How did Matrimony Directory come about?
Bharat Matrimony, which was set up in 1996, was actually toying with the idea of setting up an online directory to cater to the needs of wedding shoppers around three-four years ago. But everyone was reeling under the recession soon after, and the company was concentrating on the community-specific matrimony sites. Over time, we began to get feedback from our clients online, who wanted to streamline their wedding shopping experience. On July 12, we set up Matrimony Directory, which has 30,000 vendors listed in 20 categories (and 30 sub categories) of wedding-related services all over the country —wedding planners, caterers, beauticians, astrologers, bridal wear retailers and so on. We even have vendors offering ghodis and bandwallahs. The directory has a database with all their contact details, which engaged couples can refer to the moment they decide to take things ahead from the website.
How does the service work, say, right after a couple is engaged?
We have no way of knowing if the people who have met through our website are engaged. So, when a user deletes his/her profile, or is inactive for 60 days, we contact them. On an average, 1,000 profiles are deleted everyday and almost 75 of them do so because they have found someone. A relationship manager from Matrimony Directory contacts the user and briefs them about this service and the offers from the vendors.
Is there a particular segment of users or users from specific parts of the country, or community, who stand to benefit from this service?
Not really — any member from any community can use Matrimony Directory. The vendors who have registered with us offer wedding services in all ranges. There are those who have luxury products, too — for instance, we have vendors listed for couples who would want to hire a BMW for the baraat instead of a regular sedan. Or someone who wants to print wooden wedding cards instead of the usual glossy paper. I think the service will benefit couples who move cities for jobs — or NRIs — but usually get married in their hometowns. So, say, a North Indian couple working in Mumbai and Bengaluru will mostly decide to get married up north, say in Delhi. Shopping in a city you leave behind years ago isn’t easy. You wouldn’t know the best designer, caterer and planner in the limited time you may have left before the wedding. That’s when Matrimony Directory comes in — you can check out the vendors services online in a particular city, compare his/her services with another, and make an informed decision.
Can couples narrow their search to look for services in specific localities in their city?
We plan to introduce this service sometime this month itself, where, say, a couple in Mumbai can look for vendors only in Dadar alone. Also, as of now, we give the couples’ details to the top three vendors in the categories they choose. In the next two months, we will begin providing the vendors’ details to the couples, too.
‘It’s the Yellow Pages of a wedding’
Twenty three year-old Priyamvadhe (who wishes to be identified only by her first name), is from Chennai and lives in Mumbai. She found her Delhi-based fiancé online and is currently shopping for the wedding with the help of Online Matrimony Directory.
Has the website simplified your wedding shopping?
Yes. Contrary to what I heard from people about how stressful wedding shopping can be, I just go online, look at the various vendors offering the things I need, compare them with others, and get what I want. My fiancé and I are from Chennai and that’s where the wedding will take place. I’ve lived away from home too long and have no idea about what the shopping scene is like out there now.
Which services have you availed of from the website’s vendors?
I chose my wedding beautician from the website — something that matters to me the most for the D Day. I saw her work online and she’s just what I had been looking for. The wedding cards’ drafts, too, are mailed to me by the vendor I found on the website, so I can approve them accordingly. Earlier, I’d just Google my way around, but I didn’t know how much I could trust the service providers. Also, the fact that I want a traditional wedding ceremony, but a contemporary reception, is being taken care of by the decorators and wedding hall providers.