Shalini Raj, Travel Curator and Founder, Journey Weavers takes an exclusive look.
Perhaps the best matches are made in heaven, but the most memorable weddings happen in picturesque locales back on terra firma. The dynamics of destination weddings are redefining India’s wedding culture of the dramatic spread of customs and traditional rituals spread over several days.
While the trend of a destination wedding is not exactly an Indian concept, it’s brewing into the globe-trotting Indian millennial milieu that has now become inevitable. According to the report by FICCI, Indian destination wedding industry is expected to reach a market size of INR 45,000 Cr by 2020, with a projected annual growth rate of 25-30per cent. Some factors which can work in its favour are as follows:
- Rise of middle class and growth in disposable income
- The firm establishment of Nuclear family system
- Lack of manpower and time for organising
- The NRI Connect Celebrity endorsements of destination marriage
- Emergence of Wedding Ecosystem players like Wedding Planners and spruced up infrastructural support amenities
- The high degree of personalisation
Destination weddings have also given a major shot edge in the arm to wedding planners, banquet organisers and wedding apparel designers. However, the largest beneficiary of the growing destination weddings trend is the tourism sector. This increasing trend has led to the emergence of exploring exotic locations, which in turn has become the niche product in the tourism industry with affordable and frequent flights and accommodations options. Due to the booming growth, many tour operators have found their calling in this field of destination wedding tourism and have gone full throttle.
Your go-to-choice: Offbeat destinations
Weddings in India have always been lavish and larger-than-life celebrations. The trend is now further expanding as more and more people are opting to tie the knot at exotic and new locations. There are numerous unexplored and offbeat destinations in India that are not just too romantic, but as amazing with views to die for!
The beaches of Goa and palaces of Rajasthan are not your only options. Millennials today are exploring fresh, offbeat venues to host their destination wedding. From national parks to tea estates and heritage sites, every location is now a wedding destination helping urban couples host intimate, budget-friendly and picturesque ceremonies instead of opting for a huge jam-packed event. Many youngsters are picking places like Bengaluru, Khajuraho, Neemrana, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Alibaug, Shimla, Lavasa, Banaras etc, as their wedding destination owing to its pleasant weather, budget-friendly packages and cosmopolitan settings. The city’s luxury hotels and serene resorts are making up for the absence of historical spots or picturesque beaches.
Impact on State Tourism
Wedding tourism plays a crucial role for the businesses involved in the travel and tourism sector. The rise in the number of hotels, resorts, cruise line stop-offs, and flight-connectivity in these, often exotic and offbeat, locations have made it easier for couples to get married at their preferred destination. State Tourism boards want to leverage on this new trend to elevate inbound arrivals as well as domestic tourism. Wedding tourism has become a huge hit with states receiving record inquiries for hosting marriages. Also, India, as a wedding destination, has become increasingly popular over the last four to five years among non-resident Indians (NRIs) mostly, as well as Europeans. Thanks to the availability of more low-cost and direct flights to India, according to industry experts. Thus, in turn, this emerging wedding tourism has become the main source of revenue for the respective sector and its market. Moreover, the growth of online travel agencies enables couples to research and even choose their desired destination wedding packages based on their budget and number of guests arriving for the marriage.
Weddings are all about opulence, grandeur and the awe-inspiring scale of the celebrations. In such a case, a destination wedding is a growing niche market that has impacted and revolutionised destinations on all continents. With demand predicted to continue increasing, this sector will grow in its importance to the tourism industry.