While many Indian families have been hosting grand weddings in glitzy venues in Dubai, in the last one or two years more families have evinced interest in Abu Dhabi and Oman. We spoke to some of the most prominent Destination Wedding Planners to learn more.
Jai Raj Gupta
“In the last decade, the most sought-after destinations have been Thailand, Bali and Malaysia. And now many of our clients are interested in exploring the Middle East. Muscat in Oman is an unexplored jewel in the crown and offers quaintness no longer associated with Dubai. It has a warm, welcoming culture and amazing sea facing properties attractive for wedding clients. And the icing on the cake is its proximity- three hour journey from India! Today, families feel there is more value and ‘exoticness’ in taking a select group of friends, families and well-wishers to a new destination. I think the big social change is that at all levels there is a ‘nuclearisation’ of families which is now manifested and reflected in guest lists which are smaller in number. International destinations are no longer taboo from a religious perspective and earlier thoughts that the bride should depart from her own home is giving way to practical considerations of time and space. Select communities can never compromise when it comes to food and a sanitised kitchen may be a must-have for some, but many families are okay with a little compromise- and vegetarian food can be cooked in a ‘non vegetarian kitchen’.
Viwaha Dreamz, Mumbai
Hotels in the Middle East and even the Tourism Boards are going the extra mile to get Indian weddings there. And today, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Ras-al-Khaimah and Lebanon are the ‘Happening Wedding Destinations’. One of the properties many of our potential clients have evinced interest in is Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Oman. The resort consists of three hotels- Al-Waha, Al-Bunder and Al-Husn, with some amazing indoor and outdoor locales for a picture perfect celebration. The Al Bustan Palace, Ritz Carlton and The Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat are some of the other properties our clients have shown interest in.
Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Oman
Prasang Group, Ahmedabad
The Middle East is sure to get more popular in the next few years. There is easy availability of raw materials, suppliers etc for Indian weddings so an event can be organised there smoothly but the biggest advantage is the air connectivity, in fact we are getting lots of enquiries from Gujarat itself. The flight time is approximately 3 hours and there are direct flights from Ahmedabad to Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Muscat. A lot of our clients continue to be interested in Turkey and Macau but a wedding in the Middle East is more cost effective than these two destinations. One of the venues we are working closely with is Miramar Al Aqah Fujairah, which is 1.5 hours from Dubai International Airport and we hope to organise an Indian wedding there soon.
Neha Goenka Shroff
Momente Wedding Planners, Mumbai
The opulence and grandeurs of the hotels in the Middle East make them a natural fit for big Indian weddings. Some of the most popular locations in the Middle East are– Marriott Dubai, Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi and Shangri-La Muscat.The Shangri-La, Muscat is amazing and Muscat as a place is a great destination to host an Indian wedding. Relatively unexplored, it has great diversity in its offering. Imagine sailing in a catamaran for a sundowner party with a school of over 400 dolphins for company. Oman is one of the best dive spots in Asia and has a very diverse terrain (not all desert!). You can host a beach front reception for 800 guests at the Ritz Carlton Muscat or at Shangri La Muscat you can choose from 11 indoor and outdoor spaces including a beach front venue with jagged cliffs and pristine blue sea as your backdrop. Or you can even have theMehendi&Sangeet in an Omani Heritage Village.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Rimjhim Events, Dubai
Some of the world’s most opulent hotels call Dubai their home so here you are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations. The varied landscape allows you to do one function at a desert resort in the middle of magnanimous sand dunes, the next event can be held on a cruise ship motoring through the beautiful creek and the finale can be at a picturesque resort on the soft sands of a beach. The cosmopolitan population of UAE means that there is availability of all types of cuisines in exceptionally authentic form. Its connectivity allows guests as well as entertainers from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres to fly in easily. And then there’s the draw of world class shopping. Now it is not just Dubai even cities like Abu Dhabi and Muscat have started garnering interest amongst clients who are looking for a destination-wedding venue. These cities have some spectacular island and resort locations, which provide a brilliant backdrop for wedding celebrations.