Sunday, 26 February 2017 07:51

Destination Wedding On Your Mind?

This blog post started off with a bet with my aunts that I thought I was going to lose. My mum’s three sisters are hopelessly addicted to soaps especially saas-bahu serials. When they are watching it, heaven help you if you so much as sneeze. I’m not kidding. 

So, when I got a message from my other half saying that he was okay with my plans for our destination wedding. I screamed in delight! And all hell broke loose. It took my aunts 15 minutes to understand that everything was okay. It took another 15 minutes for my mother and me to explain what a destination wedding was.  

“Surely your TV actors have destination weddings?” I exclaimed. It was followed by a vigorous shaking of heads. “These people are not like you,” said my eldest aunt waving her finger at me. “No no no - these are good boys and good girls. They have traditional weddings in their own towns.”  I was determined to prove them wrong. And it was tough as most TV actors did prefer traditional weddings. But I did stumble across these ones!

Rajat Tokas and Shrishti Nayyar 

These two had my dream destination wedding: Jagmandir Palace in Udaipur. For those of you not in the know, Rajat plays Akbar in the TV show Jodha Akbar. My youngest aunt finds him very good looking. The wedding was a four-day affair in which the palace was booked for the family. Very romantic!

 

Archana Vijaya and Dheeraj Puri

What happens when a Bong beauty wants to get married to her boyfriend of two years? They go to Thailand (this is the destination that my other half and I are thinking of). It was a spectacular beach wedding at Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa - about an hour away from Pattaya on Thailand’s east coast.

 

Nigaar Khan and Khayyam Sheikh 

My aunts were quite heartbroken when they thought that Nigaar Khan would disappear from our screens. Supermodel and TV’s favourite vamp, Nigaar got married to her Abu Dhabi based boyfriend in 2015. The two tied the knot at a destination wedding in Dubai. The wedding photos are spectacular and were released on Instagram (something that I am planning to do too).

 

Sanaya Irani and Mohit Sehgal

These guys got married in Goa - my all time favorite holiday place. What I loved about their destination wedding is that they got married on a private beach in January 2015. I loved the fact that they posed for photos with a beautiful sunset behind them.

 

 

Divyanka Tripathi and Vivek Dhiya

Why have your wedding and reception in one city? Do it TV style and have it in two. That’s what Divyanka and Vivek did. The two had met on the sets of Ye Hai Mohabbatein (I know my TV because of my aunts)! The wedding was at Bhopal while the reception was in Vivek’s hometown, Chandigarh. The photos looked really elaborate and they are a stunning couple.

 

 

Okay - I’m armed with my information now. Time to go and talk to my aunts before their serials start!

Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 05:15

Neil Nitin Mukesh’s Destination Wedding Diaries

If you wish for a grand destination wedding that has all the ingredients of a blockbuster film such as grand sets, impressive entry, peppy music, plan something striking like the recent Bollywood celebrity wedding. The Prem Ratan Dhan Payo actor Neil Nitin Mukesh had a big fat destination wedding to a Mumbai based girl Rukmini Sahay at Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur. With close to 500 guests in attendance, it was a festive extravaganza from Feb 6-9, 2017.

Entire Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur comprising of 245 rooms and suites were booked and transformed into a private bungalow, ready for a Big Fat Indian Wedding.

 

Welcoming the Guests 

Neil, the groom, coming from the third generation of a film background had three crazy days of song, dance, fun and celebrations. The wedding festivity began with the welcoming of the guests in Indian style with classical flute, dhol and rose petal showers.

All functions were beautifully planned at different venues of the hotel. Neil is a lover of the azure blue water and royal heritage and hence the venue seemed a perfect fit for his creative sensibilities.

 

Engagement Ceremony 

The pre-wedding celebrations kick started with a fairy-tale themed engagement ceremony. The colour and the set up such as Chandeliers, lace, pearls and cherry blossom trees went in co-ordination with the theme.

 

Day of Fun and Frolic - Mehendi 

Mehendi is a symbol of colour and vibrancy adding to the festivity. Similarly, a colourful ethnic decor, crepe drapes in pink, orange and yellow contrasts brought the venue ‘Udai Chowk’ alive against the majestic backdrop of Sajjangarh Fort and the Aravalli ranges around. 

 

Evening to Rock and Roll - Sangeet 

The evening progressed with an electro-disco themed Sangeet. At Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur, they boast extra ordinary event facilities possessing largest pillarless banquet hall in the state. The cocktail soiree took place in the Verdant Gardens.

The D-Day: Wedding 

Neil Nitin Mukesh and Rukmini Sahay tied the knot in a traditional Hindu style at the ‘Rooftop dome’ of the hotel overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake, Aravallis, and the Sajjan Garh Fort. The Rajwada set up had 14ft tall marshals and exotic flowers to add to the décor. Following the truly royal style, Neil came in a red vintage car and Rukmini in a doli.

 

All 3 days the Hi-Teas were held by the lake at Aangan Lounge. Their personal stories found its space in the entire décor and vibe.

Feasting

Culinary experiences were designed by the Radisson Blu Palace Chefs to serve an exquisite menu with a mix of local specialties and international flavours. For the Cocktail Dinner Celebrity Michelin star Italian and Spanish chefs were specially flown down to create some molecular gastronomy.  Appetizers paired with miniature drinks, strolling live chef stations, truffle food bars and sommelier to name a few, are just some of the features. The menus for the Mehendi lunch kept the legend of Mewar in mind. For the Sangeet Evening the menu kept in mind regional cuisines. A sit down dinner for 550 guests was planned for the wedding day which was authentic Mughalai Marwari cuisine served on brass thalis with personalized napkins and cutlery.

Due justice to the gorgeous architecture of Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur and of course the natural beauty of Udaipur placed around the lakes and in the Aravali Mountains.

*Picture courtesy The Wedding Story and Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 29 January 2017 04:52

Packing Hacks for Destination Weddings

My friend Preeti got married in Bali a few years ago. It was just as her invitation promised: “lots of dancing and fun in an exotic location”. The scenery was picture perfect: a newly married couple in paradise dancing as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

 

A few months ago, when I was planning my own wedding, I happened to bump into Preeti rather unexpectedly. My other half and I were thinking about a destination wedding since our families live in different cities. A wedding mid way with our closest family and friends present seemed perfect. 

 

“What do you mean you haven’t got a packing list yet?” Preeti demanded when I told her of our plans.

 

That’s when I realized the most important rule of packing for a destination wedding: start early.

Travel In Style

I love how cool and collected celebs look when they travel. I always pack clothes that are comfortable and stylish just in case I can photo bomb a celeb. If you’re travelling by air, wear comfortable shoes: water retention can be your worst enemy. I swear that my feet swell - even on short-haul flights.

There are going to be lots of photos taken while you travel, it is your wedding after all. So remember to smile.

Wedding Dresses

 

Never, ever check in your wedding dress or his if you are flying. I remember a distressed bride-to-be in Delhi wailing that her suitcase with her lehenga and shoes had not arrived. Always carry your wedding dress, underwear, shoes, make-up and accessories in hand luggage. Jewellery and expensive items should always be in hand luggage. I take along sample sized perfumes and moisturizers when travelling - any liquid under 100 ml can be carried in hand luggage. If you are having a separate reception, do remember to pack your outfit with you. 

A tracksuit or a bathrobe is great for hanging out in while your hair and make up is done for your wedding/reception. There will be photos taken - so be warned! You can take more casual clothes if staying longer but do make sure that they are pretty - as you are the star of the show!

Documents

 

Keep your passport handy if travelling. If you are getting married in a different country, then check their marriage document requirement list as soon as possible. Different countries have different rules - did you know that the UK even has a separate visa for couples planning destination weddings?

 

Medicine

Check with your doctor if you’re going overseas. It’s always better to get your medication locally - even if you are travelling within India. If you wear contact lenses, make sure you have enough lenses and solution. I hate coming down to the last strip and then realizing that I need to beg the optician for more asap.

Gadgets 

Remember your charger and any wires you have. I’ve had trips where I’ve forgotten chargers for my phone or laptop. Now, I put all my wires in a mesh bag in my hand luggage. Mission accomplished!

Also, if you’re travelling overseas, an international adapter is invaluable. Some hotels do have them. But I was at a posh Australian hotel last year - with not a single international adapter to be found. So be warned.

Phew! That’s it from me. I am sure that you are probably a lot more organized than I am. I’m so glad that I got Preeti to help me, so I will let you know how things work out. In the meantime, plan early and enjoy one of the happiest days of your life!

Published in Blogs
Saturday, 14 January 2017 08:28

Say I Do At The Southern Tip

Lights at dusk, swaying coconut trees

Laughter carried by a soft summer breeze

Exchanging garlands lightly scented

The story of my wedding - and how we planned it

 

I admit that I’m the quirky romantic of all my friends. I was the first to put up my hand when it came to the person who didn’t want to get married. I wasn’t against the idea of marriage - I’d had my share of relationships - some wonderful and others, cringe worthy (in hindsight). It was probably that I’d not met the right person then.

 

It was a sultry summer’s afternoon when I’d gone into a new cafe that had opened not far from my office. It was crowded inside - and on an impulse, I decided to order a South Indian filtered coffee. Two minutes later, I heard a deep voice say: “Do you mind if I sit here?”. My eyes looked up to the biggest smile I’d ever seen. Two hours later, we were still laughing and talking. And two years, later we were talking about getting married. 

  

It did take some convincing to get my family to come around to a South Indian destination wedding. For us, there was no other option to symbolize how we’d met.  

Of course, my girlfriends were over the moon. Sometimes I think that they are more excited about planning my wedding than I am! We came up with plans based on our experiences:

 

Hyderabad - Taj Falakuna

 

I love Hyderabad. The gardens, mysterious past, mansions of yore - and of course, my love for biryani.  

I was lucky to stay at the Taj Falaknuma with my friend Divya a few years ago. To say it is beautiful is an understatement. The colours, the architecture, the beautifully manicured gardens still take my breath away.  

I’d love for my wedding to be outdoors - there are beautiful Rajasthani gardens that would be perfect for our families. 

  

 

Chikamanglur

 

Nicole, a friend from Bangalore, let me in on this secret destination for quirky brides. “You guys met over coffee, so why not get married on a coffee estate?” she suggested one afternoon as we were shopping. 

Needless to say I loved the idea. She recommended a resort called ‘The Serai’. The only hitch was it was 250 km from Bangalore. But she did say that roads were smooth and buses were easy to rent out. Plus, the view at the resort was breathtaking. The other plus was that our guests could go coffee picking or visit heritage sites close to the resort. 

 

 

Mahabalipuram

 

“Underwater temples and a beach wedding? Is that even possible?” My mouth was so wide open that my friend Ash said he could see my fillings. This was the wedding that our parents would love (the temples) and we’d enjoy (the beaches).  

Apparently, we’d be able to have our pre-wedding ceremonies on the beach and exchange our vows at a temple. Of course, knowing my planning skills, Ash recommended that we use a wedding planner at one of the five-stars or resorts. 

 

 

 

Kerala

 No list would be complete without Kerala. But to be honest I am torn, when it comes to choosing where to get married here. The idea of a fun-filled beach wedding in Kovalam in five-star luxury appeals to me just as a serene backwater ceremony at Kumarakom with migratory birds (and family) as our witnesses.

 

 

 

That’s what we have on our lists for now. Decisions, decisions! I could do with some coffee to make up my mind

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 27 December 2016 09:32

7 Reasons To Have A Destination Wedding

There was a problem with my wedding plans. I knew it the second I walked in through the door. 

My mum and future mother-in-law were sitting on the sofa together.

 

“We have a problem with your venue  - it’s too small,” said my mother as soon as she saw me. 

My mouth dropped open when I saw the guest list in her hand. It was as thick as a report I’d handed in two weeks ago. 

“We must invite the Sinhas, Methas and the Kapoors,” insisted my mother-in-law to be.

 

Sometimes I wondered whose wedding it was. It seemed like the guest list was getting bigger by the day.

We had started with 30 people and now it had ballooned into over 500. 

The Other Half was annoyed when I told him.

“Hey..” he said gently holding my hands. “Let’s elope to someplace exotic. You always wanted a beach wedding.”

Something clicked in my brain. “How about a destination wedding?” I volunteered.

A smile spread across his face. “Let’s do it!” he said. We both knew that it would be tough work convincing our mums. But we decided to give it a shot.

Location

We’re both free spirits and the thought of having our wedding anywhere in the world appealed to us. Given our budgets, we both loved the idea of a private beach wedding in Goa. I’d prefer Bora Bora - but a girl’s got to be practical!

It Is Different

This is the point that won my mother and his mother over. No one in their circle had had a destination wedding before. We both loved that our wedding would be memorable - not to mention beautiful photographs to capture the day!

 

Fuss Free

The other half and I have busy lives. We decided to get a wedding planner at the resort to help us. His name is Hemant and he is simply the best! I say so with my experience with him. He responds to emails very promptly and gives great suggestions. He’s even given us the option of a theme wedding. It’s so much easier than dealing with my mother!

 

Select Guest List

A wedding is highly personal for us - regardless of what my mother thinks. We wanted to spend time with people close to us. We’ve decided to go with a three-day event with immediate family and a few family friends.

 

Holiday In A Place You Love

Both my dad and the other half’s haven’t had a holiday for ages. We wanted them and our guests to be able to enjoy themselves in a place that they have fond memories of. We’re going to include some sightseeing around Old Goa and optional massages as part of our wedding.

 

Save On Costs

Contrary to what I thought - our destination wedding came out to be cheaper than our mothers’ extravangza. We are planning to get married on a Thursday as opposed to a weekend when it’s more expensive.

Early Honeymoon

We are planning to stay on for a few days after the guests leave. Hemant’s managed to get us a room upgrade for our wedding night and a reduced room rate for a mini honeymoon (he refers to it as a 'mini moon').

 

Whatever it’s called, I’m over the moon with our wedding plans. I just wish that we’d thought of it earlier and saved ourselves from so much stress!

Published in Blogs