COVID-19 hits Wedding Businesses

Wedding business is going through major financial crisis. But due to an expected lockdown, a number of families didn’t do any bookings.

Parul Bijawat was to marry Mayank on May1. But the marriage was postponed due to lockdown. No wedding planners were hired, no marriage gardens booked, no caterers summoned and no jewelry or apparel bought.

Shrey Bijawat, brother of Parul, says, “We planned on booking the caterer by the end of February. But we had booked the venue beforehand that we cancelled as soon as the ministry issued guidelines for social distancing.”

A large number of weddings has been cancelled and wedding planners have no business. With them, the vendors they hire, like caterers and decorators, are going through a financial crunch as well.

Ashish Sharma, owner of Exchange Dance Academy and Event Management, Jaipur, said, “My company was expecting to organize about eighteen weddings. We were in talks. But now due to lockdown all of them have been postponed.”

He mentions the number of weddings they organize during this time is almost twice as compared to January or February. Due to no contracts, he is expecting a loss of eight to ten lakhs this year.

India hosts about ten million weddings every year. Therefore, making weddings a source of income for many households. Eateries, clothing and jewelry line, decorations, wedding choreographers, etc., make major fraction of their income during the weddings.

Sanju Khunteta who owns SK Jewelers in Kishanpol market, Jaipur, says, “The sale of gold as the wedding season approaches hikes up by about fifty percent. This year the sales had been hit drastically. We have a good sale during the time of Akshyatritya, which also didn’t come along very well.”

Many wedding planners believe that even if the lockdown is over, people will be reluctant to host weddings as social distancing norms will continue to prevail. They are expecting the crunch in the business to continue for a year.

Ashish Sharma further told that in wedding business, investment depends on the profits we make from our clients. He says, “It would be very difficult to recover the losses we incur right now since due to the fear of coronavirus people will refrain from holding any weddings or events as such.”

According to a report by KPMG, Indian wedding industry accounts for $40-50 billion in size. Wedding Planners are expecting to start recovering from November of this year only if guidelines are relaxed for social distancing. They look forward to start recovering by March of 2021 though.

Bheeshma Pandey is a wedding planner from Lucknow. He said, “To cope up with the losses we have started online events but they are not much worth. Since we are not expecting any big public events before 2021, we are coming up with other options. Also, we are looking forward to the government for helping with the loans.”

Wedding business could never go out. Or so we have been told. But in the current scenario with all the uncertainty and fear, most event companies have no idea when they’ll be back to work and fear suffering unrecoverable losses.

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Written by Nikita Gupta

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