KOLKATA: After a Covid-induced 20-month lull, big fat weddings are back, with couples rushing to the altar and vendors scrambling to keep up.
Venues are booked till early next year, demand for jewellery has doubled, wedding photographers are refusing assignments for want of resources and time and wedding planners are pushing their bookings to later dates. The boom is on in the wedding trousseau market, too.
According to a rough estimate, there were close to 2,000 weddings in Kolkata and its suburbs on November 21, the highest this season. The rush is expected to continue till the third week of December, and will resume again mid-January, after a short break.
“The demand has almost doubled, and the industry has made a recovery from the losses in the past 20 months,” said Sunil Poddar, eastern region chairman, All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council. “There are several bigticket weddings scheduled in Kolkata this season. This boom in the wedding market is helping everybody, from the jewellers to the artisans.”
The dip in Covid cases, rapid immunisation and easing of restrictions by the government has contributed heavily to the boom. According to the state government’s guidelines on Covid safety, a wedding venue can accommodate 70% of its total guest capacity. The hosts and owners of the venue must follow all current night curfew guidelines.
After a gap of almost two years, the wedding season is back in full flow. Hundreds of mid-level weddings are happening almost every day and the number rises on weekends. A very big section of the population has been fully vaccinated and even the government has eased a lot of restrictions, which has caused the boom November-December,” said Ashish Saraf, a wedding consultant in Kolkata.
According to Saraf, close to 15 industries — such as the ones dealing in wedding planning, venues, flowers, decoration, lights, wedding photography, food, transport, catering, entertainment and clothing — will get a good financial boost, riding on this boom.
“The demand is very high this year,” said wedding photographer Prakash Dugar. “We are getting so many wedding assignments that we are running out of resources and time.”
Also contributing to the rush are couples who got married during the second wave, with few or no guests, who now wish to celebrate with larger groups. They are competing for services with those who were scheduled to marry this year.
“There are no auspicious dates for weddings between December 15 and January 15, 2022. But we are booked even during that period too, as a lot of people who got married during the second wave are throwing parties for friends and families,” said Rahul Goenka, owner of a banquet hall in Lake Town.