With over four decades of expertise in the wedding industry, The Knot WorldWide, the largest global wedding technology company has come forth to shed light on the new reality of Indian weddings as ‘digital’ continues to evolve as the new ‘prefix’ to wedding planning. The Indian wedding market pegged at $50 billion by a 2017 KPMG report is one of the key markets for The Knot WorldWide. To help Indian couples, venues and service partners navigate wedding planning during this pandemic situation, they undertook a survey to understand the impact of Covid-19 on weddings in India and globally, both for consumers as well as industry experts. It was found that most engaged couples are being positive and not cancelling their wedding bookings (92% globally, 82% in India). The remaining few are rescheduling for either later this year or 2021. With a strong desire to celebrate their weddings as they had originally planned, 73% of couples in India and 87% globally do not plan to reduce their overall guest count and 87% in India and 90% globally do not anticipate lowering their budget, if government regulations would permit.
The Knot Worldwide, present in 15 countries across apps, website and online marketplace of venues and wedding professionals, foresees a rise in the use of wedding technology for wedding solutions in the coming years. With digital platforms becoming more and more relevant and consumers seeking solutions for all their requirements online, The Knot WorldWide sees this as a huge potential for the Indian wedding market. The company which is already present in India with WeddingWire, plans on bringing its other leading brands to the country in the near future.
“As more consumers hop on the digital bandwagon for all their solutions, The KnotWorldWide aims to be the go-to online marketplace for a personalized wedding experience and we foresee this to happen in the near future. To understand the impact of Covid-19, The Knot WorldWide conducted a survey and we found that wedding bookings are not getting cancelled but the wedding industry overall is seeing a shift in demand. For instance, there are not too many bookings right now, mostly because the pre-booked vendors will be handling all necessities for change in plans or even postponed celebrations taking place in the latter half of the year. Although, the impact has definitely led to many wedding professionals upscaling themselves as well as their businesses and embracing technology for the future, by strengthening their online presence and handling end to end solutions over the phone, both for the wedding ceremony itself or planning it. We are already witnessing weddings with restrictions with the help of technology like Zoom calls or digital invites, thus broadening the horizons of possibilities for Indian couples,” says Ankur Sarawagi, India Country Head, The Knot Worldwide.
The wedding industry post-Covid-19 will have a new reality which will follow new wedding formats keeping in mind health and safety parameters and rethinking the guest experience. With the help of Indian wedding industry experts, The Knot WorldWide has put together the following trends that are currently being followed and also will play a role in the future of weddings and the industry overall.
- Rise of the Minimonies: The concept of mini-ceremonies or as The Knot WorldWide coined as ‘mini-monies’ on pre-planned dates with an intimate gathering followed by a larger celebration sometime in the latter part of the year on non-saaya dates.
- Health & safety measures: Installation of sanitisation fans similar to mist fans to make sure all the guests walking in are sanitised without manual effort. Guests will be given sanitisation kits instead of welcome kits and asked to procure a medical certificate and post the function, the wedding planning team will make calls to the guests to ensure the invitees are in good health.
- Weddings in shifts: Couples who do not want any change in plans including a full guest list can celebrate as they initially planned, but in shifts. With shift weddings, couples can host their wedding day festivities at their original venue and with their full team of wedding vendors but the guests come in shifts, allowing them to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
- Wedding dates: The focus will not be only on saaya dates, going forward. This will majorly depend on availability of venues, wedding service partners, vendors as well as government and required authorities permissions.
- F&B: While delectable food is still top of mind for couples, the manner in which dishes are prepared and served will follow stringent safety precautions. Most venues have confirmed that they will likely opt for a sit-down plated meal instead of a buffet. This would also mean no long queues and crowds which are a risk.
- Venue preferences: Open-air venues will see greater demand, irrespective of the weather. These eliminate the possibility of guests feeling confined in a closed, high-risk air conditioned space. Would require fighting against nature’s elements like but would ensure social distancing with spaced-seating arrangements.
- Go digital: To limit exposure and to save time, money and energy, couples will look at creating e-invites and their own wedding website. These digital invitation cards can be emailed and whatsapped to guests, along with the link of the wedding website.
- HMU: Trends will also evolve with more focus on eyes and interesting hairstyles in case the bride decides to wear a mask. There will also be a high focus on sanitization since the make-up team works in close proximity to the bride for extended hours with most of the makeup tools being disposable and the team to wear masks, face shields and PPE kits for all appointments.
- Capturing moments: Photography to go back to very intimate, candid shots since outdoor locations with lavish backgrounds might not be available, natural elements like sunsets can become preferred backgrounds.
While slowly the reopening process has been kickstarted, the government has implemented strict guidelines that limit large gatherings and events, with not more than 50 people in attendance at weddings. As we continually adapt local regulations in response to changing circumstances, The Knot WorldWide anticipates weddings being celebrated with enthusiasm but in completely different ways. However, one factor that will remain constant is the desire for human connection and the celebration of love with loved ones—no matter what that celebration looks like.
The KnotWorldWide Global research survey captured responses from over 233 engaged couples in India over April and May 2020. Respondents were recruited via email, SMS, community and social media channels of WeddingWire India. The survey was conducted on Qualtrics and covered all major metros, Tier I and Tier II cities in India.