The world is no longer the same. How can our glamourous Indian weddings stay so? Here’s how to reinvent yours into a new avatar
By: Bhavnesh Sawhney, Co-Founder & Director, FB Celebrations
Posted on: October 31, 2022
Beginning with a foundation-rocking beatdown driven by Covid-19 and its related shutdown, it could well be said that no other than the $50 billion wedding industry faced a more turbulent last two years. From cancellations and postponements to rapidly shifting consumer interests and new health and safety guidelines, COVID has changed the way the wedding industry functions. Even today in 2022, where weddings are scaling up with changes like embracing home settings and handwritten invites, the wedding industry is still learning and unlearning things every day.
However, being one of the world’s biggest wedding markets, this year's wedding season in India is in high gear, making up for two years of cancelled and postponed weddings. According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), industry experts are bullish that weddings will soon go back to their pre-pandemic scale and size, especially given the backlog and pent-up demand. Between November 14 and December 13, 2021, alone, 2.5 million weddings are said to have generated a revenue of 3 lakh crore rupees (approximately $40 billion) and are likely to see a growth of 200% this year.
Having said that, the pandemic has incited some changes which we think will continue to stay, at least for the time being. So, here are few ideas with which you can make your wedding unique.
1. Taking a u-turn to normal
An intimate backyard Indian wedding. Image© Greenweddingshoes.com
Known for its big fat weddings, the wedding industry is getting leaner in terms of guest lists while continuing to organize ultra-glam affairs. Though for some couples the planning journey and timeline were different in 2021, now it's encouraging to see that weddings are starting to align back to pre-pandemic norms. In 2021, the guest list was reduced up to 50% (though notably down from 80% in 2020) but this year the numbers are varying greatly. So no pressure to have those 500 extra people. It’s what (and who) matters to the bride and groom!
2. Digital tools are in the house
Weddings have now become inventive and intimate with new add-ons like micro-weddings and digitalization. In the last couple of years, there has been a significant influx of digital tools for wedding couples and wedding planners. According to a report, 54% of couples booked vendors through apps, social media, and so on, with the exception of venues. As many as 90% of couples opted for e-invites as opposed to traditional invites as a cost-effective way of spreading the word.
Whereas on the other side, for wedding planners, digitalization adds more security to the overall process, reduces the chances that things will go out of sight, and handles contract signing, invoicing, and payments all via apps. With all the information available at their fingertips, the organizers can ensure that they are always aware of what is happening between the client and vendor.
As many as 90% of couples opted for e-invites as opposed to traditional invites as a cost-effective way of spreading the word.
Digitalisation, therefore, has not only made the process smoother, but faster, more eco-friendly, and more innovative. So, make use of digital tools to bring that extra flair to your event.
3. Sustainability at the root: The “new normal”
Reusable cane decor used at an Indian wedding. Image© Architecturaldigest.in
Today, nearly 60% of couples make it a priority to have their wedding day be a personal and closely knitted affair. Along with limiting time used in planning the affairs (15% of couples are now booking their wedding venues only one month prior to the wedding), the pandemic has brought a paradigm shift of sustainability in every activity as well, for good.
Today, one in five couples make sure to incorporate sustainable elements to help make their wedding eco-friendly by using second hand decor/upcycled items, minimizing food waste and avoiding one-time use products as the most popular decisions. Whereas, on the other side of the table, wedding planners are also proactively welcoming the change and making sure of providing eco-friendly suggestions as well as being transparent about their own sustainability practices.
4. Open arms for the non-traditional elements
A Hindu gay couple wedding. Image© People.com
The Indian wedding thread is tightly sewn with century old traditions with a few no-more applicable rituals. For instance, one of the vows that says ‘the woman will not step out of the house without her husband’s permission’ does not hold any value in today’s era.
Female priestesses conducting a wedding in West Bengal, India. Image© Npr.org
With the coming generation, India’s traditional wedding rituals are getting a makeover, with modern brides upturning such patriarchal elements. The reinvention of rituals that are empowered with equality is making strides in wedding rituals. Be it, a groom touching the feet of the bride, two female priests officiating the wedding, sisters holding up the “veil of flowers'' instead of the customary brothers of the bride, or Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao asking his wife Patralekhaa to apply sindoor to his forehead (instead of the other way around) during their wedding.
Patralekhaa putting sindoor on Rajkummar Rao in a reversal of tradition.
Bringing the change at the grassroots level may take some time, but the wind is changing for good and the changes are welcome, so opting for such tweaked but practical elements will surely make your wedding a unique and stand-apart event.
5. Personalise the decor
Nothing is better than a bit of a personalized decor aesthetic that has some value and personal story. The decor details matter in the long run as you can fetch a keepsake out of a dusty box in a closet to show your kids something from your wedding whenever you want. Personalization doesn’t only need to be materialistic, you can add things from your cultural heritage, your love story and moments that reflect your journey till the wedding.
Personalised wedding enhancements. Image© FB Celebrations
At last be open to change, given the unprecedented times that the pandemic brought with it, being prepared for a sudden change of plans is vital. Hence, the best way is to keep it intimate and focus on what really matters.
What Does the Wedding Industry’s Future Look Like
After being battered by Covid 19 shutdown and changing consumer behaviour, the wedding industry is now swiftly changing the present and future of the industry. Being a "recession proof" industry, the wedding celebration and the institution itself may have changed as a result of the pandemic, but the industry will always be a more genuine version of itself. However, for the time being, the sector must remain looking for ways to take advantage of the circumstances.
Bhavnesh has a distinct knack of facilitating people to fall in love with the events he curates. Be it his gentle demeanour or his detail-oriented, incredible planning; he has an innate ability to dot his i’s and cross the t’s whilst exuding an enviable calm. Clients can be rest assured that every aspect has caught his discerning eye and the event execution spells finesse and élan.