As the world gradually opens its doors to international travel, amp up your intimate ceremonies by stamping them with the thrill of a destination wedding. These 10 locations weave together the ideal wedding backdrop, draped in serenity and safety. By Anushka Goel and Bayar Jain
10 Locations Perfect For An International Intimate Wedding
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A penchant for luxury draped in tradition feeds into Qatar’s magnetism. Perhaps that’s why so many Indians choose this historic country as their wedding destination.
Qatar has long lured couples keen on lavish wedding celebrations seeped in traditions. With magnificent venues, splendid climate, luxurious hotels, unmatched hospitality, marvellous infrastructure, and picturesque backdrops in its kitty, this Middle-Eastern nation ticks all the right boxes for a grand, sophisticated wedding.
All of three-and-a-half hours away aboard Qatar Airways—the country’s national carrier and widely credited as the world’s best—this royal nation has cemented its name as the safest and richest country in the world. Qatar’s seamless travel and arrival experiences only elevate the entire affair.
Apart from offering a free visa-on-arrival and end-to-end airport assistance, the Government of Qatar, along with Qatar Tourism, work in unison to efficiently execute weddings in Doha, keeping guests’ comfort paramount and wedding-induced anxieties at bay. Customised immigration processes and easy custom clearances for large-scale weddings further enhance the country’s allure.
No wonder, then, Qatar boasts over 50 five-star properties to choose from for a dreamy, bespoke ceremony for all tastes and sensibilities—ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.
In fact, each hotel and staff in this peninsular Arab country is well-acquainted with Indian customs, rituals, traditions, and requirements for a stress-free nuptial.
Sharq Village & Spa in Doha, for instance, can accommodate 300 guests. The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, on the other hand, creates the ideal ambience for an intimate soirée. Picture a relaxed cocktail party on a private beach followed by a laid-back brunch in the accompanying lawns the following day. The St. Regis Doha (marriott.com) also promises equally spectacular and beautiful venues, accentuated by excellent hospitality, services, and experiences. The Gulf country’s flexible beverage policy doubles as a crowning glory across properties, in turn facilitating a ceremony sloshed with merriment.
A memorable wedding, however, is one that extends the fun and excitement beyond the ceremonies. And Qatar understands such experiential holidays all too well. Home to white-sand dunes, azure-blue inland seas, stunning architecture, inspiring art installations, enriching museums, and energetic tourist spots—Qatar has it all. visitqatar.qa
A hidden gem to Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah is the UAE’s nature emirate, boasting exquisite landscapes, including 64 kilometres of pristine beaches, as well as towering mountains and terracotta deserts—providing the perfect backdrop to weddings. Whether couples are looking for an intimate beach wedding, a glamorous event in a private nature reserve, or a classy, traditional celebration, Ras Al Khaimah offers several mesmerising venues to help make their dream wedding come true.
Amongst the many hotels offering a spectacular setting, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort offers the perfect canvas for unforgettable moments. Guests can choose from banquet halls or beautiful outdoor backdrops along the one-and-a- half-kilometres of private white sands. From popping the question to the first dance, the bride and groom can rely on the hotel’s team of specialists to help along the way.
Through the hotel’s expertise and partnerships with talented décor designers, photographers, florists, and experienced chefs specialising in authentic Indian cuisine, guests can enjoy exceptional cuisine and impeccable service delivered in a setting of taste and luxury. As special occasions like these call for grand gestures, a dedicated wedding specialist works diligently and custom designs all the beautiful events, ensuring the couple has the best time of their lives. visitrasalkhaimah.com
Whether it’s a fairy-tale engagement in a palace in Sintra, a vintage wedding in the vineyards of Douro, or a romantic beach reception off the coast of Algarve, Portugal offers the perfect wedding destination for Indian weddings, harmoniously respecting its many traditions.
The country with the oldest borders in Europe is a joyful locale with a perfect, mild climate, an abundance of natural beauty, dramatic forts and ancient castles, striking architecture, and exquisite villas. Couples can soak up the best of both worlds here, be it at a hotel nestled in the mountains, or at a shoreside venue with the sea as a backdrop.
Portugal’s South-Asian community brings Indian cuisine to every part of the country, and the expertise of local, Indian wedding- service companies is impressive. What’s more, the place makes for the perfect honeymoon destination with several intimate getaways that include gushing waterfalls, lush forests, scenic riverfronts, and more. visitportugal.com
Blanketed in golden sunshine, the sea and the sand, Seychelles is a nuptial paradise for nature lovers. An archipelago of 115 islands, it is home to absolutely stunning landscapes. And with its one- of-a-kind flora and fauna, white-sand beaches, and gently swaying palms, you can dream of an idyllic set-up and it will be made possible.
Walk down the aisle barefoot for a laid-back beach ceremony, book a private island to celebrate with your loved ones, opt for an indoor ritual in a tasteful, colonial-styled private villa, or host a cocktail evening at a plush retreat overlooking the ocean—each experience offers a novel arrangement that will live in the memory long after it is over.
As romance blossoms naturally in the archipelago, Seychelles readily alters into a heavenly honeymoon destination. Catch your breath after the festivities to enjoy a stint with Creole culture, dig into their colonial past, or walk hand-in-hand on stunning beaches. Adventure-loving couples can enjoy the locale’s natural wonders by indulging in a bouquet of activities, such as fishing, hiking, trekking, bird watching, diving, snorkelling, parasailing, and more.
And since planning a wedding can be stressful, Seychelles offers a host of world-class spas, luxe resorts, along with the freshest culinary creations featuring a fusion of Indian, African, and European flavours. seychelles.travel
Experiential weddings lie at the heart of Jordan. With jewels like the ancient, sandstone city of Petra and the Dead Sea’s healing properties embossed in its crown, this Middle-Eastern country is a haven of gorgeous backdrops. Seeking a unique location for your special day? Opt for the ruins of Little Petra or the historic deserts of Wadi Rum, and you can be assured of personalised ceremonies at each spot. Consider taking the celebrations to properties such as Petra Marriott Hotel and Mövenpick Resort Petra, offering striking views
of the cityscape and its impressive sandstone-carved Treasury. Couples hoping for a sojourn by the Dead Sea’s mesmerising shoreline can stay at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa, Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa, or Crowne Plaza Jordan–Dead Sea Resort & Spa. Amman, the capital city, abounds in spectacular heritage sights, and couples can embrace the best of the old and the new with a stay at hotels such as the Fairmont Amman, Grand Hyatt Amman and W Amman. visitjordan.com
Known as the ‘Land of the Gods’, Bali embraces the spiritual side of weddings and blends it seamlessly with cultural luxury. Its location eight degrees south of the Equator lends this tropical wonderland a warm climate all-year round, making the Asian nation an easy choice for outdoor weddings for a significant portion of the year. The white sands of Kuta, Jimbaran, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua are ideal for a beach wedding, accentuated by privacy. Mount Batur, an active volcano overlooking the serene Batur Lake in Kintamani, makes for dramatic backdrops; while the West Bali National Park is ideal for nature-loving couples, courtesy of the rich flora and fauna that seek refuge here. After long-drawn days of wedding ceremonies and hullaballoo, surrender in total relaxation and experience the best of Balinese spas, dotted all over the island. indonesia.travel
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This Spanish archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea is perfectly suited for couples looking to extend the celebrations beyond the ceremonies. Taking note of the growing interest in destination weddings at Ibiza, this Balearic island’s tourist companies have begun specialising in the matrimonial-services sector, allowing couples to choose from a range of fantastic locations overlooking the sea. Villas and smaller wedding venues, too, can be booked for intimate celebrations—all offering specialised complimentary services, such as wedding planning, make-up and hairstyling, catering, video and photography, DJs, artistes, and more. Being a popular tourist destination also lends the island to a plethora of well- functioning services, such as restaurants, hotels, public transport, and leisure activities that make pre- and post-wedding experiences a breeze. In fact, to make the destination-wedding-planning process easier, Ibiza has created an online repository of all the information a couple may require to plan an island nuptial. ibiza.travel
Opt for an ethereal beachside wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. With crystal waters and rippling waves crashing along the shore, this beach resort paints the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding. The resort’s restaurants, beachside garden, and ballrooms cater to the dream-wedding couples are seeking.
Those looking for Middle-Eastern flair, immaculate views, and intimate settings can opt for The Palace Downtown. The hotel’s open-air space, offering enviable views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, is an excellent location for couples to host a cocktail party or reception, while the gazebo, facing the Burj Khalifa, is the perfect private space for couples to say (or renew) their wedding vows.
One of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai, the One&Only The Palm is the ideal destination for a grand wedding. The sizable pool, flanked by private cabanas, makes for a beautiful venue for a sundowner or a daytime cocktail/pool party for guests to soak up the sun.
Visitors can create sweet memories and enjoy an extravagant experience at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. The Royal Malakiya Villa, inspired by the summer houses of old Arabia, is an intimate, two- storey villa with butler service, a plunge pool, and an outdoor terrace, all just steps away from the beach, making for the perfect spot for couples to host a small wedding with their loved ones. The rooms also have stunning views of the Madinat Jumeirah waterways, the world-famous Burj Al Arab, lush gardens, and vistas over the Arabian Gulf. visitdubai.com
Thailand has long tempted tempted couples from India to tie the knot at
its varied landscapes. Beach lovers can share their first kiss against the sunset as a newlywed couple on the beaches of Hua Hin, Phuket, Khao Lak, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Krabi and Rayong. On the cultural side, Chiang Mai and Bangkok shine with enticing offerings. Be it ceremonial needs or culinary requirements, venues at each destination guarantee subject expertise, allowing the couple to say “I do” without any stress. The ‘can do’ attitude of the locals only facilitates this further. When here, whether it is driving down to the nuptials venue in a vintage car or getting henna designs before the D-day, each betrothal dream is catered to. As the ceremonies end, the couple can enjoy moments of togetherness at a range of sightseeing spots, with adventure activities, wellness spas, shopping places, and more. tourismthailand.org
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Indian weddings in Tuscany are characterised by large events. During the last year, however, forced limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that Indian brides and grooms have rediscovered a more intimate and exclusive side of Tuscany—of smaller venues and timeless charm. The wedding ceremonies in Tuscany are no longer majestic in size, but are increasingly becoming more exclusive and itinerant, touching on several locations within the region, which has always had a wealth of landscapes. This includes the pristine countryside; historic cities of art and architecture such as Florence, Siena, and Pisa; the medieval castles of the Valdera; the unspoiled vineyards in the Chianti area; the seaside shores of Maremma and Versilia; and the small, pretty villages of Valdorcia, to name a few. Getting married in Tuscany is not just about hosting a wedding, but an incredible, all-round experience offered to the guests by the bride and groom. In all, a memorable wedding is guaranteed. visittuscany.com