Mesmerizing Morocco

Mesmerizing Morocco

Mystical, magical and mesmerizing best describes this North African country. Home to the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines as well as rugged mountain interiors which set the backdrop for picturesque memories definitely makes Morocco the ideal venue for a destination wedding.

While many cities in this country would work as a great setting for a memorable Indian wedding, our top two picks would be Marrakech and Agadir. The easiest route to either of these destinations would be a flight from any metro city in India to the commercial capital of Morocco, Casablanca followed by a drive to the final destination though some of these cities do have the facilities of a domestic airport.

Marrakech

A two and a half hour drive away from Casablanca, Marrakech is a great wedding destination for those who have always dreamt of a historic wedding theme. Commonly known as the ‘Red City’ because its red walls, Marrakech has established itself as the cultural and religious centre of Morocco thus giving it a traditional charm.

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We recommend:

Amanjena Resort – Walk through the resort’s sun plated red walls and stoned courtyard which reflect the city’s Moorish heritage and you will realize why this makes a perfect backdrop for the special day. Enjoy a wedding accompanied by musicians, a horse for the groom and Moroccan beautifying rituals as part of the celebrations at this gorgeous property.

What guests can enjoy while in Marrakech:

Apart from the wedding celebrations, guests can enjoy the rustic feel the city has to offer with its markets.

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Some of the places that guests must-visit in Marrakech are:

Jemaa el-Fnaa – Titled as Africa’s busiest marketplace, this square is a must-do when in Marrakech for the variety of visuals it has to offers. As the day progresses ,your wedding guests can see a host of activities at the square ranging from food vendors to snake charmers and dancers.

Chez Ali – Let wedding guests make the most of their trip to Marrakech with a visit to Chez Ali. A night of dinner teamed with magnificent entertainment like acrobats, riders and musicians is definitely going to leave them with fantastic memories of their trip to your wedding.

Agadir

Less than four and a half hours away from Casablanca, Agadir is a definite wedding destination for lovers of the ocean and all things blue.

Located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, Agadir is known as the ‘seaside resort’ in Morocco because of its great beaches and Northern European tourist population. For those who still prefer the modern appeal, Agadir is a great wedding venue for the urban feel.

We recommend:

Palais des Roses Resort & Spa – Enjoy a magnificent and elegant wedding while overlooking the Bay of Agadir, awarded one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Located on the Agadir Beach, the resort will surely give you a scenic wedding setting against the clear blue waters and sandy beaches.

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What guests can enjoy while in Agadir:

Apart from the wedding celebrations, guests can enjoy fun in the sun with time spent on the dazzling beaches or by getting adventurous. Some great things one can do in Agadir are:

Le Musee de l’Argan – They say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. We say, ‘When in Morocco, do as the Moroccans do’. A trip to this beautiful country without indulging in a traditional Hammam, also known as a steam bath, is a no-no. Take some time out during or after the wedding celebrations and make a trip to Le Musee de l’Argan and indulge in this therapeutic cleansing session.

Beyond the beach – If you are an adventure junkie, an off road trip from Agadir is a must. Add to the fun of the wedding ambiance with dune buggy and quad biking trips for guests. The trip along the shores of the ocean, through the forests and on the dunes will allow them to see the unexplored beauty of this country. This unusual trip is sure to make your guests remember your wedding for a long time to come.

So get those bags packed and dash across to the world’s second largest continent to plan your perfect destination wedding.

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Adorning The Groom

Adorning The Groom

We all know how brides-to-be go gung-ho about their big Wedding Day. But weddings are not about brides only, they are about grooms too! After all, the bride’s best accessory is a well styled groom, don’t you think? Let’s pay some attention to the men today with this blog post.

It’s agreed that the groom might not have as many accessories as the bride, but he is not completely devoid of them.  There’s nothing really better than a groom in a custom tailored outfit, but in our opinion, it’s the accessories that make the man.

In case of Indian outfits like a Sherwani or Kurta-Pajama, embellished juttis, mojris or kolhapuris work the best.

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In an Indian wedding, Pagri comprises of one of the most important accessories for the groom. Traditionally, pink has been the color of the groom’s Pagri, with cotton being the fabric used. However, changing times have brought about changes in this accessory as well. These days, grooms go for red-colored Pagris as well, in different patterns, like leheriyas, tie dyes, or self woven brocades.

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For an occasion which requires the groom to be suited up, cuff links are the most common accessories. Custom cuff links are trending and how! There are a lot of quirky options doing the rounds now. Have a look!

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Every groom should sport a boutonniere, and unlike flower boutonnières, this feather one won’t die.

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Vintage pocket watches are very exquisite and can be used as accessories on the wedding suit.

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A simple yet modern circle tie pin gives out a classy look.

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Apart from these options, the groom can experiment with his own tastes and try to match up with the bride, or with the theme of the wedding. Nothing better than an uber cool groom to sweep the bride off her feet, what say?

Simply South Wedding

Tamilian Wedding Ceremony

Tamilian weddings are reflective of the community’s simple way of life. These weddings which span a period of two days are held on days other than Saturday and Tuesday. Also considered inauspicious are days that fall between the mid of July to August, mid of September to October and mid of December to January. While Punjabi weddings are known for their dhol and Gujarati weddings for their shehnai, prominent musical instruments at Tamilian weddings are naathaswaram and melam.

Tamilian wedding preparations begin once the match between the bride and groom has been finalized by their families. An auspicious wedding date is selected and the agreement placed on a plate full of bananas, coconuts and betel leaves. Since this occasion marks the beginning of the wedding celebrations, the bride and groom receive gifts by their respective in laws. The bride receives a silk sari while the groom receives clothes or cash.

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The pre-wedding rituals in a Tamilian wedding begin with a ceremony held to bless the couple. Known as the Paalikali Thalippu, this ceremony is conducted by the bride’s family wherein seven clay pots are decorated with kumkum and sandalwood paste and are then filled with curd and nine types of grains.  These grains are watered by seven married ladies and on the following day thrown in the pond. In the hope that fish will feed on the grains that would have sprouted, many consider this an auspicious omen in blessing the couple.

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An unusual but important ritual of Tamilian weddings is a prayer held to bless the bride with the fate of a Sumangali, a lady who passes away before her husband, which is considered quite lucky. During this prayer, a feast is organized for all married women attending the wedding and during this time they are gifted saris.

Once the prayers are over, the bride and groom, in their respective homes begin rituals to beautify themselves for their big day. The bathing ritual, Kalyanaponnu, also includes smearing the couple with scented oils. Post this ritual the bride and groom do not leave their respective homes until the wedding day.

In Tamilian weddings, the groom and his family arrive a day before the wedding. The groom is welcomed by his to-be mother in law with sweets and the sprinkling of rose water. Once the celebrations of the welcoming are over, a Nandi Devata Pooja is performed by five Sumangalis after which the couple receive gifts of fabric. This pooja is followed by the Navgraha Pooja which is known to rule an individual’s destiny. While the groom prepares himself for the marriage the bride takes part in the Vritham ceremony where the holy thread is tied around her wrist. These rituals are completed with the Naandi Shraartham wherein ten Brahmins are invited so the families can seek their blessings. The Brahmins are then honoured with gifts of paan-supari, coconuts, clothes, sweets and flowers.

On the wedding day, the bride and groom bathe in a ceremony known as the Mangalasnanam wherein prayers are performed by the ladies of the house. After this ceremony, they return to their respective homes to get dressed for the wedding ceremony.

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Once dressed, the bride privately performs the Gauri Pooja while the groom pretends he is heading for the Kaasi Yatra. At this point, the bride’s father requests him to stay back and accept his daughter for marriage and they then take the groom to the wedding venue. While the bride’s mother washes the groom’s feet, the bride is brought to the mandap by her maternal uncle.

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At the madap the couple exchange garlands thrice to symbolize their unity. While they are offered milk and bananas, the older women of the house ward off evil spirits by throwing coloured rice balls in all four directions. The bride’s father then hands over his daughter to the groom in the Kanyadaan ritual after which the groom ties a piece of string around his waist and the bride’s wrist. Once this ritual is over, the groom gifts the bride a new sari which she changes into before the ritual of placing the mangalsutra around her neck happens. Once he wears the bride the mangalsutra, the couple take seven steps together and they are now husband and wife.

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To complete the rituals, the couple step out of the venue together to spot the Pole Star and Arundhati Star only after which the bride makes offerings of parched rice grains into the holy fire. The wedding ceremony concludes with the groom placing toe rings on his wife’s right foot and couple then sipping on Panakam, a beverage made specifically for the occasion with jaggery, cardamom, black pepper and water.

Once the wedding is over, the bride’s family gifts the groom with a suitcase, clothes and a diamond ring in a ceremony called the Nagoli Vasthra while the bride marks her entry into her new home with the Grihapravesha ceremony. At the ceremony she is welcomed by an aarti post which she enters the house only after tipping a jar of rice with her feet.

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Once she enters her new home, the Valeyadal ceremony takes place wherein her sister in law gives her a gift after which they all indulge in traditional games. This is followed by the reception hosted by the groom’s family which gives the bride an opportunity to be acquainted with her new family and friends.

A Big Fat Greek Wedding

A Big Fat Greek Wedding

Being a true paradise for cultural tourism, Greece is perfect as a venue for an evocative Destination Wedding.  Miles of aquamarine coastline dotted with romantic islands, and the sun bleached ancient ruins provide a wide variety of options to celebrate your special day.

The major tourist destination that it is, Greece has 16 international airports; the busiest being Athens International Airport, which has frequent flights connecting it to major destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America.

Ideal Wedding Venues

For your wedding, set sail to a romantic Greek island and spend time on idyllic beaches or in quaint towns full of narrow alleys, charming red-tiled homes and blue-domed churches.  Or you could also head to towering mountain ranges, wine producing valleys and lush forests.

Santorini – voted 2011 Top Island DestinationWeddings in Santorini are a romantic affair, be it on the Caldera, by a pool or on the beach. The backdrop of the volcano and the  breathtaking sunset promise you treasured memories for years to come.

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Pyrgos – with a panoramic island view, the Pyrgos Taverna is a perfect spot for a spectacular wedding. The facility is designed to create a modern, contemporary feel allowing guests to enjoy the event whether they are in the outside foyer enjoying meals, having drinks, or taking pictures of the extraordinary island view, vineyards and unique sunset.

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Santa Irini Chapel – A traditional whitewashed chapel in a perfect setting. The ceremony can take place at sunset, the most magical time of the day. The location has a fantastic view and it is surrounded by buildings in typical Cycladic architectural style.

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Mykonos – Mykonos wedding ceremonies take place at the historic town hall building situated on the waterfront in the glamorous main town. The most popular and one the most authentic locations across the Greek islands is the Mykonos Windmill with amazing views of the Little Venice bay. To make your wedding  even more romantic, opt for the horse and carriage. Your wedding reception will be held at the only hotel in the centre of Mykonos Town by the decorated pool are with excellent views of the town and sunset.

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There are an infinite number of ways to enjoy your time celebrating in this ancient country.   Experience the magnificence of the Acropolis or choose from a vast array of stunning archaeological sites.  Explore a traditional market to shop and stop to dine at a taverna.  In the evening, partake in its famous multifaceted nightlife.  With it’s rich history and fascinating culture, Greece is one of the best destinations for a unique wedding or honeymoon. 

Marwari Wedding Ceremony

Marwari Wedding Ceremony

Characterized as one of the richest communities in India, it is no surprise when Marwari weddings are referred to as grand and opulent. Known to be gifted with strong values from youth, couples from this community tend to have weddings that reflect important customs and rituals.

The union between the boy and girl is marked with the Sagai ceremony which is the formal engagement wherein the male members of the girl’s family visit the groom’s house. The bride’s brother applies tilak to the groom’s forehead after which they give him gifts which include a sword, sweets and clothes thus formalizing the bond between the couple.

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Once formally engaged, a havan takes place at both the bride and groom’s house prior to the wedding. This pooja known as Ganpati Stahpna is performed to place an idol of Lord Ganesh in order to remove all obstacles prior to the couple beginning their new journey.

Like all other Indian weddings, in Marwari weddings too, this journey of togetherness includes a haldi ceremony. Known as the Pithi Dastoor, this ceremony happens for both the bride and the groom wherein they are beautified with the effects of the turmeric paste. After this ceremony, they do not step out of their house until the wedding day. Though the couple has to stay in their respective homes till the wedding day, the celebrations for the forthcoming wedding do not stop. Gatherings are held separately for the men and the women. Traditional ghoomar dances are performed at the ladies gatherings whilst the men’s gatherings have singers performing for the guests. It is forbidden for members of the opposite gender to be present at the others’ gathering.

Since Marwari weddings are a lavish affair, the Mahira Dastoor ceremony is a reflection of the assistance given to families to manage the expenses. This ritual happens in both the bride and groom’s house wherein the maternal uncle is welcomed by his sister and he distributes sweets, cash and jewellery to the family as a mark of helping his sister manage the wedding festivities of her children.

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Closer to the wedding, the groom goes through the Janev which is a thread ceremony. After a havan a scared thread is tied around the groom. This now makes him eligible for marriage, in other words eligible to take on the responsibility as the head of his new family. While the groom gets ready to take on his responsibility as a husband, the bride goes through the Palla Dastoor ritual a day prior to the wedding. On this day she receives her wedding outfit and jewellery from the groom’s family.

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While the bride adorns herself in her wedding attire on the day of the wedding, the groom goes through the Nikasi ceremony wherein the sehra is tied to his head by his brother in law and his sister in law applies kohl to his eyes. The groom is now ready to make his way to the wedding venue.

The groom makes his way with a Baraat that only consists of male members, each carrying a majestic sword. The groom enters the wedding venue hitting the toran, a decorative flower arrangement on the door, with a stick of neem to ward off evil.  After the Toranchar, the bride’s mother welcomes the groom with an aarti. Once this ritual is over, the bride enters the venue with her face fully covered. The couple exchange garlands in the Jaimala ceremony after which they take three pheras and are then led to the mandap for the rest of the rituals.

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At the mandap the Granthi Bandhan is performed where part of the bride and groom’s attire are tied in a knot by the groom’s sister or a priest. Once this has been done the couple perform the Pheras where they encircle the sacred fire four times.

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Once the pheras have been performed, the bride and groom offer puffed rice to the holy fire. This ceremony known as the Ashwahrohan symbolizes wishes and prosperity for the newlyweds. The bride then moves to the left of her husband as part of the Vamang Stahpana symbolizing that he accepts her and establishes her in his heart. The groom then performs the Sindurdaan where he puts vermillion on the bride’s head. The bride and groom then walk seven steps, Saptapadi, while making seven promises to each other.

The bride receives a bag full of money by her father in law in the Anjhala Bharaai ceremony. This is a way of welcoming her to the family and making her away of the responsibilities. The couple now touch the feet of the elders and take their blessings in order to begin their new journey.

The Bachelorette Bash

The Bachelorette Bash

Be it your ‘Best Friend Forever,’ your sister or your colleague – planning a Bachelorette Party or a ‘Hen Night’ as it’s called, can be quite a task.

The bachelorette party is consciously modeled after the centuries-old bachelor’s party – historically a dinner given by the bridegroom to his friends shortly before his wedding.  But who said only boys can have all the fun? The modern brides-to-be don’t seem to mind so much, when their friends throw a bash in their honor, making it a memorable night for everyone.

Read on, for some fun tips for a typical girls’ night out, which includes gossip, pampering, good food and great beverages too!

Any of the bride’s close friends (girls) can be on the guest list, and a host can either take over or split the responsibility of organizing this hen night. Pick a night a week or fortnight prior to her Wedding Day and announce it to all her friends. The bride can be kept in the loop of what is happening, but the fun lies in surprising her with something she may never expect (ensure that she does not get shocked though).

To start, buy a scrapbook with removable pages, and mail a page to all of the bride’s girl pals. Ask each of them to fill it with pictures, scribble some funny quotes she likes, or just write down how happy you are for her. You can get as creative as possible, by including some doodles of memories you shared with her. Do not worry too much about your artistic skills; anything that is made out of so much effort personally, will surely make her feel special. Wrap it up and give it to her on the party night.

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Dress the part! Come up with an easy, unique group outfit idea that reflects the bride’s personality and ties you all together. Or you could all dress up in one color and ask her to wear a different, bold shade.

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All the girl friends of the bride can pitch in and take her to a wine tasting or spa pampering session. This is something that will guarantee a bonding session between all the girls!

If going out is too cliched, host the party at one of your places, and hire a professional chef to prepare a fabulous dinner for the group at home, while you enjoy some of your favorite chick flicks.

There are a lot of fun options for indoor entertainment – you can play drinking games by quizzing her with questions about the groom; or twist the usual charades or card game by adding some wacky rules only to be followed that night. If you really know her well, this will be quite an easy task.

Almost every girl loves the camera! Get some hilarious photo booths and click away to glory. Watch the drama unfold, when you get the prints of these pictures.

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Since themed parties are trending, have themes like the disco or a prom night. Figure out whatever works  best and is easy to plan and organize.

Rent out a karaoke machine and croon the night away with your all time favorite tunes.

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Hand out party favors like caricature wine glasses – raise all your toasts to her. Go ahead and raise one for yourselves too, for being such incredible hosts and friends to the bride.

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These are only a few ways to host a fun night for the bride; you can get as innovative as possible – you could go all the way and include a bit of strip tease too! As long as it ensures that all you girls have a great time together, rest assured, this party will definitely have a lot of great moments you’ll remember for long.