COVID-19 deals a heavy blow to the big fat Indian wedding
The economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak is far reaching and the Indian wedding has not been spared. A look at how the space is affected in these unprecedented times.
We are amidst one of the most critical times the world has witnessed in the past few decades. The COVID-19 outbreak has made an unsettling impact on every aspect of life. No sector or business is spared. The wedding industry is suffering too.
Shrinking guest lists, brides and grooms stuck in different cities, vendor cancellations, loss of huge sums of money — a special day takes a backseat because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shrinking guest lists
The recent government's ruling of limiting 30 guests at a wedding and the already enforced social distancing has caused several guests, in most cases even the grandparents of the couple, to miss the events. One such family saw a cut in their guest list from 1,400 to 200, and some families saw just 30-40 people.
While some have willingly cancelled or postponed, some are forced to continue with the wedding plan — however with several compromises to ensure there is no contamination. Future bookings are now kept on hold as clients fear more damage and they do not want to make payments.
Business takes a hit
When it comes to weddings, families go all in and invest a lot into their big day—right from catering, venue, photography, decoration, and more. In the last one month, several wedding-related businesses and services have been impacted significantly, with several cancellations, rescheduling, and refund chaos.
Studio 31 has seen more than 14 cancellations in the last one week, as 85 percent of our clients stay abroad and travel to India for their wedding. This has made it very difficult for non-cash rich companies to survive and results in big time cash-flow issues for service providers. Hence downsizing is now the last resort.
Work-from-home not applicable here
While most pre-production, production, and post-production work at Studio 31 happens on cloud, work from home is not an option for us, as we have client meetings throughout the day. Several couples come by, sit with the teams at our office premises, and have at-length conversations with the crew to plan and execute deliverables. This has resulted in huge loss of productivity and backlogs and also loss of operational revenue. So, working from home for the services and experience industry is not an efficient way.
Prevention is the only mantra
Fearing the spread of infection at weddings, several caterers are cancelling orders much in advance. Even wedding halls have been very stringent with their clients to postpone or cancel weddings at their venues. Photographers, cinematographers, crew members are avoiding shoots even for confirmed events, leading to a 100 percent loss for the company.
The only silver lining
Technology has been a huge saviour in today’s times. There is a huge demand for live streaming services as weddings and functions are now going virtual. People are leveraging technology to its fullest by banking on Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, among others. Being a part of the celebration, in full spirit, is all that matters.
Several weddings witnessed toasts being read on video, dance playlists being shared in advance, and even flash mobs being performed.
This too shall pass
While researchers are sweating it out to find a way to break this chain of infection from multiplying, our role in such a time is to spread love, not hate. It is important to read up, educate ourselves and others, isolate ourselves if we feel any symptoms.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)