Delhi’s charming Chandni Chowk, whose name means ‘moonlight market’ has seen a rise in demand for the ‘perfect lehenga’, embroided and pleated long skirts.
However, this market hub for all things matrimonial is not the same glorious place it used to be when built in 1960. Now, the market has been taken over by the chaos of haggling ‘bridezillas’ and stressed out agents.
Due to growing wealth and disposable incomes, modern-day brides are now willing to spend more than ever. Over the past two years wedding lehengas have doubled in price and on average cost about 50,000 rupees, in Chandni Chowk. This will surely continue increasing over the years, since the wedding market in India is growing at 15 to 20 percent annually, according to matrimonial website shaadi.com
This old wedding market has maintained its popularity despite numerous boutiques and malls opening across Delhi. Why? Bargaining power. Prices cannot be manipulated in boutiques, but in Chandni Chowk, manipulation, negotiation and bargaining is a common and accepted approach. Additionally, buyers can buy fabric and materials in order to get their garments custom-made by their own tailors. Chandni Chowk is also well-known for its replicas of designer's garments.
However, this matrimonial market is feeling the pressure to keep up with changing market trends and rise in competitors. Now “you have to be different and at the same time, you have to be price competitive,” said Ayush Gupta of Apsara Sarees in Chandni Chowk.
A recent market trend is western fusion garments. “Now brides are more inclined towards western culture so they want to wear a gown at the wedding, but plain European gowns won’t work. There has to be some kind of Indian work on it.” said Gupta, who helps run his 40-year-old family business in Chandni Chowk.