Destination weddings are redefining India’s wedding culture, thanks to celebrities like Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Naga Chaitanya and Samantha, Nusrat Jahan and Nikhil Jain, Rajamouli’s son and Venkatesh’s daughter among others. Even Malaika Arora recently spoke about having a beach wedding. Naturally, many globe-trotting young singles are aspiring for the same.
Prominent personalities from Hyderabad are investing in ‘curated weddings’ and choosing the most exotic locales they can afford to celebrate their big day. If industrialist Satish Reddy chose Oman for his son’s engagement recently, politician CM Ramesh has opted for Dubai for his son Rithwik’s engagement this month-end. Similarly, architect Supriya Reddy has zeroed in on Langkawi for her son’s wedding next month.
An increasing number of couples are opting for destination weddings, especially as far-flung weddings are usually intimate, have less obligatory invites and more loved ones. And while there are many reasons for having a destination wedding, privacy ranks pretty high.
“Given the stature that celebrities enjoy, there is usually a long list of friends resulting in an endless guest list, so destination weddings help narrow down the attendees to only those who are extremely close to them while keeping the event private and intimate. Weddings in offbeat destinations also serve as a vacation that they are usually in dire need of,” reasons Bhavnesh Sawhney, co-founder, FB Celebrations Pvt Ltd, who curated the larger-than-life weddings of Sonam and Anand Ahuja, Poorna Patel and the Hindujas wedding in Udaipur to name a few.
“Weddings away from home also bring loved ones together in a new destination for the wedding reception, ceremonies and parties,” adds fashion designer Shraavya Reddy, who got married in Bali this year.
As you like it
With the allure of destination weddings on the rise, Indians are splashing out on trips to exotic locales, inviting friends and relatives to travel from across the globe.
“I always follow what my heart says. My son Nirnith Reddy wanted a destination wedding and hence we decided upon Langkawi. He grew up in America, and didn’t want a big wedding. That would have been impossible in India!” says architect Supriya Reddy, who adds, “After Viranica Manchu’s wedding, we decided to have a small cozy wedding. Moreover, the destination has an emotional connect as we went on our first family vacation there years ago with Nirnith’s grandfather — the late Chavva Chandrashekar Reddy”
Apart from themes, there is a steady demand for newer locations from to-be couples. “These destinations include cities such as Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, with the recent addition of Jaisalmer owing to the connectivity. Rajasthan is perfect for those who prefer the grandeur of Indian weddings while Goa is great for easy breezy weddings. Meanwhile, destinations like Turkey, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are great choices for a Middle Eastern experience, with Morocco being a recent add-on. Italy, France and Spain offer a taste of history with the vast expanse of the sea. Ultimately though, the destination is very personal to the bride and groom’s taste,” adds Bhavnesh.
Far from the madding crowd
Spending a luxurious wedding weekend in a dramatic location can often cost less than a seated dinner at a nice location in your hometown. Destination weddings don’t always mean an extravagant affair, says table tennis Olympian Neha, who is married to Shubham.
“We would have spent a similar amount here for renting out the venue and catering. We also managed to cut out of the daily routine and traffic. We opted to get married in Hua Hin, Thailand because venues in India are usually far off, and it takes guests forever to reach, even as they curse the traffic!” she says, adding, “Here, it is mostly a come-and-go show and they don’t even see the actual wedding. Our wedding in Thailand was just family and close friends, whom we could meet and greet personally.”
Cost no bar
Destination weddings are seen as fun events, which tend to bring out the bride and groom’s personalities in never-before ways, feels Shivaangi Sharma, who is married to Dutch national Danny Ghisaidoobe.
“My husband and I always wanted a relaxed beach wedding, so we got married in Phuket. It was an expensive affair but we wanted it to be an intimate affair with just friends and families. It was three days of non-stop celebrations,” says Shivaangi, the owner of an event company.