Indian weddings are no longer unplanned, mismanaged affairs with the entire clan chipping in and running helter-skelter to get things organised. Weddings are now professionally managed, right down to the flowers that need to be arranged to the food that needs to be served. The Indian wedding market has grown fourfold corresponding to the purchasing power of the to-be-wed couples.
Professional event managers have stepped in to ensure an `all fun and no sweat affair` in weddings. Each event manager uses his or her creative abilities to plan out a dream wedding in keeping with the philosophy of each family to have a `different` kind of wedding. So, one day, you step into a wedding that is taking place in a Rajput Haveli and the next day, you find yourself on some exotic island, watching a couple tie the knot under a canopy of stars. Wow! Indian weddings have come a long way from the traditional, bedecked with flowers wedding halls.
The entire `being different syndrome`; and `wanting the best` philosophy, has slowly translated into huge business ventures for many, including the hotel industry. So, while the mehandi could be held in an old British villa, the wedding could be held inside a renovated palace, and the wedding reception in the banquet hall of a luxurious hotel. Families are getting more adventurous and their demands are being happily met by hotels vying with each other to provide the best kind of ambience and backdrop for these well-orchestrated events. The adventurous moods of couples tying the knot seem to have rung happy notes for hotels. Receptions in five-stars considered as a status symbol once upon a time are routine with even the middle and upper middle-class having joined the bandwagon in splurging on weddings and opting for theme weddings.
So, now you have royal weddings, French weddings, and even Hawaiian weddings. You have decor ranging from soft lighting to filigreed thermocol work, exquisite fruit and food sculpture, rich, plush satin and damask sets. You ask for it, you get it! A lot of people prefer banquet halls to outdoor venues because you can have more special effects and they are also more cost-effective.
Food is the main stay of Indian wedding ceremonies and that too has undergone a transformation. It is not regional flavours that are `in` any more. International cuisine seems to be the order of the day. Thai and Mexican are hot favourites. The latest to catch on as a gastronomical delight at wedding tables is Lebanese cuisine. So, you have Chicken marinated in Caribbean Citrus Glaze, Buttered Italian Bread, Tacos and Salsa sauce along with fried ice-cream and Irish puddings.
So, is the Indian essence that is so much a part of our weddings, lost? Never fear! Although, the current mantra in Indian weddings is innovation and variety, people are still traditional enough to hang on to their Indian roots. Hence, we still see traditional sweets like hot Gulab jamuns, steaming Jalebis and delicious Basundi compete for attention in Indian wedding banquets. We still have our wedding rituals and our symbols in place. It is just a little `different`. That`s all!