August 21, 2007 13:39 IST
It might be a 'seasonal' industry, thriving only during the auspicious months of the year but with an estimated worth of Rs 1,25,000 crore (Rs 1,250 billion) the Indian wedding industry is getting bigger and fatter.
With the industry growing at an average rate of 25 per cent per annum, the lavishness doled out by Indians on weddings is just getting larger this season as exhibitors and even designers from Pakistan entering the market to target the customers who have begun shopping for the post October marriage season.
"The weddings just grown larger only. The latest trend is now to fly out the 'barat' comprising 250-350 people to Kaula Lampur or Singapore to have the wedding there," says Tarun Sarda, CEO, Vintage Group, Vivaha Interactive, the organisers of Vivaha exhibitions.
Citing seven such weddings which have taken place in foreign locations such as Sunway Lagoon and the Palace of the Golden Horses in Malayasia recently, he adds, "Everyone is trying to outdo each other. With the property and stock boom, India has seen new generation of millionaires coming up and the lavishness that they indulge in weddings are just mind-blowing."
Gone are the days when great weddings were the ones to be held at some five star hotel with baratis trooping in fanning Rs 10 bundles, points out wedding organisers and industry experts.
"With increased money at their disposal and more awareness, people now don't just want a five star wedding. The Mittals and Sahara's along with the Chatwal weddings have changed the way, one would view a grand wedding," says Saurabh Sen Gupta, head, event management, Kimaya, which organises individual events like ladies sangeet with Bollywood singers performing and bachelor parties along with theme parties for the marriages.
"The pandlas are more like film sets now. Theme parties are what really excites everyone. With fashion designers like JJ Valya and Ritu Kumar focusing on marraige trousseau more, one cannot even imagine how much can one spend on even individual ceremonies. Moreover, with even some Bollywood set designers stepping in to design marriage pandals, the grand Indian wedding is just getting bigger," he adds.
Industry experts now point out that a good wedding now takes place for about a crore and a half, even though the average wedding expenditure for a middle class family comes to about Rs 15 lakhs (Rs 1.5 million) without the jewellery.
Recently, the The Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, the citys top Sikh body, had told the capitals nearly one million Sikhs to boycott weddings that are not teetotaler, vegetarian and over by noon to cut down the cost involved in the usual lavish sikh weddings.
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