Omicron shrinks the big fat Indian wedding
Omicron has dealt a blow to the marriage business, shrinking the big fat Indian wedding as several States introduced fresh curbs and norms. About 30 lakh weddings were to be solemnised in the auspicious January 14-March 31 period, generating roughly about ₹4-lakh crore of business, according to industry estimates. But with various restrictions coming in, wedding planners are already reporting cancellations.
According to Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), wedding trade is now likely to be reduced to a mere ₹1.5-lakh crore.
“Traders had made elaborate arrangements and had sufficient stocks of the goods generally purchased for weddings. There are 17 main wedding Muhurats during the second phase of the wedding season and therefore the banquet halls, hotels, marriage lawns, farm houses and others across the country including Delhi were fully geared up. But now we expect a scaling down,” he says.
Curbs on gatherings
Maharashtra and West Bengal have capped the number of guests at weddings at 50 while it is 100 in Rajasthan. Delhi has a stricter cap of 20 guests and weddings can only be held at home or at the court. More States are expected to put curbs on weddings and other gatherings in the coming days.
Vikaas Gutgutia, MD & Founder, Ferns N Petals, which offers end-to-end wedding solutions, said, “We were anticipating a strong wedding season but things are back to square one. January is expected to be a complete wash out and we are in wait-and-watch mode for February.”
The wedding industry ecosystem includes event management firms along with a host of service providers such as tents, catering, decoration, crockery, logistics, videographers, bands, DJs, and lighting. Typically, apparels, footwear, durables, automobiles and jewellery segments also see strong business during the wedding season.
Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Matrimony.com, hopes it would not be a prolonged disruption as in 2020.
Others say that the big fat Indian wedding is likely to transform into an intimate affair as seen in the past two waves.
“We have seen couples quick to adapt their wedding plans to the pandemic norms. We believe trends such as “Shift Weddings”, where guests are invited in batches so that the count is in line with the norms, are expected to make a comeback. Instead of postponing, couples are also likely to go ahead with the wedding ceremony in an intimate setting followed by a larger celebration at a later stage,” said Anam Zubair, Associate Director-Marketing, WeddingWire India, part of the Knot Worldwide.