Gone are the days -- at least for several more months -- when hundreds of guests thronged weddings. Now restrictions on gatherings, including weddings, in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus has led to thin attendance at the celebratory events.
And one thing indicating this downturn in celebrations is the drastic dip in demand for invitation cards.
A visit to Chandni Chowk -- one of the biggest markets that caters to the need of those looking to shop for invitation cards for weddings -- is enough to tell one about the downturn in demand after the pandemic.
Customers for wedding invitation cards are few and far between and most shopkeepers can't help but gaze at their shops' doors while looking for the elusive customers.
"Our businesses remained shut for months but have since resumed. But there isn't any increase in demand as many restrictions on social gatherings like weddings are still in force," Krishna Murari Gupta, President of Delhi Wedding Cards Association, told IANS.
"Many people have postponed weddings in their families while other have turned them into closed family affairs with very limited number of attendees, directly affecting not only our wedding cards business but also other businesses connected to weddings," he said, adding that virtual market too had greatly impacted their business as people were now shifting to e-cards and WhatsApp invitations.
Vijay Kumar, who is into wedding cards business for over 30 years, said: "My business was shut for over seven months. However, after we resumed it, there has been no improvement in the dull sale. Before the pandemic, if a customer normally ordered for over 200-300 cards, now the demand is limited to only 30-40 cards."
"WhatsApp has also gravely affected our sales -- people now make WhatsApp e-cards and sent these to family members and others. Another category of customers get very few wedding invitation cards printed, click their pictures and share them online with scores of relatives and friends they intend to invite, which is hugely affecting our business," Kumar added.
A wholesaler, Ashwani Mehta, told IANS that though the wedding season was on there was no spike in his business due to restrictions imposed by the government.
"This has not only affected our wedding cards business but all activities connected to weddings, like catering or putting up of tents or 'pandals' and flower decorations," Mehta remarked, adding that the wedding industry business had dipped by around 70-80 per cent. (IANS)