Live streaming, personalised webpages, trousseau selection, make-up decision – the big fat Indian wedding is moving to the cloud during the pandemic. Almost the entire event can be planned and conducted online!
Now there is help about the matter of gifts, too. An online portal has been helping new-age couples plan smart weddings, replete with a personalised gift wishlist. Their aim: to cut down on wasteful expenditure. In the times of COVID, Wedding Wishlist, founded by Kanika Subbiah and Tanvi Saraf from Chennai, has seen a surge in the number of couples wanting to plan their own weddings, including the gifts they get.
“We offer the gift registry service to couples wishing to get married. The couple compiles a list of preferred wedding presents, which is then uploaded on our website. They can be anything from contribution to a charitable cause to funding a part of the couple’s honeymoon. Guests need to just click and contribute towards the gifts, which will be appreciated rather than recycled,” says Subbiah, who started Wedding Wishlist six years ago. The idea is to streamline weddings and save a couple’s time unwrapping and rewrapping unwanted gifts.
“We had a couple who wanted their guests to either fund their honeymoon to Japan or contribute towards a charitable cause. They got Rs 5 lakh towards the vacation and Rs 2 lakh towards charity,” adds Subbiah, an engineer who got her business idea from the US, where she lived for 12 years.
From catering to two couples a month during the wedding season in the first year, the portal has helped around 40 couples every month during peak time last year. They catered to over 30 couples in June and July this year, as the country battled lockdown. “Bengalis from all over India form 20 per cent of our clientele,” says Saraf.
The entire wedding event could be conducted virtually. “Virtual guests are guided towards a wedding e-card, the couple’s love story and their gift wishlist. They can also leave their wedding wishes. We arrange live streaming of weddings, online parties with special lighting and personalise every experience. Virtual guests can chat among themselves as in a party in a chat box,” says Saraf.
Barasat couple Arnab and Pratibha Chakraborty had 50 guests present at their wedding, held on July 15, and around 100 watching it live-streaming. “We had planned an elaborate wedding but ended with a simpler and more hi-tech one, because of COVID-19. Wedding cards could not be printed. My brother could only watch my wedding online from the US. But I loved the build-up to the event on the digital platform. Guests were asked to contribute towards cancer research or an old age home rather than buy us presents. We wanted to be more responsible in the new normal,” says Arnab.
Wedding countdowns, glamorous pre-nuptial pictures, party ushers, reminiscences and post-wedding blogs are part of the package. The gift wishlist resembles any online shopping portal. Household items, gadgets and even indoor games are catalogued and prices mentioned. Only, gifts get tagged “purchased” and not “sold out”.
“We cater to varied income groups. A guest with a limited budget can also contribute towards a bigger buy like a home gadget,” says Saraf. She feels the Indian attitude towards weddings is changing. Many want to avoid wasteful expenditure.
Only, if a gift is pre-decided, it will not surprise you. But you can’t have everything.