No big fat Delhi wedding: Wedding industry wary of 50 guest cap, again
With the wedding season round the corner, the wedding industry was hoping to recoup losses incurred during the year due to the pandemic. But now with the acceptance of Delhi government’s proposal to cap the number of wedding guests at 50, those associated with this industry say it has once again cast a shadow on their survival.
“We were getting requests for wedding planning every day. So many people who had postponed their wedding due to the lockdown are planning their nuptials in the coming weeks. What will happen to their plans now? Will they uninvite people now?,” says Tushar Malik, a Delhi-based wedding planner. He adds that this is the wrong time for this decision since there is just a week left for the wedding season to kick start in the Capital. “The season for weddings this year falls between November 24 and December 12. From an average of 300-400 guests, people have reduced the gatherings to 150-200. We have made plans as per the previous guidelines, and are taking all precautions. But now the new order leaves little room for improvisation,” says Malik, sharing how he has been advising people to opt for destination weddings since the Covid-19 situation in Delhi is pretty grim.
Even banquet owners are in dismay, due to the return of 50 guest rule for weddings. Community Welfare Banquet Association in Delhi had met with authorities, asking for concessions. “From florists to vegetable sellers, cleaners, cooks — there are so many people associated with us. This decision adversely impacts everyone,” says Sandeep Madan, who owns a banquet hall in north Delhi, adding, “This is the peak wedding season, lasting barely two weeks. We make a bulk of our earnings in this period. There are over 10 lakh families associated with our business, many of whom we had called back from their home towns when the business picked up after restrictions were relaxed. The return of this cap might mean the death of our business!”
Those who capture intimate wedding moments, that is the photographers, are also at the threshold of losing a major chunk of their earnings. “Booking for any wedding is made in advance, and according to the scale of the wedding we make investment in equipments and employ staff. All of this goes waste when we face last minute cancellations! Not everyone wants to have a small scale wedding; many might thus postpone their plans, and it will certainly mean that our business will be hit,” says Akanksha Verma, a Delhi-based wedding photographer.
Although most associated with the wedding business are anxious, some admit that the curb is necessary to control the rising number of cases in the Capital. Varinder, a tent house owner in Ashok Vihar says, “Even after restrictions were lifted, we did not get much work since people are choosing banquet halls over tents now. We will continue to suffer, but it’s important to deal with the virus first. What if we send our employees to a wedding and they contract coronavirus? Pehle se hi markets kholne ki wajah se cases badh gaye hain. Kya fayda hoga paise kamane ka agar zinda hi na rahe? So it’s better that marriage gatherings are restricted in the city for now.”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika