My Hindu-Christian destination wedding is in January at the Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. Since there seems to be quite a few of us planning Hindu or Sikh weddings, I thought I'd give you a rundown of what I've discovered during the planning process (Warning: this could be a long post!)
I think this process has been relatively stress-free for me because of our AMAZING travel agent, L'Escape Destination Weddings. They're based in Toronto, but I communicated with them from across the country when I was moving around for work. They've been nothing but professional and worked really hard to get us a great group rate. Jasprit and Raun (the owners) make you feel like family. Because we will have about 75 guests and 3 full days of wedding events, we are taking them with us to the resort to help us coordinate everything. A bonus, Jasprit is Sikh and knows a lot about Indian weddings and can anticipate a lot of your questions and concerns.
Jamaica has a significant Hindu population and we considered having our wedding there. They have a pandit, mendhi artists, and an Indian restaurant as far as I know. We just couldn't find a resort we liked enough, otherwise we would have gone to Jamaica!
Here's some contact info:
Mystic India Restaurant - Kareena @ 876-4224301
Pandit Sharma - 876-928-1517
Mendhi - Pooja and Santoshi 876-927-3731
Indian DJs - Ravi (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alex (email@example.com)
Montego Bay Indian Association - firstname.lastname@example.org
I haven't tried any of these vendors but at least that would get you started.
We ended up choosing the Dominican because of the stunning beaches and the beautiful resort. We will have to fly a few of our vendors in but I'm ok with that - our pandit is one we know well and will make the ceremony really personal. Our TA also found us an Indian restaurant in Punta Cana where we might take our guests. I've also spoken with DJ Mannia - he has some Bollywood music and could incorporate that into his playlist!
There are a few resorts that actually have Indian restaurants as their a la carte restaurants, which would be helpful if you have a lot of Indian guests.
Here are the ones I've found:
Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton, Jamaica (Bhogali Restaurant)
Occidental Grand Xcaret, Mexico (D'Oriental Restaurant)
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico (Basmati Restaurant)
Jolly Beach, Antigua (Utsav Restaurant)
Again, I haven't tested these places, just did some research.
We're doing everything we can to make our ceremonies authentic. On the day before the wedding, we're doing prayers in the morning and my pithi. In the afternoon, we're having a mendhi party (flying the artist in from Canada) and in the evening a Sangeet on the beach. The next morning will be our Hindu ceremony at the gazebo (which is basically a ready-made mandap!) Our pandit has done quite a few DWs and he brings everything you need for all the prayers and setup with him. The ceremony will be followed by a light lunch. My aunties are baking some Indian snacks (nastho) and we'll be serving those as well. In the late afternoon we're having a Christian ceremony followed by the reception!
Here are some ideas if you don't want to fly in vendors but still want some Indian elements:
Jai malas (flower garlands) - this is a Hindu tradition...you could have the resort make some beautiful ones with fresh flowers
Henna - Bring some pre-made cones and print out patterns from the Internet...then have your most artistic friends go to it!
Wear a sari - even if it's only for a portion of the reception
Wear traditional gold jewelry with your white dress
Bring a CD of Indian music to play at the reception
Decorate your wedding stationary (programs, place cards) with an Indian design...paisley or henna-inspired
I will continue to post as I plan...hope it helps!