Wedding industry in crisis as most weddings cancelled, some rescheduled

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: The big fat Indian wedding industry is in crisis as the Covid-19 outbreak has forced postponements of weddings across the country. Wedding planners, hotels, caterers etc are seeing 45-80% weddings getting postponed or cancelled. They fear things will only go downhill from here on.

April-May weddings are already affected, with several states including Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala banning public gatherings of over 20-50, and the prime minister’s address on Thursday urging people to practise social isolation. Now industry insiders are apprehensive that with no one visiting venues, the impact will be felt on winter weddings as well.

“The situation is very fluid, nobody seems to know what to do. We are expecting panic building up going forward,” said Bhraman Rattan, founder, WedAbout, an online wedding planning portal. “We are worried even winter weddings will be affected as no one is visiting venues for booking.”

The entire supply chain has been impacted, says top wedding planner Vandana Mohan. All weddings are looking at alternate dates, she says.

Anjan Chatterjee, chief executive of Speciality Restaurants, which operates Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta, says as much as 70-80% of all weddings are being postponed or cancelled. Hotels have been forced to return advances, as it’s under the force majeure clause in most contracts. “Everything is in suspense,” he says.

About 45-50% of weddings have been rescheduled to after June, says Mehak Shahani, co-founder, WedMeGood. It’s hard to say how much of these too will go up as the situation is changing every day, she added. Some are moving to more intimate weddings with close family.

“Most international weddings are cancelled,” said the managing director of a gourmet catering company.

Hospitality chains like Marriott and IHCL that runs Taj Hotels declined to be part of this story but several hotels across the country told ET off-the-record that there had been a slew of cancellations/postponements. “Our hotels are actively supporting customers, including moving event dates to alternate dates,” said Anil Chadha, chief operating officer, ITC Hotels in an emailed response.

Very few, like Vinit Mody, partner at Chetak Caterers, are holding out hope. Mody says that most weddings scheduled up to March 15, the peak period, went on as per schedule and only a few till March-end have been cancelled. “For April, our clients are in watch-and-watch mode and are hoping the worst will blow over,” he said.

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Written by sortiwa

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