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18 Oct

Summer destination weddings in the wild

Summer weddings translate to warm weather, natural settings and a laid-back ambience. And the right destination will encompass all these aspects, making your celebration a truly special one. Nothing can be more soothing than the beauty of the nature and wildlife.

Here are some suggestions for your summer destination weddings in the wild.

South Africa

South Africa’s biggest draw is its wildlife; and what better way to say your ‘I dos’, than by getting one with nature. If exclusivity and flexibility are what you’re looking for on your wedding day, then the Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is worth a look. In true African style, the reserve offers several settings for the exchange of vows. You can time your ceremony with the setting sun while standing on the deck of the lodge or at the edge of a dam with only hippos playing along. If you have a limited guest list, opt for a stargazing dinner in the heart of the bushes, while larger groups can experience a formal South African dinner arranged in the bushes, lit by flame torches as traditional Shangaan dancers or the Ulusaba choir entertain you. While South Africa is a year-round wedding destination, the best time is dry season, which takes place between July and October.

PLANNING 101

When to book: Karl and Llané Langdon, joint general managers at the game reserve, advise,

“Once the visa process is underway, couples should start the planning process. Confirm your bookings six to nine months in advance for larger weddings and if you’re travelling between July and October.”

Travel advice: As there is only one visa centre in India, it isn’t always a quick process to obtain them. The Langdons suggest, “Research the specific requirements as soon as possible and allow some time to secure the correct documentation. For extra assistance, work with a tour operator who specialises in African travel and is experienced in dealing with visas and therefore, will be able to provide support and advice with planning the entire trip.”

Budget: For a wedding at the reserve, account for ZAR 74,787 (`3.75 lakh approx.) per couple or up to ZAR 8,65,500 (`43 lakh approx.) for 25 guests for three nights.

Guest count: A maximum of 42, as there are restrictions on the number of people and vehicles permitted at any one time.

Uttarakhand

Closer to home, the Jim Corbett National park situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand might just be your perfect wedding destination. The venue, with its pet-friendly rules, was a hands-down winner for Delhi-based couple Sahil Dhussa and Pashyanti Singh. “While it wasn’t the only reason, it did play a big role. Our dogs were allowed to roam freely and could even be present during the ceremony. Preparing their food wasn’t an issue either,” says Dhussa. Their planner Kamakshi Kothiwal, also the director of Wedding Planning Company, shares the details, “Sahil’s baraat saw him arrive on an elephant escorted by folk artists singing bedu pako (a folk song from Kumaon and Garhwal). Wedding favours in jute pouches and invitations with bottles of local preserves and honey added a rustic touch. As guests were confined to the resort property, instead of the usual song and dance, we organised documentaries and storytelling sessions about tigers.”

PLANNING 101

When to book: Ideally, six to eight months prior to the wedding. Save the dates: “It’s advisable to block at least three days so that immediate family and close friends can reach a couple of days in advance, relax and set things up,” points Kothiwal.

Must-do: Jungle safari.

Guest count: A wedding at the national park only suits a small celebration. “This destination is ideal for a group of 200 guests. For a guest count of 250, two neighbouring resorts have to be booked, as most resorts have around 65 rooms,” says Kothiwal.

Budget: `10 lakh (50 guests) to `50 lakh (300 guests) approx.

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Team FWT / [email protected]
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