From beach to desert, dream weddings are just a click away
, TNN|Sep 2, 2013, 05.01 AM IST

PUNE: Devyani Kumar, an interior designer, knew exactly the kind of wedding she wanted. She had been planning it for four years. But as the big day approached, all her carefully made plans seemed too far-fetched to be realized.

A friend suggested an online wedding planner. With some hesitation, Devyani approached the site.

She says, "I wanted to get married in Goa, maybe on a beach. And I wanted all the trimmings such as confetti, sparkling wine and imported chocolates. There were only two months left for the wedding, when I approached the site. But the organizers made everything picture perfect."

Boutique owner Anurag Verma says, "When I decided to get married, both my fiancee and I decided that we will plan our own wedding as we did not want our parents to do the running around. Three months later, we realized that it was no cakewalk. So, we decided to rope in an online wedding planner and we have never regretted the decision."

Many couples today are turning to online wedding planners for their big day. They make sure that everything is in place for the wedding - from the sangeet and mehendi ceremony to the after-wedding party. But the quality hassle-free service means the charges are quite steep.

Rohit Taneja, who along with his wife Shalini, started a wedding planning site, says, "When Shalini and I got married two years ago, we had to do a lot of running around. My parents were too old and Shalini's mother lived alone. And we had no siblings, so the onus fell on us. We realised how difficult it can be to a prospective bride and groom to arrange everything."

Shalini says, "We did not have the time to enjoy our wedding. We were too busy planning. So, we decided to help other couples with similar issues. . Due to all the running around we did for our wedding, we knew the basic things required for a good wedding.

Our services include arranging for caterers, flower decoration arranging for cars and planning our client's honeymoon among others."

Wedding planners Meher Raza and her friend Jasmine Shaw say, "We started with a matrimonial site and soon realised that there was lacuna for wedding planners.

We did a lot of research and came out with a wedding planning website, last year. This site is a one-stop solution all the wedding needs. We have a host of services from boutiques to salons listed on our site.

We specialise in theme weddings. In the previous wedding season, a couple approached us for a Rajasthani-themed wedding. We arranged for folk artistes, typical

Rajasthani cuisine and traditional Rajasthani attire for the bride and groom's family and friends."

Even as the price of gold skyrockets, the great Indian wedding industry is still thriving. Entrepreneurs feel that the rise in the prices of commodities and the economic slowdown has not really affected the business of these sites.

Entrepreneur Abhik Sen says, "My site got a good response after it was launched.

Soon after I launched my website, a couple approached us to plan a wedding in Mahabaleshwar. With a guest list of about 250 people, it seemed a bit daunting as they were our first client. But we pulled it off and got three more contracts later."

These weddings are out-and-out lavish affairs. In many cases where the wedding is a 'destination wedding', i.e, travelling to a completely different location than the bride and the groom's hometown - the guest list is often small. This allows the couple to spend more on luxuries.

A city-based wedding planner though claims that the wedding planning sites have affected the business. "Earlier, we could not take up all the assignmentsbecause of want of time. But now with these sites cropping up, our business has slackened.

These sites have a pan-India appeal and can also get you services from any part of the country. It is difficult to keep pace with them," he said.

Popular wedding themes and cost

Beach wedding: Rs 35 lakh

Desert wedding: Rs 40 lakh

Aqua-themed wedding: Rs 15 lakh

Colour coordinated wedding: Rs 10 lakh

Bollywood wedding: Rs 25 lakh

Celebrity wedding: Rs 60 lakh

Palace wedding: Rs 45 lakh

Yacht wedding: Rs 45 lakh

Miscellaneous costs

Special photography session: Rs 1 lakh

Choreographed sangeet: Rs 3 lakh

Imported food and drinks: Rs 15 lakh

Monogrammed return gifts: Rs 10 lakh

Complimentary gift baskets: Rs 5 lakh

(All are base prices)