.

Harpreet and her fiancé, fellow contestant Akshay Thakrar, are the first Apprentice couple to get married and will tie the knot in June.

Harpreet, 32, won The Apprentice in 2022 but it was not until the show wrapped that romance blossomed.

She said: “The fans are so excited, some have even asked for an invite!”

Harpreet is the owner and founder of dessert parlour Oh So Yum with branches in Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford.

When she was declared the winner, Lord Sugar invested £250,000 in the venture, and Harpreet has since bought back the shares from him so she can keep creative control of the business.

But she said there were no hard feelings – and he still got an invite to the wedding, although he “politely declined because he is busy”.

Harpreet, 32, won The Apprentice in 2022

Akshay, 31, was also on the show in 2022 but it was not until after it finished that Harpreet got in touch, and they “haven’t looked back”, he said.

Less than two years later, they have bought their “dream home” in Bradford, met each other’s family and are about to get married.

The wedding celebrations include a civil ceremony in Pontefract because Harpreet wants to show Akshay’s family “up north”, followed by a traditional Indian wedding in London and a huge reception.

Harpreet told the BBC: “When you work in business you’re very capable of juggling multiple plates at once, so I found this like another Apprentice task really.

“There are so many elements to the wedding, from picking a venue to considering your guests’ travel arrangements to making sure they don’t get bored.”

Akshay, founder of betting site Tips 360, added: “There’s also the food, the finance, the timeline, even the weather… and of course the negotiations, that has been fun.”

Harpreet said she invited Lord Sugar but he politely declined as he is busy

Both Harpreet and Akshay grew up watching The Apprentice.

Harpreet said it was “surreal that love blossomed on the show” because initially they were competing against each other.

Harpreet also spoke about the challenges South Asian women faced if they wanted to set up a business or deviate from the more traditional role of raising a family.

She said: “I come from an extremely traditional background so growing up my dad always told us to study hard and go into medicine, law or banking because they are seen as well-paid jobs.

“When I first told my dad I was going to set up my own business it did not go down too well.

Akshay proposed on a London rooftop after telling Harpreet they were going to a friend’s birthday

“Opening a business is seen as a risk and in some Asian cultures it may not be seen as favourable as being a homemaker.

“My dad was proud of me because I used to be in banking and thought going into business was risky… but safe to say by the time I won The Apprentice he was super proud of me.”

Harpreet said she hoped to be a role model for other women, especially from the South Asian community, and inspire them to be confident and “chase their dreams”.

She added: “Trends are changing and our culture is becoming a lot more accepting.”

Harpreet and Akshay said that West Yorkshire was definitely going to be home for the foreseeable future – especially as it was “such a lovely place to raise a family”.

Asked if they were expecting the next generation of Apprentices in the near future, Harpreet said: “We’ll see! But we both have a few career goals and this wedding to do first!”

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