Wedding Sutra Engage held at the JW Marriott recently, threw up some interesting insights into the state of the wedding economy. Wedding Sutra www.weddingsutra.com is a well known wedding resource site helmed by Parthip Thyagarajan and Madhulika Mathur and they definitely have their fingers on the pulse of the luxury Indian wedding. The Big Fat Luxe Indian Wedding is a big fat revenue and employment generator and has an ecosystem all of its own. Stakeholders include industries- fashion, beauty, jewellery, diamond, travel and tourism, hotels and hospitality to name a few and service providers like makeup artists, wedding photographers, caterers, priests and so on. Destination weddings continue to have huge potential – with innumerable destinations in India or abroad yet to be discovered and opened up . Tourism departments of countries have come to realise the revenue earning potential of hosting Indian weddings . In fact Oman Tourism had partnered with wedding sutra for the event. Bottom line – if you have a dream however impossible the experts will put it together for you . Here are a couple of insights from the experts .
Groom with a view
There was a time when the groom was the least important person in the wedding planning process once he had agreed to be married. Two outfits and a special shave and facial were pretty much it. Not any more say the experts .The groom today has a strong point of view on all things relating to the wedding – the décor, the location , the music list , the food , the choice of photographer, the mixologist , the story angle of the wedding video, the dance choreography even the outfits and colours he and the bride will wear. Good thing I say. Now I hope he is as invested in footing half the bill .
Ten years ago the sweet, docile Indian bride morphed into Bridezilla as far as her bridal looks and make up were concerned. Now she is Bridezilla Unleashed in every aspect – the flowers, the clothes that everyone around her will wear, colour themes, food, music, post parties, bachelorette parties-she is the mistress of her own wedding and will brook no opposition. Steer clear and just agree to everything she says. If bridezilla wants white orchids and pink hydrangeas at every table so be it. If she wants a wedding walk with her father into a traditional mandapam dressed in white she does it. She is clear, focused, knows what she wants and she will make it happen.
Makeup artist before priest
You can expect no less in the instagram age. Wedding planning Guru Vandana Mohan the go to person for the biggest Indian weddings, said in a lighter moment that the first person who is booked once the wedding date is set is the make up artist especially for destination weddings. From the beauty perspective I can vouch for this. It is impossible to get a makeup artist anywhere near the wedding season so book a year in advance and follow up as they may be tempted to trade up to a bigger fatter destination wedding if you don’t follow up.
Photographer & videographer as stars
No surprises that the star photographer and videographer are next in order of appearance. They are part of the bridal couple’s entourage and may well stay with them through key milestones- the proposal (yes, the proposal is a thing now) the pre wedding pictures, the pre wedding vacay and so on. Wedding shoots are now more and more like editorial or fashion shoots –with detailing and styling of shots. Photographers usually come with a team so every angle can be captured -with one team member designated for candid shots and one for editorial shots. The videographer is responsible for the wedding film which could be scripted into a Bollywood style movie .Wedding Sutra’s event ended with their Wedding Photographer Awards for the country’s best wedding photographers which was a clear indicator of how big wedding photography is. They got ten thousand entries and the jury included some of the best international photographres. You can see the final list of winners on their site.
Lehengas with pockets and the new bridal fashion
Brides want to co-create their bridal wear says Ensemble’s Tina Tahiliani. They are no longer going to accept what the designer says blindly. Designer Anita Dongre who is very strong on her bridal offerings and very popular says modern brides want to be able to move freely and dance the most at their own weddings which is why she designed lighter lehengas with pockets to keep phones and keeps morphing her designs with this modern bride in mind even as she evokes the romance of Rajasthan and her signature gota kari work. But the lehenga still rules despite the saree revival and the rise of global fusion. Lakme’s Purnima Lamba echoed the sentiment of co creation citing Lakme’s example of collaborating with designers as well as influencers and bloggers to create new palettes. Personally, from a purely biased perspective I would have liked a separate session on beauty, make up and pre wedding grooming -nutrition, gyms, medispas, skin care – an endless list .
Couple vs the World
Couples script their own wedding story and have a shared dream and we have to make it happen wherever they dream of setting it, said ace scenographer and wedding theme designer Sumant Jaykrishnan . The couple has a view and work as a team. Forget the old days of senior aunts and uncles or parents taking the lead and neat divisions between girl’s side and boy’s side.
Of course parents are still best friends (especially if they are footing the bill) but the phalanx of aunties and uncles, distant cousins and distant relatives and everybody landing up is now a No. Friends get top priority with young couples who often opt for exclusive ‘friends only’ parties and joint bachleor-bachelorette destination parties Setting a limit to how any relatives their parents can invite is becoming a norm. One bride I know said she would invite only the relatives she knew personally and liked and there were only a handful of relatives at her wedding .
Food – Global, chef inspired and now healthy
Millet counters, quinoa salads, fresh juice bars and vegan ice-cream are all part of the wedding feast now. Chefs are co opted early on to create the food of wedding day dreams. The days of a folder with six set menus to choose from have gone said Pavitran Nambiar, the articulate Mumbai GM of the JW Marriot chain whose Walnut Grove, Musoorie property has become a popular destination wedding venue. The bride and groom are very clear about the food they want, they are well travelled so it is easier to get in a chef at the early stages who can prepare all the meals and create customised exclusive menus. Standard Mexican, Thai and Chinese counters are passé. Now it is all about authenticity, provenance, world cuisine that shows off the couple’s global outlook, food based on health trends like vegan or ayurvedic – you can write a book on wedding feasts.
Growing demand for Djs
We’ve all heard of weddings where Madonna or Jlo or Justin was flown in but DJ’s are the new gig in town. Celebrity Dj’s are in top demand. They don’t take attention away from the stars i.e. the bride and groom, they spin some great tracks and can create memorable lists and mixes that can be given as return gifts plus the sangeet/party is owned by the couple and their friends who want to show off their moves and party hard Bottom line – a good DJ can keep the party moving into the wee hours or until champagne breakfast is served.