Recession lowers lustre of UK's larger-than-life Asian weddings

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London, Dec.22 (ANI): The global financial downturn has affected Asian weddings in London, which have been known for their flamboyance, as most couples here are now reluctant to indulge in glamorous and extravagant ceremonies.

It looks nagging concerns about the global economic downturn and rising unemployment have taken away much of the glitz and glamour from high-profile Asian wedding ceremonies in London.

The majority of the Asian weddings are famous for being lavish, but the financial crisis has made couples think twice about their wedding budgets, and even led them to approach banks for loans for getting married.

A lot of couples are reluctant to hire a wedding planner due to the financial crisis and have chosen to arrange ceremonies on their own.

"We had thought of the idea of a wedding planner but to be honest, we laid out the option, and we found most of what they could offer, or were willing to offer, was something that we felt comfortable doing (ourselves) and wanted to do (it). You know, it's something much more of a memory when you pour much more of your time and effort into it, rather than leaving it with somebody else; if you leave it with somebody else, the final touches - you won't get exactly the way you want them, at all," said Faizal, a newly married bridegroom.

He added that it's better to spend on other things, from the honeymoon to buying gifts for friends and relatives, rather than spending on a wedding planner.

For many couples, getting married is a luxury and for wedding planners, these are frugal times with more Friday weddings being arranged in London, which are cheaper than weekend affairs.

Sanjay Anand has been a wedding planner for many years and caters to the more affluent Asians, which comprise about 20 percent of the Asian community. He says that people now approach him asking for value for money during these difficult times.

"We are in a recession, and people know that most businesses are going to be a lot more flexible today than they were a few years ago. So we would do the same and yes, people do ask us, "How can you better the deal?", "What can we do to reduce the cost?", and it's easy to say, "Nothing. This is my price," but you may not do the business. So it's important to assess what the client wants and then to service them in the manner to keep them happy," said Sanjay Anand, a wedding planner.

According to Gita Srivastava, country head of the matchmaking portal, the recession has made couples tone down their marriages.

"The formats of the marriages are a little different. I think it would very, very elaborate previously, but marriages are a little toned down. Also, there is a new, interesting format: people are getting married on Fridays whereas they used to get married on Saturdays and Sundays. So they're thinking that on Fridays they are getting a little discount not the venues that they choose to get married in, and availability is also more," said Srivastava.

Before the financial crisis, relatives and friends of the couples, usually numbering around 500, used to attend various ceremonies, but now the trend is to cut down on the number of guests.

Wedding planners estimate that in the next decade, more and more couples would prefer to not have extravagant weddings.

The wedding industry in the UK is estimated as being worth over a million pounds. By Centhiya Chandran (ANI)

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