Parthip Thyagarajan, CEO of WeddingSutra.com, shares his thoughts on how the wedding industry in India needs to stay together and work its way through the current difficult situation
Today’s Traveller: How difficult is the situation for the wedding industry in India?
Parthip Thyagarajan: The wedding industry is striving hard to survive. The pandemic had cast a gloom over several weddings last year. Small wedding celebrations came into vogue after the government imposed restrictions on the number of guests.
Not just in India, but we see strict rules all over the world where restrictions in some countries include less than 10 guests or no food & beverage to be served.
This year, the second wave is witnessing mass cancellations of weddings. April-May is the season when several couples tie the knot, but Covid has other plans for us. Cancellations have resulted in major losses for people employed in the wedding industry, from hoteliers to caterers, wedding planners and florists.
Thus wedding families, vendors, venue owners and wedding planners- all need to learn to manage the situation with tolerance. In this time of saving lives, wedding businesses need to adapt to the new need of families, concerns of guests as well as stipulations directed by state or central governments.
Today’s Traveller: This brings up an important question – Should wedding dates be postponed by couples and families wanting to tie the knot?
Parthip Thyagarajan: This may not work because living together before marriage is not an accepted norm in India. And how long can a couple wait if they got engaged in 2019 or 2020? Who knows what the situation will be like in 2022?
If you’ve already had a long engagement the best thought would be to go ahead with the planned date with a simple ceremony at home or at the wedding venue. If you can wait, don’t start planning the celebrations much ahead– because one never knows how and when the pandemic impacts your city.
So for example, if your wedding is planned for September or October 2021, delve into the details only 3 to 6 weeks before the big day. And if a few weeks before the big day, you think the situation may even worse, prepone the wedding date if possible.
Today’s Traveller: How will the wedding industry survive?
Parthip Thyagarajan: We’ve been saying and we truly believe that big, fat weddings will be back but we don’t know when. Perhaps in 2 years or 3 years, but we don’t know for sure.
Till that time established wedding planners and professionals have a responsibility- to inform their team members/ smaller vendors to consider a Plan B for their business/ careers.
For example, a freelancer from Jaipur managing airport pickups/ logistics for weddings at Fairmont/ Le Meridien Jaipur messaged me in April 2020 to ask me when he can expect to get work again- his close relatives and friends told him not to worry and that work/ life/ celebrations will be back to normal by August 2020.
I informed him that he shouldn’t sit at home idle till then because it may take longer for him to get freelance assignments again.
He messaged me in November 2020 that it was the best advice he ever got because he joined a call centre in May 2020 and worked there for 6 months before weddings restarted in Jaipur. This may of course not work for everyone– but where possible, it should be considered.
Vaccination and hope should not lead to the presumption that life will be back to what it was earlier again. We need to wait and watch for 6 months or more. Till then, take up what works for you in the present and hope for a better future.
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