The traditional Indian wedding, a chaotic mix of color, food, music and melodrama, has undergone a makeover, and spawned a new industry.
The marigolds are being replaced by orchids, the impromptu song and dance by professionally choreographed performances, folk songs have given way to the latest Bollywood remixes and the cuisine is Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, you name it. Then add signature cocktails, bespoke wedding stationary, live twitter updates and more.
The Indian wedding is getting bigger and fatter and the wedding planner presiding over it is now a key part. No longer the preserve of the super-rich, upper middle class Indians are also looking to outsource their big day to professionals, from online planners to hands-on coordinators, who promise a glitch-free event.
The stakes are high. In the top 15 cities of the country, people usually spend between 2 million rupees ($30,000) and 20 million rupees ($300,000) on three to five days of celebrations, and an estimated 10 million weddings take place every year. This makes it a $3 billion dollar market, according to industry experts. Add expenditure on clothes, jewelry and match-making services, and the Indian marriage industry is estimated at a whopping $40 billion.