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Cover Story

Goa: The ordinary couple's dream stop

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Goa as a destination spot for weddings still scores the best

As the orange sun dips slowly into the Arabian Sea, an NRI couple walks around the sacred fire to the resonant hum of Vedic chants. Their footprints etch into the soft sand beneath their feet as the waves lap gently at the shore.

Over the last decade, Goa has emerged as a favoured wedding destination for ordinary Indians looking to live out their fantasy of having a dream wedding without going overboard on cost. "Plus, there's good connectivity to Mumbai and other metros, " says Sujit Samant, sales director for the Taj Holiday Village and the Fort Aguada Beach Resort in north Goa. The wedding in Goa could cost you anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 50 lakh - or the sky is the limit if you want it fatter. "Our average costs are around Rs 13, 000 per couple, inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner, " he adds.

Besides Indians, NRIs are also flocking to Goa for their big day. "Indian kids abroad have grown up watching Bollywood movies, and they want to experience the same when it's their time to marry, " says Elton Hurtis, F&B director, Goa Marriott Resort.
"We've received requests from NRI couples that their baraatis should be dressed in designer, ethnic Indian wear. A guest also asked that he be given a kurta similar to the one worn by Shah Rukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, and we obliged. It's more than a wedding, it's like a festival and the hotel staff enjoy it too, " Hurtis says. The 178-room hotel has been occupied almost to full capacity by baraatis on quite a few occasions.

A look at the food and beverage menu of a wedding party reveals a lot. While Indians stick to traditional cuisine, with a little bit of continental flavour thrown in, NRIs want more international cuisine on the menu, especially to cater to the tastes of their foreign guests, says Francis Serrao, managing director, Crosscraft. "We've had to cater to every taste: veg food, Jain food. No honey, no roots. "

Besides the traditional, formal weddings, couples marrying in Goa indulged in their taste for adventure too. "A bride said that she wished to arrive at her reception on a water scooter, while the groom wanted to arrive at the beach on a parasail. The parasailing idea didn't work out, but the bride did get her wish granted, " says Neeta Sen, general manager at Cidade de Goa, a seaside resort by the Vainguinim beach. A monsoon wedding at the hotel would cost a couple Rs 8, 000 per room, with all other incidentals as additional cost. Goa as a destination spot for wedding still scores the best, she says.

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