Report Overview

We conducted a market sizing analysis to assess the size of the Indian international destination wedding market. By merging survey data with publicly available statistics, we gained a comprehensive view of market dynamics. With the global destination wedding market forecasted for growth, there are ample opportunities for travel businesses in the tourism sector to enhance their offerings and cater to this lucrative segment.

This report provides context and insights into the opportunity presented by this trend, analyzing trends, drivers, and economic impacts of the Indian international destination wedding market. Set against India’s expanding outbound travel sector, it focuses on key factors driving this trend, such as economic prosperity, a youthful demographic, and a thriving luxury travel industry.

To gain deeper insights, we surveyed affluent Indians aged 21 to 40 who organized an international destination wedding in the past year. The survey uncovered decision-making processes, trends, preferences, and execution details, including supplier choices and budget considerations, complementing our market sizing analysis and enriching our understanding of this market segment.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • The scale of the Indian international destination wedding market.
  • Reasons why Indian couples choose international destinations for their weddings.
  • Main decision makers involved in planning international destination weddings.
  • Primary markets where Indian couples prefer to have their international weddings.
  • Latest trends and preferences in planning and booking international destination weddings.
  • Common challenges faced by hosts, planners, and businesses in organizing these weddings.
  • Actionable insights for businesses looking to cater to the Indian international destination wedding market.

Executive Summary

The global wedding industry is experiencing a notable shift as more Indian couples opt for international destinations to celebrate their weddings. Skift Research’s survey reveals that this trend has created a thriving market, estimated at $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion) in outbound travel spending. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the Indian international wedding market, highlighting key trends, preferences, and challenges faced by hosts, planners, and businesses involved in organizing these extravagant celebrations abroad. The report offers actionable insights for businesses looking to capitalize on this burgeoning sector.

Wedding planners play a critical role in the success of international destination weddings, often serving as key decision-makers who influence various aspects of the planning process. Businesses can benefit from strategic partnerships and exclusivity agreements with wedding planners, ensuring a steady influx of Indian weddings to their venues and services. Accommodation providers, in particular, stand to gain by offering competitive rates and tailored packages for bulk bookings, catering to the preference among hosts for housing guests at a single location. Additionally, the data underscores the significance of online booking channels, highlighting the potential for targeted marketing efforts by OTAs and other platforms.

While international destination weddings currently constitute a smaller segment compared to overall Indian weddings, their rapid growth and significant economic impact cannot be overlooked. They not only offer a unique and memorable experience for couples and guests but also contribute significantly to the tourism and hospitality sector. Despite being less than 1% of all weddings, these extravagant affairs represent 5%+ of India’s international travel.


Introduction

The global wedding industry is undergoing a significant transformation, with an increasing number of Indian couples opting for international destinations to celebrate their weddings. This trend, fueled by a quest for unique experiences and a taste for luxury, has created a thriving market for travel and hospitality businesses. Skift Research’s survey estimates this market to be worth $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion) in outbound travel spending, indicating a clear upward trend.

This report delves into the nuances of the Indian international wedding market, shedding light on key trends, preferences, and challenges faced by hosts, planners, and businesses involved in organizing these extravagant celebrations abroad. From the pivotal role of wedding planners to the preference for online booking channels, this report offers a detailed analysis, providing actionable insights for businesses seeking to capitalize on this burgeoning sector.

Wedding planners play a pivotal role in the success of an international destination wedding, adeptly navigating the complexities of planning such an event. They emerge as key decision-makers, influencing various aspects of the wedding planning process. Businesses looking to tap into this market can benefit from strategic partnerships and exclusivity agreements with wedding planners, ensuring a steady influx of Indian weddings to their venues and services. Accommodation providers, in particular, stand to gain by offering competitive rates and tailored packages for bulk bookings, catering to the preference among hosts for housing guests at a single location. Additionally, the data underscores the significance of online booking channels, highlighting the potential for targeted marketing efforts by OTAs and other platforms. Understanding the preferences and behaviors of this niche market is paramount for businesses aiming to succeed in the Indian international wedding segment.

The Market for Indian International Weddings

Skift Research estimates that Indian destination weddings represent $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion) in outbound travel spending. International Indian weddings are a compelling and fast growing opportunity for the travel industry. 

Our survey data shows that, in terms of expenditure, the majority of newlyweds who had an international destination wedding in the last year strongly skew towards high budget weddings, averaging ~$200,000 (₹1.8Cr). This average is significantly higher than the typical cost of an Indian wedding, which is around ~$24,000 (₹20 lakhs) . This data informed the calculation of the overall market size.

The majority of respondents (70%) state that they stayed within their budget, but over a quarter (28%) reported going over budget. Additionally, 67% of respondents reported that their destination wedding was more cost-effective than a traditional wedding, with 27% reporting it was “much more” cost-effective and 40% reporting that it was somewhat more cost-effective. Despite the additional costs involved in travel and logistics, many respondents were able to stay within their budget or found the experience to be more cost-effective.

Contrary to the perception that destination weddings are more expensive than local weddings, this may not always be the case. By significantly reducing the guest list to include only close family and friends, couples can save on the costs that would typically be associated with a larger local wedding. Moreover, choosing a scenic locale can further reduce costs on décor and entertainment, as the natural beauty of the destination may eliminate the need for extensive decorations.

Indian International Weddings: A Growing Niche in the Global Context 

The global destination wedding market is on a steep growth trajectory, with an anticipated compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% between 2023 and 2033. During this period, market value is forecasted to surge from $30.3 billion (₹2.5 trillion) in 2023 to $103.5 billion (₹8.6 trillion) by 2033.

This growth becomes more significant when viewed against the backdrop of the broader wedding market in India and globally. Research by Ernst & Young and Deloitte indicates that Indian weddings constitute a $50 billion (₹3.7 trillion) market, or 25% of the total global wedding market. Known for their grandeur and cultural significance, Indian weddings are elaborate affairs with millions of weddings taking place annually in India, reflecting a significant cultural and economic investment by a large portion of the population.

Extrapolating from historical data, Skift estimates that 11 million weddings took place in India in 2023, with ~10,000 of them being international destination weddings, constituting 0.1% of the total. Despite being a small number of total weddings, the outsized spend on these occasions means that destination weddings contribute far more than their fair share to overall Indian wedding expenditures. Skift estimates that destination weddings represent 6% of the $30.3 billion (₹2.5 trillion) global destination weddings market in 2023. This indicates a substantial potential for growth, especially considering the rapid expansion of the global destination wedding market and the large share of Indian weddings in the global context.

The trend of international destination weddings is gaining traction, particularly among the luxury travel segment, as rising income levels have led to a shift in preferences towards more intimate and unique experiences. Post-pandemic, there has been a notable increase in the popularity of smaller, more exclusive destination weddings over traditional large-scale ceremonies. Reports from some high end Indian wedding planners suggest that around 60% of their weddings in 2023 were destination weddings, highlighting the increasing appeal of such events.

We believe that there are an average of 150 guests per international destination wedding. This means that international Indian weddings are generating ~1.3 million outbound trips per year.  To put these numbers in perspective, Indians took approximately 26.9 million trips in 2019 meaning that around 5% of all Indian outbound trips could be linked to weddings. Similarly, in 2019 Indian outbound travel expenditures totaled $28.6 billion (₹2.1 trillion) . Therefore, our estimate for a $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion) international Indian wedding market represents approximately 7% of this overall expenditure. 

McKinsey & Company’s recent report suggests that India’s outbound travel could surpass 80 million by 2040. This growth trend indicates a potential rise in the number of international Indian weddings in the future, as more Indian travelers explore destinations abroad. This, in turn, could further boost the significance of international destination weddings in the global travel market.

While international destination weddings currently constitute a smaller segment compared to overall Indian weddings, their rapid growth and significant economic impact cannot be overlooked. They not only offer a unique and memorable experience for couples and guests but also contribute significantly to the tourism and hospitality sector. Despite being less than 1% of all weddings, these extravagant affairs represent 5%+ of India’s international travel. These weddings have a ripple effect, benefiting other travel and tourism businesses at the destination, including shopping and extended stays. Moreover, the overall positive experience that guests take back with them can greatly enhance a destination’s reputation and popularity for Indian weddings as well as other forms of tourism.

Looking ahead, if Indian international destination weddings were to rise to $8 billion ((₹59.4 billion) in 2033, assuming the same CAGR as the global destination wedding market, they would represent 8% of the global destination wedding market, underscoring the substantial growth potential and economic significance of this segment.

India’s Luxury and Outbound Travel Boom Fuels Destination Weddings

The growth of the international destination wedding market is fueled by the increasing trend of luxury travel among affluent Indians. India’s economy is projected to experience substantial growth between 2023 and 2028, leading to a significant increase in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) whose net worth exceeds $30 million (₹0.2 billion). According to Knight Frank’s ‘Wealth Report 2024’ released in February 2024, HNWIs in India increased by 6% between 2022 to 2023, outpacing both Asia and the world. The number of ultra-affluent Indians is expected to surge by 50%, reaching 19,908 individuals in 2028, compared to 13,263 in 2023.

These numbers are indicative of how quickly the affluent segment is expected to grow in India, which is likely to drive the demand for luxury travel experiences in the coming years. This rapid growth in affluence is driving a corresponding increase in demand for luxury travel experiences. Recognizing this, destinations have made strategic interventions to maximize this opportunity. As part of a strategic initiative to enhance tourism, several countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have recently waived visa requirements for Indian and Chinese nationals for stays of up to 30 days. This policy change has expanded the options for wealthy Indian travelers, providing them with a wider array of exotic destinations to consider.

Moreover, our survey shows that out of the respondents who hosted an international destination wedding in the last 12 months, more than half of them have an annual household income of more than ₹2 crore (~$266,000). Currently this income segment represents a small high income bracket with only 0.02% of the population earning more than ₹1 crore (~$133,000)  in the 2023-2024 period. 

The rise in luxury travel among affluent Indians is closely tied to the trend of hosting international destination weddings. This suggests a strong correlation between high income and the preference for luxury experiences, including travel and weddings. As affluent Indians opt for high-end travel experiences, they are fueling demand for luxury accommodations, cruises, private tours, and personalized services in the international destination wedding market, benefiting a variety of travel businesses.

India’s outbound tourism is also expected to grow significantly, driven by its young population and rising income levels. Currently the world’s fifth-largest economy, India’s population has surpassed China’s to become the largest globally, totaling over 1.4 billion individuals. The country also has a notably young population, with a median age of 28, over ten years younger than that of most other major economies. This demographic advantage is expected to have a significant impact on outbound tourism due to a higher propensity for travel and exploration among younger individuals. 

India’s GDP per capita is increasing and is projected to continue on this trajectory. According to recent research by Bernstein, as India’s economy grows, travel expenditure will increase with 3% of each additional dollar of GDP per capita going towards travel. Indian travelers could embark on 80 million to 90 million trips annually by 2040. Recent projections point to the Indian outbound market reaching $15.2 billion in 2023, with an estimated 11.4% CAGR through 2032.

The international destination wedding market is being reshaped by a significant rise in luxury travel and overall outbound travel from India, fueling its growth and revolutionizing the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Tapping into the Indian International Destination Wedding Market

There is a clear, lucrative market for Indian international destination weddings that can generate economic opportunities across multiple businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors. This section delves into the rationale for choosing international destination weddings, key decision-makers, target markets, and more. Understanding the consumer dynamics and influential factors within this market is key to effectively tapping into it. 

Wedding planners play a crucial role in the decision-making process, particularly given the logistics of planning a wedding at a distance, and represent a valuable conduit for reaching this market. Businesses such as hotels, resorts, and venues can drive demand and access the market through partnerships with wedding planners. Similarly, DMOs can access the market by participating in wedding shows that work closely with wedding planners. Couples favoring a destination wedding are highly motivated by aspects of the destination itself, such as scenic beauty and culture, as well as the overall experience, desiring something memorable and unique. Therefore, highlighting these aspects in marketing efforts can be particularly effective. The target market for international Indian destination weddings skews more educated, wealthy, and older (25-30 years) than the average Indian newlywed. Understanding and catering to the preferences of this demographic can help businesses thrive in this competitive market.

Understanding the Rationale for Choosing International Destination Weddings

Our survey respondents’ motivations for choosing international destination weddings can be categorized into several key themes. These factors reflect an aspirational desire for a memorable, unique, scenic, prestigious, or adventurous experience. The following analysis breaks down these themes into destination-related factors, experiential factors, and considerations of intimacy and personal and family prestige to produce a quantitative analysis.

  • Destination: These factors relate to the characteristics or attributes of the wedding destination itself. They include:
    • Scenic Beauty and Atmosphere: The appeal of breathtaking scenery and a relaxed atmosphere is cited as a factor influencing the decision to have an international wedding.
    • Cultural Appreciation: Several respondents mention an appreciation for other cultures and traditions, which motivates them to celebrate their union in an international setting.
    • Opportunity for adventure and exploration: Some mention the desire to combine their wedding with an adventure, exploring new places and cultures with their loved ones.
  • Experience: These factors relate to the desires and experiences that the couples seek from their wedding. They include:
  • Desire for a memorable experience: Many respondents express the desire for a memorable wedding experience, believing that an international destination offers a unique and unforgettable setting.
  • Desire for Something different and unique: Many respondents express a desire to have a wedding that stands out from traditional ceremonies, seeking something different, exotic, and unique to cherish for a lifetime.
  • Intimacy: A destination wedding can provide a rationale for a more intimate wedding with fewer guests prioritizing the event and setting over the size of the wedding.
  • Personal and Family Prestige: These factors relate to the desire for a grand, luxurious wedding experience, often fulfilling a childhood dream or seeking to add prestige and innovation to the wedding celebration. They include:
  • Personal Fulfillment and Prestige: Some express the desire for a grand and luxurious wedding, fulfilling a childhood dream, or seeking prestige and innovation in their wedding experience
  • Dreams and Inspirations from influential figures: Several mention being inspired by celebrity weddings, such as Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding in Italy, as well as Bollywood actors, indicating that media and cultural influences play a significant role in their decision-making process.
  • Family and friends’ preferences: For some, the decision to have an international destination wedding is influenced by the preferences of their partner or family members, who may wish to celebrate in a specific location or have relatives scattered across the globe. 

Our survey results show that the majority of couples are drawn to the destination itself, such as its scenic beauty and atmosphere. Others are seeking a unique and memorable experience, while a smaller percentage prioritize intimacy or personal and family prestige in their wedding planning decisions.

Key Decision Makers

Wedding planners emerge as pivotal influencers in wedding spending, often surpassing the influence of the bride’s family or even the groom. Their role is particularly significant in destination weddings, where logistical complexities necessitate expert management. Our survey data reveals that 97% of Indians opting for international destination weddings in the past year engaged a wedding planner, underscoring their essential role in the market.

Given the substantial cost and logistical demands of destination weddings, it’s logical that couples rely heavily on wedding planners. As such, these planners represent a critical gateway for destinations and businesses seeking to attract Indian destination weddings. Collaborations with hospitality businesses, such as hotels, resorts, and venues, can be mutually beneficial. Exclusive agreements can channel couples to specific businesses, while participation in wedding shows organized by planners can enhance visibility. For instance, Tourism Malaysia has successfully engaged with wedding planners through such shows. Similarly, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has leveraged partnerships with wedding planners to access its robust market, which sees 60% of destination weddings coming from India.

Highlighting the pivotal role of wedding planners early in the engagement strategy can be key for travel businesses. Initiatives such as exclusive packages, promotional offers, or familiarization trips tailored for wedding planners can help position your destination or business as a preferred choice. Additionally, building long-term relationships with wedding planners through personalized interactions and regular updates about offerings can keep your destination top of mind.

Target Markets

International destination weddings are particularly popular among well-traveled individuals, indicating a preference for travel experiences outside of their usual routines.

When asked to categorize their travel style, a significant portion of respondents identified themselves as adventure or leisure travelers. Luxury travel also emerged as a notable category, aligning with the trend seen in the choice of destination weddings, where many couples are attracted to destinations perceived as luxurious or culturally significant. These factors should be central considerations in branding efforts targeting these demographics.

Nearly half (47%) of couples opting for destination weddings fall into the 25-30 age group and are highly educated, with 63% holding a master’s degree or higher. This demographic profile contrasts with the average age of marriage in India, which is around 23 years. This suggests that those opting for destination weddings tend to be slightly older and more educated than the general population. This observation aligns with data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), which indicates that a woman’s level of education in India is linked to a later age at marriage. Additionally, there are notable differences in marriage age between rural and urban areas, with urban dwellers tending to marry later. Wealth also plays a role, as wealthier individuals in India generally prefer later marriages.

The correlation between education, income, and urban living in the choice of destination weddings highlights the influence of socio-economic factors on travel decisions. Urban, highly educated individuals with higher incomes are more likely to opt for destination weddings, indicating a correlation between financial capacity, education, and lifestyle choices in the Indian context.

Destination weddings are a growing trend among Indian couples, who are drawn to the grandeur of international locations for their special day. Businesses in the travel and wedding industries can benefit from understanding the trends and preferences of this market. This section provides insights into the planning window, transportation, accommodation, booking channels, destinations, and supplier choices for Indian destination weddings based on our survey data, along with strategic recommendations for businesses looking to tap into this lucrative market.

Planning window

The planning window for Indian destination weddings typically spans 6 to 12 months, with 67% of respondents indicating that they began planning within this timeframe. However, 21% of couples reported planning their weddings in less than 6 months, highlighting the need for venues and suppliers to offer efficient planning solutions. Virtual site visits and digital planning tools can significantly reduce planning friction, making them attractive offerings for businesses catering to destination weddings.

A notable 10% of respondents planned their weddings 1 to 2 years in advance, indicating a varied planning horizon among couples. For suppliers and venues, this diversity underscores the importance of offering flexible policies. This could include flexible cancellation policies, early booking discounts, and the option to lock in rates well in advance. These measures cater to couples planning ahead while also accommodating those who prefer shorter planning windows. 

Transportation

Nearly all respondents arranged transportation for their guests, with most organizing it for all guests. This highlights the significant investment hosts are willing to make and presents an opportunity for transportation businesses to establish exclusive partnerships with wedding planners. For example, a shuttle service could offer discounted rates or special packages for wedding groups booked through a particular planner, ensuring a reliable and seamless transportation experience for guests. Similarly, airlines could offer group booking discounts or additional perks for wedding guests, enhancing their overall travel experience. Such partnerships can provide a competitive edge in the market and attract more couples planning destination weddings.

Accommodation 

The majority of respondents opted to accommodate their guests at a single primary location, while a smaller subset chose multiple locations across the destination. This preference offers lucrative opportunities for hotels, accommodation providers, and venues to capitalize on. By offering package deals and partnering with wedding planners, they can attract more destination weddings to their location.

Over half of the respondents favored traditional hotel options, including B&Bs, inns, resorts, and boutique hotels, for their accommodation needs. This indicates a strong preference for structured and service-oriented stays among couples planning destination weddings. Additionally, some respondents opted for vacation rentals like Airbnb and private residences, showcasing a smaller yet significant subset of individuals seeking unique and personalized accommodation experiences.

The preference for 5 or 4-star hotels among respondents aligns with the perception that international destination weddings signify luxury and exclusivity. Couples prioritize creating a lavish experience for themselves and their guests, underscoring the need for businesses to offer high-end amenities and personalized services.

Booking channels

Online platforms and travel agents were the preferred booking channels for accommodation and transport for destination wedding guests, surpassing direct bookings with accommodation/transport providers. While these channels are prominent, there is an opportunity for businesses to enhance their direct booking channels by offering unique experiences and personalized services. Additionally, forming partnerships with wedding planners can further expand their reach and impact, providing couples with comprehensive planning solutions and a broader range of services. This strategic approach can enhance the overall wedding experience, making these businesses more appealing to couples planning destination weddings.

Destinations

Large cities are the preferred destination category for Indian destination weddings, with over 58% of respondents favoring them over nature destinations (31%) and small towns/countryside (11%). This trend presents an opportunity for sub-national destination marketing organizations (DMOs), particularly at the city level, to market themselves directly. 

The preference for large cities could be attributed to the logistical ease of arranging weddings in urban environments. Large cities typically offer a wide range of venue options, accommodation choices, and transportation infrastructure, making them more convenient for couples and their guests. However, logistical challenges can still exist, and sub-national DMOs should aim to alleviate these pain points by providing support and guidance to couples planning destination weddings. By addressing these logistical concerns, DMOs can enhance the overall appeal of their cities as wedding destinations.

Regionally, the APAC region emerged as the most popular for Indian destination weddings, followed by Europe.

Skift’s sample of newlyweds cited various factors influencing their choice of destination, with no single factor dominating. Weather and climate conditions, scenic locations, and the availability of wedding planners were among the most influential factors. Influence from films or TV shows and cultural significance also played a role in their decision-making process.

The choices of high-profile Indian celebrities, especially Bollywood stars, significantly impact the trend toward overseas destination weddings. Italy, in particular, has been a popular destination for elaborate celebrity weddings, with examples also including the USA, the UAE, Thailand, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and even Kenya. Bollywood’s influence on Indian weddings extends to destination choices, as the choices made by its biggest stars have an aspirational influence on marital trends.

Supplier Utilization

A majority of respondents (84%) utilized local services and suppliers at the destination for their weddings. This reliance on local suppliers highlights the importance of a complex supply chain that can cater to the needs of destination weddings. Local suppliers and service providers play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth execution of weddings, capitalizing on the trend of destination weddings.

Challenges in Planning Indian Weddings Abroad

Planning a wedding from a distance presents several challenges, as acknowledged by respondents. These challenges often increase the couple’s reliance on local suppliers, expertise, and wedding planners, highlighting the opportunity presented to the destination economy by Indian destination weddings. Travel logistics, costs, visas, and accommodations were reported as the most significant challenges, with 25% of respondents facing these issues, followed by venue selection and guest coordination.

This underscores the importance of a robust local infrastructure and support system. Destination economies can benefit from this trend by providing comprehensive services and solutions to cater to the unique needs of destination weddings. For businesses operating in these destinations, understanding and addressing these challenges can lead to the development of tailored offerings that cater to the specific requirements of couples planning such weddings.

PM’s ‘Wed in India’ Push: A Political Roadblock

The trend toward international Indian weddings has faced political resistance, notably from Prime Minister Modi, who urged Indian families to host their weddings in India, advocating for a “Wed in India” movement akin to the “Made in India” initiative. This resistance underscores the economic potential of the destination wedding market. 

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has supported Modi’s initiative, viewing it as a timely intervention to prevent excessive currency outflow and to promote Indian businesses. They have launched a campaign to promote this idea among businessmen and civil society across India, seeing it as an opportunity to boost the economy and preserve Indian values. 

Encouraging Indians, particularly the wealthy, to get married domestically could generate an influx of ₹1 trillion ($13.5 billion) to the country, according to some estimates. This political push highlights the need for destination economies to adapt and innovate to remain competitive in the destination wedding market.

Methodology

To estimate the value of the Indian international destination wedding market, we adopted a comprehensive approach, integrating survey data with publicly available statistics. Initially, we assessed the total number of weddings in India, extrapolating from historical data and adjusting for population growth. The proportion of weddings designated as destination weddings, both domestically and internationally, was then estimated based on industry data and assumptions. We estimate that there were ~10,000 Indian international destination weddings in 2023, representing just 0.1% of the total Indian weddings in 2023. 

Subsequently, we calculated the average expenditure on international destination weddings by Indian hosts according to our proprietary survey. This calculation was derived from the mean expenditure of hosts who covered costs for all guests, providing an indication of the comprehensive cost for international destination weddings. We then multiplied this average cost by the projected number of weddings to determine the market size.With an average wedding cost of ~$200,000 (₹1.8Cr) and ~10,000 weddings, we calculated that the  value of the Indian international destination wedding market stands at $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion).

To validate our estimate, we compared this figure with various key metrics, including the size of the Indian wedding market, outbound expenditures, and the number of outbound trips. Considering the growth in India’s population, outbound travel, and the rising number of high net worth individuals, this value is expected to continue to increase.

The survey itself was conducted among N=~100 affluent Indians aged 21 to 40 who organized an international destination wedding in the past year. The survey uncovered decision-making processes, trends, preferences, and execution details, including supplier choices and budget considerations.

Conclusion

Skift Research’s survey and analysis of the market for Indian international weddings reveal a highly lucrative and growing segment, currently estimated at $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion) in outbound travel spending. This market is driven by a growing population and an increasing number of high net worth individuals, presenting compelling opportunities for businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors.

Key findings indicate that wedding planners play a crucial role in decision-making, with their influence extending to venue and accommodation choices. Businesses can capitalize on this by targeting wedding planners through strategic partnerships and exclusive agreements. The preference for 5-star hotels and the tendency to pay for all guest expenses at a single location present profitable opportunities for bulk bookings and special rates.

Indian destination weddings not only benefit venues and wedding planners directly but also contribute to the wider economy by stimulating additional spending in the destination. Guests extending their stay and returning home with positive experiences serve as valuable ambassadors, promoting the destination to others.

Key Takeaways for the Travel Industry:

  • Size of Indian Destination Weddings:  The market for Indian destination weddings is substantial, currently estimated at an impressive $1.9 billion (₹159.6 billion). This figure not only reflects the significant financial investment made by couples and their families but also underscores the economic impact of these events on destination economies. Moreover, this market is projected to continue growing, presenting lucrative opportunities for businesses operating in the travel and hospitality sectors.
  • Wedding Planners’ Influence: Our data reveals a significant sway of wedding planners in decision-making during the planning stages of international destination weddings. Recognizing the logistical challenges involved, couples and their families heavily rely on wedding planners. Directly targeting these planners in marketing efforts can enable destinations, venues, and hotels to tap into this lucrative market more effectively. By developing exclusivity contracts with planners for specific destinations, venues, hotels, and other businesses can further leverage this influence, attracting lucrative Indian weddings to their establishments.
  • Bulk Booking Opportunities: Our data clearly indicates a strong preference for housing guests at a single location. This presents an opportunity for accommodation providers to offer competitive bulk deals to wealthy Indians and wedding planners, especially if these deals are structured around the Indian wedding season.
  • Preference for Online Booking Channels: There is a clear preference for online booking channels, signaling to online travel agencies (OTAs) and other online platforms that this market is lucrative and worth targeting.
  • Targeted Marketing Insights: Marketers aiming to capture the Indian international wedding market should focus on luxury, adventure, and cultural significance. Weather and climate conditions also play a significant role in the selection process. Destinations that have hosted Indian celebrity or Bollywood weddings can leverage this association for marketing. Hosts generally prefer to house guests at a single location, with hotels being the preferred category, especially 5-star establishments. They also tend to arrange transport and accommodation for all guests. Additionally, the preference for international destination weddings skews towards the 25-30 age bracket.
  • Preferential Visa and Travel Arrangements: Travel logistics, including visa issues, are cited as the top challenges. Recognizing these challenges, several destinations have waived visa requirements for Indian and Chinese nationals for stays of up to 30 days. This strategy can elevate destinations on the list of prospective locations for hosts and planners alike.