World through my eyes
The tradition of getting married in a temple/church or marriage hall is slowly going out of vogue with the arrival of newer trends such as resort weddings and destination weddings, making the wedding more than just a celebration. While traditional weddings are in no way passé, they have undoubtedly been given the western twist. Theme weddings are fast becoming a popular facet of Indian weddings, with hotels deploying dedicated teams to cater to the wedding parties.
Heritage properties see a steady stream of weddings that prefer a historical background to add to their special day. Beach weddings have become an aspiration for several youngsters. Indian couples have gone past the phase of run-of-the-mill honeymoon getaways to the latest exotic and scenic destination showcased in a recent movie or advertised on television. They now demand more of everything, be it quality, activities or experiences.
Wedding and Honeymoon tourism, as an authentic and imminent part of the tourism industry, is a sensation that has taken off worldwide in the past three-four years. NTO’s, state tourism boards and hotels are cashing in on this popular trend and are tapping this market aggressively.
Wedding tourism in India is becoming prevalent as more and more foreigners, NRI’s and Indians are taking interest in the ‘Big Fat Traditional Indian Wedding’. India is a culturally rich country abundant in customs and traditions. Several high profile celebrities globally are increasingly showing an interest in celebrating their wedding in true blue Indian style. The opulence and splendor of the destination, as well as the vibrant Indian customs, evoke a lot of interest among the foreign nationals. Most international couples making their way to India are looking out for two types of Indian weddings, the ‘Maharaja’ or ‘Royal’ Wedding and the Brahmin Wedding. The former is replete with riches, exoticism and palaces, while the latter is all about spirituality, mysticism and Vedic rites.
State Tourism boards want to leverage on this new trend to increase inbound arrivals as well as domestic tourism. Wedding tourism has become a huge hit with states receiving record inquiries for hosting marriages. During the peak season, between November and February, it is very difficult to accommodate all the queries. Popularity of Rajasthan as a wedding destination is constantly increasing. Last year alone Rajasthan hosted around 50-60 NRI weddings and we expect the numbers to grow next year. On special occasions, royal wedding parties have been hosted on two luxury trains – the ‘Palace on wheels’ and the ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels.
The depreciation of the Rupee has also helped a lot to this particular segment. Indian weddings have carried on unfazed by the Rupee value drop, and so, of course, have honeymoon travels. Indian travel agents and tour operators have not held back while dipping their feet in this pool, especially for honeymoons. And not just because travelling abroad is the new norm for honeymoons. Indian traveler has become more experimental and is ready to pay for the comfort and luxury of a quality honeymoon while also opting for new activities, giving tour operators a chance to serve them better with newer options.