Say 'I Do' in the Metaverse: Exploring Virtual Weddings
According to experts, traditional and metaverse weddings are expected to coexist in the near future.
Dinesh Kshatriyan, who got married in 2022, shared that they held their wedding reception in the metaverse after the COVID-19 pandemic hit and disrupted their plans. The wedding ceremony itself was held in-person at his wife's hometown.
Abhijeet Goal and Dr Sansrati became India's first couple to get married on a 3D Metaverse platform called Yug Metaverse. The ceremony was conceptualised, organised and executed to replace traditional weddings.
Here, the wedding market in India is expected to grow significantly over the next decade, with revenue reaching Rs 3.68 lakh crore, according to a KPMG report.
The metaverse is also expected to be a part of this growth through "metaverse weddings", where traditional elements like khoomars and carnations can be digitalised, as a replication of the real deal.
Although Indians have a reputation for hosting lavish and extravagant celebrations, experts believe that the metaverse has the potential to enter this long-standing cultural tradition. While there are advantages to a metaverse wedding, such as flexibility, reduced costs, and the ability to create affordable destination weddings that bring together guests from all over the world in a more immersive way than Zoom, it is not yet legally recognized by the state.
This raises two important questions: Why would Indians consider metaverse weddings, and how would it be feasible in the current landscape?
“Virtual weddings are easier to arrange without compromising on the experience. With 3D simulations, destination weddings become even more possible. You can now have your wedding in locations such as the Louvre or Hogwarts Castle. Moreover, all wedding rituals can be carried out from anywhere in the world, lowering costs and creating a more sustainable environment,” Rao stated.
Asked why Indians would take the metaverse turn, Lokesh Rao, co-founder and CEO of fashion and lifestyle metaverse company Trace Network Labs, highlighted two aspects: affordability and sustainability.
Geographical flexibility exists in terms of both destinations and people. “Invite guests from around the world with no boundary limitations. Create special invite links for them to log in, providing an immersive experience like no other. Why not add an extra touch of creativity and send wedding cards as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT)? Guests will use these NFTs as a pass to the virtual wedding, and your special day will be secured!”
Online weddings in the metaverse really kicked off from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nationwide, stringent lockdown meant little choice but to adapt to other ways of celebrating, but the pandemic may have been more a kickstart to a "new norm" instead.