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The Great Indian Wedding: How The Shaadi Industry is Evolving And What Opportunities It Presents?

Dec 1, 2017 2:15 PM 4 min read

The Great Indian Wedding: Ingredients of the New Age ShaadiIndians last year spent close to $28bn planning weddings, more than double the amount they spent on higher education. By any estimate about 10m weddings happen each year, equal to 27,000 shaadis per day. Irrespective of demonetisation or GST, the market is expected to grow by 20% year-on-year.


The ever-evolving industry is indicative of the lavish indulgence of the upwardly-mobile Indian. It uniquely brings multiple product and service segments under one category, be it jewelry, fashion, beauty & wellness, flower decoration, invitation card, wedding photography, food & beverages, travel, hospitality, and entertainment. Steady increase in wealth usually culminates into the Big Fat Wedding, with majestic settings, grandeur lighting, and the opulently-clad Indian bride and groom.


An increasing demand for customization brings a tremendous opportunity for vendors and new-age ventures. Naturally it becomes worthwhile to explore the space and its allied-industries, organised along the three major phases of any wedding - Pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding.




Pre-wedding covers anything from matchmaking to photoshoots and invitation cards. Matrimonials was perhaps the first sub-segment to get formalised through a variety of technology players. While some like guarantee a “better match”, others like and ensure that you connect and commit as per your caste and class preferences. The experience is much more targeted and personalised, which a traditional print matrimonial can never match. It is hardly surprising that, a leading online matchmaking platform, got oversubscribed by more than 4 times during its recent IPO, indicating that investors see it as the future.


Photoshoots and invitation cards as an offering are ripe for similar platform synergies. Pre-wedding shoots, something earlier unheard of, have become an integral part of the wedding saga. With improving technology and accessibility, the margins will only improve in this category where a shoot can be priced from INR10,000-1L for a day, depending on location, style and series. The wedding card market alone is estimated at INR8000cr-INR10,000cr. Streets of Chandi Chowkh and Lajpat Nagar in Delhi and Charni Road in Mumbai are lined with over a dozen of shops offering countless varieties of wedding cards – all waiting to be aggregated.




The second part of the Wedding is of course the most expansive. The task of planning the D-day is increasingly getting assigned to wedding planners, who charge anything between 10-30% of the wedding budget as consultation fees.

The Great Indian Wedding: Ingredients of the New Age Shaadi


The event planner is in-charge of coordinating with the smaller players in the market which include arranging the venue, setting up the pandal, booking the pandit or the priest, managing the wedding trousseau, fixing makeup appointments, supervising the caterer, florist etc.


Destination Weddings which seek to combine weddings and travel too have become a preferred choice. Destinations such as Goa, Jaipur and Udaipur are the most favoured.


This segment however remains fragmented, especially below the middle spending level, with caterers, decorators, designers being hired separately on a contractual basis, with decentralised coordination and lack of standardised quality. Much potential for formalization and entry of bigger players remains.



 The Great Indian Wedding: Ingredients of the New Age Shaadi


The post-wedding industry is also gaining prominence with newlyweds increasingly opting for international honeymoon destinations. Seasoned players like Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook and SOTC dominate the space. Within the local market, travel companies like Make My Trip, Goibibo and Yatra offer honeymoon packages covering locations like Andaman, Lakshadweep, Kerala, Manali etc.




While the space is getting crowded with multiple platforms at play, most are serving as decentralised aggregators for vendors and venues, such as, Wedmegood, WeddingPlz etc. Although they often position themselves as a one-stop solution, their “marketplace-like” business model implies clients end up using them for ad-hoc and commoditised requirements.


Since organising a wedding at its heart is a coordination and project management exercise, it is likely that the above-mentioned decentralised aggregators will eventually consolidate to serve the mass-market, whereas specialist aggregators focused on a few segments and in return giving a premium offering will evolve to serve the higher-end of the market. A similar evolution has already been witnessed in the realm of e-commerce. The entry of a service marketplace such as UrbanClap into weddings & events is already indicative of the mass-market consolidation at play.


Since word-of-mouth plays a major role in driving wedding buying, it would be interesting to see if entrepreneurs attempt to monetise the domain of “advice and recommendation” through the use of technology viz. micro-social and ranking sites, to make their aggregators drive leads through value-add content.


With umpteen latent opportunities, the wedding industry is one which has not yet been fully explored in India. Here’s hoping that this wedding season make light a spark of innovation in you. 


With Editorial Inputs from Nikhil Arora