METRO PLUS

Master of your ceremony

Modern MATRIMONYQuirkiness blends seamlessly with tradition at these new age Indian weddings, researching all the options was imperative for Asha Antony(right)

Modern MATRIMONYQuirkiness blends seamlessly with tradition at these new age Indian weddings, researching all the options was imperative for Asha Antony(right)  

As weddings get bigger and better, couples are becoming increasingly proactive about shouldering the responsibility of festivities

In late 2013 Asha Antony quit her job in Mumbai and went back home. She had but one agenda: to plan her wedding. With the big day only a couple of months away, there were caterers to meet, food to taste, venues to veto, clothes to buy, invitations to send, accommodation to arrange... the list is endless. Armed with an iPad, a fat file of brochures and lists and the trusty guidance of an older sister and a few friends, she set to work, intermittently contacting her fiance to ensure he did his share of the work.

For Srujana Vuppulu it was about getting the best of both worlds; “My parents and I planned the whole thing together, especially all the traditional ceremonies; I knew exactly how things were planned and interacted directly with the organisers,” she says. “The mehendi and sangeet functions were planned entirely by me.”

Weddings in India have long been family affairs and until recently it was the responsibility of the parents to plan, execute and spend on their offsprings’ big days. However, as the wedding industry grows and celebrations get more lavish and creative, young brides and grooms are stepping in to do all the groundwork that goes into making that day picture perfect. Parents are consulted later , while making big ticket decisions.

“Of course big decisions concerning budget, venue, number of people etc has to be approved by my parents who fund the wedding but a major chunk of the research was done by me and a few friends, as we have different ideas about what looks nice and know where to get them,” says Asha. A perfect example for the generation gap is the response to candid wedding photography, a non-existent concept in India a few years ago. “Why are you taking from that angle and why is the groom looking away from the camera, rather than into it and smiling?” one photographer was asked by parents of the bride. However, photographer Sravan Yemineni who has been in the business for a few years now says that he is having fewer such conversations.

It’s not just differences over what’s ‘cool’ that is leading to this shift in responsibilities. The wedding industry itself is transforming from becoming one that was built on local vendors and word of mouth publicity to one with trained professionals who know how to package and market their products and services; we now have destination weddings, themed weddings and colour coded weddings and ‘wedding professional’ is becoming a lucrative career choice. Exposure through social media like Facebook and Pinterest play a key role in creating demand for high quality in decor, clothes, food or photographs.

“People have started caring more about the quality of every single part of the wedding. Earlier you called in the caterer or decorator that your cousin or uncle used for their wedding but now people are exposed to many more options,” says Nithin Baalay, CEO of SayShaadi.com, a Hyderabad-based website that connects soon to-be-weds to wedding professionals across the country. Nithin says their primary audience is the “IT person sitting in their cubicle, unable to get out of work through the week.” Nithin thinks that in two years, more than 80 per cent of couples will plan their own weddings.

We also cannot ignore the fact that the traditional idea of the Indian marriage between two families rather than two individuals is soon fading. Working professionals migrate to cities to pursue careers and independence, often finding themselves a life partner in the process. From thereon, it seems only natural that they take responsibility for the wedding ceremony as well.



In two years, more than 80 per cent of couples will plan their own weddings says Nithin Baalay, CEO, SayShaadi.com



Recommended for you