What is it really like to have a monsoon wedding? We spoke to some planners
Any wedding is like an invitation to the universe to invoke Murphy’s Law — anything that can go wrong, will. A monsoon wedding is virtually a lightning rod in a storm. And standing right beneath it, is the wedding planner.
“If the wedding party — bride and groom, her parents, his parents — insist on getting married in the rains, we place our cards on the table,” says Nilma Dileepan of With Love, Nilma, a planning company in Bengaluru. Anything can, and probably will, happen.
Preparations get necessarily more complex. This can involve special, German, multi-layered, waterproofed, air-conditioned tents that look like ballrooms on the inside and are capable of withstanding a moderate gale.
Usually, there’s a backup indoor venue nearby. You need double the manpower because of the element of unpredictability. “And still, you are often faced with impossible situations. Just a couple of weeks ago, the rains wreaked havoc at a haldi and mehndi function we had put together at a farm,” says Swetha Katariya of Celebrations, in Bengaluru. “The food was ruined, the ground started to become waterlogged, and the generators just weren’t coming on.”
Celebrations had to move the entire party, including the band, to a nearby resort, where things picked up again thankfully, and the guests danced into the night.
As much fun as monsoon weddings look in pictures, it’s really not a thing for Delhiites, who typically invest very heavily in their big day, emotionally and financially,” says Ankiit Malhotra, creative director of Comme Sogno Vero (Italian for Dream Come True). “When you’re wearing Sabyasachi and have spent several lakhs on the set-up and decor, you pray for rain to play the least of the spoilers.”
A sudden storm can tell you a lot about your guests, planners say. At a destination wedding in Sri Lanka, a thunderstorm arrived unannounced. The marquee had been adorned with 1,000 bulbs and was open, on one side, to face the sea.
“Everything was going fine, until it wasn’t. There was no forecast and no rain throughout the day,” says Vikram Mehta of Mpire Weddings and Events, Mumbai. “Then the wind and showers came. The cake got blown onto its side, the wine glasses started flying around. But the crowd was friendly and supportive, and were actually cheering loudly.”
Nevertheless, the outdoor venue had to be abandoned. Mehta surprised the guests and saved the day with the backup hall he had already set up inside the hotel. As many a wedding planner will tell you, when it comes to monsoon weddings, there is always a plan B.
Considering the tediousness, why would anyone do it — get married in the monsoon? “Because it’s off season,” says Malhotra. “Everything’s slightly less expensive. Dates and venues are easier to get too, and it coincides with holiday season abroad, so guests can come from all over.”
You might need a fleet of cars to get those guests to you, assuming their flights land all right.
“For one wedding, the mehndi artistes couldn’t find transport to the venue because of a bad storm, so we had to deploy one of the wedding cars,” says Sowmya Shenoy Crasta, of PurpleRings, Bengaluru.
Crasta keeps a doctor on standby too, in case of illness or injury. Katariya makes sure to have about 150 raincoats, ponchos and umbrellas on hand; they came in handy while transporting her Bengaluru wedding party from the farm to the resort.
Apart from convincing the parents to sanction additional features to fend off the rains, and fixing in advance everything that might go wrong, perhaps the hardest part of the job is reassuring the bride when it begins to rain, that all is not lost.
“I was upset when it started raining towards the end of my mehendi,” says businesswoman Misha Mittal, 30, remembering her destination wedding in Jaipur. “But they convinced me that it was a sign of good luck, and everyone seemed to be having a blast dancing in the rain, posing for photographs. Eventually I danced too.”