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Big phat Indian weddings
Kipp is a little startled by the fact that the $40 billion Indian Wedding Industry is unaffected by the recession and is still booming.
November 15, 2010 4:19 by kippreport
The Guardian headline “Wealthy Indians hire actors to masquerade as family wedding guests” caught our attention this afternoon for several reasons. [Kipp must digress to point out that the headline is rather misleading; Bollywood actors are hired to attend as celebrity guests, not quite masquerading as such.]
The new emerging trend to hire a celebrity or two for the big night is big business. According to The Guardian “The ordinary package, which costs around £7,000 [approx 40,000] for actresses like Minissha Lamba [think Nicole Ritchie] is inclusive of getting pictures with the bride and groom. In the case of high-profile actresses, it goes up to £70,000 [approx Dh 400,000].”
And what it all comes down to is prestige. Sanjay Dharewa, who owns a celebrity management company, told AFP “Hiring Bollywood actors to make a guest appearance at a wedding is the best way to entertain guests (…) It displays your spending power.”
Dishing out more than Dh4000,000 to have John Abraham shake hands with your aunt at your shaadi (wedding), got us thinking about the Indian wedding industry. The industry, which The Star prices to be worth $40 billion, is said to be one of the few unaffected by the recession. Whether its event management, honeymoon planning, catering, flower arrangement, on-site wedding portals, wedding fair organization, henna making, choreography, and “wedsites”, the industry serves India’s richest including those benefiting from the recent IT boom. And for those who can’t afford the wedding of the year, banks offer special wedding loans.
What do these weddings look like? Consider the extravagant affair that was the Chatwal wedding a few years ago. When Vikram Chatwal, son of US based Indian hotelier, wed model Priya Sachdev, he did it with 50,000 kilograms of flowers shipped from Holland, Thailand and Calcutta, 3,000 candles, drapes made of 65,000 meters of fabrics over 3 cities, 14 hotels and 70 private cars.
Indian weddings surely are big business, but we can’t help wondering if they are really worth it?