Happily Ever After

They say that matches are made in heaven; if that is so then the celebrations deserve a location no less. Read on to find out what makes Goa a paradise for lovers tying the knot

The sun and sand of Goa have been the objects of affection for many, and over the years the destination has evolved from a hippie haven to a lovers’ heaven. This journey has been smooth and full of promise, as hopeful brides and dashing grooms are flocking to the State and Goa stands on the edge of becoming one of India’s most preferred wedding destinations.

To Goa My Love……

Weddings are a special time. A family get together like no other, a wedding is not only a time when  two people commit to a lifelong journey of love and togetherness, it is also a time when friends and relatives meet up and celebrate the union moving past their personal issues and generally having a blast. Goa plays an important role in this regard. A quintessentially ‘happy destination’, replete with swaying palms, luscious green paddy fields, soft sands and sunsets to die for, it makes for the perfect setting for couples opting for a trendy destination wedding. Add to that the fact that the State is well connected: by air and train making it easy for the wedding party to arrive in style. Hotels here range from uber luxurious 5 star resorts to mid segment hotels and also quaint boutique resorts – the choice is endless and suits all kinds of budgets. Scenic beauty, ease of travel, legendary hospitality, entertainers, bands and MCs, and most importantly a competent lot of wedding planners, have put the State at the forefront of destination weddings giving stiff competition to places such as Rajasthan, Kerala and the Far East.

Dreamy Venues

As a wedding destination market Goa is poised for a boom. Industry stalwarts claim that in the year 2013-2014 Goa saw a staggering 600 weddings taking place here and the figures for 2014-15 stand at 720. With the slowdown of the charter business hotels are increasingly looking towards the wedding segment to make up for lost business. The result is that in Goa one finally sees hotels position themselves as wedding specialists; properties such as Alila Diwa Goa regularly host dreamy weddings at their property and are hot favourites amongst NRIs and business families from Gujarat, Mumbai and Bangalore. Exclusive luxury resorts such as The Leela and Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa have very recently opened their doors to weddings as well, while relatively newer hotels such as the Grand Hyatt Goa boast of the largest indoor convention space that can easily accommodate more than a 1000 guests apart from their sprawling lawns that can take bigger set ups. Old players in the market are mid segment resorts such as Holiday Inn that have the most breathtaking views of the sea from their lawns, the Lalit Golf Spa & Resort that make up for their distance with exclusive villas, a splendid Golf course and grand receptions and Radisson Blu adds a touch of Goan charm to weddings with their unique Portuguese architecture. Apart from these there are the usual favourites such as Stonewater Eco ResortResort Rio, Cidade de Goa and Goa Marriott who handle a fair share of the wedding segment as well.

Hotels aside, Goa’s beaches are also much sought after as beach weddings are the ‘in’ thing. Sergio Dias, owner of Zeebop by the Sea at Uttorda, recalls that his was one of the first standalone restaurants to host beach weddings that have now become so popular. For Catholics, Goa is a special place to say their vows as the churches here are regal and spectacular locations for weddings. Heritage locations such as the Reis Magos fort and lighthouse in North Goa are increasingly becoming popular as backdrops for weddings in the State. Some shacks in Palolem in South Goa also let out their entire set of coco-huts and beach fronts for weddings giving a pocket friendly, no-frills option to the budget conscious bridal parties.

Grand, Grander, Grandest

Shruti Tiwari, veteran wedding planner from Custom Weddings remarked that weddings in Goa are a charm because of the ‘freedom of events’ that can be experienced here. Elaborating further she said, “In Goa you can have the perfect 3 day wedding bonanza where each function has a different feel – right from a cocktail party by the pool, a rain dance Sangeet function, a casino bachelor party, a beach mandap, to a formal reception at the hotel. It is a complete 3 day experience that clients come for when they decide on Goa because this is where they get exactly what they want, to let their hair down and party like there’s no tomorrow.”

Destination weddings in Goa are generally just that. Three days of non-stop fun and frolic that broadly encompass the best of what the State has to offer. Earlier wedding season was mainly confined to the slow monsoon months of June – October but even that is not sacrosanct any more with hi season months of December seeing a host of weddings taking place here. That said, it is still cheaper to have a 100 rooms wedding in July than it is to have it December, the cost varies significantly as hi season room rates are much higher than monsoons. Kamal, the go-to man for all things wedding at Alila Diwa Goa divulged that on an average a 2 nights wedding of a 100 rooms would range from anything between 30 lakhs to 1.75 Cr depending on the requirements of the clients. According to him each wedding that they host takes about 100 hours of planning and meetings with the family, a personal connect and an emotional commitment goes into making each wedding a success.

Impossible is nothing

Weddings are occasions to splurge and do what is unique and hasn’t done before. Goa provides the most awesome canvas for such out-of-the-box wedding ideas. Wedding planners and hoteliers confirm that they have had requests that have been extraordinary and have delivered them with style. These range from an elephant accompanying the baraat, a mandap on top of the swimming pool, grooms landing in by helicopters, chartered flights bringing in guests from all over the world, cooks being flown in from different parts of the country, superstar performances, themes that range from sophisticated to bizarre and so on and so forth. The sky is the limit and wedding planners are at your beck and call to make it all happen.

So if you are tying the knot this year and are looking at an uber chic destination wedding then head towards the sunny shores of Goa, you won’t be disappointed.

The Big Players – here are some of the big names who make weddings happen in Goa

♥Wedding planners – Custom Weddings by Funky Heads, Crosscraft, Reynolds Weddings, Buzz Events, 70M, Horizon Events, Red Box

♥Hotels – Alila Diwa GoaGrand Hyatt GoaPark Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn, Radisson Blu, Cidade de Goa, Marriott, Lalit Golf Spa & Resort

♥Caterers – Ghanghor (Porvorim) for authentic Rajasthani, Gujrati cuisine and Mithai, Munna Maharaj (Calcutta), Food Link Caterers (Mumbai), Ahuja Caterers (Thivim)

♥Bands– A-26, Crimson Tide, Big Country band, Tidal Wave, Rhythm & Blues

♥Salons – Snip Salon & Spa, Sephora, Blossom Pinto, Bina Punjani

The Challenges – Goa is great but it has its share of problems when it comes to weddings

♥Getting fresh flowers in Goa is a huge issue. Most of the flowers are brought in from Bangalore, Mumbai or Hyderabad

♥Outdoor music curfew of 10:30 p.m plays spoiler to many receptions where the guests have to pack up and move indoors when they are just warming up at the party

♥Professional hair and makeup services are few and often overbooked

Goa is a costly destination and a wedding here can cost almost the same as it does in Bangkok because of high room rates at hotels

The Celebrity I-dos

Bollywood hotshots, sports personalities and industrialists who got married in Goa

♥Lara Dutta & Mahesh Bhupathi

♥Miss Malini & Nowshad Rizwanullah

♥Rohit Dhawan (Director David Dhawan’s son)

♥Shweta Kavatra (TV actress)

♥Shruti Seth (TV host)

♥Scions of business families Adani & Shroff


Text: Amina M Azad

Pics: Romesh Dhamija for Custom Weddings


Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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