When steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal hired Vaux le Vico-mte, a 17th century chateau and garden in France, for the marriage of his daughter in 2004, it made headlines. Of course, there were many who whined about such a staggering show of opulence that started with the engagement ceremony at the Palace of Versailles, once home to Louis XIV and a lavish dinner for the guests at the Jardin des Tuileries on the right bank in Paris. It seems that the Mittal wedding has started a trend among Indians, not very surprising considering we are on a 24x7 Bollywood diet of such over-the-top functions.
Since everyone cannot do a Mittal, there are 'less-expensive' options also: the Indian wedding has even reached the Formula One race tracks of Monaco, where instead of super cars, it's now horse hoofs that are pounding the ground. Last year, the CEO of a luxury company on a white mare led a procession of guests there, backed up by two caparisoned elephants. Their destination: a five-star hotel in Monaco for a Rs. 44 crore Indian wedding. Not surprisingly, the tourism boards of South Africa and Mauritius are also eyeing people with deep, deep pockets and offering fairytale, custom-made weddings.
While there is a case for Indians going to foreign locales, why can't we Indians indulge in some serious wedding tourism? Along with beautiful locales, we can also add a dash of 'India': for example, there could be a game for the bride and the groom called 'A Test of Patience': where both will have to search for a house in Delhi or Mumbai, drive through the maddening office-hour traffic in our metros and put up with forced candlelight dinners four times a week. Then there could be something like 'Test Your Adjustment Skills' where the two will have to make space for huge numbers of relatives from each others' families and their various demands. Such eye-openers from the Indian marriage book will surely help couples live happily ever after.