What made you choose Oman as the destination for the Virani wedding?
The destination was chosen by the family. The Viranis are travellers, and they wanted the wedding to be held in place that wasn’t far from India, which could bring together all of them easily. They weren’t keen on busy destinations, since people tend to get distracted from the main event and go out for other activities. Oman gives intimacy to its visitors along with stunning backdrops, and the amount of options and services provided by Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa made me realize that this was the perfect destination.
When did the planning and preparations for the wedding start?
I visited Oman in late October to look over the Shangri-La property and to make a call on the events that had to be designed specifically for an Indian wedding. The hotel is lavish and modern, and was very cooperative. My team and I began researching within the local market for support. All the décor and embellishments were shipped from India on the 15th of December, and we had a very short amount of time to put it all together.
Tell us about the help you got from Oman.
All our sound, lighting, and video requirements were taken care of by Talentz, an excellent company whose equipment was top of the line, and of the highest quality. They gave us a lot of last minute help and their services were fantastic. This is one company with whom we would like to maintain long ties. In the future, if we have the chance to host other events in Oman, we will not think of any other company to work with.
When it came to ground handling and visa formalities, Tour Oman helped us out thoroughly. They made special arrangements to welcome each guest from the airport and assist them in the immigration process and luggage handling, vehicles were ready to transport the guests immediately, and their help was more than we had expected. I have travelled a lot, and I would definitely rate them as a top notch agency with whom I look forward to working with in the future as well.
What was it like, working with Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa?
The hotel was very cooperative, very gracious, and accommodated all our needs as required. Their staff was very warm and hospitable. We made sure to communicate all information regarding any requirements to the hotel in a timely manner, so as to avoid the chance of miscommunication.
What was the size of the wedding?
Typically, an average destination wedding would have not more than 300 guests. When it comes to the scale of the Virani Wedding, we don’t look at the number of guests only, because along with them we have family members, the support staff, entertainers, performers, and the technical teams.
Every event of the wedding had different entertainers flown in from various parts of the world, so the total number of people crossed 1100.
Jigar Shah, of Sound Spirits Event Management, Mumbai, coordinated all the entertainment events, while the photography was handled by Nimesh Shah of Shah Photos. Krishna Patel, of Krish Creations Thailand (known as Gem Weddings previously), was the one who handled everything regarding the hotel and the family. She was the one who introduced the family to Oman and the hotel.
Tell us about the catering and cuisine choices. Did you implement local Omani flavours in the banquet?
Absolutely. We had many dishes incorporated in the wedding feast, and the menu for each day featured local flavours as well, all vegetarian. We had traditional Indian food items and sweets. Krishna was the main mediator when it came to catering. She was tremendous in her efforts, and had 60 chefs flown in from India who worked with the hotel’s chefs. We also brought in a food specialist from Thailand, who created exquisite Thai dishes for each day.
What was the concept behind the daily supplements summarizing the events of the day?
The idea was to put together a concise synopsis for the guests, so they could look back on the celebrations of the day. It was like a personal newspaper, and was designed in a professional format, with the date and page numbers. We made use of a lot of pictures from the day’s events, and also had information panels regarding the next day’s festivities. The guests awaited the supplements very eagerly; it was in the format of an itinerary, and very customized. We titled it ‘The SC Times’, ‘S’ for Smit, and ‘C’ for Chandni.
What was the general feedback from the guests about Oman as a venue?
We have had a lot of guests enquiring about the wedding of their children in Oman now! People were very reluctant to leave the country. I would like to share a quote from some of the guests: ‘From the 23rd to the 27th (the day of departure), we felt like we were in heaven, and to leave would be like to return to earth.’
Will we see you here again?
Most definitely. Muscat has great potential, and with the expert help we received, it would be a pleasure to come back here again. If families from Oman wish to have a destination wedding in any part of the world, we would certainly manage it and make it a reality.
Can we have your contact details if anybody wants to get in touch with you?