Return of the sounds, smells, tastes and hues of the big fat Indian wedding

While the urge to spend big in the post-pandemic era will always be there, setting a wedding budget will help you get a bigger bang for your buck than you bargained for

Decor is the standout feature of the Indian wedding. It spruces up the venue, sets the mood, and is a signature of the tastes of the groom and bride. Picture credit: Pullman Novotel Aerocity, New Delhi

The big fat Indian wedding is back with its grand events, bold colours and dazzling décor. The past two years had put a question mark on the scale, tenor and complexion of marriage functions. There were restrictions on the number of attendees (both self-imposed and ordained by law), and many guests chose to give the event a miss if they had comorbidities or weren’t vaccinated. Others didn’t turn up as they lived far away and were reluctant to travel. But now that India is faring much better on the Covid front with an almost fully-vaccinated population, and with travel opening up the world over, people are planning their nuptials at overseas and domestic destinations.

Industry insiders say destination weddings are the flavour of the season. It’s a no-holds-barred approach now, says Vikaas Gutgutia, Founder & MD, Ferns N Petals Pvt Ltd. He adds: “In terms of décor, there is everything you can imagine and more–stuff that isn’t available easily is in. The same applies to exotic or seasonal decor.” What drives this mindset is the show-off factor and the eagerness to be “one notch above”. Ergo, that which is ordinary is out and whatever is extraordinary is trendy.

Gutgutia sees the pent-up demand coming in, with many weddings being scheduled in the new financial year. In fact, he says this year should be better than the pre-pandemic period. It isn’t just the surge in bookings, Gutgutia explains. Even the guest lists and the number of items on the cuisine are ballooning. One of his clients wanted at least 300 dishes on display when no more than 40 would have offered sufficient variety.

Décor sets the mood

An Indian wedding can be a beautiful sight to behold. The decorations are usually the highlight and are crucial as they don’t just spruce up the venue but also set the mood.

Everything from main stage, couple seating, mandap, entrance, garden, DJ Console, artists’ stage, bar set up, table layout, food counter facades, and photo ops form part of the décor.

Trends: Every facet of the quintessential Indian wedding has changed during the past few years. Says Anam Zubair, Associate Director of Marketing, WeddingWire India (a part of The Knot Worldwide): “Wedding decor has become more customised, and is no longer limited to scrunched-up drapery. Couples are now paying attention to even the smallest detail. If we’re talking about contemporary trends, people are gravitating toward basic and light-coloured flower designs, which make a statement without being overbearing. For a more rustic feel, one can mix and match the brightest colours for a fanciful effect around the arms of the aisle chairs.” Bringing the most beautiful ‘bageecha’ decor to life in the venue and mandap area has also become quite a trend.

Sustainability is another feature that is capturing popular imagination, and people are replacing plastic cutlery in buffets with eco-friendly, multipurpose options.

How to save costs

The sky is rarely the limit when it comes to spending on the big fat Indian wedding. A Mumbai based wedding planner shares that it charged Rs 30 lakh for decor at a wedding in Goa that lasted two and a half days during the pandemic. More recently, it charged Rs one crore for a two-and-a-half-day affair with 250 pax. Another three-day wedding had a decor budget of Rs 2.5 crore.

It is the budget that determines wedding expenditure. People are much more clued in to the things they want to splurge on and on areas where they can cut corners. Advises WeddingWire’s Zubair: “From the decor, to the lights to the venue itself, there are different booking prices. Couples with a shoestring budget can book venues during lean months, as this gives them room to negotiate prices and deals. Besides, prices come down significantly for day weddings. So the savings made here can be used elsewhere.”

Bringing beautiful seasonal flowers from local vendors to the venue and mandap area has become a popular and cost-effective way for a mid-budget wedding. According to the WeddingWire India Newlywed survey, people generally preferred a budget of Rs 10 lakh and under for décor, with 25 per cent of the couples interviewed opting for Rs 5-10 lakh.

How do you plan decor?

A few simple steps can save much time and effort in planning a wedding.

Always start by setting your budget within a range. Only after you have set a lower and an upper limit can you finalise the other details. Selecting the location is the next step. It is one of the most pivotal decisions and several other calls are dependent on it. Weather plays a key role in selection. Usually, the location is either the hometown of the groom or the bride, but it could also be a different location if it is a destination wedding. After finalising the location, decide the timing of your event. Get a fix on whether you want a day, evening, or late-night wedding (for many people that depends on the Shubh Muhurat). Once that is done you can choose an indoor or outdoor set up.

Next is the guest list. A lot of people have a fair idea of the number of people they’d like to invite. In the new normal, this works slightly differently. Couples and families now have to arrive at the number of people they want to invite physically for each event, and the guests they want to invite virtually.

Once the above details have been determined, you could narrow down the decor and style. Sustainable decor has become quite a trend and couples are opting for things that can be repurposed and reused after the nuptials as well.

For wedding planners, the most suitable décor is the one that is in sync with the vibes and tastes of the bride and groom and their families. Says Prachi Pandey, Director, Copper Communications: “Keeping in mind the space and vibe of our couple we come up with innovative, out-of-the-box ideas leading to the WOW moments on D-Day. Once the itinerary is cracked and the family approves the overall themes, element-wise décor starts taking shape.”

She adds that outdoor venues are generally preferred for their large open spaces that not only accommodate more elaborate wedding set-ups but are also flexible enough to alter the positioning of each element of the event at short notice.

The bottom line is that Covid-19 has literally pushed planners into experimenting with all sorts of things, and today families can choose between an intimate wedding and a big fat one. That said, a wedding is a milestone in the lives of the groom and bride, and if the pockets are heavy, one might just as well indulge.

Table: What wedding decor would typically cost you


Price Range
(Vendor 1)
Price Range
(Vendor 2)
Price Range
(Vendor 3)
Main Stage Rs 80,000-plus
Rs 70,000-80,000 indoor
Rs 5-6 lakh outdoor; min Rs 30,000;
Rs 30-35 per sq ft
Rs 1-1.5 lakh for flower and light decor
and original candle decor

Couple Seating

Rs 2,000 per seat with mandap and stage Rs 2,000 per seat Rs 10,000-15,000;
5-seater luxury VIP couch for bride and groom
Mandap Rs 25,000-plus Rs 15,000-plus Rs 35,000-plus;
12×12, 4 Vedi chairs/low height chairs, Havan kund, flower decor, light decor, candle decor
Entrance Décor Rs 8,000-10,000 inclusive of mandap Rs 8,000-10,000
inclusive of mandap
Rs 30,000-plus
Passage decor (assuming 30 ft passage area), Height: 20 ft, Length: 30 ft, flower props, centre area flower arrangements, light decor, passage area hanging including flower and light hangings

Garden Décor

Rs 50,000-plus

Rs 2,000 per pot, exclusive of lighting Rs 9 lakh-plus; Light decor, candle decor, flower decor, tentage
DJ Console Rs 20,000-pluswith DJ Rs 25,000-plus 2 top for Rs 5,000, with more feature, Rs 8,000-10,000 Rs 35,000-plus;
U-truss sound system, 6 sharpies, 4 moving heads, 6 liners, 4 dual bass, 2 top, 4 monitors, 2 cordless mics, console, 1 smoker, 1 flicker, 20-25 LED lights

Artist Stage

Rs 80,000 Rs 55,000-plus; 3-piece live band
Bar Set Up Rs 15,000 Rs 60,000-70,000 onwards; on-demand as per the requirement, liquor license not included

Table Layout

Rs 5,000 per table Plastic chair Rs 30-35;
Round table Rs 400-500;
Centerpiece Rs 200
Under Rs 10,000
Food Counter Facades Rs 200-plus;
Extra charge for each installation like flowers, centrepiece, etc
Lump sum Rs 8,000-10,000 Approx Rs 10,000 (Depends on quality and size)

Credits: WeddingWire India

Source: Business Standard

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