The era of intimate weddings has dawned over the crush of large, impersonal gatherings of all and sundry. Come winter, and the wedding season fervently bursts upon us, with all its attached loveliness and fatigue. There is no better way than a congregation of your selected ones to make your wedding memorable and manageable. Use your special day to disconnect from the rigamarole and choose a destination for a boutique wedding. Turn your stay into a much-needed post-wedding vacation because, as we know, honeymooning is passe. Here we have six hotels that excel at providing you with the perfect private wedding experience.
The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Set up and away from the world at 8,825 feet above sea level, in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa provides majestic views of the Affarwat Peak. Spread over seven acres and surrounded by a thick coniferous forest, the 85-room resort, built in the traditional Kashmiri style of architecture, comprises plush interiors and offers a fine spread of cuisine. The feather in its cap is the Khyber Spa by L'Occitaine, where you can indulge in treatments and relax to prepare for your impending nuptials. Step out onto some of Asia's finest ski slopes during breaks in the preparations and celebrations. Or, you could ride on the world's highest ski lift, the Gulmarg Gondola, to reach Kongdoori Mountain. If seeking solitude, have a picnic basket readied for a short trek through the unspoiled forests and flowered meadows. For those of your guests, who prefer to stay in manicured environs, there is the world's highest golf course waiting for a tee-off.
The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, New Chandigarh
The verdant Siswan Forest Range forms the backdrop of the Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort. It serves to give you privacy and exclusivity, without stepping out of your comfort zone. The resort is the complete package of landscaped gardens with fountains, reflection pools, and traditional architecture, and therefore is the ideal place for an exclusive wedding. It was listed as One of the World's Greatest Places by TIME Magazine in 2018, and you can plan for a week- or month-long pre-wedding detox here. Take advantage of their personalised ayurvedic and wellness programmes, which will keep you centred and fresh for the entire duration of the ceremonies, and partying thereafter.
Symphony Samudra, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Far from the mainland, nestled in the Indian Ocean, the Symphony Samudra Beachside Jungle Resort And Spa is the only 5-star hotel in Port Blair with a wellness centre, Svarasya. Treat yourselves and your loved ones to stunning sunset visions as you lounge in the infinity pool. The Chidiya Tapu Biological Park is adjoining the resort, where you can spend time revitalising among birdsong. An exotic venue for a closed-door wedding, if ever there was one, this is it.
Alila Fort, Bishangarh, Rajasthan
Plan your special day in the majestic Alila Fort. A remote location in the Aravalli Hills is the perfect setting for a secluded wedding. A picture-perfect ceremony in a grand fort is the stuff of dreams, and the 59-room hotel will be just right for the small party of your loved ones. All details, from decoration and dining to entertainment and photography, will be tailored to your specific requirements. The menus, filled with slow-cooked dishes, have been curated by Chef Ranveer Brar, and they are a throwback to the kitchens of the kings of yore. A sumptuous meal is ideal to top-off all celebrations because nothing expresses love and affection better than a well-done meal.
MansionHaus, Anjuna, Goa
In the heart of the country's party capital, Goa, is the 18th-century residence-turned-hotel MansionHaus. Private and set away, and yet innately connected to the vibrant Goan holiday life, the hotel is where old-world charm meets a contemporary aesthetic. A model space for a couple to exchange their vows in a private circle of their family and friends. At MansionHaus, there are secluded nooks where you can celebrate the many ceremonies that weddings demand. The cosy Marie Antoinette-Salon Prive is ideal for the pre-wedding tea party, and the Atélier and the East Garden are perfect for long animated discussions and lunches that last into the evening. The Summer Room is for the evening dinner, with candlelight and whispers about forever promises.
Chittoor Kottaram, Ernakulam, Kerala
The serene backwaters of Ernakulam are home to the Chittoor Kottaram, a 300-year-old heritage mansion built by the Rajah of Cochin, which is now part of the CGH Earth chain of hotels. Exclusivity cannot get more focused than the environs of this unique property. Solemnise your close-knit wedding in this erstwhile royal residence that has been restored to its elegance by the Helen Hamelyn Trust. Make the understated grandeur a part of your wedding memories, as your entourage looks after you and your family. Feast on Keralan delicacies prepared by well-trained chefs, and later pamper yourself with ayurvedic therapies and personalised yoga sessions.