What’s New in “I Do”

By Kripa Singh and Mahmood Hossain

Just a couple of time zones away, where the number of weddings runs past the 10 million mark annually, India has slightly different perspectives and experiences when it comes to celebrating the union of newlyweds and their families. And in the midst of planning, several trends are shaping the Indian wedding landscape in 2023. There is a drive towards attention to detail and a strong sense of personalisation.

So, without further ado, here are some of the key wedding insights and trends from 2023.  

Some brides and grooms are being intentional about sustainability by getting rid of unnecessary waste from their nuptials. While other couples are exploring ways to create immersive experiences for their wedding guests. The ethos of curating a distinctive experience is prevalent in the celebrations taking place nowadays.

Many of today’s trends are revisiting age-old traditions. There was a time when a wedding was less about the themes at each event and more about the congregation of loved ones. In favour of the earlier ways, many couples are ditching overt themes for less fussy aesthetics to focus on the joy of a celebration.

Choosing Cleaner Aesthetic

Instead of spending on a compulsory theme, brides and grooms are choosing to focus on a cleaner aesthetic with higher quality and more attention to detail. This could mean using higher-quality flowers to create one statement arrangement, instead of using multiple faux flowers. Or it could mean curating nicer table settings, complete with charger plates, selected glassware, and ‘thank you notes’ for the guests, instead of just spending on an opulent backdrop.

Monochromatic Colours 

From tonal red affairs to pure-white celebrations, monochromatic colours have been a key part of creating a cleaner aesthetic in 2023. There has been a surge of bold celebrations that build their entire décor scheme around a single hue. Everything from the table linens to the furniture adheres to one chosen colour. But lest you think this is restrictive, monochromatic colours make for nuanced palettes that are anything but one note.

Using multiple shades in one colour family, such as combining violet, mauve, plum, and lilac can create a more dynamic colour story than a multi-coloured event can.

Immersive & Interactive Experiences  
Weddings aren’t just a spectacle. They are an experience, which is why couples are increasingly trying to make it a more enjoyable one for their guests. By incorporating interactive opportunities, the wedding hosts want their guests to feel more heard and cared for.
For instance, there is a big inclination towards interactive dining experiences with people opting for live stations and food trucks from their favourite restaurants. Dessert bars are set up with a plethora of options for people to customise their flavours.

Technology is also playing an integral part in creating an immersive experience for guests. From drone shows, to immersive lighting which can transform four ballroom walls into an underwater dreamscape, there are endless ways in which guests can be treated to a sensory experience and transported to a different space.

Pushing Back on Waste
Your wedding is meant to be the most special day of your life but it can also be the most wasteful. Couples are becoming increasingly sensitive to the amount of excess food tossed away, flowers dumped in the garbage, and paper thrown during celebrations. Hence, many hosts are choosing to go green with their weddings.
From sending out e-vites and printing stationery on seed paper (which can grow herbs or flowers when planted in soil) to using only local crafts in the décor, the concept of reducing, reusing, and recycling is at the forefront for many weddings this year. Hopefully, this trend is here to stay.
Inclusive Layouts
Most events have a backdrop and a stage rising above the dance floor. The reason we’ve seen this layout a thousand times is because it works well. But nowadays, there has been more sway towards changing things up and encouraging inclusivity.
For instance, many people are choosing to place their bands or musicians in the middle of an outdoor venue so that the music feels less like a performance and more like an immersive experience.
Some brides and grooms are going one step further and doing away with a stage setup for their wedding ceremony. A stage- less mandap is increasingly popular for destination weddings where the pheras are taking place on the beach – the ceremony tends to feel more intimate and complements the earthiness of being outdoors.
The concept of ‘Living Room setups’ is another way in which a feeling of inclusivity can be achieved. The newly emerging trend is to create different lounge setups in the nooks and corners of the venue. The idea is to get rid of the monotony of solely banquet tables and give guests a way to mingle with each other in a more comfortable, yet aesthetically engaging surrounding.
Masala also had the opportunity to pick the brains of two successful wedding planners in their respective regions in India, and how the wedding planning landscape in the country is evolving.
Jaideep Singh 
Founder, Man With a Plan (MWP)
Jaideep Singh, founder of Man With A Plan (MWP) and on The Economic Times Panache ‘35 under 35 list,’ reiterates the same in emphasising the emergence of sustainability, intimate gatherings, personalised experiences, and destination weddings. Moreover, tech integration, a tried and tested blend of modern and traditional elements and emotions, as well as themed weddings, have cemented themselves into the Indian wedding landscape.
The events space is on the brink of a transformative phase, where scale, key collaborations, innovation, and creativity will play a bigger and more essential role in creating lasting memories. However, Jaideep reveals more challenging aspects of the current wedding planning journey.
“The wedding industry is the ideal example of this progression. But the lack of work ethics could prove to be a major barrier to us accomplishing certain feats. We have seen multiple examples of plagiarism in the industry because of how easy it is now to access the works of other professionals on the internet. As easy as it may seem, it’s still highly unethical.”
Jaideep shares that it is common to see smaller ventures breaking away from larger companies to begin their own business: “What most are unaware of is that training and retaining talent is a constant challenge. Competition is essential but in our industry’s case, this can result in complete chaos unless there’s a strategy in place to properly address this challenge.”
On a much lighter note, Jaideep is clearly passionate about what he does, and helping to create dream weddings for his clients continues to fuel his fire. “Every wedding is special in its own way, and that’s actually been the case for me at MWP because those clients have turned into friends and family. That phase of wedding planning makes the experience fulfilling and more precious.
My first wedding project was in December 2019 and it was that of Akhil Sachdeva (a Bollywood playback singer), which will always remain special for me because I have witnessed Akhil’s journey from the beginning. We at MWP managed to pull off exactly what he wanted in terms of venue, food, décor, and entertainment.”
Alongside the sentiments, Jaideep gives us a glimpse into the future of Indian wedding planning services. “It depends on the ability to break out of outdated methods and practices. Things must change with time. This is a field that was marred in disorganisation and formerly seen as lacking in formal education, and it has developed into a hub of knowledge with several iconic case studies to draw from.”
Jaideep has a very optimistic view of the wedding planning evolution, eager to create memorable experiences with couples aiming to begin their lives on a beautiful note.
Nanki Chawla
Nanki Chawla Events

Similar sentiments are shared by Nanki Chawla. With a BA Honours Degree in Hotel Management from one of the finest hotel management schools in India, she went on to become a management trainee for the famous Taj Group of hotels. Her passion for event management was lit by handling multiple high-profile corporate and social events for the Taj. She went on to work with Bangkok-based wedding planner, Élan Events by Nipunika and fell in love with everything to do with Indian weddings. She went back to India in 2016 and started her own company and over the years has worked with incredible clients planning and bringing to life their dream wedding.

What have been the current running wedding trends in India?

In recent times, Indian weddings have moved away from irrelevant rituals and customs and moved closer to curating highly-personalised and memorable celebrations, which will be treasured for years to come. An Indian wedding today is not just about the exchange of vows, but the joy and excitement leading up to it, with each pre-wedding event being as unique and out of the box as possible. Today, couples getting married are more in charge of ideation and decision-making and very actively participate in every detail that goes into bringing together their events. Weddings are also becoming extremely personalised and there is no longer a cookie-cutter format to follow. Each couple wants their wedding to reflect more of who they are.

How has the wedding industry changed from the time you began to how things are done now?

In the last 8-10 years, a huge segment of people has become conscious of protecting the environment and focusing on bringing sustainability into their events versus the old school model, where weddings would mean large amounts of wastage. Things like digital wedding invites, reusable gift packaging, sustainable elements in decor, recycled paper for printing, and mindful curation of menus with a focus on star cuisines and dishes are all leading to an overall reduction in wastage and helping the environment in their own way.

What have been some unique requests from couples for their weddings?

One of our clients hired a chartered plane to bring in their guests for the wedding in Jaipur and wanted some unique in-flight entertainment to be organised. We organised many exciting activities onboard, including a flash mob by the family, a 20-minute set by an amazing illusionist, and a high-energy karaoke session. The entire flight had the most exciting travel experience ever!

Is there a wedding that stands out the most to you? A wedding that may have been the most challenging, the most fun, or other reasons that made it the most memorable?

We recently planned and executed a wedding for a son of an Indian politician based in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The bride was American but watching her embrace Indian traditions, culture, food, and outfits was a treat. They had 180 guests from the US, including the bride’s family and the couple’s closest friends, fly down for four days of celebrations. The guest list for the first three days was limited to family and friends, but the reception was at a massive scale of 5,500 people including local and state politicians, small and very huge businessmen, local celebrities and other government officials, and more extended friends.

It was a first for us to manage that scale, security measures were very tight and the local folk band was sublime. We pulled together the best of the local Jodhpur talent to cover all the wedding requirements and the caterer dazzled the crowd with a menu showcasing regional Indian delicacies from every corner of the country.

From how things stand now, what do you see changing in the near future for the wedding industry, and how will wedding planners and couples approach wedding festivities?

Weddings will continue to become more and more personalised with more elements in each event reflecting the couples’ personalities and personal preferences. The importance of finer details and creating more unique ‘experiences’ for wedding guests is also becoming a trend. Taking Indian weddings into lesser-known destinations across the globe is also becoming an exciting trend where clients are willing to push their boundaries to experience a new and unique location and culture. Pockets seem to be deepening and clients are now willing to spend more where it counts, without shying away.