Gone are the days when the demure Indian bride sat at the mandap and waited for the groom to arrive on a bedecked horse. Things have changed, and how, with more and more brides opting to make a stunning entries at their weddings.
“Brides, and very often both the bride and the groom, want to make spectacular entries, one that is unexpected and will not be easily forgotten,” says Candice Pereira, co-founder of the wedding planning company, Marry Me Weddings. “Many brides prefer traditional entrances like in a doli (palanquin) or on an elephant, but this season, we’ve also had couples explore options like entering through a snowfall, or even a spaceship replica!”
Like entries, even the exit or the Vidaai ceremony, is getting more special than usual. Actor Gul Panag, for instance, turned traditional on its head when she exited her wedding in a motorcycle with a sidecar, wearing aviators. “I had no plans of making an entry, but I was very clear that I didn’t want to go away in a conventional doli,” Panag says. “The bike was my brother and husband’s idea. The sidecar was specially manufactured on order since I told them I won’t sit in it if it had sharp edges, as I was wearing my mother’s wedding lehenga. So, they got it lined with velvet.”
Wedding photographer Kalyan Yasaswi, who has covered many celebrity marriages, has been a witness to a lot of grandeur at the ceremonies. “The ones that I remember the most are where the bride enters in a doli carried usually by six people to even a 20-man army on some occasions. In some Telugu weddings, the bride is brought in, in a basket that is carried by her uncles,” he says. However, the one entry he remembers most is when a bride entered the wedding hall with a column of Sri Lankan women dressed as apsaras (celestial nymphs) dancing ahead of her entourage.
“Another entrance idea that is also popular is a flash mob. The couple makes a grand entrance while performing to a song, and a couple of minutes later, their friends join and break into an impromptu performance,” says Pereira.
Wedding planner Priya Agarwal has been involved in many events where the bride takes centre-stage with a flamboyant appearance. “One of the weddings I organised, had the bride sit inside a huge rose flower, which was wheeled in by her bridesmaids. The silk petals fell apart to reveal her sitting inside,” says Agarwal. She feels that the novelty factor of the helicopter and the hot air balloon entrances is past its prime. “Brides want their entrance to be talked about and are very involved with every aspect of the wedding preparations. They want to upstage the traditional groom who makes his entrance on a ghodi (horse),” she says.