21September

COVID-19, ain’t got nothing on us! A low down on the new age Indian Wedding 101

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Are you planning a wedding amidst the global crisis? Or have you had to move your wedding or alter your plans? If yes, there may be so many thoughts running in your head and several nuances to consider! For instance, when is it actually ‘safe’? How many guests is it ‘safe’ to invite? Is any event even ‘safe’ today? This isn’t anywhere close to my dream wedding; how much should I compromise? Does this pandemic have the potential to obliterate all my plans? Wedding planning is anyway stressful enough, but to plan one right in the midst of a global pandemic is unprecedented! So, instead of wallowing in your lehenga, let’s rationalize this in our heads and take baby steps, one elegant Louboutin clad foot ahead of the other!

For starters, let’s mute, restrict or block all the ‘gloom and doom’ people on Facebook and Instagram and lean into faith and manifest only the positive, warding off all the negativity and ‘what ifs’ and ‘buts’. This will be a welcome addition to the pujas, rituals and offerings your mom or grand mom may be performing to please the various Gods, Goddesses and Demi-Gods so that they can annihilate this virus from our universe pronto! And let’s face it, a zen-like level of calm can only be God-given in such times.

With all the wedding stress mounting on you, you reach out to that much-needed glass of red Merlot and two drinks down, face time your bae frantically and since he’s from Delhi and you’re in Mumbai, there seems to be “poor connection”. We live in the 21st century where COVID has managed to sneakily make its grand entry but a good WIFI connection is virtually impossible. You then switch to voice call and when you finally manage to connect, the effect of the wine has already diminished. So, now your conversation centres around making revised quarantine honeymoon plans.

With all the wedding stress mounting on you, you reach out to that much-needed glass of red Merlot and two drinks down, face time your bae frantically and since he’s from Delhi and you’re in Mumbai, there seems to be “poor connection”. We live in the 21st century where COVID has managed to sneakily make its grand entry but a good WIFI connection is virtually impossible. You then switch to voice call and when you finally manage to connect, the effect of the wine has already diminished. So, now your conversation centres around making revised quarantine honeymoon plans.

After that phone call, you plummet into a whirlpool of emotions. Longing, because if flight restrictions weren’t there, the two of you would be meeting almost every other weekend. Uncertainty, wondering if you should just rethink the whole relationship and wait for this pandemic to end. Anxiety, maybe this pandemic is a sign from above to halt everything? “But wait wouldn’t that then be a global sign to halt every marriage on this planet? Besides, nanima had got our horoscopes matched and we all had that sigh of relief on being almost a perfect match with 32 out of 36 Gunas matching”! Disappointment, if not for this virus you’ll would have been on your honeymoon in Dubrovnik and of course Guilt, of giving so much thought to the cancelled plans when so many people are starving and struggling.

Amidst this mess in your head, your phone beeps with a text message, “Even though our wedding will look different now, our marriage will be the same and for that, I’m very grateful. You are an incredible person and more importantly “MY” person, and I can’t wait to be your husband! I would cross all hurdles and pandemics to make that happen.” And with this message comes a full stop on all negative thoughts and you get down to planning your big day!

Now you have to go for your dress trials wearing Hazmat suits and let’s face it only Naomi Campbell can manage to look sexy and not like a character right out of the Teletubbies cartoons in those! Besides oscillating between whether you should splurge on the ultimate Sabyasachi lehenga or settle for something more practical like maybe a Jayanti Reddy keeping with the sentiments of the current times; you need to first focus on how to enter that store which seems nothing less than crossing the threshold of a fortress with countless hurdles to overcome.

You have to enter with masks, goggles and gloves and once you are convinced that you look no less than a Michael Jackson lookalike; you have to cross the thermometer check as well as sanitise your hands. How much ever cumbersome this process maybe you want to make sure these procedures are all in place without which you would never have the confidence to step into that store. Because who are we kidding here; the phrase ‘shop till you drop dead’ not so funny anymore which gets you to thinking, wouldn’t the designer customise an embellished mask matching the dupatta?

Spa day with the girls has been cancelled because salons are too risky. Celebratory dinners and bachelorettes are afar off dream because restaurants and bars are closed. Court houses and religious places are shut. Baquet Halls have been abandoned and outdoor venues seem like the safest of all options. But if there’s one thing COVID has taught us all it is that we have no control and John Lennon’s words couldn’t hold more truth in them, “Life is what happens to you when we are busy making other plans.” In attempting to control it all, we will only be more miserable and disheartened. So, let’s hand it over to the experts, the wedding planners who literally have a solution to every problem. They have managed to even tweak the welcome hampers with fully equipped COVID kits besides all the wedding goodies. Look closely and you will notice every nuance that even you may have overlooked, will be carefully managed by these wedding experts. So instead of throwing a tantrum with every new rule that the government comes up with, let’s just process, shuffle and adjust.

And if this makes you feel good, when Carrie and Big tried getting hitched the first time, they increased their guest list from 75 to 200 and were photographed by Vogue in a Vivienne Westwood gown but alas things did not go as planned. However, the second time around, it was a city hall with no big tags and an after-party is an intimate brunch with friends. They made social distancing look good before it was even a thing and they didn’t even possess the technology we have now to make virtual, intimate weddings inclusive. Your takeaway? You can pull off a truly stunning wedding that is improvised and intimate but memorable, personal and classy! It’s probably going to be less about the elaborate décor, fancy flowers and scrumptious spread of food and more about telling your story and committing to each other in front of those you both hold dear perhaps even via live-stream for those who can’t attend but are still able to be with you in spirit. Your new makeup artist is YouTube, your new photographer, Facetime and a strong WIFI connection and music from Spotify Playlist or maybe even a solo artist playing your favourites melodies! This is fun, intimate packed with love, meaning and emotions and of course a great story to tell your grandkids!

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Although, this may not be the fairy-tale wedding you may have envisioned and your Pinterest is proof of how much thought you have given this day but let’s not mistake it for “not the real thing”. It will yet be magical for you because even though COVID is the worst wedding crasher ever, love and hope will never be cancelled. And think of all the money you saved which can be used on a big, fat, fancy honeymoon next year or maybe a big reception party next year.

So, let’s leave the rest to the professionals and don’t forget to wash those hands!

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