Will ‘Intimate Weddings’ Take Over From Big Fat Indian Weddings’?

Weddings | July 7, 2020 | Feature

FB Celebrations Milestones to Memories Moksh Events YOLO Entertainment Prasang Events and Weddings

The current rise in ‘intimate weddings’ in India has been triggered by regulation limiting the number of guests to 50 during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But could this emerge as a trend that outlives the regulation? Will it take over from ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’?

EVENTFAQS Media reached out to experts for their views on the future of wedding celebrations post the pandemic. 

"I expect destination and large scale weddings to gain momentum again as and when the situation becomes better worldwide."
- Bhavnesh Sawhney, Co-Founder, FB Celebrations

As an immediate effect on the current pandemic, one has to invariably make the decision of cutting down on the guestlist. Weddings, as per my understanding, will become more intimate not just in numbers but also in experience. Weddings will now have the opportunity of being more luxurious and bespoke with a keen eye on details. Experiences will be the key and storytelling will lie at the heart of it. The decor, the entertainment, the food and beverage arrangements, everything will be more heartfelt and reflect the personalities of the bride and groom because it will truly be for their closest family and friends. For millennial couples, this could be a very well-received trend. Though, personally, I do feel India is the nation of the 'Big Fat Indian Wedding' experience and is all about familial celebration. Slowly, but surely, I expect destination and large scale weddings to gain momentum again as and when the situation becomes better worldwide. In either case, we are happy to provide our clients with just the kind of wedding they dream of.

"Post pandemic intimate weddings will continue, so will the big fat weddings return."
- Aarti Manocha, Founder, Milestones To Memories

Intimate weddings aren’t a new trend; it always existed for people who wanted an intimate and private affair. We always had 50 and 100 pax weddings pre-pandemic too, just that those were limited in numbers as compared to large weddings. Now it is being spoken of, as a new trend only because it is the need of the hour to keep celebrations and events small/intimate because of the restrictions on numbers and social distancing. Post pandemic, intimate weddings will continue, so will the big fat weddings return. Once the vaccine is out and the pandemic situation is under control, people will start celebrating weddings in style and scale once again. Indian weddings are traditionally big in numbers and the pandemic has only created a stopgap. It’s a matter of time until the big weddings return and intimate weddings co-exist, once this pandemic is over.

"The big fat wedding will bounce back at least in India, post a year or 16 months surely."
- Vijay Bokadia, Director, Moksh Events

Personally what I have been witnessing is people as of now trying to postpone the dates, or in some cases just doing it more intimately with cousins doing a virtual sangeet and so on. But yes, they are looking at throwing a party after six to eight months in the hope that things will be normal by then. Weddings are surely now being more intimate but will require more detailing too in all areas, from invites to the communication, to the process to be followed for the limited guests, etc, But families are sending more gifts, sweets, etc. to people who can’t make it or were not called due to the legal restrictions. As we know, parents save for years for the one-lifetime event of their kids. We are a society which is full of life, celebrations much more. The big fat wedding will surely bounce back at least in India, post a year or 16 months. Till then, yes it will take a toll on the wedding industry in a big way, I can say COVID-19 will cause a loss of about Rs. 30,000 to 40000 crore of business for the industry as a whole.

"We are of the utmost belief that it’s only a matter of time for things to get back to ‘NORMAL’."
- Pratik & Jueta Hemdev, Founders YOLO Entertainment & Weddings

Intimate and virtual weddings are a quick fix for the need of the hour, which we are definitely open to for families that would opt for the same during this pandemic! Indian families do resonate with celebrating their BIG DAY with pomp and show and we are of the utmost belief that it’s only a matter of time for things to get back to ‘NORMAL’.

"No Small Social distancing weddings can overtake Big Fat Indian Weddings."
- Keyur Patel, Managing Director, Prasang Events

We are considering all weddings as intimate weddings, whether it is a ‘big fat’ wedding or a destination wedding. We still believe that weddings are celebrations and in the current situation, there should not be a wedding of over 50 pax. The pandemic is not over but once it's over and we have vaccines or medicines, the same big fat weddings will start once again. At the moment our clients are in a wait and watch situation and we also advise them to wait till that time. No, small, social-distancing weddings cannot overtake ‘Big Fat Indian Weddings’.

"We will return to the big fat Indian wedding in our characteristic grand and impressive manner."
- Kainaz Sethna, Director, Seven Steps Weddings

Given our culture’s inherent love for opulent celebrations and the structure of the extended Indian family, we believe Intimate weddings are simply a response to our current temporary circumstances. And once they change, we will return to the Big fat Indian wedding in our characteristic grand and impressive manner. With Intimate Weddings, our efforts have been focused on the luxury of detail and personalization to make events memorable and magical for families and guests. We still bring in Scale to create Impact by transforming spaces while retaining the aesthetic and charm of marrying at home.

"Intimate weddings seem to be the perfect solution keeping in mind the situation world over."
- Tina Tharwani, Co-Founder, Shaadi Squad

Intimate weddings are definitely the new order! It seems to be the perfect solution keeping in mind the situation world over. Thankfully, there is a lot to merit in opting for an intimate celebration. One can now stick to inviting their “nearest and dearest’ family and friends and automatically create just the right vibe and warm setting one desires. So much more emphasis can be given to detailing and personalization which sometimes becomes diluted or even impossible in big sized weddings. Shrinking the event down to a cozy, intimate size guarantees couples will love where their money goes and have tons of memories with every single guest. These factors might lead to two scenarios- clients might cut down the budgets due to sheer scale and size but few others might want to splurge wisely and adequately to offer their guests a wholesome super custom experience by being experimental and innovative. Being a boutique wedding planning firm, we’ve always found extra comfort and gratification in executing small sized weddings so we are raring to go once things start to look up! 

"I feel lavish exotic destinations for intimate weddings is going to be a new trend in 2021."
-Mahindraa. G, Managing Director, Neferrtiti

The year 2020 witnessed the pandemic COVID-19 crushing the hospitality business and saw the birth of Intimate weddings to a smaller guest list of 50, with total social distancing. I feel lavish, exotic destinations for intimate weddings are going to be a new trend in 2021. Post-pandemic, couples will get into more details of every event and make it very innovative. India will soon get back to its ‘Big Fat Indian Weddings’ spread over days of fun, laughter, and memories, with couples having budgets to invite a few hundred guests!

"Rituals and registration at home and celebrations next year is something that is gaining momentum in the fraternity."
- Vikram Mehta, Executive Director, Mpire

In terms of trends, there are a couple of obvious ones. I see the augment of apps for online weddings, with comprehensive one-stop shops for procuring vendors, rituals, etc. as well as live streaming for guests who can't make it. The other trend I have seen is weddings on rooftops, terraces, and larger balconies. This hasn't yet caught momentum, but if we are forced to conduct weddings in our backyards, this will be seen in the foreseeable future. Another one, which may not gather momentum but I would strongly advise is the idea of ‘No Mandap’. Couples can go for a nice canopy or a photobooth station or an arch which can be the central and functional space at the wedding. The viability of mandap will of course depend on the amount of space a couple have at home and the concept. And of course, the precautionary sanitizing, PPE outfits for teams and laborers and temperature checks would form the order of the day, and almost a mandatory "trend"! 

The decor will be more sustainable with people taking eco-friendly options. Plastic was something that was anyways being banned or worked upon. I think a lot of the floral options shared would be environment friendly. ‘Rituals and registration at home and celebrations next year’ is something that is gaining momentum in the fraternity. We have already got inquiries on those lines and I suggest home weddings: just exercise the rituals and leave the personal touches of Mehendi, Sangeet to the destination wedding in the coming year. I see the wedding industry not fully recovering for a period of one year, unless the vaccine is out before that.

We asked wedding experts Aarti Manocha, Bhavnesh Sawhney, Keyur Patel, Mahindraa G, Pratik & Jueta Hemdev, Kainaz Sethna, Tina Tharwani, Vijay Bokadia & Vikram Mehta about their views.

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