While most Indians love to go all out with their ceremonies, some modern couples are breaking tradition and opting for small, intimate affairs at serene locations. By Rashima Nagpal
The sacred spirit of Uttarakhand is not bound to pilgrimages; it works its magic into weddings as well. A rising trend among couples in and around the national capital, a mountain wedding in Uttarakhand is a great way to escape the hustle of the city. Cosy properties such as Soulitude in the Himalayas (soulitude.in) and WelcomHeritage Ashdale (welcomheritagehotels.in) offer the most scenic backgrounds for weddings. While Soulitude in the Himalayas (in pic) is a contemporary 11-room sanctuary in the woods of Kumaon, the latter is a colonial summer home in Nainital’s Mallital that features 24 rooms and a sprawling garden. Both are ideal for small private celebrations.
The Himalayas add an incomparable natural glamour to your special moments. From its summer capitals to untouched hamlets, snow peaks to gushing rivers and endless valleys, the state of Himachal Pradesh is as much an adventurous playground as a romantic paradise. While there’s no dearth of state-of-the-art resorts to pick from, having an intimate wedding gala at a Victorian castle in the hills ensures a unique experience. For instance, The Himalayan (himalayan.com)—located at a height of 2,000 metres in Manali—is a restored Gothic castle-resort fit for a fairy tale. Nestled amid apple orchards and cherry trees, and furnished with vintage decor, it is the perfect setting for a timeless wedding in the hills.
At the crossroads of Tibetan and Nepalese cultures, Sikkim’s distinct beauty demands to be experienced. Naturally blessed and culturally rich, this is a great place if you’d like your wedding ceremonies to be filled with equal parts warmth, joy, and intimacy. The clean and green capital, Gangtok, captures the multi-faceted essence of the region quite wonderfully. At the heart of it, the plush Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino (mayfairhotels.com) is a preferred destination for weddings. Spread over 48 acres of lush greenery, it features a variety of accommodations as well as banquet options that take care of all your needs.
Closer home, Sri Lanka combines rich cultural heritage with virgin landscapes. The long coastline, the thick of the forest, and the omnipresent touch of traditional Ceylon hospitality—the island and its myriad avatars make for a splendid romance. Thanks to its easy accessibility, Indian couples find it convenient to fly down to Sri Lanka and have an idyllic wedding. Add to that a range of all-inclusive boutique resorts, such as the beautiful Saman Villas (samanvilla.com) in the coastal town of Bentota, and half your task is done. Replete with airy sea-facing villas, bespoke culinary experiences, and Ayurvedic therapies, the property offers all-encompassing wedding packages.
Offbeat and intimate go hand-in-hand. This is why getting married in the French countryside is one of our top recommendations. Think northern France’s cliffs, the glistening French Riviera, and bucolic communes in the South of France, to name a few. In Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, the sylvan setting of Domaine des Andéols (andeols.com) has a reputation for hosting picture-postcard weddings. In the heart of the Luberon region, the estate is perched on a hill surrounded by olive groves, cypress trees, and fields of lavender. With 11 ‘houses’ and eight ‘nature suites’, a fine-dining venue and a rustic centenary tree turned restaurant, an outdoor pool, and Turkish hammam, the property is emblematic of country life.
The charms of Bhutan’s landscape and people need no introduction. But the idea of getting married here is quite novel. The country’s many monasteries with their soothing tranquillity and the lull of its forests, which cover over 70 per cent of the nation, appeal to the romantically inclined. The trend hasn’t gone unnoticed. Resorts such as COMO Uma Paro (comohotels.com) offer the chance to have intimate weddings in Bhutan. Featuring nine private villas and 20 rooms, the resort is fit for a small guest-list. Moreover, its unique offering of a blessing-ceremony held by Buddhist monks at an ancient temple is an immersive experience that’s hard to beat.