The demand for destination weddings is back: Co-founders, WeddingNama
WeddingNama's passion and undying enthusiasm has helped them carve a niche in the Indian wedding Industry.
WeddingNama, founded in 2013 by wife-husband duo Ankita Asthana and Akash Agarwal, was born out of passion to document love stories. They encapsulate the beautiful moments that culminate during wedding celebrations. Specialising in both wedding photography & filming, luxury destination weddings. The team’s passion and undying enthusiasm has helped them carve a niche in the Indian wedding Industry.
Last year, they have also started WeddingNama School as three-day multifaceted, immersive, classroom-style coaching sessions, everything to do with wedding, photography & filming.
In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, the duo shared the impact of the pandemic on the industry, future trends and more.
What has been the impact of the pandemic on the wedding industry? In your view how big are the losses?
An industry that is valued at approximately 4 lakh crore and employs more than a crore people has come to a complete standstill. Indian wedding industry which was thought to be immune to the economic slowdowns, has been and will be one of the most affected.
Weddings thrive on social gathering and human interaction and that is exactly what got affected by this pandemic so it is no surprise that the industry got severely hit. Not only did the weddings planned this year got postponed but even people who wanted to plan it next year are not able to do it because of the uncertainty and the risks.
We have witnessed a rising trend of online weddings but the price points are low. Will it hurt the industry revenue-wise?
Online weddings are only a phase which will pass once the restrictions are relaxed. Most of our clients decided to postpone their weddings rather than doing a very small wedding or online wedding. This is the most awaited day in many people's life and they won’t give it away so easily.
The scale of the weddings will go down in the coming months and naturally the budgets have also shrunk, so the industry revenue has come down drastically this year. But I feel in the long run the industry will be able to make up some of the losses. People might opt to give an even more premium experience to the limited number of people they decided to call for the wedding.
Tell us some of the upcoming trends of wedding photography?
A lot more people are not opting for new-age photography and filming. The decision makers are the couple rather than the elders in the family so they are more open to trying our new things. Destination couple shoots have become very common. With smaller size weddings people are opting to give an even more luxurious experience to their guests.
What is the current demand for destination weddings?
The demand for destination weddings is back. We have a lot of inquiries for Nov-Dec and beyond. Most of the good hotels are already completely booked in the coming months. Since the size of weddings has gone down it has become even easier to plan destination weddings. People are preferring for buyouts to ensure everyone can stay inside the hotel throughout all the functions and minimize the risks for everyone.
Tell us more about WeddingNama School.
WeddingNama School is an idea that had been growing in our minds since a long time. We felt that there were many photography courses one could take but nothing really prepared people specifically for the crazy chaotic world of weddings, specially Indian weddings. And that's why this idea was born!
The idea was to have a three-day multifaceted, immersive, classroom style coaching session, everything to do with wedding photography & filming. During the course of three days we formulated a comprehensive course structure so that photographers could learn as much as possible from our personal experiences in the field for over 9 years.
We managed to conduct two such sessions last year and saw participation from all over India.
This year we took an initiative to teach the community through online live sessions, webinars & masterclass. In room classes were planned this year as well but could not happen because of the lockdown. Instead we thought of bringing some of these classes virtually to everyone. Taking into account the economic situation we decided to keep the sessions absolutely free for everyone. We saw a very good participation in these sessions and it felt very good to stay connected with so many other photographers during the lockdown.
How do you see the future of weddings in India?
We are yet to see what regulations and restrictions are imposed by the government and for how long. But having said that, there is no doubt that weddings will keep happening, even if the scale comes down slightly in near future. People are preferring luxury hotels that they can trust, ones that have big enough banquets and open spaces to ensure sufficient distancing can be maintained. We will be shooting weddings in Umaid Bhavan and ITC Jodhpur, Leela Udaipur, Taj Lands’ End and Four Seasons in Mumbai in the coming months. Some people are planning just two days of events, instead of three, to keep the budgets down. We feel by the second half of next year big fat Indian weddings should be back.
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