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Foreigners Are Loving Big, Fat Indian Weddings And It’s Boosting Tourism. We’ve DeepVeer And Virushka To Thank

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Are you a desi bride looking for destination wedding options? Well, look no further and just call up your local wedding planner because right here, is where all the fun is being had. According to a recent survey, India is the 3rd most popular destination among Europeans, coming up behind The Caribbean and Cyprus. And it is all the high profile Indian weddings that have dominated the entertainment news cycles for the past couple of years that have brought about this new trend.

According to a recent article by The Times Of India, foreigners are flocking to our country to experience the full “Bollywood Wedding” extravaganza! At least that is what to-be bride, Mexico’s Paula Ramos, expressed was her wish. “I used to watch the Brazilian telenovela Caminho das Índias with my family, and I was completely mesmerized by the wedding ceremonies in the TV series. I have wanted an Indian wedding since then”, confessed Paula, who will be tying the knot with her Brazilian groom.

When pictures of Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas’s wedding hit the internet, the country collectively marvelled at the sheer magnitude of it. The ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ is not just intriguing to us desis, it seems. LA-based photographer Taylor Jones, who had a lavish wedding in India, confessed, “The first time I watched an Indian wedding was on a TV show called 90210, where two of its characters Ivy and Raj got married in a Bollywood-like wedding. It was so fascinating. The colours and rituals looked super attractive to me. Then, I watched a Bollywood movie where actors Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta got married in a lavish ceremony. My search for a perfect wedding ended then and there. We had a legal wedding in the US last year and came to India for another ceremony in Kerala, where we said, ‘I do’ with all the rituals that are included in Indian weddings. My favourite was the mantra recitation and taking seven rounds around the fire,” revealed Taylor.

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma are another set of trendsetters to usher in the demand for Indian weddings. The couple themselves tied their knot at the Borgo Finocchieto in Tuscany, Italy. There’s more to this trend than meets the eye. The wedding ceremonies for foreign tourists are just that, ceremonial. It does not amount to much, according to Delhi-based wedding planner Jennifer Gomes. “Almost 90 percent of the marriages are not legal, but ceremonial in nature, so as to escape the long waiting and bureaucratic process, To get legally married in India, one must stay here for more than 60 days, and there’s a tedious waiting process to get your marriage registered here. Tourists flock to India for wedding tourism mostly for the ritualistic parts of the ceremony, where they don’t have to deal with bureaucracy and the stress of registering the marriage. It is the same for Indians going to places like Amsterdam and Las Vegas to tie the knot,” elaborated Jennifer.

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Who can forget the craze Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s wedding generated? Deepika, who is one of the most recognisable Asian women in the world today, has inspired many with her nuptials. Mumbai-based wedding planner Nikhil Agnihotri revealed, “Not just Bollywood, but even Hollywood stars like Heidi Klum, Elizabeth Hurley, and Katy Perry, have popularised desi weddings abroad. We are increasingly getting calls citing examples of Bollywood celeb weddings, and are finalising deals for the same. Indian weddings fascinate people there because they are more inclusive of family and friends, and the rituals are new to them”. He also confessed that over the past three years, the number of international tourists coming to India for the ceremonies has doubled. Wow!

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So where exactly are these couples getting hitched? Mayur Kathuria, a wedding planner, said palace venues are the prime attraction right now. “The royal aura of Indian palaces, with the bride walking the aisle like a maharani is what they want in their weddings. A, it makes for a perfect photoshoot and b, it creates a memory for a lifetime. This season, I have received 10 such requests from Europeans and Americans, who want a palace wedding where Rajasthani folk music and artisans can tune up the festive mood of the shaadi. Not just foreigners, Indians who grew up in the west are equally crazy about lavish Bollywood or palace weddings in India,” revealed Mayur.

It seems the influence of Bollywood’s leading ladies goes further than just Indian shores. These fabulous desi women are doing the most, making a mark on the world stage wherever they go. Canadian bride-to-be Belgian Venessa Munroe revealed that she wants a Bollywood-style Goa wedding (don’t we all!).“I want to walk down the aisle just like how Bollywood actresses do in films, with so much grace and elegance. We are bringing 20 family and friends with us for the wedding, and the whole ceremony has cost us Rs 15 lakh, which is under our budget”. How charming!

The Indian wedding industry is already one of most profitable  in the country. So how much are foreigners shelling out for their desi wedding experience? Mumbai-based wedding planner Yogesh Sakluja weighed in, “From a simple Hindu wedding starting at Rs 2.5 lakh, to a grand Bollywood one, that costs anywhere between Rs50 to Rs 75 lakh – we curate everything for the westerners in India. Along with a package that includes everything, from mehendi, haldi, and sangeet, to the shaadi, we also offer add-ons, like a reception party, Bollywood party and other such demands. We even call in folk singers for weddings, besides providing sarees and designer lehengas to the guests, based on the requests. All they have to do is select the package and come here to tie the knot”.

We are loving all these beautiful stories of people from different cultures coming to India to get married. It’s true what they say about weddings…it does bring everyone together!

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