Weddings have always played a quintessential role in Indian culture. Be it a glamorous Bollywood-styled shaadi or a private ceremony, weddings are becoming more elaborate and expensive by the day. Even a typical Indian wedding calls for meticulous planning. After all, it is the D day where everything has to be perfect. This means several stressful and tiring weeks spent in preparation for the event, including a lot of legwork for shopping, arranging for caterers, sending invites, and so on. But with 7Vachan, things may just get fairly easy.
Founded by Minnat Lalpuria, an alumnus of Indian School of Business (ISB) and also an ex-employee of TCS, 7Vachan is a wedding aggregator and consultant services that not only helps you save time and money, but also provides convenience and guidance. “We are not matchmakers or wedding planners,” stresses Minnat. “Wedding planners help organize theme-based weddings, while we act as consultants.” Operational since September 2012, 7Vachan helps reduce the time one would spend on wedding shopping by narrowing down the shops/brands that would be most suitable based on the budget or preferences. “Generally, in India, when it comes to a wedding, people rely on their friends or relatives to find out the shop/vendor they should go to and end up visiting the same 10-20 shops. But each wedding and its rituals vary based on religion, caste, place, budget etc. So what worked out the best for you may not be the best option for me. This is where 7Vachan comes into the picture. We narrow things down for you and tell you three-five shops that are best suited for you,” says Minnat. And it is not just apparel shops that they help you with. Their services cater to each aspect of wedding preparation including beauty, jewellery, car rentals, caterers, decorators, venues, and photographers.
Having tied up with various brands, 7Vachan also helps clients get better discounts. They also have a cashback scheme. “We ask our clients to pay 100 percent of the cost of the goods at the shop, and instead get bulk discounts from the vendor/brand which we pass on to our clients within a week by depositing money into their account,” informs Minnat.
Finding a venue for the wedding also becomes an easy task with 7Vachan. All you have to do is enter the date, place, number of people and your budget on their site, and within three days, 7Vachan will get back with various venues. Minnat adds, “Venue is the first thing in a wedding and this forms one of our USPs. Clients don’t have to enquire at different venues and bargain with each of them individually. With a business expectation of over 100 weddings a year, we get a slightly better bargaining edge than people who bargain for only a single wedding.”
To avail all of these services, one has to register on the website and pay a 90-day membership fee of Rs 2,100, which includes charges for all their services including a personal coordinator.
While acknowledging that there exists immense opportunity in the wedding industry which is pegged at Rs 19,000 crores or nearly two percent of the Indian GDP, Minnat cites that differentiating themselves from wedding planners remains their biggest challenge at this stage. “People are skeptical about our cashback offer and it will take some time for them to digest the fact they don’t have to pay anything apart from the initial fee,” she adds. There are other players like MyShaadi and Weddings9 which are trying to create a dent in the marriage space as well but 7Vachan have positioned themselves as aggregators providing a host of services.
Their future plans include a separate portal to cater to NRIs, and to expand their operations across India. In the past five months, 7Vachan has successfully handled 21 weddings. Now, with five weddings scheduled for January in various cities across the country, 7Vachan’s share of the Big Fat Indian Wedding seems to be growing. It is time for some Band, Bajaa, and Baraat!
– Sukhdeep Singh