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How to tailor made your destination wedding in India to suit your budget

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Whether you dream of a palace or haveli, sand dunes or beach, villa or beach shack, fort or lakeside, tea gardens or atop a hill, there are tremendous many options to choose from for your dream destination wedding in India.

However we have seen that destinations majorly remain the same – Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan with Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner. Of course there are couples who would like to go with little off beat destinations like Andaman, Lakshadweep, Srinagar etc.

While planning a destination wedding in India, the first query couples tackle is to decide on budget and city. They want to know if the location would alter their budget. If going for a different destination can lessen the cost or going for a more favoured one can increase the overall costing, for the same wedding. In a nut shell, they wish to cost of a destination wedding in India.

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Well we intend and endeavour to answer your queries with this article. Hopefully through the end of it, your doubts will be put to bed.

Each of us, the wedding planners, will have a different perspective and take on this and we do welcome comments! Here’s ours on cost of a destination wedding in India.

JAIPUR

Let’s start with Jaipur, the pink city. Whether you are looking for luxury heritage hotels like Taj Jai Mahal, Raj Palace Hotel or luxury modern hotels like Fairmont Jaipur, Shiv Vilas, Lebua Resort Jaipur (earlier Devi Ratn) or heritage havelis like Diggi Palace and Khandela Haveli; the city has something to please everyone. And then there are the ones like Taj Rambagh Palace which are a league of their own.

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Image Credit – Studio WotMot

If you would like a budget wedding, you can opt for smaller havelis for stay and do the wedding events at let’s say Taj Jai Mahal Palace’s gorgeous Baraadari lawns or poolside or royal and cozy banquets of ITC Rajputana.

And if you don’t mind loosening your purse strings a little, okay a little more than little, go for Lebua Resort, Fairmont or Le Meridien. However we would like to point out they are located at outskirts and are at a good 30 to 45 minutes drive from the city.

Logistically speaking Jaipur is a small city. Almost all suppliers can be sourced easily and even if you want something which you think might not be available in tier 2 city, Delhi is just five hours drive away!

Sightseeing is a delight in Jaipur with forts like Nahrgarh, Jaigarh and places like HawaMahal, City Palace etc, so you don’t have to worry one bit about the entertainment of guests.

We always tell our clients that it is the easiest destination both logistics and resources wise.

UDAIPUR

Udaipur is a jewel of Rajasthan. The USP of this city is lakes, lakes and lakes. Luxury hotels like Taj Lake Palace and Jagmandir Island are located by the famous Lake Pichola. While hotels like Chunda Palace and Radisson Blu Udaipur overlook Fateh Sagar, a relatively bigger lake. In Udaipur, only a handful of hotels overlook lakes, so plan accordingly.

Image Credit - Dolls of India.
Image Credit – Dolls of India.

Accommodation here must be given a special attention. Unlike Jaipur, smaller hotels in Udaipur are located in narrow and long lanes. In some lanes, coaches can’t even enter. If you have a big gathering and you are thinking of dividing your guests in smaller hotels, think again as it is not really logistically viable.

Therefore, when in Udaipur, we suggest you go for a residential wedding. A few guests could stay at haveli or smaller heritage hotels but you could have a major chunk staying at one hotel like Radisson, Chunda, Trident etc and do events at the same hotel.

Another thing to be taken into consideration is that not all hotels in Udaipur have big enough venues to host weddings. For example Taj Lake Palace and Leela Udaipur, which needless to mention are incredibly gorgeous, are primarily accommodation properties hence more appropriate for intimate weddings. For bigger gatherings, we suggest you opt for venues like Jag Mandir or Zenana Mahal in conjunction with accommodation properties aforementioned.

Then there is the curious case of Devigarh, located at the outskirts of the city, an exquisite property however not overlooking the lake. If you have chosen Devigarh as your wedding venue, perhaps for one of the evenings you could arrange for drinks and tea at Taj Lake Palace rooftop terrace followed by sit down dinner at Leela (or vice versa). This way you and your guests could enjoy the best of both worlds!

In addition, finding a good makeup artist could get a little tricky in Udaipur. It is easier for your MUA to drive down from Delhi to Jaipur but not really to Udaipur. So for Udaipur, MUA could come either from Delhi or Mumbai or even Jaipur, in whichever case it means an added cost unless you are going for a DIY makeup. Same goes for the photographer. There are quite a few options for Décor, so you don’t need to worry on that part. But you will have to fly in your MUA, photographer, videographer and DJ etc from Delhi or Jaipur.

It is much the same for destinations like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner.

GOA

Goa is perhaps an Ideal wedding destination, especially for NRI’s destination weddings. It has both international and domestic airport, direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad etc. Plus Goa is always happening. 🙂

Image Credit - Prashant Miranda.
Image Credit – Prashant Miranda

Now speaking money wise. Goans don’t really like to negotiate, if we may say. Generally speaking, in Goa and Kerala or say most of South India, pricing is pretty straightforward and transparent, which is a good thing. You don’t have to haggle and are confident that the quality is best and supplier is confident of his pricing and his work. Nothing makes a wedding planner happier than suppliers like these.

As for hotels, there are all categories of hotels ranging from three star to five star luxury. You can always find a hotel that fits your budget and expectations. In four star we recommend Royal Orchid, Kenilworth etc. And then there are hotels like Park Hyatt Goa and Leela Goa which literally epitomizes luxury and are droolworthy properties.

There is no dearth of good suppliers in Goa whether MUA or photographer or DJ or florist. But please don’t expect Bhangra dancers in Goa. Even if we arrange them we doubt if they would be really good and they will charge exorbitant amounts. So when in Goa, think Goan folk dance and let the feni flow.

And if you have always dreamt of arriving on an elephant at your wedding, be prepared to shell a bomb. As compared to Rajasthan it costs triple or quadruple or even more. To give you a rough idea, it costs around 1000 USD and add to that government permissions etc though those can always be managed.

On budget or want a really relaxed wedding, we say go for a beach shack wedding. They are a big hit with the foreigners and the whole look and feel of it is tremendously cool. They are superb for a warm and intimate wedding. Please don’t expect the luxury treatment here because if that’s what you are looking for, you could have chosen a five star property by the beach. But if you want to be on a beach all the time and listen to waves, beach shack it is for you.

We also love villas like Aashyana Lakhanpal. If you have a small gathering and are looking for an independent place for a week’s time, villa wedding would be great.

In a nutshell, Goa is an excellent wedding destination because it is feasible to do weddings in all kinds of budget.

KERALA

Our favourite hands down. Not only is this place incredibly beautiful but well connected too, with two international airports at Trivandrum and Cochin. Kovalam (with beaches) and Kumarakom (with backwaters) are hot wedding destinations in Kerala which are easily accessible.

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Image Credit – Arosh Thevadathil

You could choose from a decent four star hotels like Udaysamudra, Backwater Ripples, or from five star properties like Zuri Kumarkom, Leela Kovalam or from insanely luxurious ones like Lalit Bekal. And then you could go for independent island hotels. Kerala has something for everyone.

But then again, please don’t expect typical Bollywood Indian Shaadi band, horse carriage, dhol players etc. It is Kathakalli, Shingarimelam, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kakaripayattu that makes Kerala so magical. Your wedding will be extraordinaire with any of these elements. We suggest go for Panchvadyam or ShingariMelam in lieu of typical Indian Shaadi bands. We love Kerala and its rich culture and chances are so would you.

Also as wedding planners we love Kerala for its punctuality, an otherwise difficult trait to find in India. If you want a set to be ready by 7 am, it will be by 6:55. Keralites are always on time. At least our suppliers are!

Sightseeing doesn’t get any more beautiful and awe inspiring as this. You could lounge in a houseboat and see backwaters or visit nearby places like Allepey or do a wildlife sightseeing at Periyar or explore the hills and tea gardens in Munnar.

The supplier’s bit is somewhat tricky. Makeup artists are expensive here and if you are not in the main city, add to this is the transportation cost, which is a lot, like Goa. Décor wise, Kerala is awesome. Flower quality is really good as compared to other destinations and one of the best when it comes to Indian flowers like roses, mogra, rajnigandha etc.

Talk about elephants, it is similar to that of Goa. You want to arrive on an elephant, big bucks. Period! Having said that, Keralites deck up their elephants and how, as if to walk them down for a beauty pageant. It is quite a sight to arrive on an ornate elephant. We promise your guests would be in awe for a while.

BOTTOM LINE

More than the city or destination or hotel it is your budget and the logistics which are decisive.

You may get one thing cheap in Rajasthan like elephant but other elements expensive when compared to the quality. You may get a lovely band in Goa but might need to fly someone in Udaipur for similar experience. Irrespective of the city, the wedding budget somehow gets averaged out.

Jaipur and Udaipur are top wedding destinations in Rajasthan as they suit all budgets and are well connected. Likewise for Goa and Kerala.

And don’t forget the general rule: opting for a wedding in lean season could always help bring down the cost. The rates of the luxury hotels are slashed by almost 35% in off season which is from April to August. Timing is imperative!

It is important to have real expectations from your planner (with fixated budget). We are super beings but only with so many powers!

You know it would be ridiculous to expect a five star luxury wedding if your room per night budget for stay is INR 8000. But you can always go for a four star in this amount.

Well, we think you shouldn’t be taking this much stress. Instead hire a good wedding planner like us and drop off all your worries!

So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pass on the to-do-list to us while you enjoy your most special day with your loved ones. The first step to that is submitting your query to us, and the rest we will happily take care of.

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