This Australian startup is selling tickets to Indian weddings so foreigners can truly experience them

There’s nothing quite like witnessing a big fat Indian wedding. Indian weddings are an unparalleled experience in itself- almost like a four day festival of delicious food, meeting relatives, wearing your best outfits and shaking your leg to the choreographed dance sequences.

Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

Turns out the founders of an Australia-based startup also asked themselves the same question.

And, soon, a website that allowed curious foreign tourists a chance to experience Indian weddings for a fee was born.

Thirty-three year old Australian startup mentor Orsi Parkanyi had the eureka moment when a friend told her that she was travelling to India to attend a wedding.

“I wished I could go too, but sadly I didn't have an invite,” she reminisces. But it was only when another friend confided in her that even she wanted to go did she realise that there exists a market for such a service.

She then collaborated with Hungary-based strategy consultant Marti Matecsa, got Mumbai-based brand and marketing consultant Pallavi Savant on board and launched a month ago.

Matecasa’s interest in Indian weddings developed when she made it to a traditional Indian wedding in the state of Tamil Nadu. From the traditions and generous hospitality to the beautiful saris and spicy flavour, Matesca revealed that she’d not only loved every bit of it, but realised that she was having an experience of a lifetime.

As of today, their website offers tickets to 10 weddings- which include ones in the Indian cities of Udaipur, Mumbai, Haridwar and Indore. Once you buy a ticket to attend the wedding of a particular couple, they will nominate a family member to act as a guide for the travellers and explain them the rituals while taking them through the event. Tickets to these weddings start from $300 (roughly Rs 20,000).

One such couple selling tickets for their wedding on the website is Rajasthani couple Lavina Purohit and Abhishek Paliwal. The Bengaluru-based software engineers are all set to be married in traditional ceremonies that will be held in Udaipur and Indore over a span of four days in January, next year.

The duo are offering 10 two-day tickets to either city for $400 (about Rs 27,000) and 10-four day passes to the entire wedding celebrations in both the cities, which includes all forms of transportation for $550 (Rs 37,000)

Additionally, the website also offers bookings for weddings in Russia, Hungary and Turkey, though the company is clear that is India that they want to focus on.

The reason being that when it comes to cultural experiences, nothing beats weddings, especially the ones in India- with their rituals and grandeur, said Parkanyi.

Apart from selling tickets to foreigners, the website also allows couples to crowdfund their wedding by registering online and asking their friends and families to chip in for their big day.

Until now, the trio has bootstrapped and built without any external funding. The idea is to raise money through the 15% commission they charge on the sale of tickets and the flat crowdfunding fee. The team has also tied up with Indian travel agents in order to host more weddings on the website and also, spread the word around.

India reportedly sees 10 million weddings each year, all of them much more lavish than the previous one and opening up one’s wedding could also help in lightening the financial burden, though on the other hand, it could also make it a much more commercial occasion than a personal event.

Regardless, there’s no doubt that there exists a sizeable market for such a service to work in the country.

The next time you know someone who wants to attend an Indian wedding, ask them to buy a ticket.

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