Those involved in wedding-related businesses in the city have seen a poor season this year as many advance bookings for venues, band players/DJs, and caterers, etc. have been cancelled due to the lack of cash available with people following demonetisation.
Many banquet hall owners said they are left with only half the bookings that they usually get during this time of the year.
They said that the period from November to February sees the maximum number of weddings as it is considered an auspicious time.
“Every year, our wedding farm is booked months in advance with a token deposit of 10% of the total payment. However, since demonetisation came into effect, there have been more than 10 cancellations. When we asked them the reason, they said they do not have cash in new notes and hence cannot pay us,” said Paramjeet Singh, owner of Royal Ambience party lawn in Indirapuram.
Bookings for wedding venues start from Rs80,000 and go up to Rs2.5 lakh. According to banquet hall owners, most payments are made in cash. However, since the demonetisation , those who have still not cancelled their bookings are making payments in cheques.
“We used to take half the payment in cash because we have to pay our workers as well and they refuse to take cheques. However, after the old notes were scrapped, we are taking full payments in cheque and are also paying our workers in cheques now,” said Prince, owner of Vasundhara farms in Sector 8, Vasundhara.
Wary of cancellations, other banquet hall owners have asked their customers to pay in instalments.
“We took almost 40% of the payment in advance as cash. Now, however, customers say they do not have enough cash to pay the remaining amount. We have asked them to pay as much as they have and then keep paying in instalments as and when they get the cash, so that their wedding plans are not affected,” said Rakesh Gupta, manager at New Lavanya Party lawns in Sahibabad Site 4 industrial area.
Caterers too said many customers are cancelling their bookings. “Some clients who have not cancelled have reduced the number of guests at their wedding due to the cash crunch and asked us to charge accordingly. If at the time of the booking the number of guests was 700, it has now been reduced to 450-500. We are not complaining because we too understand their problem of paying in cash,” said Subhash Rathi, owner of Sangam caterers in Vaishali.
Catering prices in the city start from Rs700 per plate and go up to Rs2,000 per plate.
However, Rathi added that they are not accepting cheques at all. “We cannot accept cheques because then we will have to go to the bank and spend a whole day to get cash and then buy ingredients. We have asked the clients to pay us only in cash and hence we are getting paid in either Rs100 notes or the new notes since the demonetisation,” he said.
Similarly, band players and DJs too are accepting only cash payments. Band players in Ghaziabad charge Rs10,000-Rs12,000 for a day’s function.
“Yes, there have been at least four cancellations due to demonetisation and we have incurred losses this year. However, those who did not cancel have paid us in cash. It is either in Rs100 notes or in new notes,” said Mohammad Altaf, owner at RK Bands in Indirapuram.