Offbeat Indian destinations for a memorable wedding

What comes to your mind when you think “destination wedding”? For most who have only read about high-profile weddings, the north-western state of Rajasthan is the most obvious (and sometimes the only) guess. It’s certainly a fine place, and most popular for destination weddings for the unparalleled luxury and grandeur it provides. It’s also a well-known destination abroad thanks to the many Hollywood celebs who chose to tie the knot here.

But that’s not all that India has to offer! We spoke to wedding experts Kapil Sharma, Esha Kandhari and Jugal Jain of Rcraft Events, a wedding planning & event management firm based — ironically — in Jaipur, and got a list of awesome offbeat destinations that we generally don’t associate with weddings but that serve the purpose really well.

1. Dharamshala: Famous for being the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Dharamshala offers a refreshing getaway for nature lovers. But its proximity to major North Indian cities like Delhi and Chandigarh also makes it an excellent destination for a wedding. Who would have thought, right? Dharamshala is not expensive like the popular wedding destinations, and one can find a hotel for every budget. Plus there’s the added bonus of the various Buddhist monasteries, if the newly-weds are looking for extra blessings!

The mystical Himalayan getaway can also serve as a memorable wedding destination. Image source: Wikipedia

2. Shimla: Another Himalayan jewel and a much-loved tourist destination for Indians, Shimla offers a beautiful backdrop for you dream wedding. The colonial architecture, the serene surroundings, the romantic, foggy evenings…it’s the perfect place to take your wedding vows! We recommend choosing a hotel/venue slightly away from the relatively noisier city-centre. The Rcraft team recommends the Oberoi Wildflower Hall.

Shimla becomes all the more romantic after snowfall! Image source: Wikipedia

3. Mysore: For a royal wedding outside of Rajasthan, Mysore is a great choice with its heritage hotels and resorts such as the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel and Windflower Resorts. The city is richly endowed with majestic historical architecture, and provides the perfect regal ambience to make your wedding a grand affair!

The regal Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel. Picture source: Wikipedia

4. Kodagu (Coorg): Mysore’s neighbour Kodagu is a popular destination for its lush green hills and fresh air. Situated in the Western Ghats, it is home to a national park, waterfalls, a Tibetan temple and one of the only two Brahma temples in the country. But what makes it a lovely destination for a wedding is the natural beauty bordering on the divine, and the tranquillity offered by hills which can give some much-needed peace of mind during boisterous Indian wedding celebrations!

The lush green Coorg Valley provides unmatched tranquility. Image source: www.makemytrip.com

5. Ooty: Another popular hill station in the South, Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and provides a quiet getaway for a relaxing and memorable wedding.

A dazzling blue sky over the Nilgiri Hills. Image source: www.mouthshut.com

6. Puducherry: If you’re looking to have a coastal wedding, look no further. The French influence in everything here, from architecture to street names to food, makes it an exotic destination without being unaffordable.

Sun, sand and serenity: all found here. Image source: tourism.pondicherry.gov.in

7. Chennai: We generally don’t associate metro cities with destination weddings, but our friends at Rcraft reckon that the Fisherman’s Cove in Chennai is one of the best places for a beach wedding in India. Of course, being a Taj property, this place won’t come cheap, so keep that in mind!

A stunning view of the sky at dusk. Image courtesy: www.vivantabytaj.com

8. Ranthambore: Now before you get excited, let us clarify that you can’t wed inside the National Park (unless you are Katy Perry). But before you feel disappointed, let us quickly add that there are several hotels in Sawai Madhopur — from budget to heritage — real close to the Park that can be used for a wedding. Wildlife enthusiasts can include a tiger safari and local sightseeing in their itinerary to have an unforgettable wedding experience!

Ranthambore Fort at sunset. Image courtesy www.mouthshut.com

It’s a popular misconception that a destination wedding has to be extravagant and pricey. It can be planned on a humble budget too, and it’s not always about palaces and exclusive beaches. The point of a destination wedding is to combine a wedding celebration and a vacation so that you can make your special day extra memorable for all the guests as well. So whatever place you think is good for a weekend trip can also serve as a great destination for a wedding!