Stunning landscapes, laid-back vibe and plush amenities are some of the reasons why, despite a pandemic, couples still want a destination wedding. Here’s what you need to know to host a hassle-free destination wedding during this time
At the start of the lockdown last year, travel restrictions imposed in several countries pushed couples to either cancel or postpone their destination wedding. However, now that restrictions have eased, planning a destination wedding can be exciting, challenging, and at times, overwhelming. Tina Tharwani, co-founder, Shaadi Squad, opines, “Now that domestic travel has opened up, many couples want to tie the knot at a destination away from home. In the new normal, this is a much more affordable option for couples due to the limited guest list.”
Planning a destination wedding
The most important factor to consider in these times are the travel guidelines and restrictions applicable for each state. With international travel rules still fairly unclear, Tharwani feels that Rajasthan, Goa and Kerala will continue to be popular. And if air traffic between countries was to take off in a smooth and organised manner, she opines that Turkey and some parts of Europe will be preferred. Ambika Gupta, wedding designer and planner, The A-Cube Project, suggests, “The only international destination that is easily accessible is Dubai. On the domestic front, coastal destinations such as Kerala and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu) offer spectacular views, clean beaches, and good amenities. A little bit of research can throw up beautiful villas and venues all over the country.” On that note, here’s your planning checklist.
Keeping the restrictions in mind, scout for a location that works well in terms of travel and accommodation. Tharwani explains, “Choose destinations that have direct and easy connectivity either by air or road. It is important to choose properties that follow Covid-19 hygiene practices.” If you aren’t too keen on making frequent trips for a recce, opt for a live virtual tour.
The current cap on the number of guests ranges between 50 and 200, depending on the city. To tackle this, Vikram Mehta, founder, Mpire Events, suggests, “Couples can plan their functions in a way where they can accommodate more guests.” Tharwani suggests skimming through the guest list and inviting only those whose attendance matters to you. She adds, “Once the list is finalised, inform them about the travel itinerary as well as all the safety guidelines that are to be followed before they arrive at the venue.”
The beauty of a destination wedding is the destination itself. Bhavnesh Sawhney, co-founder of FB Celebrations Pvt Ltd, recommends, “Sustainable, eco-friendly decor has been trending along with locally sourced materials. Make the landscape a part of the decor.”
Travel and accommodation
In case you decide to tie the knot away from your home country, Sawhney recommends keeping abreast with all government rules, regulations and wedding ceremony requirements, if there are any. He adds, “With restricted guest lists, families are chartering small flights for safety reasons. Accommodation for all guests should be preferably done at one place.” Agreeing on the same, Tharwani adds, “A concise list of all guests must be handed to the hotel concierge in order to assign rooms according to each one’s preferences. The number of guests travelling in each car should be limited to ensure minimal contact with each other.”
Tying the knot at a faraway destination requires meticulous research and planning, so take the time to do so, and celebrate your special day without any regrets.
Destination Wedding Checklist
§ When you sign a contract with the hotel, ensure that the vendors have access to the venue prior to the day of the event
§ Work within a budget by making smart design choices
§ Book vendors from reliable sources and based on recommendations
§ Book a venue based on social media suggestions only
§ Hold unrealistic expectations of what a venue can yield, in terms of the decor, especially if there is not enough time or resources
Inputs by Ambika Gupta, wedding designer and planner, The A-Cube Project
Lead Photo: Aash Studio Décor