Wedding season is round the corner and while destination-based weddings have been making headway in India, many still look towards Southeast Asia as favoured spots. However, with a slew of celebrity weddings taking place in Europe the last two years or so, Indian couples have also taken the plunge. The thought that hosting a wedding in Europe is beyond the budget or difficult are myths that have long been debunked. We bring you five reasons why Europe is a wedding dream destination.
Getting to European cities from India is just a plane (or two) rides away. With major airlines like KLM, Air France, Alitalia among others offering great round trip tickets from India, combining this with agents managing visas and group discounts, a wedding in Europe doesn’t seem farfetched. Sandra Santoro, owner of gettingmarriedinitaly®, with several celebrity names on her client list, says, “The distance between India and Europe has definitely shortened in the recent years. With centuries of history, a culture for quality and high standard of service, what specifically sets Italy apart is our shared love for family, tradition and food. I plan civil and religious weddings in Italy, Greece, Spain, France and Turkey, and have been increasingly working with Indian clients.”
Stunning and unique locales
The Tuscan landscape in Val d’Elsa and Pienza, the breathtaking blue Mediterranean sea in Crete, Rhodes or Santorini in Greece, the stunning Adriatic views in Hvar or Zagreb in Croatia or the opulence in Antalya, Bodrum, or Fethiye in Turkey, Europe offers every kind of unique backdrop for a destination wedding. The harmony of having an Indian wedding in a European location is best explained by Mark Swaroop, the official photographer of the Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh wedding, “Bringing the romance of Indian weddings to Paris or Lake Como almost seems like it’s meant to be. The splendour of landscape and the grandeur of Indian culture look fantastical together. In contrast, it’s also wonderful how the colours of Indian weddings look against the subtle beauty of Europe. It is a photographer’s dream.”
Oh the food!
The way to get intimate with any country is through its food. Italian, Greek, Turkish and Portuguese cuisines offer intense sensory appeal. Think of a vast spread of mezze appetizers that Greece and Turkey have so famously mastered, fresh hand made pasta with sweet cherry tomatoes, or spicy N’duja for the non-vegetarians, attended by hearty servers who explain how that wild boar stew, which will remind you of Rogan Josh, has been marinated for 24 hours and then slow cooked for another 24 to look and taste like that! And let’s not forget the wine…true aficionados may consider getting married in a vineyard in Burgundy or Chianti regions where the world’s best wines are found at a fraction of the price compared to back home.
And with Indians getting married in Europe, there has increased local availability of services: mehendi, dhol, priests of all faiths, caterers providing Indian regional delicacies, etc.
Budget-friendly, can you imagine?
The cost of getting married in Europe can be compared to many of the popular urban venues in India, with budgets ranging between INR 25 lakh to INR 2 crore and above. Parthip Thyagarajan, CEO of WeddingSutra says, “There have been some high profile weddings in Europe, and many families from all over India, feel the destination has all that it takes to fascinate guests of all ages - from cultural experiences, food, accommodation and more! Many families are aware that both Virat (Kohli) and Anushka (Sharma) and Deepika and Ranveer did not spend a fortune on their celebrations. Families share budgets with their wedding planner, who is asked to work around it for a guest list of 50 to 250.” Off beat destinations like Apuglia (Italy) or the Lake Region in Croatia have locations and catering that come with attractive costs. To top this, many Italian tourism boards offer iconic heritage venues or entire hamlets, to promote weddings from India.
A destination wedding allows you to celebrate your special day with a handpicked group of guests. You can have a wedding as intimate as you like, in Castle Scalige (Lake Garda) with 50 people or as grand as you like, in a luxury estate owned by an Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo for 300 guests, there is literally no pressure–the world is yours!
The writer is a Tuscany-based consultant who advises Italian tourism boards and wedding professionals for Indian weddings in Europe