For those who have always harboured dreams of an international destination wedding, they can now look beyond Phuket.
Recently, Bollywood diva Sonam Kapoor’s friend and a well known designer’s sister got married in the scenic country of Oman in the Middle East; and as she shared picturesque shots from the wedding venue on her Instagram account, the world got to know of an unusual yet beautiful destination that has the capability to host the most amazing weddings.
Why is Oman the Latest Trend in Shaadi Hotspots?
Oman, with its mountains, valleys and sea has caught the fancy of India’s rich and famous. The celebrity wedding that saw a high profile guest list, mostly from the film fraternity, was held at the Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, a space with the most breathtaking views.
Krupa Khimji of Mosaic Events, Muscat, planned the big wedding that had guests like Sonam Kapoor, Rhea Kapoor and Masaba Gupta among others, in the first week of December.
The Indian culture is embedded in the Omani culture. In fact, Indians have grown with the country and taken it forward. Also, both the cultures have a lot in common, especially in aesthetics. So having a wedding here is just perfect. Here, the Sultan of Muscat has made the place very accessible to Indians, with an open temple among other things.
Krupa Khimji of Mosaic Events, Muscat
Oman, an Easy Blend of the Indian and the Arabic
Krupa, who hails from Mumbai, is a member of the Khimji family – the most respected Indian family in Oman.
For the weddings, she likes to fuse Arabic and Indian trends and cultures; the recent wedding, for instance, had a pastel theme fusing both new and traditional designs.
Interestingly, Krupa uses her Mumbai IQ to act as a friendly guide between the family and hotel/Omani authorities – for instance, when a sangeet ceremony went on till 2 am, she had to explain to the hotel staff that it was perfectly normal in a Punjabi wedding!
Safety is another vital reason why Oman has started to do well among destination weddings. Says Ashu Garg of GTC Events:
“Oman has emerged as a safe destination and that is a priority for both, Indian or NRI families. Also, many Indians work here already, making it easier to organise weddings and that too, at better costs.”
How Oman Outshines Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Destination weddings in Thailand and Mauritius have become usual fare and that is where Middle Eastern cities like Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have scored.
“People love shopping in these cities as all the brands are available here. Additionally, the food is similar to the Indian cuisine and many Indian chefs work here, which is an advantage. Most importantly, the families buy wedding jewellery from these countries itself,” explains Garg.
However, while Dubai and Abu Dhabi are luxurious getaways with friends and relatives opting for the malls in between wedding functions, Oman is more paced out and traditional.
“The topography is beautiful and the friends of the family stay at the venue and enjoy the rituals instead of taking off to malls,” says Krupa.
The tourism department of the country is doing its best to promote it as a wedding destination as well. With a revamped airport and more flights plying between the two countries, the naturally beautiful and laid back Muscat is steadily edging out the glamorous Dubai.
Another secret the wedding planner shares with us –
“Back in India, people have to invite hundreds of relatives and acquaintances, out of sheer proximity. Here, the guest list can be reduced to a perfect hundred – ensuring the bride and groom only have people they truly cherish, around them.”
(Runa Mukherjee Parikh has written on women, culture, social issues, education and animals, with The Times of India, India Today and IBN Live. When not hounding for stories, she can be found petting dogs, watching sitcoms or travelling. A big believer in ‘animals come before humans’, she is currently struggling to make sense of her Bengali-Gujarati lifestyle in Ahmedabad.)