You haven’t been to India, until you’ve been to an Indian wedding,’ reads the catchy tagline of a tourism firm, reportedly thriving by pairing India-bound tourists with Indian couples set to get married.
If anyone reading this is planning a big fat Indian wedding—you know the sort of extravaganza that goes on forever with Bollywood music blaring and scotch on tap—you can earn some hard cash in foreign currency, thanks to a boom in what’s called ‘experience tourism’ where foreign travellers to India are encouraged to ‘experience’ the country instead of just seeing it.
And what can be a more exotic experience for a tourist from a cold and damp European country than a warm, heart-throbbing Indian wedding?
‘You haven’t been to India, until you’ve been to an Indian wedding,’ reads the catchy tagline of a tourism firm, reportedly thriving by pairing India-bound tourists, including gap-year students, with Indian couples set to get married. Join My Wedding advertises itself as a ‘unique platform which lets you invite foreign travellers that are interested in really getting to know the Indian culture to your wedding’. It is aimed at the kind of traveller who “seeks out genuine cultural experiences”.
“If you’re seeking to broaden your horizons, then a traditional Indian wedding should be at the top of your list. It’s the place where all the elements of a culture collide in one, huge, unstaged celebration,” according to its founder, Orsi Parkanyi.
This is how it works: couples register their weddings on the website, upload a photograph and information for international guests about the fees and days they are invited.
They also include a short write-up of their ‘relationship story’, whether it is an arranged marriage or a love match. Most Indian couples who register tend to be in their 20s, and from less conservative families. The going rate is between £120 and £250 per head to attend one or more days. The majority of the fee is retained by the couple.
The website is full of breathless testimonials from both the paying guests and hosts. ‘It was the coolest thing I did in India. The food, the people, the culture—you get everything!’ says an Austrian guest.
Urvi Ambavat and Paras Sah, a wedding couple from Mumbai, write: ‘My family couldn’t wait to meet our special guests on the big day and explain all the beautiful Indian wedding traditions to them.’ Any takers?
Source: National Herald