Simplicity and Punjabi weddings don’t go together. Cocking a snook at the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee’s (DSGMC) diktat, in July, banning ostentatious ceremonies, Delhi’s Punjabis are getting ready for the usual ‘leg, peg and pomp’ routine as the shaadi season begins.
“A Punjabi wedding without tandoori chicken and Patiala pegs is unheard of,” says Dilpreet Randhawa, 28, whose over-the-top wedding takes place at a Chattarpur farm this November. DSGMC had ordered Delhi’s one million-plus Sikhs to boycott elaborate weddings serving meat and alcohol. Wedding ceremonies should be held in a gurudwara, with few guests, it had said.
Two months after the diktat was issued, wedding planners are being flooded with orders for big fat Punjabi weddings. “For a guest list of 500, the cost of décor alone touches Rs 4 lakh,” says wedding planner Swati Pandya Sood of Bollywood Secrets. “For one wedding, we have fusion décor with imported flowers, fountains, fish bowls with coloured water etc,” she says.
“Just the entry of the bride and groom, with groups performing bhangra in front of them, costs up to Rs one lakh,” says Rachna Narang of Wedding Rose. Add to this, the rent for the farm, catering, drinks, décor, music and the cost of each ceremony touches Rs 10 lakh. “This does not include the ring ceremony, mehndi night, sangeet, cocktails and the reception,” says Gurjeet Grewal, whose daughter marries later this year.
DSGPC president Paramjit Singh Sarna cautions, “None of Delhi’s 350 gurudwaras will issue marriage certificates to families that violate the guidelines.” But he is clueless about how to implement the order. “We will have to trust the families if they say they had a simple ceremony,” he says. Some families plan to have the wedding in the gurudwara and lavish parties before and after. “I was invited to one such wedding, but I refused,” says Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee’s president Avtar Singh. “SGPC is in favour of this social reform, but the big question is how to monitor these marriages.”