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Destination weddings back to home ground? Pramod Lunawat of Marriageuana on wedding trends post the Coronavirus pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lifestyles and plans of people around the globe, and will certainly redefine how we do things in the future, especially when it comes to weddings. For example, destination weddings in foreign countries, which was a popular trend among affluent Indians, may give way to hometown nuptials or intimate ceremonies in novel domestic locations. We spoke to Pramod Lunawat, of Marriageuana, about the future of Indian destination weddings and what trends to expect.

Pramod Lunawat, Marriageuana

What kind of shift do you anticipate when it comes to destination weddings? Can Indian venues and locations satisfy the novelty that foreign destinations hold for Indians?

“India has some of the finest palaces, beaches, city hotels and resorts that are perfectly capable of hosting luxury weddings, and Marriageuana has worked with many of them in the past. Over the years, these venues have developed their capabilities in areas like hospitality, food and beverages, room quality, customer servicing and customer relationships. What they lack, or lacked, in many cases were adaptability and flexibility to match the requirements of demanding wedding planners and the globetrotting couples and their families. It is this aspect that many hotel chains have now tried to bridge by having dedicated wedding concierge services or wedding planners on their payrolls. These specialized hotel staff members maintain an open communication with planners and their clients about their needs, which has helped to a great extent.”

How do Indian locations and venues compete with foreign options in terms of prices and services?

“Pricing has always been a very sensitive issue with hotels in India. However, equipped with the market knowledge of couples flying out of India to exotic international destinations and hotels, often also propelled by state tourism boards, Indian venues have been trying to regain their popularity by offering prices, packages, inclusions and venue usage options like never before. Hotels have also enhanced their atmospherics as far as winning weddings are concerned. They now offer dry runs of venue settings, food tasting sessions, express check-in facilities, club access, exclusivity at venues, and more.”

Do you see the Indian hospitality sector utilizing this opportunity of the potential rise in domestic destination weddings in the future? Will they be able to compete with and deliver the allure of foreign destinations?

“It is a fact that the urge of Indian couples to get married in Italy, Turkey, Thailand, UAE, Bahrain, Bali, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland, or on cruises, will never cease to exist for one cannot transport nature’s scenic gifts from one country to another, or from one city to the next. However, current global conditions have given rise to a window of opportunity that will arise post the lockdown for Indian hotels. For a minimum of 9-12 month travel restrictions will cause couples to explore venues within the country, which is exactly when the hospitality industry needs to up their game’ by welcoming business from wedding planners and couples/families who intend to get married at a destination with all luxury offerings.”

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