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Kai Andersen | Photo: Joe Marquez | July 9, 2013
From Manhattan to Mumbai, the word’s out! Hawai‘i is now the destination for haute Indian weddings.
It was a scene straight out of Bollywood. In the streets of Waikīkī, drummers, dancers and a huge joyful crowd led a horse-drawn carriage festooned with flowers to The Royal Hawaiian. But this was no cinematic production, just one of the haute Indian weddings happening all across the islands.
Since 2010, Hawai‘i has gradually become one of the most sought-after wedding destinations for Indians abroad. One of the people to thank for the boom is Honolulu wedding planner Mira Savara, who produces two to three nuptials every month at top properties like Halekulani and Four Seasons Resort Maui and Lanai. With showstopping touches (helicopter flower drops, anyone?) and marathon multiday schedules, these sumptuous affairs surpass their Western counterparts in their epic sweep. Add to that all the minute details that India’s religions and traditions call for, and Savara fills a truly unique niche. One family even moved a wedding from the Caribbean to the islands just to work with her.
From an Indian perspective, explains Savara, Hawai‘i is an ideal place to tie the knot. And it’s not just because of the tropical beauty, or the prime location between the mainland and India. “There is so much aloha here, so much mana (energy),” she explains. That warmth and hospitality—including the respect for different cultures—turn out to be the real draw.
With the size of the affairs, collaboration is crucial. Savara relies on a host of local talents, from culinary stars (Halekulani’s Vikram Garg and The Royal Hawaiian’s Hans Stierli) to top decorators (Yvonne Design, Steven Boyle Design and Zorka’s Design), not to mention talented performers, makeup artists and other consummate professionals. The Royal Hawaiian spectacular was a group effort, involving production team Current Affairs, wedding planner Innayat, local planner Morgan Childs, with Savara providing consultation and assistance.
Surprisingly, Savara, who has a master’s in business economics, never planned on entering the wedding biz. Instead, she credits her mother and maternal grandmother for a strong foundation and love for her culture, which eventually led her to put on Bollywood parties in Honolulu. After a groom from New York asked her for help with his Maui nuptials, Savara started to receive inquiries from all over the world.
But Savara’s reputation has gone far beyond the Indian community. Western ceremonies are now in her repertory. Of course, you don’t need to be getting married to enjoy her savoir faire. She’ll be happy to throw you a Bollywood bash and can even get you a DJ, too.