among Indians anywhere in the world often come with the apt prefixes of Big and Fat, for the extravagance and flamboyance that goes into creating a Big Fat Indian Wedding.
However, since the pandemic lockdown, the wedding industry like most others has had to adapt and unleash a major transformation. With small wedding ceremonies given the go-ahead, Global Indians have also found innovative ways to celebrate – with less of the extravagance but not necessarily the enthusiasm.
‘iGlobal’ caught up with a few UK-based Indian wedding industry experts to explore some of the new trends and the lasting impact they could have on the future of Indian weddings – from drive-in and garden ceremonies to Zoom parties.
The Founder of Saheli Events, Saheli Mirpuri launched her wedding business empire three years ago and has gone onto become a well-known name in the industry.
“What makes us unique is the relationship we have with our clients; we aspire to create a friendly and informal relationship where the bride and groom feel comfortable speaking to us,” says Mirpuri.
The brains behind the Essex drive-in wedding of Roma Papat and Vinal Patel which created waves during lockdown, Mirpuri reflects: “This year has been a shamble for the whole industry. It affected the Indian wedding industry more so because we’re used to the larger numbers.”
But it is in times of crises, that the inspiration for innovation often strikes and paves the way for newer ways of doing things.
“One of the trends we’ve seen is that they are loving to have more of a banquet. We are seeing a lot of details going into weddings, with personal touches for a lot of the guests,” notes Mirpuri.
Besides printed labels and hand sanitizers have become ubiquitous.
“It is allowing people to be a bit more flexible,” notes the wedding planner.
On the road ahead for the wedding industry, she believes things will become busy from May onwards.
She adds: “People are going to focus a lot more on the details as they have more time to plan, and we’ll be seeing more of smaller weddings.
“ weddings will also be common. A lot more people will plan for a wedding abroad as you get to feel you are on this all-inclusive holiday. Where everyone gets to enjoy the celebration for longer and don’t have to end up having to have millions of people attend to.”
Based in Yorkshire, Bhavna Pandya Barratt is a documentary wedding specialising in Indian and multicultural weddings. Traveling across the UK, Europe, and she has shot many beautiful weddings and captured thousands of priceless and cherished moments.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Barratt has seen a huge rise in creativity when it comes to weddings.
“Asian weddings can be large and lavish, and with such big numbers we are having to think out of the box. Many of my couples have resorted to Zoom, and live streaming their wedding day across the globe, so that family and friends can be part of the day with them.”
This spike in creativity, Barratt believes, is a result of the number of wedding guests one can have, which under government lockdown guidelines has varied to a maximum of 15.
On the wedding trends front, the entrepreneur notes: “One of the trends has been to elope. With numbers being so small now, couples are choosing to have their wedding in a beautiful location, like the Isle of Skye, with just their closest family and friends, postponing the parties to next year.
“We’ve also seen the rise of small garden weddings; these are so lovely! I think this trend will continue into 2021 for sure.”
Wedding planner and coordinator Meera Majithia is the Founder of Carriages Weddings and Events, which offers a modern experience with a touch of personalisation and luxury to the bride and groom’s special day.
And, in her view, the experience, fun, and intimacy of micro weddings seem to have been leading the way for Indian weddings since the pandemic, with personalisation being an important factor for many.
She explains: “As the numbers are small, one thing people have control over is the personalisation element. Couples are paying attention to the finer details and creating a feeling where the atmosphere is more informal, and fun, where guests can just enjoy the moment. We already have this trend of trucks and buffets.”
Tech also seems to be leading the ways for those tying the knot: “The way we use tech has changed; couples are now live streaming their ceremonies. For the future ahead, we will potentially see less of large ceremonies as this can be live-streamed.
“I offer a lot more digitalized services now, and have launched a bridal membership where brides can take my tools and resources and plan the wedding themselves with everything that’s been tried and tested by me. I believe that there is a demand because as weddings start to get smaller, it’s not necessary that everyone will want to pay the fees of a planner as they might be spending less money.”
As newer trends continue to emerge, Majithia also believes the focus on more and eco-friendly weddings is here to stay.
“People are becoming a lot more aware of their surroundings and environment due to Covid-19. It’s always been there, but now more than ever, we’ve seen that global impact.”
*Main image credit: Bhavna Pandya Barratt