The big fat Indian wedding photos that become all the craze on social media and the news are now from all over India, quite often from politico families or the country’s better-known biz barons. But the world of destination weddings is mostly elusive. Unless, of course, it’s a /cricketer/influencer getting married. In that case, they or their guests share images or reels of the intimate celebrations.
While public curiosity about weddings of celebrities, film and even business families who are “household” names is high, much of the intense wedding strategies of India’s ultra-rich are actually far more under the radar, but at a scale that’s unimaginable for those who haven’t attended such events.
The latest WeddingSutra survey gives you a glimpse into the world of destination weddings for India’s elite- how they spend to their favourite destinations and hotels this season. The survey among the top 50 destination wedding planners in India revealed what do most HNI families prefer and their budget allocations for various spends.
When it comes to weddings, ultra-HNI families tend to prefer destination weddings over hometown weddings, with a split of 60 per cent to 40 per cent. In terms of budget allocation, rooms account for 25 per cent of the budget, followed by F&B at 20 per cent, and decor for all functions at 20 per cent. Planner fees and hospitality-related expenses make up 15 per cent, while artists and DJs take up 10 per cent, and photography and videography account for 2-5 per cent. Room hampers and gifting also make up 2-5 per cent.
There are some significant expenditures that may not be within the purview of wedding planners, including clothes and jewellery, family gifting, and precious or semi-precious wedding favours.
There are several reasons why clients may choose hometown weddings over destination weddings, such as having a long guest list, ease of logistics, or the availability of good quality venues in a certain location. Additionally, some elderly members of the family may not be able to travel, and the majority of guests may be from the same city, with only extended family needing to be flown in.
For clients who do choose a domestic destination wedding, reasons may include wanting to explore unexplored Indian destinations, ease of pre-wedding arrangements, no visa/passport formalities, reduced flight costs, or playing it safe with a known destination.
The top five locations that ultra-HNI clients tend to choose for a domestic wedding are Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Bangalore/Kochi, and Goa. Meanwhile, the top five locations for an international destination wedding include UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, and Italy.
Finally, there are certain hotels in India and overseas that are well-equipped to understand the needs of this segment of clients. These include Umaid Bhawan Jodhpur, Leela Jaipur, Oberoi Udai Vilas, Fairmont Doha, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaima, and Taj Dubai.
The weddings of the ultra HNI business families are a high profile, yet private, affair where the families and their closest friends–expanding to a guest list of anywhere from 300 to 800–bond over traditional extravaganzas and evening cocktails. Most wedding vendors, right from the hospitality desk personnel, personal butlers, bartenders to chefs and even photographers, are well aware of the exclusive needs and tastes of most guests, thanks to their experience of interacting with them at several other weddings.
For many Ultra HNIs, sometimes weddings are the one place to mix pleasure and power meetings. The entire affair is orchestrated by not just the hosts or one planner but sometimes a complex network–family offices who include the secretaries and the chairman/MD’s Man Fridays and multiple event planners, each taking care of their own niche. And while the vendors may not always be asked to sign NDAs, there is the assumption that details will not be shared, particularly on social media.
The author is the Founder of WeddingSutra.
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