Is the Grand Indian Wedding Poised to Change Forever?
It’s hard to describe an Indian wedding. From its grandest format to the smaller ones, there are some characteristics unique to it—they’re elaborate, filled with hundreds of guests, a riot of colors, and celebration. Covered in bling and most often, costing more than what one can afford. However, over the last few years, this trend has started tweaking. With millennials preferring simpler ceremonies, smaller guest lists, and minimal wastage. 2020, with it’s the pandemic and economic downturn, seems to have accelerated this trend. It is transforming the Big Fat Indian Wedding into a leaner, meaner, and less wasteful machine.
But will this trend last? And is it better for an Indian wedding? Let’s find out….
#1. The impact of the Pandemic
The one singular event that completely transformed the Indian wedding overnight was the lockdown following the pandemic. Couples were forced to restrict their celebrations to 50 guests and move the bulk of the celebrations online. The concept of virtual weddings went from an unlikely idea to an absolute reality in no time. But will it persist once the pandemic is over? “It has always seemed impossible to trim down the guest list at an Indian wedding. However, when Corona struck, people were forced to do this and realized its possible. And while I don’t think 50-people weddings will become the norm, I definitely see weddings shrinking from 1000 people affairs to a few hundred. Now that couples are getting comfortable with technology like live streaming and online parties, they will continue to use these to keep their guest list intimate,” says Kanika Subbiah, Founder, Wedding Wishlist.
#2. The economic upside
Another realization that has come with the forced downsizing of the Indian wedding is the significant financial savings it can lead to. “Families are realizing that what used to be a net spend event, can now be turned into a net savings event. A smaller wedding means sizably lower spends, and virtual services like gift registry mean guests can gift the couple everything they need to start their new life, including the honeymoon,” adds Subbiah.
The plethora of problems this year has bought with it has also made the young generation more conscious of saving money. “This lockdown has completely changed the way we think about expenses. When a health emergency of this magnitude takes over the world, it gives you perspective. All the money we spend on weddings can be so much more useful when difficult times such as this come. Right now, designer clothes mean nothing. Financial security, everything! So when we plan our wedding again, we’ll definitely find ways of making it more intimate and special, but less expensive,” says Parth, a groom who’s wedding got postponed due to COVID19.
#3. Getting in sync with nature
A series of natural disasters, from earthquakes to cyclones and forest fires, has made an entire generation of people think more deeply about the choices we make and its impact on the environment. And Indian weddings, one of the greatest sources of waste in the country, has not been spared the scrutiny. Couples are choosing to be waste-free, conscious, and environment friendly in their celebrations and sustainable choices mean more sustainable (and smaller) weddings. “From saying no to plastics and donating the extra food to locally sourcing all return gifts and creating a gift registry to avoid wasted gifts, we made sure every decision was a responsible one at our wedding,” says our bride Shreya.
So will all these factors lead to a changing face for the Indian wedding? We certainly hope so. “80% of all Indians take a loan towards their wedding, and that’s a startling number if there ever was one! With smart, small, and waste-free weddings, couples can have only their most loved ones present. Not only will the celebrations be more memorable, but they’ll also help the couple start their new life on a much stronger financial footing. And isn’t that a win-win for everyone?” concludes Subbiah.
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