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The changing role of families in Indian wedding culture


The International Day of Families, celebrated on 15 May each year, is a meaningful occasion not only to recognize the importance of families but also to examine their role in shaping cultural practices, such as weddings, in specific contexts. In Indian society, where weddings are of great importance and where the wedding market is a $50 billion industry, it is crucial to explore the evolving dynamics of families in this field. Let’s take a deeper look to understand the changing dynamics and emerging trends:

Making individual choices:

Traditionally, Indian weddings are initiated, decided and planned by parents and elders, with limited input from the couple. However, in contemporary Indian society, there is an increasing focus on individual choices and preferences. Couples are increasingly empowered to make decisions not only about choosing their partners but also about weddings, guest lists, their choice of wedding venues and vendors, as well as every possible detail about their special day. Families happily adapt to this paradigm shift by embracing the wishes and aspirations of the couple, encouraging personal autonomy while providing guidance and support as we see an increased focus on prioritizing couple’s happiness in celebration.

Collaborative Planning:

Gone are the days when wedding planning was only the responsibility of the bride’s family. Today, families on both sides are actively involved in the planning process, creating a collaborative and inclusive environment. Parents and siblings of the bride and groom discuss ideas, share responsibilities, and work together to organize an unforgettable event. There is also a growing trend of many events being shared between families. This group sharing fosters stronger bonds between families and fosters a sense of unity, as they collectively embark on a journey celebrating love and commitment.

Changing financial realities have led to a reassessment of areas of expenditure

Indian weddings have always been known for their extravagance, with elaborate ceremonies, lavish decorations, and extravagant feasts. However, the changing financial reality has prompted a reassessment of areas of expenditure. So while on the one hand many families opt for intimate and budget-conscious celebrations, we also continue to see budget weddings, the common denominator in all being personal experiences. This shift has led to a more balanced and inclusive approach, where families come together to contribute their resources, distributing the financial burden equally, lightening it for both sides, and ensuring a memorable wedding without compromising on quality. We’ve also noticed that couples financing their own weddings has become very popular in India, especially among millennials. Our data survey revealed that nearly 40 percent of them have contributed in some way to the new normal.

Redefining Habits:

Due to cultural shifts, families have become more open to everyone’s ideas and preferences. This also leads to a shift in societal norms and traditions. These days, families are redefining customs according to the preferences and comfort of their loved ones. For example, our September 2021 data survey reported a 76 percent increase in demand for non-saya wedding dates. Although this increase was primarily driven by the pandemic and cancellations, it remained the same as depicting the change in the mindset of the new generation. This shift is also evident in multiple other customs such as dividing the gifting between the groom’s and bride’s families, the acceptance of a female priestess, and the abandonment of traditions such as Kanyadan and Bada’i.

Blending tradition with modernity:

As families adjust to the changing dynamics, they also strive to preserve their cultural heritage. The changing role of families in Indian wedding culture involves finding a delicate balance between respecting tradition and embracing modernity. Families reimagine rituals, incorporate new elements, and experiment with innovative ideas while staying rooted in the core of their cultural practices. This harmonious blend of tradition and modernity reflects the evolution of Indian society, as families celebrate their customs while embracing the winds of change.

The changing role of families in Indian wedding culture reflects the larger shifts taking place in society. With an emphasis on individual choices, collaborative planning, financial prudence, gender equality and cultural sophistication, Families is redefining the way weddings are organized and celebrated. Not only do these changes foster stronger bonds between families, but they also enable individuals to embrace their uniqueness. As Indian weddings continue to evolve, the changing roles of families serve as a testament to Indian society’s adaptability, inclusiveness, and flexibility while constantly reminding us of the fact that no celebration is complete until you have your family to celebrate it.

(Anam Zubair, Chief Marketing Officer, WeddingWire India)

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)


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