Relationships: The virus vs. the big, fat Indian wedding
The lockdown has left its mark on relationships: while singles are resorting to virtual dates, separated couples are hooked to different video apps.
But still others did the unthinkable – got married during the lockdown! For instance, 27-year-old Payal Pandey, business development manager in Dubai, refused to let a virus get in her way. She scaled down her wedding plans and got married in an intimate ceremony in a hotel room with her parents in attendance.
“Our families had been planning a big destination wedding at Lonavala since January 2020 and when the coronavirus hit, things started looking hazy. Fortunately, my fiancé had returned to India from Australia just before the travel ban came into effect, so our families decided to make it happen!” she recounts.
The groom, Vijay Reddy, who works with Australian government, drove to Mumbai from Hyderabad and was ousted by two building managements before he could find a room at a hotel where he married Payal. The newlyweds went to Australia as soon as they could. Payal’s mehendi ceremony happened in a car in India!
Meanwhile, advertising agency owner Pratik Doshi, 35, also insisted on going ahead with his wedding, which was held at home with most guests attending via Zoom.
“There was no mahurat (auspicious day) after June so we saw no point in delaying the wedding,” he says. “Our
wedding was scheduled for April, so we postponed it for a while, hoping the lockdown would ease. But finally we decided to just marry.”
The legal route
Part of the difficulty of holding even a small marriage ceremony during the lockdown was the fact that most government offices were closed. This was tough on 25-year-old Sephra Abraham, a consultant, and her then fiancé, 26-year-old Yash Joshi. The two of them live and work in separate continents and had decided to marry in India this April – but the lockdown tried their patience.
“The registrar’s office only opened on May 20, and finally Yash and I were legally married,” says Sephra. “Coordinating our dates of arrival and getting our families together was the main reason why we decided to get married as soon as we got a date.”
When the registrar’s office finally opened, Sephra and Yash, who were located in different parts of Mumbai, were given only an hour-and-a-half to get to the court before the senior officer was scheduled to leave for the day.
Meanwhile in New York, Prerna Menon, a mental health clinician, and her partner Sam Ayn Uretsky, married in reverse during the pandemic. They had already been married at New York’s City Hall in 2019, but were planning a big Jewish-Indian (J-Indian) wedding in 2020. Then the pandemic happened, so they got engaged again instead. “We wanted something to celebrate and Sam, my wife, proposed to me wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Will you marry me again?’” laughs Prerna.
While the lockdown has impacted the wedding business, Neelam Madnani, one of the co-founders of The Vow Weavers by N & N, a wedding planning agency, is hoping for the best. “We were working on a wedding scheduled for April but due to the lockdown it had to be postponed because the families didn’t want to cut down their guest lists,” she says. “Luckily the vendors and properties have been very accommodating in terms of refunds and the change of date.”
Unfortunately, most wedding planners and others involved in the business of weddings are suffering. “Most couples have postponed their weddings, but a lot of them have cancelled outright, either choosing to hold a small ceremony at home or shifting the wedding to another town,” says Neelam.
Coronavirus has brought a new discipline into our lives: the need to sanitise. Thus bridal make-up gets a whole other layer, says Parul Garg, a make-up artist.All make-up brushes are sanitised, the artist wears a face shield, the premises are frequently fogged and temperature checks are carried out often.
“We have some brides booked for June and are hoping business will pick up from there, but with positive cases rising every day, no one is quite sure how this will play out,” says Parul. “Our hope is that before the peak season arrives in November, we will have this under control.”
From HT Brunch, June 21, 2020
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch