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Expert Speak: Shankar Ganesh of Ahan Destination Management On Offbeat Wedding Destinations

The thought of exchanging your vows in a unique location is something most couples planning their wedding will discuss. As the popularity of destination weddings goes up, the quest for destinations that are out of the ordinary can seem more difficult.

Unless you’re Shankar Ganesh, co-founder, and director of WeddingSutra Favorite Ahan Destination Management. With over 17 years of experience in event management, he knows just what you need to make your big day memorable. “You are going to have a wedding only once so it is important to give yourself and your guests an experience that will be cherished for a lifetime. This really is the time to think out of the box and bring to the table something truly unique.”

If his words resonate with your wishes, here are his top wedding destination recommendations guaranteed to make your wedding a success!

Still a mystery to so many, the mists over lush greenery and breathtaking vistas that encompass gorgeous mountains makes Bhutan one of the most romantic places you will see.

Thimphu and Paro in Bhutan top Ganesh’s list of locations to tie the knot at; both lie in the hills and are perfect for those fascinated by themes that are designed around water elements. “In India, most people think of water landscapes as seashores but how beautiful would a mandap by Paro Chhu be,” he says, “This was what comes to my mind when I speak of water. It redefines the traditional mindset about nature.”

He highlights the advantage of not having to pay a high entry price into the country as Indian passport holders and mentions some great hotels such as Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront in Paro and Taj Tashi and Le Méridien Thimphu in Thimphu, equipped to host an Indian wedding or nuptials. All in all, Bhutan is a great opportunity for the couple and their guests to explore a clean and beautiful country.

Destination Wedding
Destination Wedding Photos Courtesy: Taj Hotels

The magic of a frozen wonderland is unsurpassed. Vast white spaces, crystalline trees, the silence and sparkle of snow covered surroundings – and these are all available in the first few months of the year, the traditional Indian wedding season.

Ganesh picks Gulmarg and Srinagar as perfect winter wedding spots, “It’s a white wedding in the literal sense! Srinagar and Gulmarg are wonderful in January and February, a refreshing change from the usual wedding landscapes.”

What’s even better is that the locations are well versed with all traditions and rituals and all hotels are adequately heated, he says, “No one has to worry about the cold when they are indoors.”

Vivanta by Taj – Dal View Srinagar, The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar and Heevan Resorts in Srinagar and The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa in Gulmarg are his properties of choice at these destinations.

Destination Wedding
Destination Wedding Photos Courtesy: Vivanta by Taj

For those looking for a classic wedding by the beach, Ganesh recommends the Andamans for its untouched beauty. “No destination by the sea in mainland India comes close to the gorgeous waterfronts of the Andamans. You can see the expansive sea stretch out in front of you, waters so clear that you can see two feet into the ocean without any difficulty,” he explains.

While the location is head and shoulders above Goa, one of the most sought-after beach wedding locales in India, he says the Andamans is better than Thailand as well, “To reach a place like Koh Samui or Hua Hin, you have to travel for about nine hours whereas you can reach Port Blair in 4-5hr from Mumbai. It even has direct flights from a few other places in the country. Not only is getting here faster but also cheaper.” Ganesh suggests hosts consider arranging for accommodation at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans at Havelock and taking their guests to Port Blair for the functions via chartered yacht due to its close proximity of about 500 meters.

Destination Wedding Photo Courtesy: Taj Hotels

The archipelago of Seychelles is a place bestowed with the beauty of nature. Besides its pristine beauty and warm hospitality, its connectivity from India despite being an exotic location makes it a great option for those who wish to host a wedding overseas. The country sees a good influx of tourists throughout the year making the natives open to outsiders. However, still unexplored as a wedding destination, it is sure to bring uniqueness to your nuptials. This balance makes Seychelles an excellent location to host your functions. “People often choose Bali over Seychelles since the former turns out to be cheaper. However, if budget is not a constraint, this is a place that I would definitely recommend,” says Ganesh.

Destination Wedding
Destination Wedding Photos Courtesy: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles

Looking for a wedding spot on one of the world’s most exotic islands? Mauritius is your answer. A year-round tropical paradise, Mauritius is a place where couples can get married without having to check the calendar before making the bookings. The country boasts beautiful views that are second to none. The combination of clear turquoise waters and beaches of fine sand make this place a good destination for a seaside wedding. There are many sites of varying sizes scattered throughout this African paradise, one of which being Shangri-La’s Le Touressrok Resort & Spa, that are great spots for couples to exchange vows. What makes this place even better is the warmth with which the locals greet tourists. Ganesh says, “Mauritius is small and the people here are very friendly. It is the kind of place where people in the streets will stop, take a few minutes out to guide you when you need. Such things add to the experience that your guests have especially when they go out exploring the locales, thus making your wedding a truly memorable one.”

Destination Wedding
Destination Wedding Photos Courtesy: Shangri-La’s Le Touressrok Resort & Spa Mauritius

Turkey is rich in history and architecture and brings the exoticism of the East and the romanticism of the West to your wedding. The country has played host to some very high profile Indian weddings, and its popularity continues to be on the rise. “Turkey is a great place for those looking for a destination that truly has something special to offer. If it’s a big city wedding that you want, Istanbul is what you should be looking at. For those who prefer a countryside wedding at a location that has some historic appeal, the Bosphorus is a great option. Another reason that makes this country a location to keep an eye out for is the easy approval of visas,” Ganesh says.

Destination Wedding Photo Courtesy: Sunny Singh Photography

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