Couples in India Sell Tourists Admission to Their Wedding

Surabhi Chauhan, a Delhi-based fund manager, discovered a new concept on weddings when she got married last November with nearly 400 guests attending her wedding. Two of those guests on the list were people she has never met before: Carly Stevens and Tim Gower.

Stevens and Gower are Australian travel bloggers, who paid roughly $200 for a two-day invitation to Chauhan’s wedding through a start-up named ‘Join My Wedding.’ “The concept was pretty new,” Chauhan told CNBC, adding that she discovered the start-up while booking her wedding venue. “We were also getting to know people from other countries. We were very much excited and open about it, given the fact that it was new.”

“We were chatting and coordinating, we had a brief introduction about each of us, what exactly we do, our respective profiles (and) what are the arrangements that will be there, the kind of attire they’re supposed to wear — all those conversations happened,” Chauhan said.

Join My Wedding allows Indian couples to list details regarding their wedding on the website. Then, international travelers can purchase tickets to the nuptials they desire to attend. Most of the revenue from the tickets will go to the couples, however, the start-up does take a portion.

“If you think about it, there’s nothing more cultural than a wedding because you have every cultural element present: The local people, local food, customs, the outfit, the music, basically every cultural element is right there,” the start-up’s co-founders, Orsi Parkanyi, told CNBC.

Parkanyi went further into details, explaining the idea for Join My Wedding came from her own experiences in missing out on her friend’s personal weddings. The company chose to focus on Indian weddings primarily, because they are  “world-famous” and most non-Indians do not get the opportunity to attend one unless through their own personal connections. Parkanyi reports, travelers attending more than 100 Indian weddings through the start-up to date.

“Experiencing all the cultural elements at once, meaningfully connecting with the locals in India, that’s a huge motivating factor for the travelers,” she said. “It’s a safe experience. You attend an event with hundreds of people, you’re a distinguished guest, people look after you.”

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