Marriage Season in Hotels

By Sharmila Chand

They say marriages are made in heaven. We have little knowledge regarding that but we know that weddings are nowadays celebrated in style, in high-end hospitality properties in India.

Organising a wedding banquet within a specified budget,   not only meeting but also surpassing guest expectations, offering innovative ideas, making sure carpets, furniture, furnishings, lighting are all in sync, and above all curating a great menu and serving most efficiently…the challenges in organising a memorable wedding at the hotel is no mean task. 

Wedding Trends in Hospitality

I talked with some hospitality industry professionals about the latest trends in wedding banquets pertaining to India’s hospitality industry. I also discussed what kind of innovative ideas they have executed to generate good business in this segment and what are the kind of challenges they have been facing to put up a good show, to the utmost satisfaction of their clients.

“The concept of wedding at banquets has evolved with time and now a hotel is not only a place to host events anymore. It has become a home for the family and for the guests. Nowadays a hotel can also be construed as a destination where guests can turn their moments into memories and embed them to their hearts for ages to come,” proffered Srijan Vadhera, General Manager, Fairmont Jaipur.

“Keeping this in mind, the banqueting team of hotels has to prepare for the upcoming events so as to be prepared for what the guests expect and more to be about what they don’t expect. We go a step ahead when it comes to weddings and with the experience of hosting weddings from around the globe, we know what has to be delivered and when,” he elaborated further.

“Earlier, farmhouse weddings used to be in trend but now destination weddings are on the rise. Nowadays, youth believe in having a more personalised and unique experience and therefore, bride and groom actively participate to look into the finer details of arrangements of wedding,” pointed out Umesh Dalal, F&B Director, Crowne Plaza Today Gurugram.

“A lot of thought and efforts are put into the styling of wedding function in hotels. The emphasis is to create something new every time. Gift hampers for guests, props and selfie corners, quiz and games with prizes for guests, etc. have become very popular and require special arrangements,” averred Vinay Singh, the Director of Sales & Marketing,  Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet, Mumbai — Marriott Executive Apartments. 

“It is not only about the wedding ceremony now. A lot of emphasis is put on the pre and post wedding celebrations and functions associated with weddings as well,” Vinay added.  

“Wedding trends are evolving at a faster pace than ever. While lavish destination weddings have been around for some time, there is now a growing demand for smaller, more intimate wedding functions; not just restricted to the traditional wedding followed by reception party template, but involving pre and post wedding parties. Bachelor/bachlorette parties are also picking up. Menus are being designed with a theme well complemented by floral and interior designs,” articulated Amanpreet Singh Sandhu, Director of Sales and Marketing at Eros Hotel Nehru Place.

“With more inter-cultural and inter-faith weddings, emphasis on menu that can well satiate the gastronomical interests of both sides is also gaining currency. More people are opting for day weddings now,” Amanpreet informed.

“Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular and guests are preferring new destinations for the weddings,” pointed out Amanpreet.

Challenges in Wedding Banquets

There are several challenges for a hospitality property in India’s hospitality industry towards organising a wedding banquet. According to Umesh, adhering to time schedule is an important challenge in this regard.

“Maintaining internal resources in time is another challenge, because of many last minute requirements or addition in rituals to be performed,” he conveyed.

“Moreover, with the change in trend every year, it is very difficult to come with different or unseen theme or arrangement for a wedding banqueting, which is what many married to be couples expect these days,” asserted Umesh.

“Dealing with huge number of wedding guests at a given time is a major challenge for the banqueting team of hotels,” affirmed Srijan.

“As far as our hotel goes, challenges in organising wedding banquets also depend on our geography. Rajasthan is the land of desert and the major weather challenges faced here are the scorching Sun of the day and the frosty terra firma in the night. As the wedding venues are lawns and rooftops, these geographic impediments affect the ease of event in a big way. At Fairmont Jaipur, we make sure to provide every suitable option to our patrons, while keeping in mind these factors,” disclosed Srijan.

“Licenses and permissions for playing music (live and recorded) are expensive, which is a challenge in organising wedding banquets with us,” said Amanpreet.

Srijan went on to discuss various crucial facets of hosting wedding banquets in hotels. “Let us take the case of décor. It holds a very different meaning for different guests; one loves it to be simple and serene and the other admires regal decor. We make sure that we give their ideas the wings to fly,” he articulated. 

Another aspect that needs utmost care while planning a banquet is of course, the food. “We specialise in the art of presenting the delicacies from every nook and corner of the world. We focus on planning the menu and buffet in a way so that it caters to the vivid diversity of guests,” Srijan affirmed. 

Savvy Measures

There are several measures hotels are adopting to garner more and more revenues from wedding banquets. “Cross-selling is one way which has contributed towards an exponential increase in the business in Fairmont Jaipur with various packages devised for the wedding guests such as access to spa, salon, in-room dining and 24 hours dedicated lounge and bar services. These are the strategies which have worked in our favour,” elaborated Srijan.

“Different themes, set ups and creating a wedding station to which our guests can refer to for their upcoming wedding event, are among the measures to enhance revenues from weddings,” informed Umesh. 

Facilities and Services

And what are the gamut of offerings at the hotels for guests wanting to host their weddings?  “We are fully adept to look after clients’ needs in weddings, from their intimate ceremonies to pre & post wedding functions to offering salon and bridal packages in the hotel. We truly offer a one-stop shop for comprehensive wedding needs of our guests,” expressed Amanpreet.

“At Eros Hotel Nehru Place, we have an array of banquet spaces, indoors and open areas to accommodate gathering of all sizes. Every year, we add new choices in our menus besides working closely with our floral and designing vendors for curating new themes,” he added further.

“Dream weddings don’t just happen, they are planned. The devil is in the details as they say. Attention to every little detail is at the crux of any successful event. 

Our team makes sure that weddings are planned with the minutest details getting full attention. The staff is trained enough to help the client/s to determine an overall vision for their wedding and accordingly execute each detail,” expressed Vinay.

“Our staff is well experienced to handle any kind of crisis, which can crop up during hosting of a wedding. Weddings at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel are nothing short of fairy tales coming to life. Hotel provides state-of-the-art hospitality and delectable cuisine to the guests.  With ample space and a skilled in-house team at the hotel, here one can bring life to one’s imagination for one’s special moments. Spread across 15 acres of lush greenery and located on the banks of Powai Lake, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel is a peaceful lakeside venue that is ideal for an ethereal wedding celebration. In fact, our hotel is a tailor-made destination to host weddings,” elaborated Vinay.

“Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel’s expert wedding planners will help craft everything from exquisite indoor and outdoor wedding venues, bespoke menus, lavish accommodations, rejuvenating spa and salon services and much more, to ensure the wedding is unforgettable. At Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, we feel that we are able to combine the various facets to deliver one awesome wedding,” Vinay affirmed.

“Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel has the much needed expertise in conceptualising and designing stunning structures, coupled with presenting an elaborate and sumptuous buffet for creating the perfect wedding aura. Besides creating the perfect ambience, the hotel also extends overall logistical support in terms of audio, video, parking, security, etc. for organising an ideal wedding celebration,” Vinay added further.

“We offer variety in terms of food, venues and themes within our hotel, without being repetitive and monotonous. This facilitates wedding celebrations. Respecting client’s budget, we customise in terms of pricing and offerings. We package our proposition attractively with other facilities such as accommodations, laundry, spa & salon, and transportation facilities where client finds more comfort and value,” offered Amanpreet.  

“As far as banquets go, our main focus area as of now is the banqueting lawn, which has a large scope of hosting corporate and social events with much ease and efficiency. It is equipped with a separate kitchen and service area, which makes it a perfect venue for MICE and wedding events,” pointed out Srijan.

“Our rooftop outlet ‘Aasma’ offers a picturesque view of the surrounding Aravalli. It is one of the best venues for early morning events as well as for evening parties and dinners,” Srijan said while adding, “The pool set amidst the four lawns is an ideal venue for pool parties and rain dance; it is also one of the exciting venues to host dinners and events.”

“Hosting wedding open days, attracting local clientele, and having a dedicated ‘Wedding Planner’ are three areas to focus more on, as far as our wedding business goes,” asserted Umesh.

“One central feature of organising successful wedding celebrations at Eros Hotel Nehru Place has been the quality of food, and our clients’ patronising us over generations for all their family functions is a testimony to that,” Amanpreet confirmed. 

“For us, every wedding is unique and special. We lay a lot of emphasis on fine details required by the about to be wed couple and the family,” he conveyed.

“We believe in thorough understanding of our clients’ needs by letting them speak their mind first & and only thereafter offering our suggestions,” Amanpreet maintained. 

“We also give them flexibility which eases their nerves and gives them a feeling of ownership of the venue they have booked for the duration of their event,” he added.

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