2021-’22 Wedding Season: What’s in Store for Planners and Venues
by Mugdha Gaonkar Industry Watch | June 24, 2021 | Feature
Rajeev Jain Mohomed Morani Hemant Kale Deep Vahi JW Marriott
The after-effects of the pandemic continue to wreak havoc on lives and livelihood for the second consecutive year. While some sectors are opening up, for the wedding industry, the restriction on the number of people allowed to attend means that return to normalcy is some distance away.
EVENTFAQS Media reached out to experts from the wedding industry and venues, for their views on the upcoming wedding season starting late 2021.
‘I want to appeal to the venue and hotel owners to be reasonable’
-Rajeev Jain, Managing Director, Rashi Entertainment
As an industry, weddings are the first one to close and last to open. We are still waiting for the industry to open and the restrictions to ease. But we are expecting the easing to happen soon. The government is allowing weddings with 50 to 100 people. There is also a fear of the third wave. All the April (2021) weddings were cancelled and up to 90 percent of the weddings were postponed. We are hoping if the restrictions are eased, we will be able to do a lot of weddings from July.
The hotels are going crazy and over-quoting for prior dates (like 12 to 14 & 23 to 30 November, 10 to 12 December). Udaipur hotels like The Leela, The Oberoi Udaivilas and Lake Palace are quoting up to Rs. 70,000 to 80,000 a room along with Rs. 8,000 for dinner and Rs. 5,000 for lunch to recover their cost. This is not the right thing and they are bound to fail. I want to appeal to the venue and hotel owners to be reasonable, otherwise people will continue to do small weddings and not opt for costly venues.
I have personally written a letter to the LG, Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Delhi for allowing weddings to open with a 3 square meter per person formula on the behalf of the wedding industry and various associations.
Covid or no covid, celebrations and weddings will happen but we need to take precautions and get ourselves vaccinated. I appeal to everyone to get vaccinated. The government is doing a good job and I compliment all the state governments for it.
‘There are a lot of enquiries for international destination weddings’
-Mohomed Morani, Director, Cineyug
If more and more people get vaccinated, we will normalise faster. However, with the lockdown opening, at least in Bombay things are ‘so far so good’. If we follow Covid protocol, I don’t think we will even see the third wave. So, in my humble opinion, for business to improve, discipline is key. Only then we can expect a boom in the event business, and have large scale weddings and events. At this point, small weddings have become the normal. Couples are opting for in-house family only wedding ceremonies and willing to wait to host large receptions once venues are granted permissions for them. We are encouraging more weddings to happen across India as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
The number of enquiries for international destination weddings, give us a positive outlook, and bright future for the wedding industry, but it will take a minimum of six months for the global wedding scene to have large events.
All wedding planners must touch base with their clients on a regular basis. They definitely know exactly where the business is coming from, what weddings are going to happen and what bookings they had already received. Even if our clients have done a small ceremony and in-house party, maybe they will have a big celebration afterwards to invite everybody that they wanted as part of their happiness. That also becomes one type of an event. Whereas venues are concerned, I think we should keep in touch with our clients and bring awareness on government SOPs, things opening up and the like. Accordingly, in three to four months from that, we can discuss with the client and fix up wedding dates.
Also, when things normalise automatically everything will come into rhythm and definitely SOPs should be followed for a healthy way forward. This entire industry has suffered huge losses and we cannot afford further lockdowns. It’s a mixed reaction; a lot of people want to have small weddings and get it over with but we are going to do a heavy follow up so that we get at least one of our clients to do one event at our place (Dome). Strong client servicing, regular contact with the client and keeping ourselves updated on what and when is the best way to go forward.
‘Season will be great if we are not hit by a major third wave’
-Hemant Kale, Director, Swaaha Wedding
Hotels are getting flocked with enquiries as of now. If the central and state governments are able to achieve the vaccination numbers as they say, then the wedding industry might see some good fireworks! Our fingers are crossed and we are sure the season will be great if we are not hit by a major third wave.
Connecting with clients and potential clients and infusing confidence for making their celebrations grand will be the key! All our immediate team and extended key partners are vaccinated and that’s a good sign of a positive working environment apart from the standard protocol. I am hopeful that there is a great season ahead in waiting!
‘Digital enhancements will help on road to recovery
-Deep Vahi, Director, Sales & Marketing, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu
Considering the prestige of wedding traditions and celebrations in India, we will continue to see momentum in this segment. We anticipate that intimate wedding celebrations will continue in the forthcoming months and upon the successful completion of the Covid19 vaccination drive across the country, we will witness larger celebrations possibly in the fourth quarter of this year.
In order to revive revenue growth, luxurious venues will have to continue adopting the strategy of a minimum revenue allotted to each distinct venue. Investing in digital enhancements within the venue, such as live streaming of the functions to enable virtual attendance would also aid in the road to recovery; coupled with this, the food and beverage delivery service (in our case, ‘Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels’) could cater to the dining experience at home for the virtual attendees to ensure a holistic celebratory experience.
Moreover, this past year has created more opportunities for the personalisation of services, enabling us to focus on the detailing of intimate weddings to further enhance the guest experience and this will continue to unfold.
Marriott International’s ‘Commitment to Clean’ protocols will continue to be implemented diligently across all hotel functions in the new normal world. We will continue to focus on personalised guest experiences and moreover, leverage our ‘Shaadi by Marriott’ brand whilst curating customised wedding packages at property level tailored to guest preferences. Over the past year, we have realised that people are now seeking the destination wedding experience closer to home and we will cater to this demand, offering that level of grandeur and luxury within our resort-like hotel.
Wedding experts Rajeev Jain, Mohomed Morani and Hemant Kale, and Deep Vahi of JW Marriott, weigh in.