This story was updated in January 2019.
A destination wedding is a trend that has caught on surprisingly fast and how! Most millennials want to avoid the whole routine of hosting a wedding that is less about them and more about their guests. They want an intimate affair with their closest family and friends, instead of 500 guests who don’t even care who the bride and the groom are and are only there for the food.
Another trend that has caught up equally fast is destination weddings in Goa. While Goa has always been the beach vacay spot for Indians and foreigners, it has also emerged as the perfect wedding destination for the couple who cannot get enough of the sun, sand and sea.
So, if you’re one of those couples who’ve been planning their wedding and is looking at Goa as an option, we’re here to help you out! We’ve got it all covered - from what makes Goa perfect to approximate cost of hosting a wedding there to some picture-perfect locations you can check out. All your questions have been answered! Read away!
One cannot explain in words why Goa is perfect for a destination wedding. Imagine this - walking down the aisle, under the phoolon ki chaddar, with the vast expanse of water providing such serenity and calmness to the surroundings that you couldn’t have asked for a better setting. Your pheras happen against the sunset and as your reception starts, everyone is drinking and dancing happily on the beach without abandon. It’s a happy day for everyone involved and love is in the air. Isn’t that how your wedding should be? Well, I know for sure that nothing sounds better than this to me!
With gorgeous beaches, a warm, relaxed tropical feel, and all the amenities available so easily, it comes as no surprise that Goa has become the ultimate destination wedding location in India. Another reason it serves as the perfect venue is because most North Indian weddings happen in the winters and it’s so easy to fly down to a beach instead of freezing in Delhi or surrounding areas.
That’s not it! In Goa, a place known for its hospitality and laid-back attitude, you and your guests can just enjoy your wedding instead of being hassled with the stress. Ease of access, parties on the beach, an informal, cozy environment and (if planned well) a cost-efficient wedding sounds amazing now, doesn’t it? Do I need to convince you more or is this enough?
There is no dearth of wedding venues perfect for a dreamy destination wedding in Goa. If you just spend 15 minutes hunting for a venue online, you’ll find more than you could possibly dream of. But we’ve tried to narrow down your search to a few locations that are huge favourites among the public. We personally love these venues too!
Alila Diwa is one of the most picturesque luxury resorts in Goa and the attention to detail, versatility and services offered make it one of the most loved wedding resorts in the state. The staff ensures that all the couple’s demands are met and make the day a magical affair for them. With three out of five wedding venues outdoors, who wouldn’t want to get married here?
Located on a secluded and serene beach of North Goa, the hotel boasts of 37 wooden cottages and 7 luxury tents. With a courteous staff that has a ‘will make it happen’ attitude, the hospitality of the place is unmatched. The spreads for all the functions can be customized and be rest assured, it will be delicious!
Riva Beach Resort is committed to making your wedding experience of a lifetime. The location is bang on the beach with a quaint little bridge connecting the resort to it. Their USP is their ability to create a sense of togetherness as you celebrate your big day.
The Leela happens to be one of my personal favourites. I was sold as soon as I visited their private beach. With rooms spread over the 75-acre property and a view of the meandering streams, it really is a gorgeous location to host a wedding. Perfect location for any couple who want to feel and be treated like royalty on their D-Day.
Spanning across 37 acres, this five-star resort has a sprawling lawn that can accomodate more than 500 guests, a private beach, a super-fun kids area and an in-house casino. Set up the mandap with the beach as a backdrop and your life’s set!
Located near the backwaters, Grand Hyatt provides an amazing location for a wedding. Huge rooms, lush green views and unmatched luxury experience, if you’re looking to get away from the hustle-bustle and have a wonderful wedding with your family and friends, this is the place to be!
If you wish to have a wedding as private as DeepVeer’s, this is the place to go! This gorgeous property has 6 Spanish villas, 14 luxury tents and 3 master tents will accommodate up to 60 guests. The staff is known to work extra hard to ensure they cater and create a customized wedding right out of your dreams and the beautiful expanse of beach only makes their job easier!
Located five minutes away from the Baga Beach, Resort Rio is a deluxe spa resort, spread across 10 acres on the banks of Baga river. With a courteous staff that is more than happy to help and excellent spread of food, you’ll love it here!
With an attached white sand beach, a swimming pool with a small bar in the middle and a staff that aims to please, you could not go wrong with this resort. No matter how large or small your guest list is, they’ve got you covered with their various banquet halls.
What makes this resort unique is that it combines the luxury of a five-star with unprecedented personal service by a staff that is determined to take care of you. Lawns surrounded by coconut palms, interesting Goan-Portuguese architecture and pristine white sand beach make it the best location ever.
We spoke to wedding planning experts Shruti Tiwari, Managing Partner of Vogue Luxury Weddings and Ajay Modgil, F5 Advertainment Private Limited to help you solve the mystery question and also assist you with a concrete budget plan to bring you a step closer to your dream wedding in Goa!
This is the number 1 priority and takes up at least 50% of your wedding budget. Your venue and accommodation mostly depend on the number of people that are attending the event. Keep in mind that a hotel or a resort in Goa can accommodate only up to 350 people on an average. However, if your guest list exceeds this limit, you will have to place them in two different hotels. “Selection of hotels depends a lot on your budget. A mid-budget hotel could cost you easily upto 40-45 lakhs approximately. However, if your wedding falls in the off-season then the rates are considerably low, sometimes even half of the initial season rate,” explains Goa based wedding planner, Shruti Tiwari.
However, if you still want to do your own math then Ajay Modgil’s simple calculation technique would not only help you save time but would also give you a fair idea about your expenses. Ajay shares, “Any average destination wedding in Goa across two days starts from around 30 lakhs. Room rates for a mid-budget to a five-star hotel usually start from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 plus taxes (extra charges for plus one adult and child over 12 years) on a per night basis. Budget hotels and other resorts would cost you anywhere around Rs 10,000 to Rs Rs 15,000 approximately. An easy way to calculate hotel costs is to multiply the room rates with the number of people (mostly two in one room) which could further be multiplied with the number of days.”
Which simply means: Room rates X Number of people in each room X Number of days.
Expert Tip: If you are looking to shell out anything between Rs 70 lakhs to Rs 1 crore and upwards, then Shruti highly recommends the Hyatt Palace Goa Resort & Spa and Grand Hyatt. For a mid budget offering, Alila Diwa Goa and Holiday Inn Resort would cost you anywhere around Rs 65-80 lakhs approximately.
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What is a wedding without some lip smacking food, decadent desserts and an overflow of drinks! This is another very important component of a wedding which has to be carefully catered to. With a large variety of delicacies available from all over the world, it is very easy to overshoot your budget on food. “One cannot hire a private caterer in hotels and therefore has to oblige by the food available in the hotel/resort itself. It is very difficult to give an approximate budget on food as it varies considerably and is mostly included in the hotel package. Drinks too, are decided by the clients and the hotel then arranges for it accordingly,” explains Shruti.
You can choose to go all out with your decor or keep it minimalistic and chic. Either way, prepare to shell out anywhere upto Rs 18 lakhs during peak seasons and around 10 lakhs during off season for a two-day wedding. Shruti shares, “We team up with local decorators and florists and depending on the design that the couple desires, quote accordingly. Taking into account all the pre-wedding and post-wedding dos, your decor arrangements would cost you anywhere between Rs 15 - 18 lakhs for a lavish decor and Rs 8 - 10 lakhs for mid budget decor. But if you are still looking to save up a few bucks, then the La Cabana Beach & Spa has a beautiful beach side view that’s perfect for your pheras. The view lets you do away with any major decor so you don’t have to shell out much.”
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It is true, your wedding guests will mostly remember the memorable experiences of your big day and to make every second of it worth their while, a great DJ is of utmost importance. While Ajay advises small time artists and bands that suit your taste and requirements, Shruti thinks that a great DJ is the heart of a party. “It is surprising but local bands and DJ’s are way costlier than the ones outside of Goa. A DJ in Goa would cost anywhere around Rs 45,000 for a wedding. Local bands and entertainers can go upto Rs 75,000 to even a lakh! However DJ licenses can cost much more and are to be solely incurred by the client,” cautions Shruti.
According to both Shruti and Ajay, who has been in the wedding planning business for years together, an average destination wedding would cost anywhere around Rs 50 Lakhs and upwards during peak Shaadi season starting from October to February. The off seasons are remarkably cheaper and could easily fall under the budget of Rs 35-40 lakhs approximately.
For a hassle-free destination wedding, hiring a wedding planner is extremely important. It might cost a tad bit extra but all your wedding planning woes will be there responsibility and all you’ll have to do is sit back and enjoy your big day. And while you could always hire a team of wedding planners from the city you belong to, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for their travel expenses and that will just add to the budget. So, local wedding planners in Goa are your best bet!
Not only does the company offer wedding planning services, but they also offer a host of other services too like decor, photographers, catering, mehndi artists. They can be your one-stop shop for all your wedding needs.
Starting Price: Rs 2.5 Lakhs
Started in 2011, Kabir Events has organised enough weddings that their portfolio speaks for itself. One look at all the decor pictures and you’ll be sold!
Starting Price: Rs 3 Lakhs
With the aim to offer personalized services to create bespoke wedding experiences, this highly renowned company undertakes only a few projects every year to make sure that they provide quality service to all their clients.
Starting Price: Rs 6 Lakhs
As you go through their profile, you’ll realize that their forte is colour, colour and more colour, so if you’re into that aesthetic, call them!
Starting Price: Rs 2.5 Lakhs
If their clientele doesn’t impress you enough, we don’t know what will! It is possible that one of the pictures you saved on Pinterest came from one of their events.
Starting Price: Rs 3 Lakhs
Wedding planning is no cake walk and that is an accepted fact. Trying to put together the biggest day of your life is not a small task, it requires immense patience. The task becomes even more difficult when you’re planning a destination wedding because of the sole reason that your wedding venue is in another state. From packing and then carrying all your wedding outfits and jewellery to booking tickets to ensuring that the guests are comfortable, it is not easy. On top of that, there are expenses you may not have accounted for that will sometimes mess with the budget you’d set aside for the wedding. So, to help you save costs wherever possible, here are some important tips you need to keep in mind!
It’ll work to your advantage to plan your wedding well in advance. With destination weddings, you and your guests both need to book flight tickets and the sooner you inform them, the cheaper it’ll be. Also, it might be your first instinct to pay for the tickets of your wedding guests but it will cost you a lot. So, try and stick to funding only your close family. Keep your budget constraints in mind while doing that.
The best bet for you will be to choose a picturesque location that’ll not need a lot of decors. Decor can actually make quite a dent in your wedding budget so that is the place you can really save. Day weddings and functions also require less decor than night functions because of all that natural light so plan accordingly.
Try to hire local wedding planners, decorators, Mehendi artists etc. While you might be tempted to hire professionals from your city itself but remember that you’ll be paying for their travel and lodging expenses as well. Another tip to remember is to hire vendors who can provide multiple services. This way you can get a packaged deal and save quite a bit in negotiation.
While you should trust your wedding vendors, you need to visit the location at least once before the wedding. Once you know the layout of the hotel or resort and have personally interacted with the staff there, you’ll find that they are more likely to make provisions for you in good faith.
Try and find a mahurat in the off-season. Prices from the months of March-September are almost 25-50% less than the prices in the shaadi season. Since the accommodation and venues will be your single biggest expenditure, imagine how much you’ll save on it!
If possible, have a family member like your brother drive down to the venue. Airlines have an upper limit of luggage you can carry and with all those heavy lehengas, it’s sure to cost a bomb. So a few people can drive down. Also, road trip FTW!
So what if the exact flowers you wanted are a little over-budget? Go with what you can afford and make the most of it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember to always see the bigger picture - you and him together.
Wedding invites may set you back a few lakhs too but that’s where technology helps you. Send out e-invites to all your guests or make a website where your guests can RSVP. Not only will it keep things interesting, but you’ll also be saving a lot of money!
The whole point of having a destination wedding is a limited guest list. Don’t go too crazy with who you’re inviting. Trim the list to keep it to close family and friends who’ll be there to enjoy your day with you.
Remember this rule - there is no shame in negotiating. The vendors will never go below a number that they’re not comfortable with so negotiate hard. I know a couple that saved more than a couple of lakhs by negotiating with the hotel to allow them to bring their own alcohol and mixers.
Try and host all your wedding functions in one resort/hotel - preferably the one you’re staying in. The package deal you’ll get that way will be quite amazing. Also, they could always throw in a few complimentary services for you.
We’ve tried to answer most of the questions that could arise if you’re planning a destination wedding in Goa. There is no doubt about the fact that Goa is a dream wedding destination for most of us so we’re hoping this helped you more than a little!
Featured Image: Going Bananas Photography, Giphy
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