What makes Oman a favoured Destination for Indian Weddings!
Destination weddings! A trend which Bride &Groom has been following so closely from the start of the magazine . And indeed, over the last decade or more, destination weddings as a fad and as a choice with utilitarian value have picked up all over the world, with couples from every region seeking something new, something exciting, something unexplored, and most importantly, something that is at once different from and reminiscent of home!
And what country falls into this descriptive bracket perfectly? Yes, you guessed it right, Oman!
Interestingly, why it is the Indian market in particular that has such a keen interest in the Sultanate as a wedding destination is what we set to explore in this feature! Yes, we went back to several of our previous editions to dig out some of the insights, quips, and backstories that make the Sultanate the premier wedding destination for India, we also spoke to the experts the venues which catered Indian destinations weddings and the wedding planners who planned these weddings
Read on and enjoy!
First off, let’s talk Proximity!
Reaching Oman has never been as easy and short a journey as it is from the western coasts of India! Indeed, just a mere 2 hour flight from Mumbai, the Sultanate stands as a warm and inviting for couples looking to tie the knot in surroundings that are new and refreshing, and celebrate their union in the presence of loved ones that can make it to the destination easily, thanks to simple straightforward visa processing.
‘Oman’s proximity and connectivity by airlines to India is closer than other preferred destinations by Indian couples’, says Krupa Khimji, Director, Mosaic Events of Mosaic Events. ‘Geographically, Oman is centrally located for guests that fly in for Indian weddings from Europe and other parts of the world as well! This is a definite selling point for the country.’
Becoming a part of the wedding thus becomes easy for loved and dear ones, and as one of the many reasons that make Oman enticing as a wedding destination, this one takes the crown! And let’s not forget the climate – if it’s summer, Salalah and Jebel Akhdar beckon with their lush, Swiss-like rolling hills and cooling greenery, and if it’s winter, Muscat invites one and all to its scenic coastline and luxury hideouts!
It’s all in the Culture!
Of course, and it does go without saying, both India and the Sultanate share a bond that dates back many a ripe century, so it comes as no surprise that this ardent relationship today stands stronger than ever before. A mutual respect for all that is warm and benevolent, love for everything joyous and holy, and reverence for human relations and unity: the Sultanate serves as a reflection of India’s most prized values, and vice-versa! No wonder then that Indian couples fondly look on to the Sultanate as the desired venue for tying the knot!
As put by Lubaina Sheerazi, the Ministry of Tourism’s permanent representative to India, it’s all in the culture of the two countries. ‘The uniqueness of Oman as a destination for the Indian market cannot be questioned’, she says. ‘Add to that the cultural similarities between the two countries and their long-shared heritage, and you have a package like no other! Couples from India are taken by the country’s landscapes and hospitality, as well as its proximity to India.’
It’s in the Landscapes and Luxury too!
Certainly, the Sultanate comes as refreshing new sight to couples seeking just that little bit of extraordinary to make their wedding entirely distinct and unique from all the destination weddings that take place year in and year out!
Soaring mountain heights, spectacular gorges, enchanting ravines gushing with the magical ebb of pristine, turquoise waters, and sweeping, golden sand dunes – allset against the backdrop of Oman’s inimitable hospitality and heritage – make for wedding locations that could rarely be seconded anywhere else in the world!
And what serves as the crème de la crème of the entire experience is the presence of five-star, luxury hotels and resorts all over the country’s prized natural terrain to give to couples a wedding that is not only steeped in scenic wonder and panoramic beauty, but pure Omani luxury and indulgence as well.
‘If I were to plan a royal wedding, I would not do it in any place other than Oman’, says Anu Chabra, head of Cox & Kings Weddings from India. ‘If you look at venues like Jebel al Akhdar, and the hotels they have – such as the Alila Jabal Akhdar – their interiors are inspired from the nature surrounding them, and that creates a marvellous landscape to experience a wedding in.’
And if Alila Jabal Akhdar was the beginning, then Muscat stands at the pinnacle of luxury hotel and resort venues, thanks to the auspices of world renowned, five-star properties such as the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Intercontinental Muscat, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, the Millennium Hotel, and The Chedi Muscat, to name but a few.
‘The Indian market is sensitive, and Indians are sensitive to culture, to heritage, to warmth and hospitality’, says Dr. Jaydeep Mehta from World Wide Weddings in India. ‘Oman fits the bill perfectly in this regard. Moreover with lavish properties that are grandiose and absolutely stunning, weddings held here are everything you’d expect them to be!’
Moreover, New Experiences Abound!
Ever dreamt of celebrating an intimate, warm wedding surrounded by your friends and loved ones in the cusp of the golden Wahiba dunes? Or an outdoor ceremony under the many glittering stars overhead Oman’s famed A’Sharqiyah desert? Or, let’s say, a slow-paced, movie-like celebration on the shores of the country’s spectacular coastline juxtaposed by bronze, sun-kissed mountains?
If you have (and we’re sure you have!) then Oman gives you everything it is to make your dreams come true! And it’s not just us saying that, oh no! The Indian market recognises the presence of distinctive five-star service providers in Oman that have as their mission the unification of wedding joy and once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and indeed, these service providers expedite exclusively in making dreams a reality!
And there are quite a dozen that do the rounds amongst India’s ‘To discover the bounty of magic that the Sultanate provides in terms of its scenic topography is an exhilarating experience’, writes our editorial of a few issues ago. ‘Properties and service providers like Dunes by Al Nahda are unlike any other, because they provide an intimate, secluded boutique getaway for couples looking to tie the knot on desert sands under glittering stars! Then you have Mazaya Oman that provides luxury yacht charters through the country’s sandy shores and rugged reefs for celebrating intimate moments in unparalleled style. There isn’t much more you could ask for when celebrating in nature!’
Certainly, with the auspices of luxury service providers such as Mazaya Oman LLC, the country’s premier luxury lifestyle management company, and five-star desert properties such as Dunes by Al Nahda, destination weddings in the Sultanate today hold the possibility of being transformed into outdoor adventure camps that guarantee the experience of a lifetime, and clearly, this has been what the Indian market identifies in Oman!
‘The new trend that has gripped the Indian market recently is golf and beach weddings’, continues Dr. Jaydeep Mehta. ‘Oman provides perfect venues for such celebrations! The country is beautiful and it’s no wonder that couples keep returning over and over again, or pass word of mouth reference to aspiring couples!’
And the Ministry of Tourism hasn’t backed down from showcasing Oman to the world!
Indeed, the Ministry of Tourism deserves its moment of pride for being the pioneer in bringing the Indian market to the Omani wedding scene, having first placed its representative in India in 2011! Since then, the Ministry has undertaken efforts to best identify the Indian market sectors most interested in Oman, and no surprises here, the destination wedding sector has been the most popular!
‘The response we have received from the Indian market has been nothing short of encouraging’, says Asma Al Hajry, Deputy Director General of International Tourism under the Ministry of Tourism. ‘We began engaging with wedding planners from India in 2011 and it opened avenues for us to begin promoting the Sultanate as an international destination wedding venue. India holds the trump card by a large mile in comparison to the rest of the world when it comes to destination weddings in the Sultanate!’
Certainly, with regular wedding roadshows and events that continually herald in the best planners from the Indian wedding market to the Sultanate, the Ministry has established a permanent reference point for interested couples from the subcontinent seeking to experience the warmth and beauty of Oman as a wedding destination.
‘Our online campaign promoting Oman as a wedding destination has received positive response from India and this confirms the potential Oman holds for destination weddings’, continues Asma. ‘We set up meetings between the Indian wedding planners and our very own local ones. Both Omanis and Indians love luxurious weddings and since the cultures of both countries share a deep bond, wedding planners from both Oman and India can create fabulous events!’