The covid-19 pandemic had a deep impact on India’s weddings industry.
Due to various partial lockdowns across the country, weddings have become leaner, pushing the industry to think of newer ways to generate revenue. Even the priorities of those getting married have changed.
For one, a growing number of people opted for shorter guest lists, according to the Indian Wedding Industry Report released yesterday (Feb. 16) by wedding planning app WedMeGood. The report covers changes in the industry between January 2021 and January 2022.
But smaller weddings are still a new, and likely temporary phenomenon, according to Mehak Sagar, co-founder of WedMeGood. “When covid first hit, everyone said virtual weddings are here to stay. Those are a total no-show now,” Sagar told Quartz.
As a result, a majority of Indian couples still spent as much as they had planned to on their weddings, according to WedMeGood’s survey of 3,000 users and vendors listed on the app.
Industry experts say weddings will likely go back to the pre-pandemic scale and size, especially given the backlog and pent-up demand. For instance, between Nov. 14 and Dec. 13, 2021, alone, 2.5 million weddings are said to have generated a revenue of 3 lakh crore rupees (approximately $40 billion), according to the Confederation of All India Traders.
For now, small weddings have made their mark in the industry.
Over 80% of the vendors surveyed by WedMeGood said that 30% of their business was impacted adversely in the pandemic. This is reflected in the fact that vendors were willing to charge much less from couples who wanted more intimate weddings.
Indian couples also spent less on typical categories, venues taking the biggest hit of these given the smaller guest lists.
The pandemic also led both vendors and customers to look closely at the fine print of their service agreements.
Things like online consultations and venue visits, flexibility with dates, and the vendors’ vaccination status became top priority for customers. These were concerns reflected in both responses from vendors and the couples.
For instance, vendors who were surveyed said about 19% of the customers laid emphasis on cancellation and refund policies.
Among those planning their weddings in the midst of covid-19, nearly 51% said refund policies were important to them, second only to the vaccination status of vendors.
Whether these changes and priorities outlast the pandemic remain to be seen.