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Wedding Trends in Vogue: Industry leaders speak on the wedding market in India

Weddings

For G.O.T like experiences
Birju C Gariba, CEO & Exec Director, Platinum Incentives & Events (P) Ltd

Hosting a destination wedding is like a two-edged sword, wherein it drives large group gatherings for the wedding and generates additional revenues from guests who stay over to enjoy the same destination or a different one. Active engagement of the Tourism Board, special status & benefit for hosting weddings, demonstrating stellar support of immigration, customs, & several other requirements of weddings are a few things that can instantly help. In the last few years, we saw a lot of Game of Thrones inspired themes, to evergreen The Great Gatsby theme and Bahubali / Padmavat inspired themes in Indian wedding scenario. Our Weddings Division plays an active role in contributing towards our market share, which has risen to be at about 25% of our total revenues. An active Social Media engagement and having a Bollywood celebrity, a cricket personality or a corporate tycoon to host the weddings are the fastest means to capitalise on this growing trend. Movies, TV/Flix Series,  Locations, Broadways,  Colours & Festivals have always been a source of great inspirations for themes. We also saw the colours of Tiffany and design elements come alive but the year belonged to abstract floral work and one of the most amazing Cherry Blossom Theme.

Leave the Ordinary Behind
Sanjeev K Nayar, General Manager, WelcomHeritage

Indian weddings are known to be lavish and grand with larger-than-life celebrations. With more aspiring Indian travellers having growing spending propensity, this trend is further expanding with the choice of unique destinations.
Palace Weddings offer royal and magnificent experiences for couples as well as guests attending the weddings. WelcomHeritage has a range of properties which offer a unique experience of royalty mingled with a splendour which is not seen in conventional city hotels.
According to a report by New World Wealth, India was home to around 2,36,000 High Net Worth individuals (HNWIs) in 2015 and this number is set to grow by 135 per cent to reach around 5,54,000 by 2025. It is no wonder then that National Tourist Offices (NTOs) have been promoting themselves for destination weddings bearing in mind that the market is one that can afford the extravaganza.
Currently, the industry is over Rs 100,000 crore and is growing at 25-30 per cent annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared could be between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore, in India. It is believed that a family in India, spends one fifth of the wealth accumulated in a lifetime on a wedding ceremony. Considering the fact that majority of India’s population is under 29 years of age, the marriage market is set to boom like never before over the next five to ten years.
Understanding the factor that Indians are seeking exclusive factor in making their wedding unique, Hotels are now aggressively promoting themselves as wedding destinations in India and the foreign tourism promotion boards are also aggressively eyeing this market by offering lucrative deals.
Weddings not only bring in revenue from the ceremony and party, these events bring in revenue to the entire asset. Food and beverage, retail, spa, group bookings, and more, are all areas of revenue weddings feed into. The taste of new age love birds is changing they are looking towards weddings in leisure and off beat destinations. 

Turkey: The Wedding Playground of the Rich
H. Deniz Ersoz, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, Embassy Of The Republic Of Turkey
Destination weddings are a great way to explore various cultures and cities around the world. Once the wedding is over people like to extend their stay. For capitalizing this growing trend, travel businesses and wedding planners need to have thorough information about the destination and what it offers to the client. For instance, Antalya and Bodrum offers all inclusive facility, therefore destination weddings are not expensive, unless of course you want it to be, with fewer guest list and complete package from start to finish, destination wedding is pretty light on your pocket as compared to regular weddings. The wedding market is huge. Last year we had 15 Indian wedding in Turkey and this year we are going to have 30 Indian weddings approximately. By the end of 2023 we are aiming to host 100 Indian weddings every year.
Turkey hosted 46 million tourists globally in 2018 out of which Antalya hosted 13 million and Istanbul hosted 12 million tourists.
With the growing trend of theme weddings, Turkey has a lot to offer and has  also witnessed some Indian theme weddings, such as entrance of the bride and groom in a hot air balloon for their sangeet ceremony, Cappadocia has a lunar landscape; in that sense it is 100% guaranteed that you will have one kind of wedding pictures if you are getting married in Cappadocia. Other themes such as, winter wonderland, sailing through the Bosphorus in a private yacht with a splendid backdrop, or indulging in a fascinating palace wedding in Istanbul, retro theme and a laidback beach party in beautiful Antalya and Bodrum seaside location in Turkey, divine bays of blue water caressing creamy sand beaches with towns perched on the cliff tops.

Malaysia: The most sought-after destination
Mohd. Hafiz Hashim, Director, India, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Mumbai

Travelling to a special destination to get married has become a trend in vogue with today’s modern couples. Destination weddings are not just about the wedding couple, but often, it also involves the couple’s family members and guests too. It’s been observed that Malaysia is a popular wedding destination, and couples often have a theme such as a beach or lakeside wedding or getting married in the mountains or caves. Tourism Malaysia is promoting many themes and locations that could provide inspiring ideas to take their wedding photos or get married in Malaysia. These themes include Forest fantasy; Glorious gardens and lovely lakes; Idyllic islands and beaches; Under water; Majestic mountains and Mysterious caves.
Tourism Malaysia has been aggressively participating and promoting this segment through trade shows, seminars and exhibitions. We are now trying to increase our share in this segment which currently has under 5% of total share from tourist arrivals to Malaysia. Especially in India, where this segment is growing and we are trying to tap the segment as we have all the needs to cater for the Indian wedding. An Indian family needs an infrastructure. For a 600-people wedding, you will need 300-350 rooms at one location. Malaysia has such properties that host more than 1,000 people easily. Generally, hotels in Malaysia are quite flexible by allowing special care of arranging their own chefs, assist in custom clearance, etc.

Thailand: Your Wedding Specialist!
Pinki Arora, Marketing Representative North & East India, Bangladesh & Nepal, Tourism Authority of Thailand

Amazing Thailand is well-known as ‘A Dream Wedding Destination’ and has always been one of the most popular destinations for the grand Indian wedding. The choice for a wedding in Thailand ranges from pristine beaches of Khao Lak, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya, Rayong and Hua Hin, to lush green mountains of Chiang Mai and Khao Yai or a city and riverside wedding in Bangkok that has world-class hotels and convention centres.
Over 400 Indian couples tie the knot in Thailand every year, with average number of guests ranging from approximately 200 to 500.
Thailand is a popular choice for Indian weddings because of factors like proximity to India; beautiful locales, value for money destination, world-class hotels, variety of Cuisines from in house chef to catering services or even brings your own chef!; modern excellence combined with traditional details and because we serve all wedding needs. All this combined with reasonable pricing option and warm Thai Hospitality and the “Can Do” mind set of Thai people makes Thailand the ideal location for celebrating these special occasions.
To further promote Indian wedding celebrations in various destinations of Thailand, TAT New Delhi has launched a one-stop website for all things related to Thailand as a wedding celebration destination: E-training given to the Wedding Planners through www.myweddinginthailand.com.
TAT New Delhi has created a website to provide couples, wedding organisers, and travel agents in India with useful information to help plan the perfect Indian wedding celebration in Thailand. For couples, there is a detailed step-by-step plan on how to plan their wedding – right from the moment they decide Thailand as their preferred destination.
For event organizers or travel agents, this website includes a section where they can register their business, take a quiz and receive a “Wedding Specialist” certificate from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT ) New Delhi. Apart from this, to promote weddings in Thailand, TAT is offering incentive to wedding planner to encourage them to organize more weddings celebrations in Thailand. Thailand was the first country to market and promote the destination for Indian weddings. We have been very successful and now around 400 Indian weddings are held in Thailand every year.

RHG: A Class Apart
Zubin Saxena, Managing Director & Vice President Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group

It is estimated that the Indian wedding market is the second largest in the world and is growing at an annual rate of about 20 percent. This naturally makes it a highly attractive sector. At Radisson Hotel Group, we are focussed on creating unsurpassed wedding experiences for every couple.
Radisson Hotel Group has hosted weddings in a wide variety of stunning destinations, including some of India’s most romantic settings, from the snowy mountains of Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala, historic and cultural cities like Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur, and beachfront weddings in Goa.
Our menus and themes have captivated our customers and created some truly spectacular occasions. We have hosted weddings based on the culture of each destination, as well as some more niche events based on Bollywood theme, beach theme, or biker theme. Every wedding is tailored according to the specific needs of each couple, including the décor, catering and more.
We need to focus on delivering services that resonate with wedding traditions, incorporating local accents and highlights which accentuate the destination, enhancing value derived from the destination. Wedding packages must be developed and promoted, including the effective use of online channels and third-party media, such as wedding magazines, blogs and websites. We also need to develop strong partnerships and collaborations with event planners and suppliers to create an end-to-end service for all wedding planners, from pre-wedding arrangements and photo shoots to grand wedding celebrations and honeymoons. Every wedding guest is also a potential future customer and a source of word-of-mouth recommendations, so it’s important to keep every guest happy.
Overall, weddings and banquets contribute a significant amount to our revenues.

Your Partner in Bliss
JB Singh, President & CEO, Interglobe Hotels
Destination weddings in India have seen a strong growth in recent years. According to the Wedding Tourism Report by MRSS India, the wedding market in India is currently pegged at INR 1,10,000 crore, out of which around INR 23,438 crore can be attributed to destination weddings. In addition to this, this figure is expected to double at a staggering rate to INR 45,000 crore by the end of 2020, growing at 25-30% annually.
Wedding travellers usually camp in a location for close to 3 nights and wedding planners make arrangements for the guests to explore the local destination through guided tours, meals at prominent eateries, exclusive local experiences and other activities. Wedding destinations support the local economy well, and we believe this sector is primed for growth in the coming years.
Cities like Jaipur, Kochi, Nashik and Coimbatore are some popular destination wedding locations in our portfolio of hotels which are well-equipped to have supporting wedding functions and have helped us generate good room night demand during the wedding season. Even our hotels in Tier-I Markets have been able to tap into this demand like in Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
Key measures needed to ensure hotels can capture and benefit from this segment are, of course, the hotel’s ability to be flexible for wedding groups. Wedding groups have large volumes and in some of our hotels, we have the ability to accommodate triple occupancy for wedding groups and we also work towards ensuring privacy for the groups by blocking complete floors for them. Important members of the family and friends can also enjoy an upgrade to rooms with extra benefits.
Our new hotels are coming up with larger meeting spaces to cater to growing needs for MICE. In fact our latest hotel in Kolkata has one of the largest meeting spaces in the whole portfolio with around 2,457sq.ft. of event space.
Our hotels in Coimbatore, Kochi and Jaipur get close to 20-25 percent of their revenue from wedding groups during peak months. Our hotel in Mumbai sold close to 1000 room nights alone last month due to large wedding gatherings in the city. Going forward, our hotels will continue to monitor more such wedding groups as they are close to 60-80 wedding event dates a year and we see this as an important segment.

For Tailored Experiences
Sumit S. Parasrampuriya, Founder, A More Entertainment

Recently, we organised a wedding wherein the bride, an Indian NRI, and the groom, a Spanish resident, had invited their friends and family to attend their tailor-made 2-day extravagant wedding event in Goa. We had guests flown from across the globe – Italy, Spain, Germany, USA, Singapore, Kenya, Uganda, UK and Hong Kong. We designed an exceptional wedding logo for the couple, provided customised wedding luggage tag to ease the luggage transfers at the hotel, prepared unique and stylish itinerary ‘Passport’ for every guest, which had the 2-day schedule along with a special message from the bride and groom’s parents. A customised cabana with floral décor was made especially for this occasion. The couple exchanged the rings followed by the Varmala ceremony in front of a customised floral backdrop.
Nowadays, the primary trend in Indian weddings is to modernise without disregarding time-honoured traditions. Spending has shifted from Jewellery, which may never be worn again, to trips that everyone can enjoy in a destination wedding. Spending on wedding is not a new thing in India. But what is changing is, it is getting more organised and professional, thus creating a new set of opportunities and professionals.

Atisuto: The Trendsetter
Sabah Shaikh, Founder & Creative Director, Atisuto Events

The size of the wedding market is growing every year. Currently, people are spending huge amounts on styling and décor for their wedding ceremonies. Without skimping on costs, weddings are now becoming smaller in size and more personal. Two years from now, people are going to spend more money on destination wedding, personalised décor, styling etc. The graph is on an all-time high in the wedding market.
New ideas and themes feature every season. A trend this season is “eco friendly” weddings, with mandaps made up of green foliage and flowers. Many of the giveaways are succulents or small plants with quirky tags on it. Minimal is the new trend, many couples are going for minimal setups at lavish venues, keeping their weddings very personalised. Another trend doing the rounds is neon signages, with various quotes or the couple’s initials. Couples are going for easy trends like boho picnics or boho decorations for their mehendi ceremony or other festivities. Along with this, pastel colours are making it high on the list of the couples, who want simple but yet bold element at their functions. Many a times trends can be recurrent, as every few years down the line, themes come back into fashion creating a new hype.

Hyatt: For Designer Weddings
Harleen Mehta, Vice President, Sales Operations India, Hyatt Hotels

In India, weddings have always been lavish and larger-than-life celebrations. The concept of destination weddings is gaining huge traction and is inevitably turning into a great pull for tourism as it helps showcase the food, culture, traditions and various other nuances of the region.
Location plays a key role in deciding a destination wedding. However, flexibility and building attractive and tailor-made unique experiences play an equally important part in attracting customers today. Couples prefer arranging everything their way, which makes it important to offer a wide spectrum of experiences that can be customised and improvised to suit different mindsets, cultural sensitivities, lifestyles and preferences.
We’re also observing that an increasing number of people are now planning the entire wedding process at hotels from pre-wedding shoots to wedding rituals and the reception. There is also a high degree of personalization with people focussing on enhancing individual guest experiences. Some of the factors which hotels can work upon to capitalize on inbound tourism from weddings would be to offer unique venues, customised services and personalized offerings – elevating the overall experience for the guests as well as the couples.
At Hyatt, it has always been our endeavour to create an unparalleled and aspirational wedding experience. Many of our hotels in key destinations such as Goa, Mumbai, Kochi, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, are known for their expertise in offering a one-stop wedding event solution. It is this exclusive and very hands-on experience that has ensured that our hotels are on the top of mind when it comes to the planning and execution of high-end weddings – and our bookings reflect that.
Over the years, Grand Hyatt Mumbai has hosted some of the most talked-about, high-profile industrialist and Bollywood weddings with exotic themes and extravagant dining experiences.
At Andaz Delhi, we offer our guests a blank canvas in the form of our state-of-the-art event facilities and team of regional chefs as well as locally inspired F&B offerings. We encourage guests to create their own wedding experience in their own personal style (andaz). The larger-than-life installations and décor suspended from the high ceiling in the ballroom, to the dedicated elephant path for a majestic baraat arrival, as well as the residential studios for pre-and post-wedding celebrations at Andaz Delhi, have been witness to some of the most stylised and famous weddings in the city.
Over the years, the wedding market has become a significant contributor to the business of a number of our properties in India. This year too, we are looking forward to a robust wedding season.

A New Standard in Weddings
Bhavnesh Sawhney, Director, Wedniksha Wedding Planners

With every year passing the Indian wedding market is expected to get more dynamic. The size of the wedding keeps on increasing with each wedding being more luxurious and grand than the previous one. Over the next two years, the Indian wedding market is expected to grow exponentially.
Customisation is one of the biggest trends in India. Couples are opting to personalize their weddings in a way that feels natural to them. Be it at exotic destinations, bespoke wedding outfits of the bride and groom, wedding favors or minimal floral décor, the trend of customizing has taken the industry by storm.
Cross Culture Weddings: A fusion of rituals and ceremonies from two different cultures is becoming quite popular. Whether it’s a 2 or 4-day celebration, a confluence of both the bride and groom’s traditions is gaining popularity.
Exotic Destinations: Gone are the days, when people picked easily accessible ballrooms or beaches as wedding destinations. International destinations such as Tuscany, Santorini, Ras Al Khaimah and Sun City in South Africa are gaining popularity among many Indians. In India, currently many people are opting for old but timeless palace weddings. The massive palaces in Rajasthan are perfect for those opting for a royal wedding.
One of the most magnificent weddings handled by Wedniksha, an initiative of Wizcraft, was among the early weddings of 2019. Two of the most influential business families based out of Delhi came together for a grand wedding at the City of Lakes, Udaipur, when Aditya Munjal scion of Hero cycles group got married.
 The celebration saw a slew of high profile industrialists, businessmen, politicians, celebrities and international guests present at the wedding. The 4-day wedding celebration was spread across prestigious hotels namely Oberoi Udaivilas, The Leela Palace, and Hotel Trident in Udaipur. The grand affair saw performances by artistes such as Kanika Kapoor, Gurdeep Mehndi, Harshdeep Kaur, Mika Singh and Pritam and the band, which made for an unforgettable event. With 24-hour hospitality lounges at all guest-residing hotels, to customized chartered flights from Delhi to Udaipur with personalized welcome message, tray menus, boarding passes and dedicated check-in counters, every aspect added towards an impeccable hospitality experience.

The Plush Touch
Ruchika Arora, Director, Plush Events & Weddings

As per the estimate given by the market survey done by CNBCTV18, the value goes to Rs 4000-5000 crore with its ever-growing market for the same. With this trend, it is assumed to grow by another 25-30 % by next year. The Indian Wedding Market has expanded rapidly over the last decade with more exposure from internet; also people have a fair idea of the work they desire!  Weddings have become more personal where people want everything from custom creations to musicals and entertainment, fancy cakes and personalised décor.
 Destination weddings have taken the lead with the celebrity weddings spree last year while others focus on theme weddings,  drama, accent floral, floral installations and interactive décor.  Pantone announced the colour of the year i.e. Living Coral  that can rule the themes with other colour trends like Dusty rose, Sliver sage and Mustards complimented by décor like neon lights, metallic details, layering of floral and fabrics and pop of colours ! The Indian Market is now exploring their creative side.

For Picture-perfect moments
Achint Nag, Managing Director, Krayonz Entertainment

Weddings indeed mark an exceptional moment for the couple. It is a beautiful ode to their next adventure together, which needs to be celebrated! Recently, we organised a wedding at Fairmont Ajman where the entire event was conceptualized and managed by us and wedding coverage was done by WeddingNama. The three-day wedding extravaganza began with rousing Mehendi Function with Emcee Dilruba Pandey and DJ Taher, and some special activities including bhangra dancers dancing on the tunes of Bollywood numbers and games like Jenga for all youngsters. There were Pre-wedding Rituals, Safa Bandhai ceremony and Groom’s entry was magnificent and guests danced enthusiastically to the beats of desi dhol and Dj Taher in a Dj Truck. The Reception, on the last day, was planned in such a manner that the Event started with a lovely Sundowner followed by the guests dancing on the Dance Floor on tunes of Dj Manoj.
From pristine beaches, regal hotels, city landscape and customized services by Krayonz Entertainment, the couple was appeased with the wedding of their dreams coming true.

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