14th October 2020   •   feature
End of the big Asian wedding? How entrepreneurs in the industry are handling the Coronavirus

What was once a humble ceremony eventually became an epic occasion to keep hundreds of guests entertained at lavish venues.

British Asians spend around £1.25 Billion a year on weddings alone*. That spending is sometimes the life-blood of entire industries of entrepreneurs and workers. But the Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the industry, with most still waiting to return to normalcy.

So how are professionals coping? And do they think Asian weddings have changed forever?

Anup – Photographer at Pause Media

The first couple of weeks of lockdown was great. I managed to get through some of my editing and then chill for a few weeks but now I am just fed and frustrated with it.

There are so many traditions and customs to Asian weddings that are just not possible when you do all the safety measures. I don’t know how we are going to manage capturing guest photos, portrait pictures with the bride particularly if we are in a confined space. Just imagine looking at people wearing masks at weddings, when you look back at the photos, it might be hard to even recognise anyone.

Even when things go back to normal, I think Asian weddings will get a bit smaller. I don’t think it will be the end of the big Asian wedding but as people become more cautious.

Much of [my bookings] have been moved to next year but it is still uncertain and there is no stability because a lot of people have been affected financially and mentally, so I don’t know if people will want to spend big money on their wedding anymore.

Contact: anupandi.com and @pausemedia on Instagram

Selina – Hairstylist and Makeup Artist at Selina’s Salon

Some people began rebooking their weddings for next year and expected me to cancel existing clients for that date because in their eyes, they came first. I understand how Covid has affected them but I can’t just cancel other people who have booked ahead so I did have some hard conversations which did affect me.

I have had time to rebrand my business and also do some decorating to freshen things up. The good thing about lockdown is being newly married I have been able to spend more time with my husband, whereas normally at this time of the year I am out on the road at 2 or 3 in the morning.

I have one booking left for this year in October and nothing else because no one knows what is happening. I hope people listen and follow guidelines so that we can all get out of this situation sooner rather than later.

I don’t think Asians will think about cutting down on numbers (after the pandemic) because its tradition to have huge weddings with 400-600 guests.

Selina can be contacted on Instagram - @selinasalon or Facebook - @selinasalon

Nainesh Patel – DJ and Founder of Musical Movements

This was meant to have been the best year we ever had. We invested new equipment on the basis that we were going to be so busy and had so many bookings lined up.

We did our best to accommodate for rescheduling the weddings we had booked but we have had difficulties with venues and caterers who might not be able to do the dates that the couples wanted.

I’m confident things will return to some sort of normality eventually, even though this year is pretty much a write off. I think weddings will get smaller and I also think the industry will get more competitive. I know a lot of businesses in the industry that have a lot of large overheads and are struggling because they have no money coming in.

Weddings were getting bigger but now with Covid, I’m not sure if people are going to have the same sized budget. I tried to be active and did some Facebook/Instagram live shows which have been really successful.

Nainesh can be contacted on Instagram - @djrugratofficial and / or Facebook - @musicalmovementsuk

* We couldn't find any reliable estimates on size of the Asian wedding industry.
So we multiplied the estimated average cost of Asian weddings (£50,000) with the estimated number of Asian weddings (10% of 250,000 weddings a year in the UK). That gives us a figure of £1.25 Billion spent.
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Anish Parekh is a freelance journalist and writer.
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