Even until a few years ago, the Indian father of the bride used to be the ever cautious, timid and subservient father – always in fear of & displaying reverence towards the daughter’s in-laws. He would over- pamper and over-indulge the son-in-law, and let himself be taken for granted by the daughter’s new family.
Today however, there is an emergence of a new kind of confident, seeking to be on equal-footing, assertive and firm father of the bride.
3 major behavior changes that have triggered this change in the Indian mindset?
- The New Age wealth creators are bringing up their girl children with confidence, liberal thinking and self-reliance as key values. When these new age women blossom into the age of marriage, their self-confidence reinforces the confidence of the fathers.
- New Age daughters (even from the middle classes) who are confident, self reliant, capable and pursuing viable careers, are picking new age husbands who are more broad minded – responsibility & work sharing. They seek more casual & friendly relationships – rather than stereotypical age old relationships.
- & yes there is the rise of the new age son-in-law as well to give due credit to men.
But the phenomenon is majorly being driven by the first 2 factors, ably aided by the 3rd.
How does the rise of the new age father of the bride impact categories & brands – Pre & During the wedding and Post the wedding?
Pre & During the wedding:
New Behavior 1: Daughter is gifted not “stree dhan”, but indulgent (non-imprisoned in the locker) valuables. Daughter is gifted independence & confidence & not dependence & conformity.
Categories Impacted: Bridal jewelry, increase in share of everyday jewelry, Personal Fixed Deposits / financial tools (instead of cash ), personal electronics (gadgets and devices), personal automobiles, etc.
New Behavior 2: Daughter’s Marriage ≠ Debts or Depleted Retirement Fund for father of the bride . Gifting is focused not only on groom’s side, but also on bride’s side now.
Categories Impacted: Non-gifting of major assets – e.g. apartment, automobile, etc. (Intention is to not spoil the groom / groom side by excess pampering from the beginning, rather let them earn these gifts with good behavior post marriage, i.e. if the bride’s family is well-to-do).
Getting de-burdened from groom-side gifting leaves more wallet-share to indulge own family. Hence we see the rise in spends on: Employing wedding planners (to give the bride her dream wedding), the bride’s outfits, jewelry, make-up, photography, etc., the bride’s parents and immediate family’s clothes, jewelry, etc.
Also on better accommodation for bride’s side (hotel bookings, travel bookings, etc.)
Post the wedding:
New Behavior 1: Gifting the daughter & the couple more. Lesser to the groom’s family. (Post-marriage gifting a choice & not a burdening compulsion)
For the Daughter: Fashion, luxury, etc. for the daughter (indulging her dreams rather than her needs).
For the Couple: Holiday experiences, apartment, etc. (gifting intimacy for the couple or escape / distance from the in-laws).
New Behavior 2: A more relaxed, indulgent lifestyle post daughter’s marriage. There is a rise in spending on self & spouse.
Categories Impacted: Holidays, automobiles, consumer durables, fashion and apparels, more frequent renovation / refurbishing of house, club memberships, etc.
New Behavior 3: With the increased desire for indulgence, there is a noticeable increase in risk appetite as well as the need for quicker wealth multiplication to indulge more.
Categories Impacted: Mutual funds will become more a part of active financial portfolio (might be more open for short term higher earning, higher risk mutual funds), insurance might be in the form of ULIP, acquiring properties (Holiday properties like farm houses, etc., and also flats / apartments which they can rent out), etc.
Note: These category implications are SEC agnostic and some truths could be relevant to the middle class segments while some could be relevant to the rich class Indians.
A few strategic instigations for certain categories, brought alive:
Business opportunity 1: Pre-wedding Scenario
Gold was often the choice of jewelry for the daughter’s wedding. Gold shines yet is malleable (adjusting – like the daughter is told to adjust in her new family). Gold is the metal of investment & wisdom (that was expected of the daughter – to be wise with her new family’s money).
In this changed scenario, along with gold – a diamond can give a message to the daughter to not take any unnecessary exploitation/pressure. To be as tough, to shine as individualistically and to indulge in her own happiness as well (and not just adjust & sacrifice).
Business opportunity 2: Pre/Post-marriage Scenario
The older generation father of the bride used to be cautious with money, even after marrying-off the daughter. ‘My daughter’s marriage is just the beginning of a new set of financial & emotional responsibilities for me. Maybe my son-in-law will require money, birth of a grand child, gifting to her in-laws on festivities etc;’
The new age father of the bride however indulges & feels that the time has come for his second youth. “Main toh apne sab doston ko dekhta hoon na… jinke bete hain… bacchon ki shaadi ke baad bhi koi na koi tension… kisi ko bahu ki… kisi ko business ki… is liye main sab ko kehta hun… bhai betiyaan acchi hoti hain… bete jaisa daamaad le aati hain aur koi tension bhi nahi rehta. Hum toh ab zyaada enjoy karte hain… who log holiday bhi plan karte hain toh beta ya bahu ‘kyon’ pooch hi lete hain… hum toh ekdum free birds hain…”
In the India Vs Bharat dichotomies, every truth has a contrary truth…equally true. Hence India & Bharat are also seeing the emergence of a new mindset, borne by tectonic shifts in gender liberation, gender equations and the after-effects of a liberalized economy.
In this case, lets raise a toast to the new age bride & more specifically the new age father of the bride. Here’s to hoping there are more such risings for mutual & social profitability.
Special Mention: Illustrations by Rohit Keluskar – An NID graduate (National Institute of Design), graphic designer/illustrator based out of Mumbai.