Fancy having a destination wedding in India? But, confused with the plethora of options available. Here is a list of 5 of my favourite destination wedding locations, that are not only beautiful, but are also easy to get to. I have photographed some really beautiful weddings at these destinations. Here are some notes that would help you pick the best location for your destination wedding.
1. GOA – THE MOST AWESOME DESTINATION WEDDING LOCATION IN INDIA
I love Beaches. Photographing a wedding in Goa is always a treat. It’s a mixed bag of Breathtaking sunsets, Beautiful resorts, Churches, Portuguese architecture, Old monuments, Beaches, Greens, Mountains, Unpredictable skies, rain and the freedom to be away from the crowds – all at one place. It helps me create a variety of pictures – from Fun pre-wedding pictures at the beach, to some postcards around the monuments & resorts and some really mushy-romantic pictures at sunset. Being in Goa, at a beach resort also makes sure your traditional ceremonies get a fabulous tropical-look in the background.
Advantages of hosting a destination wedding in Goa: Be it monsoons, or winter – you will have great weather, with a slight mix of unpredictability. Cloudy skies to clear blue skies, Heavy showers to hot spells – chances are you will get a mix of all of this over your wedding weekend.
Logistics: Most couples choose to have a destination wedding at a single resort like Park Hyatt. The 200+ portugese style villas take you away from the typical city/banquet wedding mindset. Huge Pools & several activities can keep you busy during the non-ceremony hours. Proximity to the airport, a private beach, wonderful hospitality (including an in-house wedding planning team), great location surrounded by Goan restaurants & shacks, and premium hotels & bungalows in walking distance to host additional guests/staff at the last minute.
For even bigger weddings, the Bride & Groom can have their families stay separately in two resorts which are not far from each other – say, Taj Exotica & Park Hyatt. Giving them a similar experience, plus the excitement of hopping from one resort to the other for different combined events like Sangeet, Wedding, Reception etc. and hosting independent ceremonies like Mehendi, Haldi in their respective resorts.
What to Keep in Mind: It can rain anytime – so double-check weather forecasts. Travel time if hopping resorts – If you have cars doing multiple rounds – this could mean 1-2hrs to transport 200 people from one resort to the other. Golf carts for intra-resort transit – Limited golf-carts might mean that guests will have to wait during the rush-ceremony hours or will have to walk to the beach. 10pm shut-down time for Shacks & Events which have Music – Which means that you would need to host after-parties Indoors.
Best Time of the Year to host an event: All year long. Nov-Jan (perfect weather), Oct & Feb (slightly warm), March-May (unpredictable, hot & rainy, perfect for indoor weddings with outdoor fun activities – you would get the best deals during these months), June-September (Monsoon, crazy rains, Goa at its ‘Green’ best)
2. MUSSOORIE – SAY ‘I DO’ ATOP OF THE QUEEN OF HILLS
Advantages of hosting a destination wedding in Mussoorie: Superb Weather & a wonderful change of environment for those staying in Metros in the West & South.
Logistics: Dehradoon is the main city with an airport & a railway station, which is about 50kms (2hrs away by road). It is a scenic drive from New Delhi, and I would highly recommend taking a Volvo or booking a convoy of vehicles for the duration – it makes things really easy.
What to Keep in Mind: The weather change on any particular day can be really drastic. So you would need to plan to dress up in layers. The Afternoon can get really warm in the sun, while still cold in the shade. And the evenings are perfect for bon-fire guitar sessions & some chai or whiskey.
Best Time of the Year to host an event: Early-April To mid-July is the perfect time to be in the Hills. Dec-Feb are the Snow months, and great if you want a crazy-cold-snowy wedding (and are ready to dare the road-blocks). Late-July – September are the rainy monsoon months and best avoided.
3. UDAIPUR – THE CITY OF LAKES & A HOT SPOT FOR BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDINGS
Palaces, Castles, Lakes & sheer Luxury. That is what Udaipur truly is. Udaipur is also known as the ‘Kashmir of Rajasthan’ – it might sound cheesy, but it truly is the most romantic Oasis in India. I will leave it on the pictures to do the talking.
Advantages of hosting a destination wedding in Udaipur: Clear blue skies, fairy-tale palaces, temples & gardens, narrow lanes strewn with stalls, and the glory of the Rajasthan state surrounded by the lush hills of Aravalis, mirror reflection of the beauty in Lake Pichhola – Making udaipur a fascinating blend of sight, sound & experiences. There is so much to do in Udaipur, and you will have the advantage of keeping the guests busy with Tours & Activities throughout the day.
The Baraat taking the water-route to reach the Wedding destination is something that you will not be able to do anywhere else in India.
Logistics: Udaipur is well connected by air with Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other major cities. You can choose to have a quaint wedding in the most beautiful property in the middle of Lake Pichhola – Taj Lake Palace. It has about 75 rooms & suites, and is perfect for a close-family wedding.
For Bigger wedding parties, You can choose to have two hotels – say Leela Palace & the Trident to host about 350 guests, and have separate ceremonies at different venues. It adds to the Flavor of being around the lake – when you use the Boats to hop from one resort to the other – the mere 5-10minutes on the lake are both picturesque and relaxing!
What to Keep in Mind: Udaipur has really narrow lanes leading to most of the hotels
Best Time of the Year to host an event: September – March are the most pleasant months, with bright sunny days & cool evenings perfect to relax by the lake or on top of a hill. The summer is unbearable and best avoided.