Indian Weddings in 2021: Auspicious Dates and Staycation Weddings
Weddings were initially non-residential affairs, and then over time, destination weddings became popular as it gained momentum amongst wedding hopefuls who wanted to inject a euphoric feeling of a memorable holiday within the wedding festivities.
Initially, domestic spots like Goa, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur were the destinations of choice for weddings. This gradually moved to the next level when people started looking at exotic yet affordable international locales like Hua Hin in Thailand, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat with their added attractions of striking beaches, shopping and of course, world-class international cuisines made available easily for the wedding entourage.
The current pandemic has unfortunately seen a large hiccup in destination weddings with guests being apprehensive of travelling afar. So it’s up to the venues across domestic destinations to step up and step in to woo the guests. Five-star hotels in the metros are seeing a surge in demand for rooms from wedding hosts who are interested in giving their guests something between a home town and a destination wedding – ‘The Staycation Wedding’.
We spoke to top Hoteliers to find out about what lies ahead in 2021, what they foresee as top demand days, lucrative weeks and the best months for weddings in 2021 amongst other trends.
Given the year that’s gone by, weddings are restricted to smaller numbers for the foreseeable future. Hosts are more inclined to using the hotel as a replacement for a ‘destination wedding’ and are looking to spread the functions over 2-3 days. They are also really excited to curate premium experiences such as sit-down meals for the main wedding days. Restriction on smaller numbers also means the ability to create more exclusive set-ups and zones within one Ballroom which previously required multiple venues. Consciousness on the safety front has resulted in three clear trends.
1. Opting for a brand that provides the assurance for safety and reliability
2. Guests themselves are conscious enough to test their invitees or at the very least, are aware of the safety norm when they choose such a brand to conduct such celebrations at the said venue.
3. Outdoor venues are seeing an upsurge in queries. As the weather is improving, our premium venue, ‘The Chambers Lawn’ is seeing an upward demand for sundowner celebrations with the Gateway of India and the hotel façade as unique backdrops.
The high demand weeks/ months in 2021 are 14-16 February, and months of April followed by October-December 2021.
Keeping the celebrations close-knit is now a social necessity. Our main focus being the safety of our guests, we provide them with a detailed understanding on the implementation of hand wash and hygiene, safety protocols (masks/temperature checks) and public area cleaning procedures. Following social distancing norms while laying out the banquets, seating arrangements and food service counters is another important concern amongst the hosts.
People are staying within the Hotel because it arduously provides a safe cocoon for the celebrations, and the hotels are also being sensitive to this by giving them rooms on the same floor with their families and guests.
The number of guests is now smaller and the weddings have become very intimate. The hosts prefer to book rooms and keep it safe and secure within their circle because the previous norm of guests coming in for less than an hour just to wish the couple is no longer happening, and the wedding ceremonies have only close friends and family in attendance. This should of course change in the next few months.
The one celebration space at our hotel that is seeing a surge in demand is our beautiful Astor Terrace which is a breezy and intimate outdoor space on Level 9 that’s located on a higher level.
While the wedding guests may not always actually book the rooms as part of the wedding party, we do get bookings from individual guests who book our lovely Staycation package separately to stay in the hotel and have a relaxed experience of getting dressed and attending the functions. The luxury mall next door is a great attraction so guests can do a spot of shopping while staying with us.
The high demand weeks in 2021 are 24th to 31st Jan, 1st to 7th Feb 2021, 24th to 28th March, 1st to 9th May 2021 and 13th to 20th June 2021
Traditionally, Chennai’s wedding market is known for day celebrations, dinner receptions and large gatherings up to 500-800 guests. In the current times, the bride and groom’s side are booking 1- 5 days’ retreats at venues like ours. It’s a lot about outdoor functions and short ceremonies with a preference for open air/ natural ventilation. Having a choice of interesting venues at the hotel like the Poolside and Grand Presidential Suite gives the guests an edge on conversions. Since the hosts are now concentrating on overall wedding experiences as compared to individual ceremonies, the wedding schedules are short and light for guests to explore the hotel and leisurely enjoy their time out, far from the daily hustle-bustle of life.
Intimate ceremonies with a personalized, sustainable touch accompanied by luxe décor lend staycation weddings the feel of a big wedding aided by impeccable craftsmanship and intuitive planning. To this effect, we are offering guests the option of transforming spaces into a bio-bubble complete with all the necessary safety precautions. From dedicated entrances and elevators to the demarcation of floors occupied by the wedding entourage, we are offering a full scale of incentives rooted in safety and care.
Those looking for privacy to host their intimate celebrations with confidence and style can take comfort in the exclusivity of our banquet spaces at ‘The Mansion’, which is separate from the hotel’s main entrance. Guided by ‘Lead With Care’, our enhanced health and safety program, we are offering our guests a safe and assuring experience at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, and this type of assurance surely elevates the confidence level of couples when planning a staycation wedding.
We sense a lot of activity in April and May and hope the situation improves and translates to more weddings and celebrations in Bengaluru and other cities. The most in-demand dates are – The first and third week of February, first week of March, last week of April, 6th to 10th May and last week of May. First week of June and 19th to 24th June.
Safety certainly has been a paramount concern for all clients in discussion with us at Conrad Bengaluru. Our new priorities include a first-aid room provision on each floor, especially with elderly family members, in-room rituals (in guest rooms) are being avoided, and instead, event spaces are being blocked. All close family members are being accommodated in the hotel to avoid any restrictions emanating out of anticipated lockdowns or curfews. Invites are being sent to guests highlighting the number of invitees expected (keeping in mind the city & safety guidelines). Sit down meals are now being preferred over the popular buffet.
While the celebrations are limited to smaller groups, guests are keen on exploring offbeat locations, suite-dining, dining with a view, spa picnics at CHI, The Spa, Shangri-La at home service, and innovative food concepts.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru has wedding packages that can be customized for each guest’s needs and desires. Bespoke experiences like engaging food concepts, sky-high experiences, suite celebrations and more are on offer for discerning clients.
Now that guests have realized that weddings can be hosted on a smaller scale, exclusive and innovative ideas along with bespoke cuisine is the driving trend. The concentration has now moved to more elaborate food, and new cuisines. Focus is more on interactive counters rather than food in chafing dishes. People want trendy, contemporary and smart presentations. Weddings are planned in different time slots or shifts. The guest lists are divided into two meal slots to ensure less people in the venue at any given point of time.