The new reality of Indian weddings has emerged in the era of COVID-19 as ‘digital’ continues to evolve as the new ‘prefix’ to wedding planning. The wedding industry post-COVID-19 will have a new reality which will follow new formats keeping in mind health and safety parameters and rethinking the guest experience. With the help of Indian wedding industry experts, The Knot World Wide — a global wedding technology company — has put together the following trends that are currently being followed and also will play a key role in the future of weddings and the industry overall.

Health & safety measures

Installation of sanitisation fans similar to mist fans to make sure all the guests walking in are sanitised without manual effort. Planners or venue owners will help couples ensure that sanitization is top of mind before and during every celebration. Hyatt Place Gurgaon confirms, “Temperature reading will be mandatory at the entrances. Hygiene kits will be given to all guests.”

Ceremonies adopt socially-distanced seats

Since downsizing the guestlist for weddings is the new normal, we might see ceremony venues accommodating social distancing with spaced-seating arrangements. Bhavnesh Sawhney, Co-founder–FB Celebrations, suggests, “We can even expect more creative seating arrangements like theatre seating or circular seating, allowing your guests to have a 360-degree view of the ceremony and couple. Essentially due to social distancing, the physical placement of chairs on each table will reduce to be able to keep a 6 ft distance from one another.”

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(Image courtesy: Shagun Events)

Hair and Makeup

Trends will also evolve with more focus on eyes and interesting hairstyles in case the bride decides to wear a mask. There will also be a high focus on sanitization since the make-up team works in close proximity to the bride for extended hours with most of the makeup tools being disposable and the team to wear masks, face shields and PPE kits for all appointments.

Weddings in shifts

Couples who do not want any change in plans including a full guest list can celebrate as they initially planned, but in shifts. With shift weddings, couples can host their wedding day festivities at their original venue and with their full team of wedding vendors but the guests come in shifts, allowing them to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.

Food & Beverages

While delectable food is still top of mind for couples, the manner in which dishes are prepared and served will follow stringent safety precautions. Most venues have confirmed that they will likely opt for a sit-down plated meal instead of a buffet. This would also mean no long queues and crowds which are a risk. Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) shares, “Restaurants and banquet areas will have fewer tables and all self-serving buffets are suspended for now. Menus will largely be digital or single use, with greater emphasis on wellness-oriented food sections for healthier meals and a greater level of immunity.”

Venue preferences

Open-air venues will see greater demand, irrespective of the weather. These eliminate the possibility of guests feeling confined in a closed, high-risk air-conditioned space. Would require fighting against nature’s elements like but would ensure social distancing with spaced-seating arrangements.

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(Image courtesy: Weddings by Doorbean)

Go digital

To limit exposure and to save time, money and energy, couples will look at creating e-invites and their own wedding website. These digital invitation cards can be emailed and WhatsApp-ed to guests, along with the link of the wedding website.

To help Indian couples, venues and service partners navigate wedding planning during this pandemic situation, a survey was also conducted by The Knot World Wide to understand the impact of Covid-19 on weddings in India and globally. It was found that most engaged couples are being positive and not cancelling their wedding bookings (92% globally, 82% in India). The remaining few are rescheduling for either later this year or 2021. With a strong desire to celebrate their weddings as they had originally planned, 73% of couples in India and 87% globally do not plan to reduce their overall guest count and 87% in India and 90% globally do not anticipate lowering their budget, if government regulations would permit.

While slowly the reopening process has been kickstarted, the government has implemented strict guidelines that limit large gatherings and events, with not more than 50 people in attendance at weddings. As we continually adapt local regulations in response to changing circumstances, weddings being celebrated with enthusiasm but in completely different ways. However, one factor that will remain constant is the desire for human connection and the celebration of love with loved ones—no matter what that celebration looks like.

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