The vow fac­tor

Mar­wari wed­dings are surely go­ing places with ex­otic lo­cales, themed cer­e­monies and un­usual en­ter­tain­ment op­tions fea­tur­ing on al­most ev­ery other cou­ple’s wish list.

Marwar - - Special Feauture - Text Sneha Ma­hale

THE PREPA­RA­TIONS COM­MENCED WITH A VIR­TUAL TOUR of the globe. Af­ter re­view­ing nu­mer­ous des­ti­na­tions and brain­storm­ing on their pros and cons, Kota Kinabalu on the is­land of Bor­neo was se­lected as the venue. This was the easy part. Next came putting to­gether the event, which re­quired tremen­dous ef­fort—from tak­ing over the en­tire beach ho­tel with over 400 rooms and train­ing the staff on man­ag­ing ex­pec­ta­tions to pick­ing the right en­ter­tain­ers and build­ing a 20,000sqft wooden deck for per­for­mances on the beach.

“A to­tal of seven site vis­its were planned be­fore the big day, with the bride’s father (who had an eye for de­tail) pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance,” says Ku­nal Rai, head of events at Tamarind Global, re­count­ing a “mem­o­rable” des­ti­na­tion wed­ding that his team or­gan­ised re­cently.

From trop­i­cal beaches to ma­jes­tic forts, cou­ples the world over are search­ing high and low for venues that in­spire them to plan what prob­a­bly is a once-in-a-life­time cel­e­bra­tion. Tak­ing cue, the Mar­wari wed­ding is also go­ing places with cou­ples and their fam­i­lies scout­ing lo­ca­tions within In­dia and on in­ter­na­tional shores to make the big day mem­o­rable. And with the com­mu­nity learn­ing to splurge on style and glam­our, cel­e­bra­tions are get­ting more ex­trav­a­gant with ex­otic lo­cales, themed cer­e­monies and un­usual en­ter­tain­ment op­tions mak­ing it to the to-do list.

In de­tail

Mar­wari wed­dings have tra­di­tion­ally been op­u­lent af­fairs, in­ter­spersed with a num­ber of rit­u­als and are cel­e­brated with ex­u­ber­ance for days prior to and post the ac­tual cer­e­mony. They typ­i­cally have a large num­ber of guests in at­ten­dance, with the cou­ple and their fam­ily mem­bers in­volved in ev­ery as­pect of the wed­ding, be it gifts, food or dé­cor.

But these days, rather than cel­e­brat­ing with a large gath­er­ing of fam­ily mem­bers and friends at a lo­cal re­cep­tion hall or the ban­quet room of a five-star ho­tel, brides and grooms are opt­ing to marry far­ther away from their home­towns.

“With a series of pre- and post-wed­ding rit­u­als, Mar­wari wed­dings are un­doubt­edly a cel­e­brated af­fair. Beau­ti­fully woven in tra­di­tions, the var­i­ous cer­e­monies cast a mag­i­cal charm on each oc­ca­sion, while the cho­sen des­ti­na­tion re­flects the un­fold­ing of dis­tinc­tive style of cel­e­bra­tion the cou­ples imag­ined for their most im­por­tant day,” says Pooja Ra­j­mo­han, Di­rec­tor of Cater­ing Sales, The Leela Palace New Delhi.

Land locked

Des­ti­na­tion wed­dings are nor­mally booked well in advance, with a lead time of 8 to 15 months. This is typ­i­cally done keep­ing in mind the lo­gis­tics in­volved in pulling off a stu­pen­dously suc­cess­ful gala.

In terms of the venue, there are many ex­otic, re­mote and breath­tak­ing lo­cales to choose from. These days, Hawaii, South Africa, In­done­sia, Malaysia and Thai­land are pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional choices for an en­joy­able and in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence, as are Mid­dle-East coun­tries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Ras al-Khaimah. Even Bor­neo, Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia have found favour among Mar­wari fam­i­lies.

“We have con­ducted nu­mer­ous wed­dings across des­ti­na­tions. The trend is to be unique and or­gan­ise some­thing ex­clu­sive. Even within Asia, fam­i­lies are opt­ing for newer lo­ca­tions such as Bali, Sepang and Kota Kinabalu. This year, Europe and the Mid­dle East are es­pe­cially trendy. We or­gan­ised two Mar­wari wed­dings in Ras al-Khaimah in Fe­bru­ary,” says Rai.

Cer­tain places within In­dia too are pop­u­lar with the com­mu­nity. Among the met­ros, Delhi, Mum­bai and Kolkata find favour, while Hy­der­abad, Agra, Goa and the An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands are other pre­ferred des­ti­na­tions. Ra­jasthan re­mains an eter­nal favourite. Its vi­brant cul­ture cou­pled with royal grandeur pro­vides just the right set­ting for a Mar­wari wed­ding. Fab­u­lous venues such as Fate­hgarh Fort in Udaipur, Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, Umaid Bha­van in Jodh­pur, Shiv Vi­las Palace in Jaipur and Aman-i-Khas in Ran­tham­bore are per­fect for a grand wed­ding with a gen­er­ous splash of ro­mance.

The lo­gis­tics

Mar­wari wed­dings are tra­di­tion­ally known for their op­u­lence. How­ever, ex­perts say this need not always be the case when it comes to a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding, which can be an in­ti­mate or elab­o­rate af­fair depend­ing on the cou­ple and their fam­i­lies. How­ever, there are some ele­ments that re­main con­stant. Mar­waris tend to have a lot of tra­di­tions ac­com­pa­ny­ing the nup­tials, so there is always a packed agenda and a steady flow of events. All meals are veg­e­tar­ian and no

al­co­hol is served. Also, mahu­rats are strictly fol­lowed. The dé­cor tends to be elab­o­rate and en­ter­tain­ment var­ied.

“Mar­wari wed­dings are about rit­u­als and tra­di­tions. Fes­tiv­i­ties be­gin right from the time when the mar­riage is fixed. We have ses­sions with po­ten­tial clients and un­der­stand the de­liv­er­ables with re­spect to dé­cor, food and bev­er­age, and the events to be or­gan­ised. Ac­cord­ingly, a team is set up and the op­er­a­tions that even­tu­ally will cul­mi­nate in a glo­ri­ous cel­e­bra­tion are dis­trib­uted,” says San­jeev Ad­vani, Di­rec­tor of Sales and Mar­ket­ing, Sof­i­tel Mum­bai BKC.

For the food­ies

Mar­wari wed­dings typ­i­cally have mas­sive veg­e­tar­ian spreads. These are at times highly spe­cialised and pre­pared by a ma­haraj brought by the fam­ily. While a mas­sive va­ri­ety of food is nor­mal across In­dian wed­dings of dif­fer­ent cul­tures, a Mar­wari wed­ding can serve up to 20 dif­fer­ent types of sweets. Oc­ca­sion-based cui­sine is pre­pared for all pre-wed­ding func­tions. These days, live coun­ters are get­ting pop­u­lar. In fact, clients want the en­tire menu to be live with the food look­ing visually ap­peal­ing and served warm. Dishes pre­pared also have to be au­then­tic. For in­stance, if Dal Baati Churma is be­ing served, it needs to be as orig­i­nal as a dish pre­pared in Jodh­pur. Also, food for the fam­ily el­ders is usu­ally pre­pared only by their known ma­haraj and served be­fore sun­set.

“Our ban­quet and kitchen teams are well-versed with the re­quire­ments of this com­mu­nity. From chaats to snacks, main course and hal­wai, our team spends hours li­ais­ing with the fam­ily to cus­tomise the menu and the flow of events for the func­tion,” says Vikram An­tao, Vice Pres­i­dent, Radis­son Blu Re­sort Goa Cavelos­sim Beach. Some of his lat­est innovations

in­clude Pani Puri in var­ied flavours such as Ha­jma Ha­jam, Cola Pani, Orange Pani, Hing Pani and Chaas Pani or the use of molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy in dishes such as Hariyali Pa­neer Tikka De­con­structed and Green Pea Ka­chori Espuma.

On re­quest

Wed­ding plan­ners say they get quite a few re­quests based on what the cou­ple likes and what they have dreamed of do­ing on their spe­cial day. These wishes range from the down­right mun­dane to out­right weird. For ex­am­ple, at one wed­ding or­gan­ised in Kota Kinabalu, there was a spe­cial at­trac­tion for the guests. There are pro­tected wildlife species in this re­gion, one of them be­ing the pygmy ele­phant. So, a pygmy ele­phant was made avail­able for view­ing, fully pro­tected by the keep­ers and the mother ele­phant. That apart, there have been re­quests for Fly­boards in swim­ming pools and for spe­cialised syn­chro­nised swim­mers do­ing their rou­tine in the wa­ter. Spe­cial acts, off­beat en­ter­tain­ment, eclec­tic food re­quests and bridal baraats are also com­mon re­quests these days.

But a Mar­wari wed­ding def­i­nitely re­quires at­ten­tion to de­tail. It is im­por­tant to have a cen­tral point of con­tact to co­or­di­nate with the fam­ily and make sure all re­quire­ments are taken down in advance.

“From spec­tac­u­lar back­drops and the op­tion of mul­ti­ple venues to the choic­est cuisines and finest the­me­based dé­cor, des­ti­na­tion wed­dings en­sure that each oc­ca­sion is an in­spir­ing cel­e­bra­tion that will be cher­ished for­ever,” says Ra­j­mo­han.

Top: The ball­room at the Leela Palace New Delhi is a favourite with the Mar­wari com­mu­nity

Right: The set-up for a mehendi cer­e­mony

Be­low: Kota Kinabalu —a pop­u­lar op­tion for des­ti­na­tion wed­dings

From left: Des­ti­na­tion wed­dings are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among the Mar­wari com­mu­nity; A wed­ding or­gan­ised at Hri­day at Sof­i­tel Mum­bai BKC

Top right: A suit­able venue for the sangeet needs to be a top priority. Mar­wari sangeets are quite elab­o­rate

Be­low: The set-up for a mehendi cer­e­mony

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