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Loaded with luxury
Guests in big-ticket weddings are being flown around in chartered flights and entertainment for them is customised
A natural beach at an altitude of 625 meters above sea level, silver sands with azure waters, reefs with rainbow coloured fish, water bungalows and historical palaces are some of the dream destinations India's noveau riche are opting for, to organise wedding vows and wows in.
Udaipur, Jaipur, Goa, Aamby Valley are high on the 'sagaai to bidaai' list. "Facilities and flexibilities, as well as approach and location are of prime importance, " says Ritesh Kamut, CEO of Dream Weddings that organises high profile marriage ceremonies for India's biggies. "While Goa and Rajasthan are popular during the winter, when top hotels are booked with private concierges and extra special room service for all guests, Aamby Valley is on the wedding wish list all through the year. "
Nestled in the mist-kissed hills of Lonavala, this 'by invitation only city' offers various venues in keeping with different themes. "We recently executed a 'Ram Sita' theme at the Benaras ghats there. For another theme on royalty that we did for a diamond trader from Surat, all the baraatis were brought in seated on elaborately decorated elephants and camels, " says Kamut. Aamby Valley also has a lagoon, primitive village;pirate boat and fisherman's wharf for all pre-wedding and post wedding functions. Gujarat's diamond barons, textile tycoons and industrialists find this location very convenient as "Mumbai is in close proximity, and gourmet food, Bollywood's hair and make up artists as well as exotic flowers can be easily arranged for".
Preparations for such weddings begin at the journey stage itself. Private flights chartered to ferry about a 100 baraatis cost around Rs 25 lakh for a trip from Delhi to Udaipur and back. Often, these flights are booked around six to seven months in advance and scheduled according to special timings.
Harsh Goswami, assistant manager at Kingfisher chartered airlines and the man who had made travel arrangements for the Hinduja bridal beach party in the Maldives, says a lot of baraatis from "up north" are now flying to international shores. "Maldives and Phuket are very popular wedding venues with our chartered flight destinations, " he adds. For guests, most of whom prefer Airbus 320, it has to be festival time from the moment they check in and till the time they disembark. "The entire experience is customised to provide comfort. Special desks and valets at the airport and elaborate in-flight services are added perks. The whole flight turns into business class. We have had clients who wanted signature crockery and cutlery on board to go with the champagne and caviar. Some want the flight decorated on the inside. Once we were even asked to arrange an in-flight ramp for a catwalk to entertain guests. But we had to refuse due to safety reasons. "
Says Krishna Shah, a guest at a recent high profile wedding in the Maldives: "It was like we were on an all-expenses paid holiday. Sunset cocktails, tropical barbecues, drummer boys and flower girls on a private island that we reached via a yacht made most of us think marriages are made in heaven. "
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