Plan a South Asian-Inspired Destination Wedding

With its infinite guest list, seemingly endless events and lavish meals, a traditional Indian wedding — and its herculean planning efforts — can look more like an extravagant Hollywood production. These days, however, the planning process for such celebrations is more streamlined — and oceanfront.

Some of the Caribbean and Mexico’s most trusted resort brands are offering awesomely detailed celebration packages designed just for you. There are on-site wedding coordinating specialists, culturally specific decor and ceremony choices, along with certified, authentic cuisine options. So now all you need to do is choose your favorite resort destination. Here, some of our favorite packages across the region.

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Calling all you reality TV fans: You can get hitched at the same resort that hosted a season of The Bachelor in Paradise. The ocean-view property boasts the spectacular Shaadi package, which has been expertly crafted to include six traditional events. The experience begins on the first night with the mehndi evening (an intimate three-hour gathering with a henna artist), before extending to the second day with the welcome dinner (or sangeet or garba). And finally, there’s the third day with a baraat (the groom’s procession), the wedding ceremony, a post-ceremony lunch and a dinner ceremony. Don’t worry about repeating venues — Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa encompasses more than enough private locations for hosting including a secluded beach, pool terraces and a jungle gazebo and garden. Elegantly furnished, each event feels unique from the last. Best of all, many areas are separated from the guest rooms, allowing the celebrations to continue well into the early morning (the Shaadi package starts at $25,999 and includes six events over the course of three days for 75 guests;

dreams tulum indian wedding
Photo courtesy of AM Resorts

Palace New Moon Jamaica Grande, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

As one of the leading names in South Asian destination weddings, Palace Resorts, a collection of eight all-inclusive resorts, hosts more than 300 Indian weddings every year, and it’s extended its expertise to the island of Jamaica. Opened early this year, Palace New Moon Jamaica Grande is gorgeously situated at the head of the north coast’s Ocho Rios Bay, dreamily fringed by white-sand beaches. The spot is choice for couples seeking a lush aesthetic — think waterfalls and verdant foliage. Authentic Indian cuisine, served buffet or family style, is included in the resort’s ultra-customizable offerings, along with a henna artist, a mandap (wedding stage) decorator, a music director, breakfast in bed the morning after and a hard-to-beat perk: a complimentary honeymoon (wedding packages start at $1,140 and include a wedding planner, ceremony location site fee and food;

indian bride and groom

palace new moon jamaica grande indian wedding
palace resorts
Photos courtesy of Palace Resorts

Barceló Maya Beach Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

White horse entrances and fire dancers on the beach are some of the offerings at this rambling all-inclusive property, which spans two miles of Mexican beachfront. Here, wedding coordinators encourage couples to do one thing: Think big! In addition to your choice of eight beautiful venues, each package (Dharma, Artha and Karma Love) accounts for the most important elements of throwing a traditional ceremony and beyond — from the wedding cake and bubbly to the lighted dance floor (wedding packages start at $4,000 and include a wedding ceremony and reception for 50 guests, plus photography and video services;

barcelo maya beach
Photo courtesy of Barceló Maya Beach

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

The sky is literally the limit when planning a Hindu wedding at Atlantis, the sprawling property in the buzzy Bahamas. In fact, for the baraat a groom once made his entrance via helicopter, personalizing and customizing this North Indian tradition. Such experiences are a specialty at the beachfront resort, which offers two types of Hindu wedding packages. The larger of the two, Aakash, includes hair and makeup, photography and videography, in addition to all the basics a couple needs on the wedding day. Specially decorated ceremony and reception venues are also part of the deal, as are reservations at the Cove Atlantis, the property’s hip enclave. Though food and drink are packaged separately, you can fully customize vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus prepared by chefs born, raised and trained in India (wedding packages start at $8,900 and include a wedding coordinator specialist, Bahamian officiant, essential decor, photography and ceremony seating for 100;

atlantis paradise island indian wedding
Photo courtesy of Atlantis, Paradise Island

Top Planning Tips

We asked Gigi Mukherjee, Hindu weddings specialist at LOVE Atlantis, what to consider when planning a South Asian destination wedding:

A variety of guest rooms and rates is key. It makes all the difference because there is always a financial diversity in your group. You’ll want to accommodate the family that’s going to spend $99 a night, as well as those who are staying a week and spending upwards of $1,000 a night.

Go with an experienced planner. You want to know if they’re familiar with the rituals and can guide you and your families through them, especially if the bride or groom is non-Indian. Similarly, hire an experienced team. Make sure your vendors and photographers know which details deserve the most attention.

Choose a resort with a strong Indian cuisine program or partnership. Food is one of the the most important elements of a Hindu wedding.

Make sure you’re the only Hindu bride at the resort during your stay. The very first thing to consider is noncompetition. When you’re there, you don’t want to see another Indian bride having another huge event. Generally speaking, there may not be enough resources.