Westerners are flocking to India for big fat weddings
Westerners are flocking to India for big fat weddings Image Credit: Instagram/@photocareudaipur

India is becoming a popular wedding destination globally.

As reported by the Indian newspaper Times of India, a recent online survey conducted by an Italian wedding website showed that India stands as the third favourite wedding destination among Europeans, right after The Caribbean and Cyprus.

Cultural diversity and friendly budget

Sofia Mathew a wedding planner based in India told Gulf News: “Yes. India is a country with so much of diversity and different kinds of experiences to offer. A Bengali style wedding would be very different from those in Kerala or Maharashtra. Geographically too, it’s a place where you can opt for anything from beach weddings to weddings in the mountains and at a reasonable price... It's definitely a wonderful place to have a destination wedding.”

According to Times of India, Mexican Paula Ramos flying down to India to get married to her husband Vincent from Brazil said: “I used to watch the Brazilian telenovela Caminho das Índias with my family, and I was completely mesmerised by the wedding ceremonies in the TV series. I have wanted an Indian wedding since then. Although our budget is quite low – approximately Rs 500,000 – we somehow managed to find a wedding planner who offered to do the job in Rs 700,000, including the stay in Jaipur. Our demands included a Bollywood dance party and all the Indian wedding rituals.”

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Bollywood and social media

Social media and Bollywood films seem to be a popular reason for the spark in interest. In India, weddings are never a one-day affair, celebrations last for at least a week. From the famous Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas wedding to the grand Ambani weddings, marriages in India are a lavish affair and become viral globally.

According to the timesofindia.com report Taylor Jones, a photographer based in Los Angeles said: “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,” added Taylor.

Aditya Venugopal, an event planner in India told Gulf News: “We have had clients tell us how beautiful the rituals like henna and haldi (a practice of relatives applying turmeric paste on the bride and groom) are, and the grand festivities attract them.”

Even Hollywood stars like Heidi Klum, Elizabeth Hurley, and Katy Perry, have popularised desi weddings abroad.

Ceremonial weddings

The article quotes Delhi-based wedding planner Jennifer Gomes who said: “Almost 90 per cent of the marriages are not legal, but ceremonial in nature, so as to escape the long waiting and bureaucratic process.”

Apparently, to get legally married in India, one must stay there for more than 60 days, and there’s a waiting process to get your marriage registered.

“It is the same for Indians going to places like Amsterdam and Las Vegas to tie the knot,” explains Jennifer.