India sees around ten million weddings in a year, and each one of them is different to the others that come before and after it. An Australian start-up is now taking advantage of a market for people who want to visit Indian weddings and take in the culture. Their solution? Just buy a ticket. Here’s how it will work.
It used to be that if you wanted to attend a wedding, you had to be invited. Of course, the practice of crashing weddings after masquerading as a distant relative just for the food is a long-held practice, but it’s a shady one, even in a country tolerant of shady activities such as India.
Now, though, you could attend an Indian wedding even if you didn’t know anyone there. Australian start-up Joinmywedding.com specialises in selling tickets to people from overseas who want to experience the extravaganza that is the big fat Indian wedding. The story goes that the founder, Orsi Parkanyi, was having a conversation with a friend who was going to India to attend a wedding, and when Orsi told another friend that she would like to go too but had no invite, the friend also admitted to the same feeling.
That brought on the eureka moment.
It suggested to Parkanyi that a market might exist for people like herself and her friend, who would love to witness the cultural explosion that a typical four-day Indian wedding is, even if they don’t have invites. Now, with the setting up of their portal, all you need to do if you want to attend an Indian wedding is to log in and purchase a ticket.
What this idea allows Indian couples to do is to convert their weddings – usually expensive affairs – into cost-effective solutions. Instead of spending upwards of 10 lakh rupees on a wedding (which is what even a small one costs these days), you could put up a certain number of tickets up for sale which will recoup some if not all of the expenses. This can make weddings entrepreneurial ventures where couples could do detailed cost-benefit analyses like a business event.
In addition to this, Joinmywedding.comg also allows couples to crowdfund their weddings by creating a page and inviting friends and relatives to chip in with monetary contributions. Thus they’re positioning themselves both to wedding goers and wedding planners.
As of today, the website is selling tickets to 10 weddings, in places as varied as Udaipur, Mumbai, Haridwar and Indore. Once you buy a ticket to a wedding, the hosts will nominate a family member to guide the guests during the wedding and explain to them the cultural significance of each ritual etc. Ticket prices start around the $300 mark.
Since there are reportedly 10 million weddings in India every year, with each one trying to outdo the previous in grandeur, this could be a potentially big market for the trio of founders of the start up. Right at this moment they’re still self-funded, and they’re trying to build a sustainable model from commissions, but they’re not ruling out future funding opportunities once a robust business model is built.
So if you want to attend an Indian wedding and don’t have an invite, the solution is simple. Buy a ticket.