New Delhi, Aug 16 Rajasthani or Royal Victorian style — how would you like to get married? Indians with money to splurge are opting for theme weddings and, at a time when the sector is growing at an annual growth rate of 15 percent, they are indeed spoilt for choice.
Gone are the days when the bride and groom were happy to tie the knot in a simple ceremony at the 'mandap' or when floral decorations were the high point.
"Earlier it was only floral decorations that were popular, but today people are looking for something extra. The families are moving away from the traditional way and opting for theme-based weddings," wedding planner Charan Singh from MB Events said.
The concept has caught the fancy of people in the last five years. As weddings are seen as a once-in-a-lifetime event by most, they try to make it an occasion to be remembered.
Wedding planners are coming up with innovative ideas and right now they are offering a wide range of themes — Royal Victorian, Buddha, Mughal-style, Egyptian and Moroccan fusion and traditional Rajwada, to name a few.
Usually people opt for a traditional theme for the main function. But those who are adventurous don't mind opting for a beach wedding. This theme is popular among young couples who want to experience an exotic marriage ceremony at beautiful beaches.
With a large number of beaches, India has become a perfect destination for beach weddings.
Pratima Anand of wedding planner company India Plus, said: "For a hundred people, the cost of a beach wedding can go up to Rs.15-20 lakhs." However, the figure varies depending on the number of functions people want.
If held at palace venues in Rajasthan, the wedding cost can go up to over Rs.1 crore, Anand said.
Another interesting theme offered is the Arabian night wedding which has a desert or an oasis setting, tented canopies, palm trees, Arab costumes for the waiters, camels and goats, belly dancers and Arabian music.
According to one estimate, the size of the wedding industry in India is a whopping Rs.500-600 billion. Theme weddings are an expensive affair - décor alone can start at Rs.50,000 and can go upwards of Rs.300,000.
"People have money today and they are willing to spend as much as they can to make their son's or daughter's wedding day a memorable affair," said wedding planner Devyang Chopra from wedding management firm Just Celebrations.
"Over the past few years the demand for wedding planners has increased exceptionally. Earlier, families used to take the entire burden of the wedding on their shoulders, but now they are giving the responsibility to wedding planners because they want to be free and enjoy."
Singh from MB events said: "We basically charge according to whatever the turnover comes out to be. It is very transparent between us and our clients, may be like two percent or five percent."
Even the pre-nuptial functions like ghazal nights and bachelor parties are now being organised on certain themes.
Ranjana Sharma, whose daughter Priya got married last year, had organised a Pakistani night as part of the wedding festivities where she called a ghazal singer.
The entire ambience had a traditional Pakistani feel with an orange and black backdrop, low rise sofas along with a Pakistani dress code and dim lights creating a soothing ambience. This function, attended by around 300 people, cost Rs.5 lakh.
"Weddings are occasions where the entire family and the extended family come together to celebrate the most important day of the bride and the groom's life. A lot of people in our family are ghazal lovers; so we thought why not organise a ghazal night and let them enjoy," said Ranjana.
When it comes to a bachelor's party, many men feel nothing could be better than a typical Las Vegas style bash.
"The Las Vegas theme has a casino backdrop where people can play games like poker and enjoy themselves," Singh said.