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Indian couples increasingly opting for domestic locations for wedding over international ones

The allure of picturesque and historically rich landscapes within the country seems to be a preference for many couples compared to those seeking locations abroad.

Celebrating love in far-off, dreamlike locations with exotic cuisine and attire is a trend gaining popularity, both domestically and internationally. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a recent “Mann Ki Baat” radio address, encouraged couples to consider destination weddings within India. The allure of picturesque and historically rich landscapes within the country seems to be a preference for many couples compared to those seeking locations abroad.

According to industry experts, around 10% of “high net worth individuals” opt for destination weddings, and an even smaller percentage chooses international locations for the occasion. Parthip Thyagarajan, CEO of wedding planner WeddingSutra.com, mentioned that destinations like Rajasthan, Goa, Mahabalipuram, Kerala, and others in and around Mumbai and Delhi are becoming popular choices for such events. He highlighted that only 10-15% of the 10% opting for destination weddings are choosing international locations.

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Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal estimated that approximately 5,000 destination weddings take place in foreign countries each year, with an expenditure of about Rs 50,000 crore. However, this projected outgoing expenditure falls short of the trade body’s expectations for the ongoing domestic wedding season. The wedding industry anticipates earning Rs 4.7 lakh crore from 38 lakh marriages this season, marking the highest recorded figure in India’s history. Last year witnessed 32 lakh weddings with a trade volume of Rs 3.75 lakh crore.

Praveen Khandelwal emphasized the importance of holding destination weddings within the country to boost India’s values, business, economy, and employment opportunities. He listed some top overseas wedding destinations, including Dubai, Muscat, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malta, and Malaysia. Moreover, prominent places within India, such as Goa, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar, Mumbai, Jaipur, Udaipur, and others in different states, stand out as popular wedding destinations.

The trend of choosing venues away from home is accompanied by an increase in the expenditure people are willing to allocate for weddings. Anam Zubair, WeddingWire’s Director and Head of Marketing, noted a consistent rise in average wedding expenses, with a 14.6% increase from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh in the years 2021 and 2022. For the current year, the estimated average cost is close to Rs 18 lakh. While there is an increase, Zubair considers this spike negligible, given inflation and the current economic status post the pandemic.

Zubair highlighted the top three destinations in India for the previous year as Udaipur, Goa, and Jaipur. For the current year, the expected top destinations are Dehradun, Goa, and Jaipur. The expenditure for domestic destination weddings in India can range from Rs 20 lakh to several crores, depending on factors like location, guest count, venue choice, services required, and the duration of the celebration.

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