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It’s the season for band baaja baraat — that time of the year when families go all out to celebrate the weddings of their sons and daughters. While inflation is making people slash wedding budgets, it surely hasn’t dampened the spirits.

Two years of the pandemic and rising costs have put a lot of pressure on wedding bands and everyone associated with them.

Gopal Sindhi, a band and ghodi supplier, said, “We have started getting work after the pandemic, but income is not as much as it was earlier. Smaller bands and fewer carriages are being booked. Prices of musical instruments, staff attire and animal fodder have risen significantly.”

The number of people choosing destination weddings is going up every year, but most families still want nuptials to take place in their hometown or place of residence. This year, guest lists are becoming smaller, but people are spending a lot of money on decorations and offering a variety of cuisines from India and abroad.

Ramesh Dang, CMD at Seven Seas Hospitality, said the pandemic has increased a preference for destination weddings. “Down from gatherings of thousands, destination weddings usually have 200-300 guests. People have restarted spending after the pandemic. I hope the situation will improve more. Demand for Continental, Mexican, and Asian food has increased in wedding banquets,” Dang said.

Theme parties as part of wedding festivities are also very much in vogue, and wedding planners are fully leveraging this opportunity.

Wedding planner Gayatri Sahdev said, “People are looking for something on international or global level rather than keeping it very Indian or ethnic. Now, people are having, like, a Great Gatsby theme or a Goan theme. They are creating a setup which probably looks like a part of a country or city at their functions.”

Traders and wedding planners say that the wedding season in 2019 pulled in business worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore, while this year’s estimate is around Rs 3.75 lakh crore. The expected surge in business is not just due to destination weddings, but also possibly due to increased spending on exotic themes and decorations and global cuisines, while trimming down the guest list.

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