The Inside Scoop from the Experts

By Mahmood Hossain & Aiden Jewelle Gonzales

Seasoned hoteliers give their insight into what goes into the ins and outs of hosting an Indian wedding, what surprised them about the big, fat, Indian wedding culture, and the USPs of their properties.

Sometimes, there’s only so far that research can take us; we want to hear from the real experts who’ve had decades of experience under their belt and know exactly what it takes to transform their property and rally their team to create the wedding of your dreams. We speak to a few General Managers of luxury properties in Thailand to hear their take.

Area General Manager, Onyx Hospitality Group

Amari Watergate Bangkok has been a mainstay in Bangkok’s city centre, and has recently been revitalised and refreshed after renovations that have retrofitted its event spaces with cutting-edge amenities and elevated their suites. With plenty of experience under its belt, the hotel has a strong events team that can cater to client needs, and are able to host a range of wedding events, from traditional ceremonies to receptions, aiming to enhance the guest experience in every way possible. Sukamal Mondal, the AGM of the ONYX Hospitality Group and who oversees the hotel’s operations, gives us more insight.

What are your hotel’s USPs when it comes to hosting Indian weddings?
We have a team of specialists and a variety of international cuisine with an in-house Indian chef. Our location is also a plus, as we are located in the shopping hub, right in the heart of Bangkok. Guests can unwind and use their downtime to hop over to centralwOrld, Platinum Fashion Mall or Siam Paragon. We have multiple event venues, catering to all sizes of groups, and we are flexible to conducting your ceremony the way you like. We also provide catering services to guests who chose to get married at another venue.

Although you’re of Indian heritage, hosting an Indian wedding is very different from attending one. What surprised you the most when you held a wedding event at the hotel?

Over time, Amari Watergate Bangkok has built a strong service and operations team able to cater to Indian weddings. So, there were no surprises as such; we are happy to go an extra mile to make each couple’s special day even more memorable.

Any unusual requests that the hotel has received for over the years?

We don’t consider any requests unusual, as we understand that every couple is only trying to make their day better – we try to accommodate requests as best as we can! Although they may be unusual traditionally and culturally, each event is so beautiful and it is a pleasure for us to be able to do it and provide this service to our guests.

General Manager, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

Probably the most experienced property in Hua Hin by far when it comes to hosting Indian weddings, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa has hosted innumerable weddings of varying sizes, ranging from intimate gatherings of 100 to extravagant celebrations with up to 800 guests for many different religions and communities, spanning Hindu, Sikh, Punjabi, Marwari, Gujurati communities and more.

With more than 15 years experience and having hosted more than 200 couples since 2008, the resort has very strong relationships with key wedding planners, both domestically and overseas, ensuring that each occasion is perfectly curated to exceed expectations.Nicolai Mitchell, the hotel’s GM, gives us his take.

What gives your hotel the edge when hosting Indian weddings

At our resort, we recognize the significance of Indian weddings, which mark the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of our host families and their guests. Understanding that each wedding is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime event, our dedicated team collaborates tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of the celebration is meticulously attended to, creating cherished memories that will be treasured for generations to come.

Many couples have praised our resort as an ideal location for Indian weddings, and there are several reasons why. Our guestrooms are notably more spacious than those offered by our competitors, providing ample comfort for the guests. A lagoon-style swimming pool, stretching over 600 meters, winds its way through the entire resort, offering a stunning backdrop for poolside events. For pool parties, we have a separate and expansive area, adding to the festivities.

One of the most awe-inspiring elements of our resort is the beautiful, tree-flanked route available for the grand Baraat procession, which adds a touch of regal elegance to the celebrations. The Mandap, a key highlight, is situated overlooking the pristine beach and azure sea, creating a breathtaking setting for the sacred rituals.

Our two large, luxurious ballrooms with seven-meter-high ceilings and oversized sparkling chandeliers exude opulence and sophistication, befitting the grandeur of Indian weddings. Furthermore, our fully-fitted nightclub caters to those who love to dance into the early morning hours, ensuring that the celebration continues long after the ceremonies have concluded.

However, our most valuable asset is undoubtedly our exceptional team of associates, who boast extensive experience in hosting Indian weddings of varying sizes and styles. Their commitment to delivering smooth, flawless, and memorable wedding events, be it Haldi, Mehndi, Sangeet, or Var Mala, has made them the talk of the town among our newlyweds. From the initial event planning to pre-arrival arrangements and post-departure support, our team’s dedication remains unwavering.

Another highlight that truly elevates the Indian wedding experience at our resort is the presence of an Indian Chef, who is always on standby to prepare authentic traditional Indian cuisine. In addition to Indian delicacies, our team of dedicated chefs excels in preparing a diverse range of cuisines, including Thai, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese, Chinese, and Mexican, ensuring a delightful culinary journey for every guest.

What surprised you the most when you first hosted an Indian wedding?

The first Indian wedding I witnessed at my previous posting in Hua Hin’s Marriott back in 2008 took me by surprise and left me thoroughly inspired. The meticulous planning, the attention to detail, the multitude of vibrant events, the resplendent attire, the diverse and delectable food, and the captivating entertainment created an enchanting atmosphere throughout the entire resort. It was a celebration of love and culture, leaving an indelible mark on my heart.

General Manager, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort 

Situated along the picturesque river in Bangkok, Thailand, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort and Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel offer remarkable expertise in hosting Indian weddings. Taking immense pride in curating an extraordinary fusion of opulence and cultural celebration, their dedicated teams possess a deep understanding of the distinctive customs and traditions associated with Indian weddings, guaranteeing meticulous planning and flawless execution of every detail. With stunning riverfront venues and tailor-made menus showcasing delectable Indian cuisine, their utmost commitment lies in crafting unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones on your momentous day. Michael Robinson, the GM of Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort gives his insight.

What are the key advantages of your hotel when it comes to hosting Indian weddings?

• Idyllic Location: our hotel offers a picturesque setting that serves as a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding festivities.
• Unique Experiences: Recognising that an Indian wedding is not confined to a single day, we are delighted to offer a wide range of destination offerings designed to enhance your special occasion.
• Culinary Delights: Understanding the immense importance of cuisine in Indian weddings, our experienced culinary team specialises in creating exquisite dishes from Indian, Thai, and international cuisines.
• Luxurious Comfort: Our hotel boasts luxurious accommodations designed to provide the utmost comfort and relaxation for you and your guests.
• Exceptional Service: Our dedicated team is committed to delivering exceptional service tailored to your unique requirements. We strive to exceed your expectations at every step of the wedding planning process and celebration.

What was your first time hosting an Indian wedding like? Any surprises?

The first Indian wedding I had the honour of hosting left a profound impression on me. The sheer vibrancy and grandeur of the celebrations were nothing short of awe-inspiring. As time has passed, I have witnessed a remarkable evolution
in couples’ desires and preferences. The level of customisation and personalisation sought after for weddings has soared
to unprecedented heights. From intricately-themed décor to exceptional and unique entertainment options, there seems to be no limit to the creative possibilities. I wholeheartedly embrace this spirit of individuality and innovation, striving to deliver exceptional experiences that surpass expectations and create cherished memories.

My commitment to excellence is unwavering, and I take great pride in providing impeccable service and meticulous attention to detail. Your wedding dreams are my utmost priority, and I am dedicated to working closely with you to bring your vision to life in the most elegant and memorable manner imaginable.

General Manager, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa

JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is a stunning destination for hosting Indian weddings, having won numerous awards over the years. With a dedicated team of wedding specialists, picturesque venues, and a focus on authentic experiences, the resort ensures a flawless celebration. From breathtaking beachfront settings to elegant indoor spaces, it offers versatile venues for all pre-wedding and wedding events. Seasoned chefs create delectable traditional Indian cuisine, while guests can enjoy luxurious accommodations and a range of amenities. The hotel’s GM, George Varughese gives his expert opinion.

What gives your hotel the edge when hosting Indian weddings?

• Expertise in Indian Wedding Traditions: Our dedicated team of wedding specialists have extensive knowledge and experience in Indian wedding customs and rituals, understanding the cultural significance of each.
• Stunning and Versatile Venues: We boast a range of breathtaking indoor and outdoor venues that can be tailored to suit the couple’s preferences.
• Culinary Excellence: Our own Indian Chef excels in preparing authentic and delectable Indian cuisine, from traditional dishes to customised menus.
• Luxurious Accommodations and Amenities
• Attention to Detail and Personalisation: We take pride in our attention to detail and commitment to personalisation. Our dedicated Indian Wedding & Events team works closely with couples to understand their vision and requirements.

What surprised you the most when you first hosted an Indian wedding?

When we first hosted an Indian wedding, we were pleasantly surprised by the captivating elements, such as the elaborate and meticulous decorations that showcased the grandeur and attention to detail that Indian weddings are renowned for. Another aspect that caught our attention was the multi-day nature of Indian weddings. The magnitude and scale of the celebrations required careful planning and coordination, and witnessing the seamless transition from one event to another was an exciting experience for the resort’s staff.

The sheer number of guests in attendance also came as a surprise. We had to adapt to accommodate the large wedding party and their guests, ensuring that all their needs were met and that they enjoyed a memorable stay.

Lastly, the festive atmosphere surrounding Indian weddings created an infectious energy that filled our resort. Our associates were delighted to witness the lively spirit and enthusiastic participation of the guests, which added an extra layer of vibrancy to the entire wedding experience.

What is the most unusual request you’ve received for an Indian wedding?

We recently had the pleasure of hosting an extraordinary Indian wedding where we were presented with a unique request. The bride wished to make a grand entrance, being carried all the way down from the beach to meet her groom, seated on a spectacular palanquin with a mesmerising firework display. As the bride reached the beach, she wanted to be greeted by a troupe of traditional dancers, with the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset. We embraced the challenge of fulfilling this extraordinary vision, ensuring that every detail was meticulously arranged to create an unforgettable experience everyone.

General Manager, Capella Bangkok

Capella Bangkok, a new and stunning property on the banks of the River of Kings, has been hosting Indian weddings since their opening in 2020. Their keen understanding of the intimate rituals which comprise a traditional Indian wedding, including the tilak, the haldi, the mehendi, and the sangeet, has allowed them to truly personalise these beautiful celebrations. The hotel’s GM, John Blanco, gives us his expert insight.

What gives your hotel the edge when hosting Indian weddings?

Capella Bangkok’s riverfront setting lends itself to complete privacy, if clients so desire, but most importantly, features one-of-a-kind venues such as our riverside Courtyard and our river-facing Ballroom with a glass façade from which to view fireworks displays. This, paired with our world-class service and award-winning gastronomy, results in one-of-a-kind events; of course, working hand in hand with the best planners in the city.

Any surprising elements when you first hosted an Indian wedding?

Yes, I was surprised by how much fun they are! It is a truly joyous celebration with gorgeous attire and huge, festive, family gatherings.

What is the most unusual request you’ve received for an Indian wedding?

A family requested to take over the entire hotel including all our restaurants, bar, and spa. This allowed us to truly customise the entire experience for all their guests and cater solely to the wedding.

General Manager, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach

Nestled on a serene stretch of beach on Thailand’s sunset coast, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, the first Andaz in Thailand, is an exquisite luxury and lifestyle resort that combines world-class hospitality with authentic Thai heritage. Having recently opened, they are eager to host Indian weddings, and their GM, Ranjeet Y. Rajebhosale talks to us further about this.

What can make Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach become an ideal wedding destination for couples in the future?

Conveniently located just a short drive from Bangkok, Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach is an idyllic destination for couples seeking an enchanting wedding experience. Surrounded by natural beauty, our resort offers the perfect setting for unforgettable weddings. Guests can immerse themselves in the serene ambiance, experience the essence of Thai culture, and partake in a wide range of activities.

What sets Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach apart from others when it comes to hosting wedding festivities?
At Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, we pride ourselves on creating truly exceptional wedding experiences with our ability to seamlessly blend the beauty of nature, exclusive access to a perfect sunset beach, and unparalleled luxury hospitality. Our resort is adorned with lush greenery, providing a picturesque backdrop for your wedding festivities. Additionally, our dedicated team ensures that every detail of this special day is executed flawlessly, providing personalised service and creating unforgettable memories.

Given the location of the Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, what types and sizes of events can be held on its property?

At Andaz Pattaya Jomtien Beach, we are able to host a range of events, from intimate gatherings to medium- sized affairs. Our beachfront location offers a picturesque setting for small-scale events with a maximum capacity of 50 attendees. Additionally, our elegant Garden Pavilion is ideal for evening receptions, accommodating up to 180 guests. We have the flexibility to create memorable experiences for various types and sizes of events, ensuring that each occasion is tailored to our guests’ specific needs and preferences.

General Manager, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park

A sprawling property in downtown Sukhumvit, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park has been hosting Indian weddings since they opened at the end of 2016. As the hotel began to gain traction in the market, it was clear to see that the property was the market leader for larger Indian weddings due to their vast amount of space, as well as their reputation for food and beverage, especially their Indian fare. Their versatile spaces across many different floors and surroundings allow them to get as creative as the wedding couple desires and create memorable experiences for all their guests. The hotel’s GM, Simon Bell, gives us the inside scoop.

What makes your hotel the market leader for largescale Indian weddings?

The hotel has two clear advantages over the rest of the Bangkok market when it comes to Indian Weddings. We have a lot of different areas in the hotel (both indoor and outdoor), which means our wedding guests can enjoy different experiences,
all within one hotel. We have three large ballrooms, two large swimming pool areas, and a large rooftop space, all available for weddings. The second key advantage we have is we have six Indian chefs that work in our hotel full-time. Our Indian cuisine is not only for Indian weddings but also for our buffet offerings at Goji Kitchen + Bar. In Bangkok, we are well-known for our Indian cuisine, which has helped build our reputation as the leading hotel for Indian weddings.

Tell us a little about the first Indian wedding you hosted. Did you find it surprising?

Although I have worked in a number of countries before moving to Thailand four and half years ago, this is the first hotel I have worked at where we specialise in Indian weddings. I will never forget my first Indian wedding. Firstly, the decorations are amazing. The amount of creativity and thought that goes into setting up a wedding is like nothing else I have seen before. But the biggest surprise for me was the amount of partying the guests do while attending a wedding. Most weddings go for three to four days. Every day starts early in the day and then goes to the early hours of the following morning. I was shocked at how the guests can party so hard and so long, and then get back up to do it again, for three or four days in a row. Amazing!

You must have received unusual requests over the years! Tell us about one of them.

We closed part of the road for Batman! For me, it was when we had Batman’s involvement in the baraat. For this particular wedding, the Batmobile was brought out of the Batcave but instead of being used to fight against crime, it was ceremoniously used to carry the groom to meet the bride waiting in our hotel. As a Batman fan, it was very cool to witness and it went viral in the media. People still talk about this wedding today.