The Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran had said, ‘There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward’. This is what weddings are about and it is why we created Sumyog,” says Rekha R. Rangaraj who has partnered with Vidya Gajapathi Raj Singh to create unique wedding ceremonies and destination weddings.
Sumyog catered to the end-to-end needs of a family planning a wedding for one of their members. “On the one end there were the hall and catering services and on the other end, there was the poojari who would ritualise the wedding ceremony. All the rest had to be done by various members of the family and many a time, this involved running from pillar to post to get things done, effectively, efficiently and in time. We launched our venture by offering end-to-end wedding services.” Fourteen years later, Rekha and Vidya work seamlessly and offer almost every type of wedding service that is in the book. “From the days we first started to now, the mode of operations and methodology has improved. Thanks to the Internet, we now do the planning on Google Spreadsheet and technology has vastly aided our operations.”
The online space is witnessing increasing participation of wedding services providers. Matrimony.com, a leading player for this segment in the online space provides three major services, namely, MatrimonyPhotography, MatrimonyMandaps, and MatrimonyBazaar. MatrimonyPhotography has comple-ted nearly 15,000 weddings in the five south Indian states. MatrimonyMandaps, the largest wedding venue booking platform in India, helps to find the best venue. They have more than 3000 venues in their inventory. “MatrimonyMandaps helps customers to find the right wedding venue, see the availability, and get the best price and easily book the venue by leveraging the relationship it has built with the wedding venue partners,” informs Rajasekar K.S., General Manager – Marketing, Matrimony.com.
“MatrimonyBazaar.com helps customers avail wedding-related services such as wedding apparel, venue, stage decorations, photography, make-up, catering and honeymoon packages from various wedding service providers. Based on their requirement, customers get details of wedding service providers over SMS. In the subscription-fee based model, customers can share their requirements with relationship executives. Several leading wedding service brands are partnering with MatrimonyBazaar,” adds Rajasekar.
Designer Tina Vincent excels in bridal dress creations and organising entire trousseau packages. Her own label designs exclusive outfits for those who do not fall under the ‘svelte and shapely’ figure. She specialises in the complete wedding trousseau, with a wide range of exclusive couture options, ranging from ethnic Indian wear to western wear. Vincent informed, “Trousseaus cost between Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. This cost would include all dresses for various occasions and events, except jewellery and footwear.” Her brand is the first fashion label in India with an exclusive plus size high fashion garment store that caters to a niche, in demand and an overlooked category.
She informed, “Preparation for special occasions like weddings, is special for everyone irrespective of size, and for the plus sized consumers it takes a lot of time to figure out the perfect dress in general. Choices for plus size people are limited and under-served when it comes to quality readymade outfits. There is a significant gap and an incremental growth opportunity beyond the standard market growth in this segment.”
Rekha Rangaraj believes in taking on fewer and selected assignments so as to do full justice to a wedding which will usually run a week to ten days. “We recently did a destination wedding in Singapore. Every detail was planned well in advance, including sourcing of nails and tacks and all these were shipped by containers to Singapore. In Singapore, we hired local technicians to put together the set and decorations. In the final analysis, we realised that the total cost of doing the entire destination wedding with maximum inputs from here, was just a third of what the family would have spent if they had done everything locally in Singapore,” says Rekha.
She also informed that many of her clients from the northern Indian states prefer to conduct their wedding ceremonies in Chennai as the city has several high-end beach resorts, variety of cuisines, excellent 5-star hotels and better placed logistics and infrastructure as compared to other metro Indian metros.
Another wedding planner Jyothi Goutham informs, “I have been in this sector for the last four years and out of the fifty weddings that I have organised, 13 were destination weddings. These were all done outside of India, in exotic places like Bali and Sri Lanka. On an average, these weddings cost more than a crore but it is very difficult to peg an exact figure.” Most of her clients perceive it as a personal, family affair. The trend of opting for professional agencies for conducting wedding is on the rise and the wedding industry is evolving fast to accommodate such changes.