By Padmavati Prabhu
Goa seems to be on the minds of young couples planning to get married. Perhaps because of its natural beauty and the fact that in Goa you find almost everything to plan a dream bollywood-esque wedding – beaches, churches, forts and so on
Ranjan Patnayak of Wedding Planners Goa says, “There are various reasons one can attribute to Goa being regarded as one of the best wedding destinations in the world. Apart from being naturally appealing with its sea and sand effect, Goa provides all the required wedding services in abundance and at affordable prices. Some of our clients have also admitted to the fact that having a wedding in Mauritius costs almost three times more than in Goa. Goa also provides options related to accommodation and venues. It also has resorts that provide world standard wedding services. All of these points clubbed make Goa one of the best wedding destinations in the world.”
With an experience in wedding planning spanning a decade and three years, Ankit Bhargava, founder and chief wedding planner, Regal Weddings, who has organised weddings all over the country, says: “Goa has always been known for its holiday mood, sunny beaches, laid back atmosphere, drink and dance, which goes perfectly with a destination wedding idea. Also, accessibility by air, large luxury resorts, sea food and publicity efforts by the industry has added to the success of Goa being a preferred wedding destination.”
In agreement with Bhargava is Jerry Pinto of Buzz Events, who has been organising weddings for six years in Goa. He says, “Goa offers a panorama of starred hotels at affordable rates. Beach side settings, choice of entertainment, easy going culture, stunning locations, economical packages of beverages and professional wedding planner services which makes it very appealing for destination and/or theme weddings.”
Pointing out that there are many themes for organising the weddings, Jerry Pinto says, “Goa being a destination of fun frolic and enjoyment provides the opportunity to break away from tradition and enjoy contemporary themes with a western touch. May they be a club lounge concept, a Venetian concept, a poolside grind, etc.”
Says Ranjan, “As weddings are a highly personalised affair, people chose different themes and we cater accordingly. Most prevalent themes are beach weddings, fire and ice theme, enchanting ocean theme, butterfly theme, etc.”
While wedding planners have a lot on offer on their platter, the final choice is always that of the client. Broadly, themes may match but then finer aspects and asthetics are customised as per a client’s preference and requirement. Plus, a very big factor contributing to uniqueness of concepts is that every wedding planner has his or her own approach to a theme. So one beach wedding will not match another and all are happy.
For example: “Our style is more of a minimalistic décor using aesthetics of beautiful venues to advantage. We do follow the taste and preference of the couple to implement the colour and mood of the event they are looking for”, says Ankit.
Since not everyone opts for theme weddings and it is a concept being promoted in a big way by our Government it would appear that theme destination wedding are not meant for everyone’s pockets. However, wedding planners point out that costs mostly depends on decor, food, and kind of accommodation among others. An important point that all planners mention is that costs can vary depending on what the client desires. So, extravagance or not is dependent on the client.
Ankit points out that the cost of destination weddings majorly depends upon the choice of hotels or resort, venues, number of festivities and therefore the meals hosted, how elaborate the décor is, expectations from the music and entertainment, quality of service providers like photography, wedding films, stylists, etc. One could ask for a very simple arrangement and at the same time, like I said, the sky is the limit.
According to planners the major cost lies is accommodation and food which are generally taken care of by the resorts for which planners help clients with extensive negotiations to achieve desired results, balancing requirements with costing.
“The second major factor that influences costing is setups. Theme based setups are expensive because they start from conceptualisation and cover fabrication and implementation at the venue. The final factor is sorting out entertainment options and other miscellaneous services like hiring a DJ/live band, Bollywood artists/performances, hiring mehndi artists, make-up artists, saree drapers, arranging barat procession and other services for the wedding”, says Rajan, once again underlining that costing entirely depends on clients desire and requirement.
And for most couples, getting married is once-in-a-lifetime experience and they spend lavishly, and matching them in their enthusiasm are the planners who put in all necessary efforts.
Jerry Pinto says, “Every wedding we have organised has been a unique experience to us and our clients. We concentrate on the guests’ interactive experience at the wedding.”
For Bhargava, planning has always been easy and fun, whether in Goa or anywhere. He opines that fulfilling the dream of a destination wedding without the help of a planner becomes difficult given that people are so busy with regular life. “Not only does a planner help in the planning he systemises the process”, says Bhargava, adding that this in no way means one cannot personally plan and execute one’s dream theme wedding. All that is required is a sporty attitude. “All else is available on the net.”
Speaking about the most memorable wedding he organised, Ranjan Patnayak says, “A unique experience is this wedding we had organised in April of this year. The groom was a Christian and UK citizen while the bride was a UK citizen of Indian origin and a Hindu. The couple were a bit worried about the religious part of the wedding. Their concern was for their parents and family members who were quite religious and would have liked to have the wedding done in their respective religious ways. After vivid contemplation we decided to have both the English and Indian ceremony. We were not sure about their parents’ reaction but it turned out to be a huge success with the groom’s family thoroughly enjoying Indian traditions like kanyadan, saat pheras, vidhi mala exchange while the bride’s father was highly elated walking her down the aisle. It turned out to be quite a unique experience for all of us.”
Meanwhile, Goa tourism is all set to host its first one-of-its-kind ‘Goa Wedding Show’ on August 16 and August 17 in New Delhi. The event aims at boosting tourism by showcasing Goa as an emerging wedding destination.
“By organising this event, we plan to tap big wedding planners in the industry to Goa. Once they are attracted to Goa, they will in turn engage local traders associated with organising weddings in Goa. This will definitely generate employment for locals as well as boost tourism”, says Goa Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Nilesh Cabral.
Presently, he says, weddings are organised only in starred hotels, but the Government is looking to target beaches also.
Speaking about infrastructure required to organised to organise high profile weddings, he says, “I feel all the infrastructure is in place. What we require is starred hotels and they are already there.”
Bina Punjani, who is all set to participate in the Goa Wedding Show with her Bina Punjani Hair Studio, says, “Goa is already a very popular wedding destination, not only across India, but also for Indian origin people around the world. However, most of the weddings and enquiries have been coming on an individual basis, and the Goa Wedding Show is a great first effort to organise the sector and showcase what Goa has to offer to the rest of the country and the world. As a relatively new brand, we at Bina Punjani Hair Studio hope to increase our visibility and profile amongst the major wedding planners, event agencies and individuals who are looking to find international quality services within Goa. We will be showcasing our work, and doing live demos and trials at the Show, and look forward to a