2020 – the year when ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’ made way for ‘Small & Intimate’ weddings and here’s how we played cupid to 15.5k couples in the age of social distancing. Yes, love was in the air in 2020, in spite of the unique circumstances.
During this time, most couples tied the knot in Delhi, followed by Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow and Kolkata. Of course, with the ‘Wz Safe’ program ensuring maximum hygiene, social distancing, and in line with the guidelines outlined by the local authorities across states.
While we welcomed 2020 on a pleasant note, with 4400+ weddings taking place in January and February, April was, unfortunately, the worst affected month owing to the nation-wide lockdown, with hundreds of cancellations in March, April, and May. However, on the brighter side of things, with the gradual unlocks and boost in consumer confidence to step out around the festive season, we began seeing our first prominent green shoots across the country with rising month-on-month growth. With weddings making a comeback in the winter season, December 2020, accounted ~40% of weddings since unlocking in June 2020.
Our data collated between 01 January 2020 and 26 December 2020 highlights that couples in Mumbai and Pune preferred indoor venues or hotel banquets whereas Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata preferred their ceremonies and celebrations across open-air venues, backyards and farmhouses. Owing to social distancing norms and the cap on number of invitees, the report reveals that this year people opted-out of hosting pre-wedding ceremonies such as haldi, mehendi, sangeet, among others. Alternatively, some couples held virtual or smaller pre-wedding gatherings at home with close family and friends.
Sharing his insights on wedding trends observed in 2020, Sandeep Lodha, CEO, OYO’s Weddingz.in said, “This year has been quite a journey for the Indian wedding industry. Recovering from a complete standstill due to the lockdown to reaching 75-80% of pre-covid level demand towards the end of 2020, the wedding industry has learnt and adapted to newer ways to sustain operations. Through these unprecedented times, we have tried to do everything in our capacity to be a trusted partner to our vendors, asset partners and consumers. To do so seamlessly, we’ve moved from being a technology-driven organisation to becoming a full-fledged technology-led wedding company with a great level of innovation and new-age offerings to keep up with the evolving times and in the years to come.
I am happy to share that even with all the challenges that we faced in 2020, we’ve observed that more and more couples are receptive towards getting married in the new-normal and want to make their D-day memorable with the most suitable resources. Safety and sanitization has always and will continue to be the topmost priority for all. We expect the wedding industry to reach 35-50% of pre-covid levels in 2021 if there are further relaxations on guest list limitations, which will increase the scale of weddings and number of events per wedding. Through the coming year Weddingz.in will focus more on tech driven services to enhance customer experiences, thereby making wedding planning a seamless experience.”
- Biggest wedding in 2020: We organised an INR 32 lacs wedding in Udaipur
- Smallest wedding in 2020: Over 60% of total weddings held between the months of June and September saw less than 50 pax weddings (8% of weddings were 25 pax or less)
- Month with the most weddings: February 2020 (pre-covid), December 2020 (post-unlock)
- 2020 was the year of virtual gatherings. To enable consumers to lock in their dream venues remotely, we organised over 2000+ virtual venue recce for couples and their families.
- Mumbai, Delhi & Ahmedabad are the top 3 cities that opted for virtual weddings
- Biggest virtual wedding of 2020: Biggest virtual wedding took place in Mumbai with 50 virtual guests (live streaming) and 50 guests present at the venue in August 2020.
Pre-pandemic, 16th February 2020, 487 couples tied the knot, making it the busiest day for us. In the post-unlock world, 30th November was the most popular day with 383 couples saying ‘I do’. Interestingly, since couples are now organising smaller weddings, the average wedding spend for a wedding was down to approx. 1.7 lacs in August, compared to 2.8 lacs in 2019. However, in December, the average spend has reached pre-covid levels with couples spending close to 2.4 lacs on a wedding. This showcases that while the guestlist has reduced, the average spend per guest has increased mainly owing to the consumer’s aspirations to make their intimate celebrations grand and dreamy. The average guest list at a wedding in 2020 was 150 guests, depending on government guidelines across states, compared to 250+ in 2019. When it comes to dates, in 2020, weddings were concentrated on ‘hot dates’ with nearly 53% of weddings taking place across the country on the top 10 dates in November and December compared to 30% last year. This trend can be attributed to a lot of auxiliary wedding functions being cancelled or being hosted at homes. Furthermore, with the easing of travel restrictions, an increasing number of couples chose to tie the knot at their dream destination or exotic locations like palaces, beach-side venues, outdoor farms or even in-city affordable resorts. This is evident from the fact that we garnered destination wedding bookings in cities like Goa, Udaipur, Cuttack & Puri in 2020.
When it comes to wedding planning, as Indians embraced online services, they also opted for bespoke one-stop-shop solutions to avoid running about and meeting the umpteenth number of vendors to fulfil all their wedding requirements. They preferred browsing through photos of the venue décor, checking the work of a makeup artist through videos, skim through the work of photographers and finalising these vendors through their smartphones. Ancillary wedding services like photography, videography have been the most popular services that customers opted for through the platform in 2020.
Moreover, there has been higher demand for venues that are abiding by all the safety guidelines and following social distancing. For instance, some are opting for open-air lawns, while some others prefer booking hotel banquets twice the size for a much safer and socially distanced wedding. Contactless services, minimal touch policies, hygiene and sanitation are the key factors considered before booking a venue. Keeping in mind the safety of every individual, be it the host, guests, our staff and venue partners, earlier this year, we introduced the ‘Wz Safe’ program, a 20-point COVID-19 checklist to ensure higher standards of cleanliness, sanitation, availability of protective gear to all, temperature checks on entry, among others.