I know a lot of my friends think that destination weddings are really lavish affairs. Let’s face it: weddings can be expensive, but when you want to hold your wedding away from home - you’d think that things may get a little complicated. So I decided to do some research into whether it was possible to have a destination wedding on a budget.  And the answer is: yes! All it takes is a little planning. So I’ve decided to share some of what I found from couples who prove that it can be done!

  

Avoid Peak Seasons

There is some good news for you guys: destination weddings are hot. This means that there’s a lot of competition between destinations - which means that you can get a good deal if you plan carefully.  One tip that wedding couples shared repeatedly is that you should avoid peak season to get the best rates.  If you are planning to get married in a resort, rates are often slashed during off season periods. So that fancy hotel that you have been hoping to hold your wedding at may be a possibility. Another bonus of travelling off season is that your ticket prices may be reduced.

  

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Discounts

One of my friends is known as the discount queen in our circle. “There is no shame in asking,” she always tells us, “the worst they can say is no.” The same goes for destination weddings. We are assuming that you are travelling as a group and most hotels (and some airlines) are happy to throw in a group discount.  Now, a friend who works at a five-star hotel reveals that there are few factors you have to consider when asking for discounts:

 i. The minimum number of nights you are expected to stay

ii. The number of confirmed guests checking in (check if your guests can afford the hotel rates first before contacting the hotel)

iii. What is included in the package (if meals are included) - and what the extras are (extra costs can be very expensive so always check first!)

iv. Ask what extra services that the hotel can throw in for free

  

Stick To A Standard Package

Your location will be stunning enough to keep the wedding decor to a minimum. Often resorts will offer standard packages and there may be other weddings apart from yours.. Stick to what’s offered in the package as extras can cost a bomb. Wedding planners at most places have catered for hundreds of weddings before yours. So the chances are that your wedding will be a special affair. Of course, you’d have to cater for your guest’s dietary requirements. Instead of spending lots of money on the decor, a friend who got married in Goa, suggests that you enjoy the natural beauty around you and the resort’s gardens. It’s your surroundings that make a destination wedding so special.

 

Plan A Weddingmoon

A “weddingmoon" is a combination of a wedding and a honeymoon. To any wedding couple, it also means saving a lot of money if you are having your wedding and honeymoon in the same location. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to explore the place you got married in and spend time with each other after your guests leave!

 

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, 21 January 2017 09:05

Why Should You have A Beach Wedding

I spent most of my childhood running around in bare feet. There was something magical about feeling springy green grass under my soles during summer or the splashing in the warmth of a puddle with my brothers after the fresh monsoon rains. 

 Of course, I’ve grown up now and graduated into stilettos and city life, but there’s still a part of me that longs for my childhood summers, nature - and wandering around in bare feet.

 On another story, my parents had been looking for a match for me for a while. “There will be no more good looking men if you wait anymore!” my mother would say.

 At that point, I had agreed to her finding someone for me just to get her off my back. 

 Two years, later, she put me in touch with Rahul, a son of a family friend. Rahul and I clicked immediately. We were both chilled out and had similar interests. More importantly (much to the shock of our families), neither of us wanted an extravagant wedding. 

 It was Rahul who came up with the idea of a beach wedding in Goa.

 

Rule #1: You have to be chilled out

If you guys are planning a beach wedding like we are, you can’t afford to be fussy. There will be sand on your wedding dress and between your perfectly manicured toes. 

If frills and sequins are your style, a beach wedding may not be. I’m sticking to a simple yet elegant salmon pink lehenga with golden sandals. So, skip the Swarovski sister and while you’re at it, ditch the high heels.

  

Rule #2: The weather is worth it

I’m a nature lover and addicted to summer. Come winter and you’ll find me clutching my blanket. What I loved about our December wedding plans is that it’s going to be warm. The sky will still be blue and we don’t have to dress in layers. 

  

Rule #3: You don’t want the world watching

 My mother initially hated this part but Rahul and I loved it. With a destination beach wedding, you won’t need to invite extended family and friends. A lot of people won’t be able to make it because of their busy schedules. 

If it’s a small and intimate wedding by the ocean you want, then this is for you. 

We ended up with a list of 25 people apart from family who mean the world to us. My favourite part about our wedding is that we get to spend time with our near and dear ones. If we’d gone for a traditional wedding, we’d only have a few hours to spend with them.

 

Rule #4: You’re up for an adventure

My family eventually warmed up to the idea of a beach wedding. From experience, it only works if your family and friends are open to doing something different.

My brothers and the other boys are excited about water sports now while the women are keen to try out massages and Goan cuisine. In fact, I heard my mother tell my aunty that the Goan beach wedding was the best idea I’d come up with!

 

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