Coronavirus and Indian Weddings – In Conversation with Sriram
Had to postpone your wedding due to Coronavirus? It makes you one of the many couples who are dealing not just with the lockdown but the added worry of how and when to plan your wedding. We’re sure you must have a lot of questions and we reach out to top wedding experts in the country to help answer some of those. Do follow this series as we attempt to answer your questions as the situation evolves.
With over 700 events in the last 7 years, Pranaya Weddings is one of Chennai’s premier wedding planning company. Their founder Sriram answers your questions.
What will be the impact of the Novel Coronavirus on weddings in 2020?
Most of the weddings we were working on in 2020 were destination weddings. And that might be indicative of what many planners had on their plate, as the trend of destination weddings has been on the rise. Given the current coronavirus situation, it will be a long recovery period for the wedding industry. One could expect a much lower guest count even in winter weddings, with there being a hesitation to travel. Couples would have also faced significant cancellation costs, and exhausted their leaves. So there will be a lot to fix in the coming times before weddings restore to some level of normalcy.
While there is a lull now, weddings will double in number towards the end of the year, due to the postponed ones. Any advice for couples planning a winter wedding to avoid surge pricing or low availability of services?
There will definitely be a surge towards the year-end and early next year when it comes to venue availability. In the case of destination weddings, we will have to match the client’s requirement with places that are safe to travel to. However, for the other services like catering, decor, photography etc, we have reworked the plan to manage the surge. We are anticipating a minimum of two add-on request per muhurtham post-July 2020
With the economy poised to be seriously hit, do you think the big fat Indian wedding will continue to remain recession-proof?
In my view the entire wedding spend will be revisited during the slow down period that this anticipated from now till next year or so. There will be a lot of measures right from the number of guest to the size of the venue. Weddings will move towards conservative spends. Photography and catering expenses will come down due to limited guests, but I feel décor and entertainment will still be a big expense. I also see live streaming of the event will be a new norm going forward, as will be the idea of a gift registry.
For couples who are looking to scale down their wedding spends, what are some ideas to manage budgets without compromising aesthetics?
First and foremost, I feel hiring a wedding planner will be useful in this time of uncertainty. Managing the guest list and splitting them among functions can also be important in reducing spends. Another advice would be to get creative with the venue search even if it’s a bit far from you, as you can get better deals by widening the net. Also, by cutting down the guest list you’ll save accommodation costs, which can be substantial. Similarly, with services like photography, there are so many affordable options available and a planner can help suggest vendors with high skill and low cost. And finally, there’s catering, where couples can go for a smaller but high-quality menu to manage expenses.
How does the role of the wedding planner change in this new world situation?
If you go back a few decades there were weddings completely organized by family members and neighbourhood people. Then we hired cooks and outsourced cooking. Then it got migrated to mandap/venue with entire cooking was outsourced. In today’s time, the need for a wedding planner is a lot because they can help plan the entire celebration in the coronavirus times by finding quality vendors at low costs and managing the uncertainties that may occur.