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The fat Punjabi wedding gets fatter

The Punjabis, known for their zest for life, vivaciousness and of course, the bhangra, know how to pull out stops when it comes to celebrating. Well, what better occasion to celebrate than a wedding in the family? Punjabi weddings are full of grandeur and celebrated with great pomp and show. The Punjabis are known for their elaborate wedding rituals.

chandigarh Updated: Feb 19, 2015 10:08 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu and Usmeet Kaur
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu and Usmeet Kaur
Hindustan Times
Chandigarh,wedding rituals,Swiss chocolates

The Punjabis, known for their zest for life, vivaciousness and of course, the bhangra, know how to pull out stops when it comes to celebrating. Well, what better occasion to celebrate than a wedding in the family? Punjabi weddings are full of grandeur and celebrated with great pomp and show. The Punjabis are known for their elaborate wedding rituals.

HT City finds out how people in the state never fall short of making their weddings even grander.

An invitation to remember

It is the first step towards sealing the deal and telling your friends to mark the date and it has to be nothing short of the best. From including Swiss chocolates with the card to desi laddoos, sweets are the ‘flavour of the card business’.

Kawaljeet Saini, a graphic designer at Rinkle Cards, Ludhiana, said, “Many like to get an exceptional card designed for their wedding, the one that stands out, for which they tour several cities. This keeps all card makers on their toes as without being creative, we may soon be out of business.”

Sahil Malhotra, manager at Chocovic cards, Ludhiana, adds that pouches made of silk and velvet are used for carrying different sweets, along with wooden and basket styles.

“We make our own chocolates, traditional sweets, and at times import nuts and roasted almonds that can be presented with cards. Wooden boxes and baskets that are presented can be used for other purposes later. One of our wooden boxes with an installed clock turned out to be a massive hit,” underlined Malhotra.

Jalandhar-based Shahil Sharma, who recently got married, had come all the way to Ludhiana to select her wedding card. “The basket I selected carried the card, some Punjabi sweets and namkeen creatively packed in pouches. Many of my relatives are now using it for keeping books and magazines. This style is here to stay,” she said.

Harpreet Singh, from Bhatinda, and his fiancé have unanimously decided to add their caricatures on the cards, which will be part of a wooden box packed with chocolates and dry fruits.

For those of you who are looking for a more economical option, you can always send invitations to friends and relatives via Facebook and Twitter.

Being candid in front of the camera

If your Facebook feed stays bombarded with DSLR clicked pictures of lovelorn couples at different monuments and parks from Delhi and Agra, you know what we are talking about.

Couples go to places such as grand parks, historical forts, farms and forests along with their professional photographers to capture their ‘natural pictures’ showcasing their love.

Harinderpal Singh and Arunpreet Kaur, who recently got married, chose the historic Baradari Gardens in Patiala for a pre-wedding shoot, while Nabha-based Rattan Singh and Maninder Kaur went to a fort and a village near Ludhiana where they spent about four hours giving their best romantic shots. “We had to obey the commands of our photographers just like actors who follow their film directors on the film sets,” they fondly remembered.

The photography sessions are not just for the bride and the groom. A lot is in store for the family too. “We are told to focus on the immediate family members along with the bride and the groom,” said Amritsar-based wedding photographer Sukhdev Singh.

“The trend today is to reach the residence before the functions begin and capture candid moments of the immediate family members and shoot what we call ‘behind the scenes’,” he added.

Meanwhile, travel shoots have also gained immense popularity. The bride and the groom are taken to historical destinations and other such interesting locations where they can get comfortable (in arrange marriages) so as to capture those moments. If that wasn’t enough, couples even take to varied themes and colours for their pre-wedding as well as post-wedding shoots.

Fancy drones and new age wedding albums

Drones, often known as ‘helicams’, have also gained immense popularity in weddings in the recent times.
However, the local police station needs to give permission before they can be used, informed Karan Kamal, managing director at Kamal Studios, Ludhiana.

“It was first shown in one of the scenes of Bollywood film 3 Idiots. Anyone hardly anticipated then that it would get so popular as to capture wedding videos a few years later. Remote-controlled, it catches the aerial view and is quite fanciful,” said Kamal.

Talking of new age wedding albums, wedding photography is no longer about posed appearances with forced smiles. The advent of technology has changed the way our wedding albums look. The majority has already bid adieu to the traditional albums and switched to candid photography.

“Nowadays youngsters are very clear about they want. We are told to focus on immediate family members besides the bride and the groom. The trend nowadays is to reach the residence before the functions and capture candid moments of the immediate family members and the most important and in vogue is to do ‘getting ready pictures’,” shares Sukhdev Singh, an Amritsar-based photographer who runs the photography label, named Heartworkers. According to Sukhdev, candid and normal photography can never be replaced by drone. “One can capture three to four aerial shots at the most through a drone, but it is through candid photography that we capture the most precious moments,” he added.

Going musical

An increasing number of prospective couples want international bands to perform at their weddings.

Punjab-based wedding planner Bhanu Ahuja revealed that the demand for international bands was indeed very high and that Bollywood singers stand as the second choice.

“In Ludhiana itself, at least two international music bands perform every week. However, the performance is not loud, lasts for nearly two hours and is followed by a DJ dance party. Many Bollywood singers are also in high demand. The band groups from Delhi are the next preference incase an international band is unavailable,” said Ahuja.

Time to learn from South India

While working on this assignment, I was exposed to many examples, which reaffirmed my belief that most Punjabi families use weddings as an opportunity to show off wealth.

I happened to attend a conversation of a wedding planner with his prospective clients in his plush office. He was showing them videos of different wedding themes, international bands, and renowned Bollywood singers and actors he could arrange. After every video, he shared an enormous amount that such a package would cost. “Well, I can get you top actors including Kareena–Shareena who will come for about ten minutes at your wedding. She will go to the stage to hug the couple and talk to their parents, which will make the guests feel as if the actor is like your family friend.

She may also touch your parents’ feet as a kind gesture. But for each minute there is a special price in which I can offer you some discount if you finalise by this evening”, he’d said to his clients.

I could not help but wonder that if we could make South-Indian food a part of our daily lives, why we, here in the North, can’t adopt their simple ways, especially the way they getting married?

But looking at the current wedding trends in Punjab, I am not sure if this change is going to come anytime soon. (Rameshinder Singh Sandhu)

Popular wedding albums trends

In this wedding season, people are opting for non-cluttered wedding albums, designed in a rather systematic manner.

New-age albums are designed in a sequential manner to highlight the synchronisation of the events, often referred to as the ‘story-telling’ format using collages.

3-D printing is in vogue where embossed highlights are showcased, for example, the embossed highlight technique is used to lay focus on the bride’s jewellery.

Flush mount album binding is in vogue which prevents folds between the two pages.

Other popular trends

Luxurious settings with colourful canopies.
Exotic floral decorations.
Theme weddings.
Foreign bartenders.
Posting photographs of the wedding live on WhatsApp and Facebook for friends who could not make it.
Simple and classic wedding albums.

First Published: Feb 19, 2015 08:51 IST