Our culture is rich with customs and traditions, and a wedding is a glorious culmination of them. It brings together spirituality and celebration in the most beautiful form, and there is no greater joy for a family to host a wedding surrounded by their friends and family. The 5-day extravaganza of dancing, singing, eating and general merrymaking brings the family together in a way that no festival does.
COVID-19 changed all that.
The trend of intimate weddings started to gain popularity ever since Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli decided to tie the knot in the presence of a very select few. The pandemic made it a necessity. A limit of 50 people meant getting married with only your close family members while the rest joined online.
Thankfully, the ebbing of lockdowns has bought renewed cultural pursuits back into the mainstream. Emmy Awards held this year brought stars out in their usual decadence but with the addition of masks and sanitisers. Even though guests had to present vaccine proof and negative COVID-19 tests, and the event was much smaller than its pre-COVID versions, the fact that so many people were seated in an enclosed arena drew the ire of Seth Rogen, who felt it was all too close for comfort.
These concerns are intensely valid and apply to any celebration that involves big gatherings.
Everything about the way weddings once were has been affected – from food and service to live music and dancing—even the contents of welcome gifts for out-of-town guests has shifted to accommodate the expectations of what is ultimately safe.
Who doesn’t miss the sight of oldies gossiping in corners, younglings flirting with each other and children running around with gay abandon, zip-zapping through everyone? The odd, tipsy uncle, aunties hunting for the perfect damaad while some busy eating while criticizing the food in equal measure were usual sightings at any Indian wedding that the current version misses.
Even though we might have moved past the ‘Zoom Weddings’ phase, The Big Fat Indian Wedding, what once was, might not return to its original avatar for some years as people have realised the advantages of smaller gatherings.
Though brides and grooms don’t have to get matching masks with their outfits anymore, couples have started to questions doing over the top, lavish weddings where the pomp and show have nothing to do with the actual two people involved. Why spend a bomb and not be able to do everything you wanted just because you and your partner’s family insist on inviting 500 people!?
Surrounding oneself with those whom you are truly comfortable with, hiring the best services in your budget and saving the rest to reach your life goals seem like smart choices. If prudence isn’t your thing, you can even choose to do the wedding of your dreams by spending more on things that you might have otherwise had to sacrifice or scale down significantly to account for larger guest lists.
In the long run, only time will tell if people will revert to the bigger the better, or will new-age values replace older extravagant ones.
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