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All that glitters
- A four-day extravaganza proved that the city is ready to spend big bucks on the perfect wedding. Plus, trinkets for Rakhi

It took three years for Vivaha to come to the city, but the Calcutta edition of this big, fat Indian wedding exhibition is creeping up the popularity charts.

Celebrating Vivaha 2007, a four-day marriage mart with around 40 exhibitors showcasing everything from wardrobe buys to wedding destinations, saw “fantastic response”.

“We recorded a footfall of more than 40,000 and the exhibitors were happy with the crowd profile — serious customers and potential buyers that will take back business to the stores as well,” said Tarun Sarda, CEO, Vivaha.

The exhibition brought in an estimated business of about Rs 50 crore, compared to last year’s Rs 30-35 crore. “Things are getting costlier, there is a boom in the economy and the buyer is ready to splurge,” explains Sarda.

“We have had seven to eight bookings for the coming wedding season in November,” says Shweta Beriwal of Magnificence, specialising in trousseau packing and gifting. “Repeat customers from last year contributed to 20 per cent of my sales. Designer cash envelopes, mithai boxes, trays and semi-precious stone rakhis flew off the racks,” she adds.

The Delhi-based label is now planning to come to the city with an outlet in the near future.

But jewellery remained the winner. Says Sarda: “Given a choice between expensive clothes or jewellery, the Calcuttan is still inclined towards the latter. Perhaps the investment value is a vital deciding factor.” The organisers are now planning a standalone jewellery exhibition in February 2008.

“This year’s jewellery exhibitors have shown a lot of interest.” Diamonds, jadau, polki, kundan…. The 14 jewellery exhibitors saw it all move well. “Some recorded sales not less than Rs 50 lakh,” reveals Sarda.

Last year, Jaipur Emporium Jewellers took up six-sq m exhibition space. This year it was a lavish set up of 18 sq m. “The footfall in my store was double that of last year. There were lots of bookings,” says Deepak Mookim of the AJC Bose Road store.

Elaborate diamond jewellery in traditional designs was most popular. At Varda Goenka’s Diagold, “wearable and light accessories” drew attention. And proving conventional wisdom wrong, north Calcutta “made up around 60 percent of the footfall”, pointed out Goenka.

Wedding shopping is traditionally women’s terrain. The male shoppers who did come found the Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Malaysia stalls — promoting the countries as “as honeymoon destinations” — most exciting.

The city can expect an exhibition on a “larger scale” next year.

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