Forts new wedding venue option

Forts new wedding venue option

After palaces, it’s the turn of forts. Affluent Bengalureans are choosing to tie the knot against spectacular bulwark backgrounds

Forts, rugged in appearance and evocative of history, are providing venues for the weddings of affluent Bengalureans.

Palace hotels entered the venue market a few years ago, and fort hotels are the latest to follow.  Most of these forts belong to five-star property.

“Couples are constantly seeking brag-worthy factors that make their celebrations stand out,” says Rajeev Kale, president and country head– holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.  Over the past few years, fort weddings in Rajasthan and Karnataka have gone up in number.  “The combination of history and royalty creates a spectacular backdrop for a classic wedding,” he says. “Forts in Hampi, Ballari, Mudgal and Mirjan in Karnataka are popular as wedding sites.”

Millennial couples aspire to make their weddings an experiential affair, and forts add the ‘wow’ factor, trade insiders say.  “Apart from metros and tier I cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Kolkata, people from tier II and III cities also plan their weddings at such locations,” Kale observes. 

Celebrity influence

With many celebrities choosing forts as their wedding destination, the demand for such venues is growing, says Sandeep Lodha, CEO, Weddingz.in

Couples and their families don’t hesitate to spend extra when it comes to luxury spots.

The Lalitha Mahal Palace in Mysuru and The Palace Grounds in Karnataka are popular, and are considered the most viable venues in southern Karnataka. “Other destinations known for their imperial backdrops are the Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur, City Palace in Udaipur, and the Neemrana fort in Alwar,” he adds.

Permissions

Forts are historical sites, and permissions are mandatory for liquor, entertainment and fireworks. “They have restrictions on outside caterers, decorators and party areas,” says Lodha.  

With history and heritage come a few challenges. “The decor and theme may hamper the structure if not planned carefully,” Lodha says.   

Security should also be kept in mind to avoid accidents. Daniel D’souza, president and country head, leisure, SOTC Travel, says, “Regal palaces and forts in Rajasthan are popular for extravagant weddings. These venues not only offer accommodation but also tailor-made F&B menus.”

Most couples marrying at forts and palaces also spend their honeymoons there. 

Why forts are popular

Kunal Rai, vice president, weddings and events, Tamarind Global Weddings, says aesthetics is a reason.

“For many, a walk up the fort for 30 minutes is an experience. To be able to see the vast open sky and get a bird’s eye view of the city is breathtaking.  A wedding inside the four walls of a room is overdone and now people want to get out of city limits,” he says. But then, the elderly may not be able to trek up, and not all fort destinations have lifts. On the plus side, rituals at fort destinations can take place with no restrictions on time: city curfews don’t apply.

Palace vs Fort

While a palace gives a more royal vibe, forts are rugged. “Castles in Europe and Budapest are popular destinations for weddings. The ruins in the international market are way better than the ruins in India because of how they are maintained. People in European countries allow a wedding or a reception to take place in a chapel too,” says Rai. 

Popular forts 

Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur

Alila Fort in Jaipur

Hampi, Ballari, Mudgal and Mirjan (Karnataka).

Wallet factor

The rent for a heritage property can range from Rs 15 to Rs 25 lakh a day. Stay, food and beverages extra.