NEW DELHI

Big, fat weddings getting trim

Feeling the heat:Wedding planners are worried about how to pay the staff who work solely on a per-day and cash payment basis like daily wagers.Photo: V. V. Krishnan  

The big, fat Delhi wedding seems to have gone on a diet thanks to the ongoing demonetisation exercise. From band wallahs to ghodi wallahs and from caterers to photographers, the liquidity crunch has affected every service provider.

Sixty-year-old Sunil Kashyap (name changed), whose daughter got married on November 12, said the sudden deficit in liquid cash had left fathers like him no option. “I remember sweating while I stood outside an ATM at 2 a.m. — my third since the November 8 announcement — wondering how, if at all, we would be able to pull it off,” he said.

Fortunately for him, Mr. Kashyap said, the banquet hall owner and caterer had been paid most of their dues. However, exchange gifts still needed to be purchased. This led him to a local currency dealer who demanded a 10 per cent commission to exchange Rs. 100 notes for older notes.

“I decided not to risk it and promised guests that their exchange gifts would be delivered as soon as I could purchase them with my debit card. What I regret is that even the milni (the ceremonial introduction of family members from both sides accompanied with an exchange of money) had to be done with old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes,” Mr. Kashyap added.

Doing away with ceremonies?

Ashok Chadha, a businessman based in Noida, said the cash crunch had led him to dispense with the ceremonial ghodi ( arrival of the groom on a horse) and cut down on the contingent of band wallahs (musicians) from his son’s November 25 wedding.

“I have asked the band company owner to spare as big or small a group that he can with the advance I gave him. My son’s in-laws say they have no issues with him turning up in the doli (ceremonial palanquin) instead of a ghodi. Postponing or cancelling a wedding is too much to handle,” he said.

Decisions like Mr. Chadha’s, said Virender Singh from the popular Chawla Band in Karol Bagh, had severely affected his business. “As if the fact that walk-in customers have stopped making enquiries wasn’t enough, bookings are being cancelled every day. We have started taking post-dated cheques,” he said.

Gaurav from Sindhi Hira Nand Ghori Wale, one of the oldest wedding planners in the Capital based out of Beadon Pura in Karol Bagh said, “Even if we accept cheques, how will we pay our staff who work on a per-day and cash payment basis like daily wagers?” he complained.

Mohit Birla from Mohit Birla Photography, said business had been affected “to some extent” but not as severely as one would expect. “I do not work on cash as a principle but business has been affected to a small degree; I had 10 bookings this month, of which one had to be cancelled,” he said.

Vijender Singh Rawat, a caterer operating out of Kaushambi, said he was operating on credit. “A marriage isn’t something that families can postpone or cancel. We are doing all we can to offer clients our services on credit basis,” he said.

New Delhi: The big, fat Delhi wedding seems to have gone on a diet thanks to the ongoing demonetisation exercise. From band wallahs to ghodi wallahs and from caterers to photographers, the crunch in liquid cash has affected every service provider with families of brides and grooms mutually agreeing to trim excess expenditure.

Sixty-year-old Sunil Kashyap (name changed), whose daughter got married on November 12, said the sudden deficit in liquid cash had left fathers like him no option. “I remember sweating while I stood in line outside an ATM at 2 a.m. — my third since the announcement earlier in the evening of November 8 — wondering how, if at all, we would be able to pull it off,” he said.

Fortunately for him, Mr. Kashyap said, the banquet hall owner and caterer had been paid most of their dues in advance a week ago; however, exchange gifts ranging from fruit baskets to blankets and bedsheets still needed to be purchased and led him to a local currency dealer who demanded a 10 per cent commission to exchange Rs, 100 notes for older notes.

“I decided not to risk it and promised the guests that their exchange gifts would be delivered to them as soon as I could purchase them with my debit card; what I do regret is that even the milni (the ceremonial introduction of family members from both sides accompanied with an exchange of money) had to be done with old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes,” Mr. Kashyap added.

Ashok Chadha, a businessman based in Noida, said the cash crunch had led him to dispense with the ceremonial ghodi ( arrival of the groom ona horse) and cut down on the contingent of band wallahs (musicians) from his son's wedding on November 25.

“I've told the band company owner to spare as big or small a group that he can with the cash advance I gave him and my son's in-laws say they have no issues with him turning up in the doli (ceremonial palanquin) instead of a ghodi to pick up his bride. Postponing or cancelling a wedding is too much to handle – better a small wedding than none,” he said.

Decisions like Mr. Chadha's, said Virender Singh from the popular Chawla Band in Karol Bagh, had severely affected his business. “As if the fact that walk-in customers have completely stopped making enquiries wasn't enough, bookings are being cancelled every day because of the cash crunch. We have begun taking post-dated cheques so that the entire wedding season doesn't go to waste,” he said.

Gaurav from Sindhi Hira Nand Ghori Wale, one of the oldest wedding planners in the Capital based out of Beadon Pura in Karol Bagh's Band Market said the cash crunch had completely crippled business.

“Business is destroyed either way because of the lack of liquidity. Even if we accept payment cheque, how will we pay our staff who work solely on a per-day and cash payment basis like daily wagers?” he complained.

Mohit Birla from Mohit Birla Photography, said business had been affected “to some extent” but not as severely as one would expect. “I do not work on cash as a principle but business has been affected to a small degree; I had ten bookings this month out of which one had to be cancelled because the party seemed to have run out of cash but the others are scheduled as per plan,” he said.

Vijender Singh Rawat, a caterer operating out of Kaushambi, said he was operating on credit. “A marriage isn't something that either family can afford to postpone or cancel so we are doing all we can to offer clients our services on credit basis if they can't afford to pay through cheque at the moment,” he said.

EOM



Bookings are being cancelled every day because of the cash crunch. We have started taking

post-dated cheques