“A lot of people got married after the second wave, fearing the third wave would hit us soon. Those who called off their wedding last year are getting married now, so the rush is back, ”said wedding planner Manoj Kheria, adding that as the guest list is now much smaller, people are using the money saved on places, clothes, decoration and food. “The wedding calendar is packed from November. It looks like the lull is over and people have started to embrace the new normal, helping the wedding industry get back on its feet, ”Manoj said.
Wedding planner Bhavna Hemani agreed and said the mindset is changing and people are now eager to get married even with restrictions in place. “The last few months have seen many marriages. With fewer guests, these ceremonies became a more intimate affair, allowing everyone to better interact with each other. Money saved on wedding venues and catering is now used for the bride’s attire and jewelry. Some also spend that on decoration and to organize live shows, ”she said. As people cannot make it to destination weddings now, some families request that the places be decorated in a way that resembles their dream location. “There are a lot of bookings from November to January. The vaccination campaign has helped change attitudes and people’s outlook on marriage, ”Bhavna added.
Pandemic couples more practical
After the pandemic ruined wedding plans for many last year, couples have now become more practical. Businesswoman Pooja Gandhi Malani is one of them. “I think my decision to get married during the pandemic was just because no one knows when it’s going to end. The gathering was small, but the two families made peace with it, ”she said. Professional Shreya Dutta (name changed on request), who recently got married, ensured that all of her guests were vaccinated. “We even chose an open space so that everyone feels comfortable and safe. We couldn’t invite all of our guests, but you have to meet the standards, ”she said.
Professional Radhika Juthani originally planned to tie the knot in 2020, but it has been postponed several times to this year. “We invited 50 people to each of our functions and divided the guest list so that everyone could attend at least one of the functions. While some have come for mehendi, they have skipped marriage and vice versa. I’m glad our parents and friends took it in a sporty way because it was the only way for us to involve all our loved ones in our celebrations, ”Radhika said.
With just 50 wedding guests, families are left with a large chunk of their overall budget. Many of them invest this in jewelry. Said Rupak Saha of a jewelry store in Calcutta: “This year we achieved 70% more business during the wedding season compared to 2020. People are splurging on jewelry for weddings again. Previously, the Bengalis preferred only gold ornaments at weddings, but now they also opt for diamond and platinum.
Jeweler Kamal Dutta believes that the industry is gradually accelerating, thanks to the wedding season. “The number of marriages has increased dramatically this year. Our industry is improving and we are optimistic about a turnaround, ”said Dutta.
Food in focus
Another area where people are spending more now is food and restaurants. “Those who had a budget of Rs 800 per person for 500 guests are now willing to spend Rs 1,200 to 1,500 per guest due to the cap on the number of people,” said Rongon Neogi, who runs a catering service.
S Ramani, who runs a restaurant that offers catering at weddings, said business has been much better this season compared to last year. “We have already been to many weddings in 2021 and we already have inquiries for events starting in November. The COVID vaccination has instilled confidence among people, ”said.
Deco budget on the rise
Banquets, florists and everyone else involved in the decorating aspect of wedding functions are also pleased with the improvement in their business. “A lot of weddings are taking place this year. Florists are doing extremely well as wedding hosts spend more on decorating now, ”said Ritu Jagnani, a wedding planner.
After a dismal run last year, local florists in Gariahat finally breathe a sigh of relief. “Now that people are no longer postponing their weddings, we are getting a lot of orders and expect to make up for losses from last year,” said Bablu Saha of a flower shop in Gariahat.
Hotels get reservations in advance
Star hotels have also started receiving inquiries for the upcoming wedding season and are now seeing fewer cancellations. Said Arshad Ahmed of a five-star hotel, “Weddings are back in full force this year and the business is 45-50% better than 2020 in terms of banquet bookings. Last year was all about cancellations, but this time we have already started receiving booking requests for the upcoming wedding season.
Kumar Shobhan of another five-star hotel said last year he saw several weddings canceled or postponed. “But this year there has been a 50% growth in our wedding business. It looks like we are now ready to continue the celebrations despite the restrictions and that is a welcome change, ”he said.