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The Changing Face of the Wedding Business Here's why the need for a professional to do the job is felt by all

By Kanika Mehta

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It's no secret that over the years, Indian weddings have evolved from private-intimate affairs to a larger than life, mammoth celebrations that account for the second-biggest economy; for the weddings business estimated to be around a staggering $100 Billion. And, much like all the other thriving businesses, the Indian weddings business is rapidly changing and here are a few trends that define the changing face of the weddings business in India.

Budgets may have shrunk, but not the enormousness of Indian weddings. The focus today is on the quality of experience over quantity of guests being hosted. The whole idea is to create memories with a difference, and no client wants a wedding that is replicated or the same. The well-travelled client always wants an experience that is different. Having seen it all and more, he is well aware of the trends and will settle for nothing less than the very best. At the end of the day, anyone spending on a wedding is looking to be catered by the best and expect that their guests are well looked after while also feeling like they are a part of the entire process.

The Decor

Personalization and Detailing make for the winning formulas. Be it about décor, entertainment or even invitation cards, the bride and groom of today's times want every element of the wedding experience to be an extension of who they are. They want each aspect to be a reflection of their personalities while being detailed to the T. To the extent where the bride's favourite international destination is recreated stunningly right here in India, or the place where the couple met first, becomes the central theme of the decor and the list can go on.

While, for the distinguished client, everything has to be the best that is available! Every little thing from the venue and the decor to the food and the service is finalized with tremendous detailing. When cost is not a major consideration, it is seen that a lot of international talent and suppliers are being roped in for floral work, set design and even wedding planning!

There are times that the marriage proposal itself is a rehearsed and orchestrated affair. Moreover, it is even captured and filmed just like the main wedding, because even that is a memory to cherish.

Coming Together

The collaboration will drive the future. More and more wedding planning agencies are teaming up for not just specialized projects and celebrity weddings but routine big-ticket weddings as well. And if the success of the Ambani and the Priyanka-Nick wedding are any indication, this business model will work beautifully and only the best will survive. The key Industry Influencers are deciding where the business goes against the normal trend of a wedding planner deciding the required partners/vendors for the event, tides will change and key industry influencers will decide where the business will go. Example: A celebrity photographer can decide and suggest for his regular client, which wedding planner is the best for their needs. This means, networking amongst businesses remains crucial.

Interestingly, Multi-cultural weddings have gained prominence. Apart from many celebrations within a wedding, the concept of multi-cultural weddings is swiftly catching on wherein a couple may want to have a Christan, or a Sikh apart from a Hindu wedding. A lot of people even plan two weddings over a period of days they are celebrating. And surprisingly, families of the bride and groom support the trend, as opposed to earlier times when families were rigid about such things.

F&B experiences and Photography have come up as the key aspects of a wedding just like decor and planning. Interestingly, allied industries such as beauty and fitness are also benefiting from this surge in spending while exchanging vows.

Today, whether it is a big fat Indian wedding or a budget affair, clients always hire a wedding planner. Planners have their own tie-ups and a network of resources they reach out to and work with from the caterer, decorator, to photographers and set designers. Clients would rather have a one-stop solution provider (the Wedding Planner) than do all the spadework themselves. Besides, the need for a professional to do the job is felt by one and all.

Destination Weddings

Interestingly unique destination weddings are one trend that has caught on in the last few years. Nowadays people do opt for offbeat and newer locations like Azerbaijan, Turkey, Malta, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain as opposed to the older choices like Bali, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Even the choices in India, have moved from the overdone Goa and Rajasthan to unusual spots like Kerala, Mussoorie and even Jim Corbett! Even people who have to tie the knot in the confines of their hometowns have the opportunity to get any place in the world recreated for them in their own city, and that too with divine finesse. While on the other hand, a lot of NRIs are coming to India to get married because they want the entire process to be intimate and feel like home. Another major shift I have noticed is that today experiential venues are being explored against the run of the mill, 5-star hotel venues and ready to use banquet spaces. Be it in India or abroad, wedding planners are moving away from venues that are done and dusted. Today, we see the most magnanimous weddings taking place at historical monuments, vineyards, chapels and even on barren pieces of land!

With each passing year, Indian weddings are getting bigger and better, showcasing unique experiences that are being hailed globally. Many of these weddings have played a pivotal role in placing the Indian wedding industry on the world map.

Kanika Mehta

Founder, Retrouvailles '20 and EXP Exchange

Kanika Mehta is a veteran of the Indian Luxury Wedding Industry and has established herself as a key marketer and influencer within the ecosystem. During this time, Kanika has promoted various international brands including Liberty International Tourism Group, Malta Tourism Authority, Sri Lanka Convention Promotion Bureau, Titanic Mardan Palace, Antalya, Turkey Tourism among others to the wedding planning fraternity in India.

Kanika is the Founder of EXP Exchange, India’s only business networking platform focused on the Indian Luxury Wedding Industry. It is the most credible source of networking for the Luxury Wedding Professional and also facilitates the exchange of ideas, trends and resources with the ecosystem. EXP Exchange's vast network includes leading wedding planners and event agencies. 

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