Weddings in Goa
Just like any other state in India, Goa has grand and lavish weddings. Both Hindu and Christian weddings in Goa are celebrated with much pomp and splendour. But Goans aren’t the only ones getting married in Goa. Since the mid 80s, couples from all over the world have exchanged vows on Goa’s sandy shores.
Wedding Season in Goa
In the west, weddings usually take place in the summer between June and September but that’s not the case in Goa. In India, the summer months are June to September but it’s also a time when the monsoons play spoilsport, hence, weddings are usually avoided during the monsoons and during the Catholic season of Lent. The best time to host a wedding in Goa is usually between December and January as it’s winter in Goa and the weather is perfect. Typically, the wedding season begins after the monsoons and ends before Lent and begins again after Easter till the end of May.
Planning a Wedding in Goa
Planning a wedding, especially in Goa, is a very lengthy process. For a Christian wedding, it starts with meeting the priest to celebrate the wedding mass, booking the church and ending with the hall, wedding band and caterers. And if it’s a Hindu wedding, almost, similarly, it starts with finding a priest, booking a temple for the traditional Hindu wedding customs to take place at, a hall for the reception and, of course, caterers. All this can be done by finding the right wedding planners in Goa. Goa has a number of experienced wedding planners that can make your dream wedding come true.
Wedding Planners in Goa
There are several wedding planners in Goa who help plan and create ‘magical’ weddings. Some of the better known wedding planners in Goa are:
Lester Melo: A well known wedding planner, he has planned weddings for many prominent celebrities and icons of India wishing to exchange vows in Goa.
Reynold’s Wedding Planners: Another established wedding planner that also arrange beautiful theme based weddings.
Wedding Caterers in Goa
Goa also has some of the best wedding caterers. a few of these caterers are
Noda Caterers: Situated in Bicholim, they are known for their good service at both small and large weddings.
Pinto Caterers: These guys offer a variety of menu packages based on your specific requirements.
Coros Caterers: They are among the best. Their cuisine ranges from Goan delicacies like Sorpotel and Xacuti to Indian, Continental and specialty cuisines.
Wedding Venues in Goa
Since Goa is an extremely popular wedding destination, halls are usually pre-booked up to two years in advance. However, with a little luck or with the right wedding planner’s connections, you may be able to book a wedding hall a few months in advance.
The well known wedding venues in Goa include:
Alva Mar, Parra: A golf course that boasts of sprawling lawns that are ideal for weddings, this is one of the old favorites close to Mapusa in the village of Parra.
Reis Magos Fort: The oldest fort in Goa, this fort in Bardez has recently been restored and is open to rent out for weddings.
Silver Bells, Sangolda: Another venue that provides an option of an indoor as well as outdoor wedding on the beach.
Madeira Cottage Lawns: Situated in Dona Paula, this venue is a part of Prainha Resort and is popular for beach weddings.
Beach Weddings in Goa
Beach weddings are also held at these popular venues:
Teso Waterfront: This is a beautiful locale for a beach wedding in Siolim.
Zeebop: Situated by the beach in Utorda (Salcete).
Adda Beach Deck at the O Resort and Spa in Candolim.
Bon Appetit Beach Restaurant: Located in Sinquerim, this restaurant is an excellent location for a more intimate wedding.
The exclusive beaches of South Goa such as Colva beach are truly unique for beach weddings as well.
5-Star Wedding Venues in Goa
Certain hotels in Goa have their own department for wedding planning. Some of these hotels include the Grand Hyatt and the Goa Marriott Resort. Another luxe venue is Cidade de Goa which offers at least three wedding venues within their grounds.
Besides the planners, caterers and venue, there are various other wedding related things to take care of like the wedding card, jewellery and, of course, the wedding day attire for the bride and groom.
Mapusa and Panjim have a number of jewellery shops that sell some of the finest wedding rings and jewellery for this occasion.
In Goa, Senior Tailors provide some of the best tailors to stitch wedding suits for the groom and wedding gowns for the bride. Some tailors specializing in bridal gowns are Dziners, B&C Fashion and shoppersparadisegoa.com.
Traditions in Goan Weddings
Weddings in Goa do not just end in one day, but have ceremonies attached to it before and after the actual wedding day. Competition between weddings in the neighbourhood and among relatives is a common phenomenon among Goan weddings.
Pre-Wedding, Goan Style
The day prior to the actual wedding, Goans hold a ceremony called ‘haldi’ by the Hindus and ‘roce’ by the Catholics. Here the bride and the groom, in their respective houses, invite all their relatives and close friends to celebrate their last night of freedom. More like the western concept of a ‘bachelor party’, this ceremony usually takes place at home, with very different kind of entertainment.
The bride sits on a chair in a prominent place at her house and the groom does the same at his place. Large bowls of coconut milk or oil with turmeric (haldi) are brought and placed in the front of the bride and groom. The bride is seated with her bridesmaids by her side and the groom with his best man/men by his side. Starting with the family, relatives and then friends, he/she along with their companions by their side are covered with this milk or oil from head to toe. Some even break eggs and tomatoes for some extra messy entertainment.
This ceremony is enlivened further by music and some other live entertainment and ends with dinner for everyone present.
The Grand Wedding
The actual day of the wedding is a rather tense day for both the families. Instead of a joyful and happy scene, people running around and sometimes, tears, are witnessed. Like any other wedding, it is also a highly emotional time. The actual wedding usually takes place in a Temple or a Church. Civil Registration of a marriage is the only legally accepted evidence of marriage according to Goa’s Civil Code. Foreigners have to abide by a few additional laws to be able to get married in Goa and so the best way to handle this is through a wedding planner.
A Hindu wedding is usually held in the morning with lunch at the temple or hall and the celebration ends there. However, in a Christian wedding, the wedding usually takes place in the afternoon, with the reception in a hall in the evening followed by dinner.
Christian weddings usually go on till after midnight, but due to a recent curfew, the music at the wedding has to shut down by 10 pm. Weddings usually have unlimited food and if it’s a Christian wedding, they usually have unlimited alcohol and drinks being served.
People spend a lot of money weddings in Goa mostly because the wedding business is booming in Goa. To throw a low key Goan wedding, a few lakhs of rupees may not suffice.
Post-Wedding, Warm Down
After the wedding, the celebration and ceremony isn’t over yet. It cannot be complete without a ceremony to welcome the new bride into her husband’s house. This is done in a ceremony called ‘Porthone’ where the bride wears red. Also, ‘bicarachem jevonn’ or the meal for the poor is organised as a sign of respect to the departed souls of the families in order to invoke their blessings on the newly married couple, according to Goan traditions. These traditions slightly differ between Hindus and Catholics, but they are more or less the same.
Indian Weddings in Goa
Goa plays an excellent host to non-Goan weddings. A number of business families from Delhi, Gujarat and Mumbai organise and celebrate three day weddings in hotels across Goa. Exquisite wedding halls are booked and lavish weddings are held at various locations across Goa.
The wedding business is booming due to such wedding tourism and also results in a cross-culture mix between different traditions. Goa has a wide exposure to a number of cultures and the language or cultural barrier is minimal compared to various other states in India.
Goa has a large number of halls as well as the infrastructure to help promote and sustain an excellent wedding sector. Goa is, by default, a hospitality state, and hence, can cater to a very well developed and advanced wedding sector and is slowly developing into one of the leading wedding destinations of the world.