With the steady growth and increasing sophistication of India’s wedding and social events space, professionals from different walks of life are venturing into wedding-related services. And no, we don’t just mean wedding planning – in India, there are numerous opportunities for enterprising, creative and technologically savvy professionals. The Indian wedding industry is estimated to be INR 100,000 crore so it is little wonder then that people with MBA, fashion, interior design and event management degrees are turning ‘wedding-preneurs’ in different fields such as high-definition videography or specialised gourmet fare which includes niche treats like molecular cuisine. Want to marry your passion with profit in the wedding industry? Here, we present the top 10 wedding-related opportunities that may arouse your entrepreneurial instincts.
1. Wedding Photographer
The once family-run business of small studios has transformed into a dynamic field attracting the most dynamic and technology-loving professionals. Take for instance engineer-MBA Anand Rathi, founder of Reels and Frames, XLRI alumni Akash Agarwal of WeddingNama and BITS alumni Anupam Maurya of KnotsByAmp, who have all carved a niche as some of the most successful professionals in this field. To build a career here requires much more than just a love for the camera – professionals should be able to offer a bouquet of top-quality services under one roof, be it high-definition films, same-day edit capabilities, photobook albums, technological innovations such as cinemagraphs and customized photobooths. Companies such as CoolBluez Photography (started by Airline Pilot Captain Pawandeep Singh), The Cheesecake Project (founded by media professional Stuti Sakhalkar Dasgupta), House On The Clouds (founded by Siddharth Sharma), Cupcake Productions (run by husband-wife duo Jayant Chhabra and Shruti Khanna), The Wedding Salad (founded by Aayushi and Kanishka) and Hitched & Clicked (comprising husband-wife duo Gaurav and Aastha) are some of the most sought-after names in this space today. Some like IIT graduate Dev Purbiya and former clinical psychologist Shreya Sen specialise in the creative arena of candid photography only. Kanupriya Sindhu, Head of Product and Marketing at Canvera explains: “Wedding Photography is a great career for someone who loves being around people and telling stories. The idea of creating photos that will become a family’s heritage is like leaving your legacy.”
2. Wedding Décor Designer
It’s not just brides and grooms who are expected to look stunning – nowadays, décor and design also play a starring role at weddings. Stalwarts in this sphere include Dhun Cordo, who has many high-profile events to her credit, ace planner and designer Gurleen Puri, creative entrepreneur Priti Sidhwani, sought-after wedding stylist Larly Bahl, A-list planner Vandana Mohan and Sumant Jayakrishnan who has dazzled many weddings with his scenography and artistic installations. Over the last few years, there has been an emergence of new-age artists and planners such as Devika Narain who designed Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s wedding in Italy, Abhinav Bhagat, Vishal and Aliya of Wedding Duo. Start-ups such as Bougainvilla Design and Rani Pink are also infusing the wedding décor industry with fresh ideas. Emerging names are going beyond the usual floral setups to incorporate technology-backed bespoke installations, 3D décor and branded settings with Swarovski crystals and the like. Some key aspects needed to excel in this sphere include a creative approach, innovative thinking to cater to multiple different themes at social events, a strong vendor network and attention to detail.
3. Bridal & Groomswear Designer
These days, a wedding is much more than just the exchange of rings or ‘pheras’ – they now include celebrations spread over three days at the minimum, and this does not even include the engagement. Needless to say, brides and grooms (and their families and guests) have to stock up their trousseau for all major events – be it a pre-wedding shoot, engagement, sangeet, mehendi, traditional marriage ritual and reception. The wedding apparel market is estimated to be around INR 10,000 crore, and savvy designers big and small are getting in on the act. Top designers showcase their bridal collections every season as they cannot afford to ignore this wedding clientele market which makes up a sizeable amount of orders in India and from abroad. With independent boutique ensembles starting from INR 30,000 to couture creations priced at over INR 1 lakh and above, brides today have a range of options to choose from. Emerging designers on every bride’s check-out list should include Arpita Mehta, Bhumika Grover, Riddhi Mehra, Aneesh Agarwaal and Shilpa Reddy while more established designers who have become top picks for fashion-forward brides include Monica and Karishma of JADE Couture, Varun Bahl and Gaurav Gupta from Delhi and Anushree Reddy from Hyderabad. For dapper grooms, popular names include Shyamal and Bhumika, Kunal Rawal, Sonam and Paras Modi of SVA and Dapper Homme. As a wedding trousseau designer, professionals would need some basic skills such as fashion design training and fabric knowledge, and then build on to it with practical experience, awareness of current fashion trends and the ability to translate a bride’s vision into sartorial reality.
4. Make-up Artist
A make-up artist takes pride of place in a modern bride’s must-have list. With so many options available today, it takes time to zero in on the one who is just right for a bride (check out our Bridal Makeup Gallery). India’s top make-up artists including Ojas Rajani, Namrata Soni, Cory Wallia and Kumar Iyer who earlier specialised in make-up and styling for films, are now becoming the go-to names for bridal make-up. Many other bridal focused make-up artists who have carved a niche for themselves in this competitive field include Bianca Louzado, Marisa Sethi, Pooja Khurana, Shamita Gogia, Nandini Advani, Amrita Sanghavi, Recinda Martis, Minee Khanna, Amrita Verma, Shwetha Raju and Kajol R Paswwan. To succeed in this field, word of mouth publicity is extremely important, and your reputation will depend on your artistic skills with make-up, high-tech training to incorporate advancements such as airbrushing, imaginative approach for different looks, patience for long hours and a personality that allows you to build a rapport with a bride so she is confident you will have her looking her best.
5. Wedding Tech Makers
Couples are now getting smart with their smartphones when planning a wedding thanks to apps that are designed to reduce the stress of guest coordination, information sharing, updated announcements, instant shared photo galleries and much more. Take for example, Pratik Vora and Ruchita Choudhury of WedCraze who put their tech-savvy skills to work and designed the WedCraze app which helps in wedding planning logistics. Others such as photo-sharing app Wedding Party, Appy Couple (which allows you to design and customise your own wedding website or app), The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner and Our Wedding Planner are also available for downloads. Then there are other online platforms that make hiring entertainers easy such as HappyDemic which offers musical artists, and you can book them through their website. To flourish in this field, it’s ideal to have cross-platform development and programming skills for various operating systems, technical know-how, a visual eye, collaborative approach and good communication skill as you will be responsible for easing wedding planning for families who want to manage everything with a click.
6. Wedding Card Designer
Gone are the days of generic wedding invites stamped with information in a poky store or bought in bulk from your paper vendor. This arena has become very sophisticated thanks to trends such as customised invites, luxury boxes and baskets, destination wedding invite packages (think beach gear and sunglasses), religious scrolls and the like. Popular names such as Ranjani Iyengar of Pink Whistle Man, Kanika Bhatia of Design Tuk Tuk, Sonal Aggarwal Jolly of Turmeric Ink, Rohan and Aparna of Rohan Aparna Invitations, Resham Ramchandani of Moor Designs, Itchha Talreja of Itchha Talreja, Dipansh Bhasin of Ozel Designs and Natalie Mankani of Sketch Design Studio, create works of art by marrying their creative inspirations with client inputs to create memorable invites on a range of different mediums. Some designers go beyond just the basic invites and stamp their work on wedding collaterals such as the website, marquees, giveaways and photobooks, calendars and flyers. A basic knowledge of top platforms such as Adobe InDesign and PhotoShop is a must to succeed in this line, apart from having an artistic bent of mind, knowledge of typography, layouts, graphics and awareness of emerging trends so you can serve your clients better and give them an invite with a difference.
7. Wedding Menus & Dessert Chefs
Food and drink at weddings are a very important component of the overall experience. If a wedding is held at a hotel or resort, it’s natural to have the catering looked after by the in-house cuisine team. But there are many events where food and drinks have to be catered to from outside – be it at a farmhouse wedding or outdoor event. With tastes increasing becoming sophisticated and refined, wedding menus have moved beyond a standard list of popularly acceptable fare to include innovative twists on traditional tastes and ‘concept buffets’. Top food entrepreneurs such as Varun Tuli of Yum Yum Tree and Harsh Shodhan of Gourmet Kitchen and Studio have their pulse on what people want; banker turned baker Shelly Arora’s luxury wedding cakes are hugely popular on instagram and she delivers to many cities, while India’s ‘Pastry Queen’ Sanjana Patel of La Folie whets the appetite for standout treats. It may help to focus on a particular specialty if you want to enter this line – be it multi-cuisine wedding catering menus, tiered cakes, drinks or innovative treats for gift bags, and get the appropriate training and certifications.
8. Entertainers & Talent Managers
From choreographers to singers, comedians to DJs, musicians to mime artists – today’s weddings include entertainers that are picked according to the preferences of a couple. So if you have skills in any of these areas, try pitching your talent for weddings. And gone are the days of ‘all-in-one show organisers’ who would arrange entertainers and put them through a prescribed routine at weddings. There is a huge demand for professionals who can manage all aspects of entertainment at events and tailor experiences based on the tastes of a couple. It takes a while to become a much sought-after entertainer like DJ Ricky, DJ Arjun Shah (aka DJ AJ), DJ Chetas, DJ Madoc, wedding choreographer such as Divay Dua who put a couple and their friends and families through the steps. However, if you have the talent, attitude to network and skills to wow a gathering, you stand a good chance of making it big in this line.
9. Wedding Mixologist/Bartender
When it comes to drinks and glitzy bars at weddings, modern mixologists and bartenders who muddle and shake things up with their interesting drinks and cocktails are in big demand. Exclusively personalised drinks and molecular cocktails are just some of the accompaniments that form the beautifully designed bar menu at millennial weddings these days. Bartending companies set up by dynamic, young entrepreneurs such as Hops Cork-The Drink Lab, Cocktails & Dreams and The Wedding Bartenders provide both pop-up services and exclusive bar solutions which includes everything from a floating bar to a quirky themed bar menu for the sangeet. It is essential to get the right certification and training to enter this field, as well as have passion and knowledge for drinks and trends.
10. Unique Services Specialists
Curating personalised gifts and wedding favours or making sure that they are designed and wrapped to perfection – these unique wedding services are offered by thriving, boutique firms such as Wedding Lounge, OMG- Oh My Gifts, Wrapstar and Sugarbox. Or if you’re looking to curate unique welcome hampers, engagement ring trays, mithai platters, mehndi giveaways, then Kirti Desai of Ceremonial Hues, will ensure to provide options to suit your wedding styles and themes. What’s more, if you fancy perishable or high-end, delicate items as giveaways, ensure to have it delivered at your doorstep intact by Just Deliveries, owned by Mansi Mahansaria. Or if you prefer a beautiful wedding illustration then The Painted Shoe by Aditi Dokania is the way to go. The company offers beautiful bespoke stationery and decorated mugs, mobile covers and notepads. There is something for the creatively inclined too! If you are too buzzed to dance and want to paint your thoughts away, then Ruchi Mehta, founder of The Paint Social, will ensure you get the best platform to express your emotions. She organises unique paint parties where guests are urged to paint their thoughts while enjoying a wedding! Another growing service is assistance in bridal and trousseau shopping. For many, bridal shopping can be a difficult and confusing experience. With so many options out there, many are confused where to go, what to shop for and where to get the best for its value. And that’s why celebrity stylists Nisha Kundnani of Bridelan and Aastha Sharma of Wardrobist Consultancy should be your go-to for bridal styling. They make the process easier by serving as a personal shopper in creating a bride or groom-to-be’s complete wedding wardrobe and trousseau.
Also check out- WeddingSutra Favorites
This article was originally published on Sep 22, 2016 and edited on Dec 19, 2017.