Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend Natasha Dalal in an intimate ceremony in Alibaug, Maharashtra. Ever since the two tied the knot, social media have been abuzz with every little detail. The wedding was held in The Mansion House and had a tight guest list. The couple also opted for a no-photo policy at the wedding venue.
While you might have come across some stunning pictures of the decor, guests, the couple, and much more, we have got some latest details from the people who planned the grand wedding – The Shaadi Squad.
Saurabh Malhotra, Tina Tharwani, and Manoj Mittra, co-founders of Shaadi Squad spoke to Outlook’s Eshita Bhargava and discussed Varun Dhawan’s big fat Indian wedding, locations you can choose from if you are planning a similar wedding, and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:
How did you prepare for Varun Dhawan's wedding in such a short time?
Given the time frame, everyone – including our team, both the families, the venues – were given responsibilities, and also the authority to make quick decisions and each team trusted the other. This led to everyone working on clockwork without much back and forth. The couple knew what they wanted, and we knew the right partners that would match their requirements. Everyone pulled in their resources and ensured everything was in place.
What were the precautions you had in mind while making arrangements?
Given the pandemic, our utmost priority was to shortlist those who had not travelled in the past week, was willing to do their Covid RT PCR tests, and also quarantine until the reports and wedding. We also had sanitization protocols in place at all the venues. Apart from that, given the media interest in the wedding, we also had to ensure that the security was in place to maintain privacy.
Why Ali Baugh?
The families wanted to avoid any destination with flight travel or a destination away from Mumbai as such. Surprisingly, even with its proximity to Mumbai, Alibaug is a relatively untouched destination for weddings. Numerous properties can cater to 60-80 guests. And with the speedboats, ferry and now the RoRo, it is very convenient for guests and vendors.
What was the theme?
The wedding did not have any theme as such. It was a celebration of love for a couple with a beautiful story.
What are the other locations you would suggest to people who want a similar wedding?
Numerous boutique properties work as wonderful options for couples looking to get married with a serene and organic vibe.
They can opt for themes such as Bonfire Night or Garden Party while keeping the decor minimal as a location in itself offers a stunning view.
There are multiple wedding venues for couples who are happy to explore the idea of getting married by the Ganges surrounded by the serenity of mountains. The location also offers multiple activities to take up that can be incorporated as part of the itinerary.
The decor setup could be contemporary or minimal with the theme of a sundowner by the mountains.
Smaller hotels or even private farms that open up for smaller weddings are a great idea for couples that would like to opt for venues that are at a driving distance from the city.
With lush lawns and open gardens, the decor can be used to transform the space completely with lazy pool parties and open-air ceremonies with spiritual chants piercing through the air.
- Bekal, Kerala
Various hotels here offer brilliant views for those looking to tie the knot by the backwaters of Kerala. With a host of outdoor options nestled amidst nature, both modern and traditional decor at these venues work very well to bring out themes with dinner under the stars or traditional sit-down lunches.
- Shillim, Lonavla
The numerous venues here work as great nearby options for those looking to cut off from the hustle and bustle of the city with minimal travel time.
With scenic mountain views surrounding the entire property, the venue works as a natural backdrop with the decor being used only to accentuate the scenery. The property is a spiritual retreat and has a perfect sundowner setting for an evening party.
How do you ensure that the decor, arrangements are done keeping sustainability in mind?
The easiest way for this is to look at upcycling décor elements instead of creating new sets. Talk to your décor team, see how could you mix and match elements to create an entirely new look. This can also help in cutting budgets.
What’s that one thing you suggest every couple do while planning their wedding?
Keep a mood board ready, or have at least an idea of the kind of wedding they want. This helps in choosing the right venues, right teams, creating the right ambience. Another is to keep the guest list fixed. A margin of 10% is fair, but if you increase your guest count from 200 to 400 you may need to relook at venues.
What about budget-friendly weddings given the Covid situation?
Given the current situation and restrictions on guest counts, weddings have been downsized. However, guests may want to spend more on curating special experiences for guests, or some may spend more on putting in place sanitization protocols.
How important are themes for weddings?
In our experience, themes are important to create distinctive looks for each function, but they are not of prime importance.
What is the mantra of Shaadi Squad? What made you come up with it?
We do not have a mantra as such. But as a boutique company, we usually cater to intimate and bespoke weddings. When we started 5 years ago, while the demand for a big, fat Indian wedding did exist in most regions, there was a new trend emerging for couples that wanted smaller, intimate weddings, but have budgets to spend. They want to create experiences for their close friends and family. But there were limited or no planners that catered specially to these clients. This is where the Shaadi Squad came in.