A full-service event management company, Purple Chariot Weddings has become a proven name in a highly competitive market, and their elite clients have given a thumbs up to their range of top-quality event concepts, management and production services which can be adjusted to suit diverse budgets and preferences.
With its beautiful beaches, ancient temples, mountains, rich culture, and close proximity to India, Sri Lanka has become a magnet for to-be-wed couples who want a memorable destination that also scores high on convenience.
Imagine hosting your dream wedding high in the mountains amongst rice terraces, or on a stunning beach listening to the waves gently rolling in as the pheras chants commence. The island nation offers diverse wedding venues for every taste, including clean beaches, private islands, towering five-star hotels, sprawling luxury resorts and boutique properties.
Founders of Purple Chariot Weddings, Vishaal S Shah and Anway P Bhoite tapped into the burgeoning potential of Sri Lanka as a wedding destination, and carefully mapped the island and its possibilities. Today, they are recognized as Experts when it comes to hosting Indian weddings in Sri Lanka. They shared their expert insights as we spoke to them about what goes into planning and pulling off a sensational wedding there.
1. While you are based in Mumbai, you have a lot of experience planning weddings in Sri Lanka. How did you get into it and what has been your experience?
Vishaal: “One couple we knew were location scouting for their destination wedding. They were looking at a beach destination, minimum travel time to reach that country, multiple options within the country closer to the airport, amazing food, great service and a homely vibe. Bingo! Sri Lanka fit the bill to their specifications. We explored it with the couple, and eight months later, we did our first of many weddings there and never looked back. Sri Lankans are amazingly warm people. The cultural connect we share with them, along with the freshness and flavor of their own customs, makes it the perfect destination for Indian weddings.”
2. Beach weddings are very popular with millennials. What makes Sri Lanka a great choice for destination weddings?
Anway: “Well for starters, it’s an island – so the choices when it comes to a beach destination are immense. There are several beach properties with sea-facing rooms, many surrounded by water on two or three sides, and a plethora of sparsely populated beaches for privacy and partying into the wee hours of the morning. Also, Indian weddings need to be complemented with great food, and Sri Lanka offers amazing cuisines of non-vegetarian and vegetarian delicacies”, explains Anway.
3. Are there any regional or climatic considerations/challenges to keep in mind while planning a wedding in Sri Lanka? When should a couple ideally start planning a wedding there?
Anway: “Due to heat and humidity, the weather is a potential spoiler for all coastal and tropical wedding venues, no matter the location. Hence we’re always prepared with a set of mist fans and transparent marquees to circumnavigate any eventuality. In addition to that, we always keep a backup indoor space on standby. The property selection and closures is something a couple should look at doing more than 6-12 months prior to the wedding dates at the latest. The earlier you plan, the better the outcome in terms of planning and processing – right from hampers to artist bookings to production setups (decor and technicalities). However, we have, in the past, designed, planned and executed an entire wedding for 650 guests in a span of 45 days which included top of the line artists.”
4. Are there any particular venues in Sri Lanka that you love for Indian weddings?
Vishaal: “Every property in Sri Lanka has something to offer that is distinctive and fits the desired requests from the families, from a vertical hotel with venues within that space to a horizontally spread resort. The venues also cater to match the size of the wedding in terms of accommodation and experience. Anantara, Avani, Amari, Marriott, Shangri-La and Jetwing brands have interesting properties spread out across Sri Lanka.”
5. Have you received any out of the box or interesting requests at any wedding you have done in Sri Lanka so far?
Anway: “One of the perks of being in this business is that one comes across the most interesting of requests, and if the couple so chooses, the wherewithal to bring it to fruition. Many couples have requested us for out of the box entries, super personalized giveaways, and much more. Once, for a pool party, the bride’s father wanted the couple to have a dramatic entry through the backwaters attached to the pool space. We designed their entry on a speed boat with guys on multiple jet skis doing acrobatics for added visual drama. Something like this was a first for the team in Sri Lanka. It required practice and precision of execution in terms of timing. Also, the operators didn’t understand English so we had to have a translator. At the same event, the bride wished to arrive on a floating platform to the wedding mandap through the water body. For that, we created a large open float for her entry through the backwaters of the property and added traditional dancers for visual grandeur.”
6. With the decade coming to an end, from your experience, what are some wedding trends that you would say are timeless and always work in Sri Lanka?
Vishaal: The beaches and clear waters of the Indian Ocean seem like perfect and timeless settings for a sundowner or pheras. Elephants as decor elements are always a crowd-pleaser in Sri Lanka. Also, their various dance forms during the bridal entry, including drums and dancers blended into the wedding celebrations make for an unforgettable experience.”
7. What trends do you foresee for the coming year?
Vishaal and Anway: “We feel the scale of weddings will become smaller and intimate. The decor will be used mainly to accentuate the natural beauty of a space and the focus will be more on experiences rather than on extravagant structures.”