The big fat Indian wedding is now a thing of the past. With the number of invitees being capped, the budget will hopefully not break the bank. However, there are some VIPs who get away with circumventing the rules.
For those who still want to go ahead with weddings despite the pandemic, there are new costs involved now. Wedding packages include thermal scanners, masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) kits. It kind of takes the fun out of the celebration but better to be safe than sorry.
Wedding planners are offering packages for as little as Rs150,000 which include bridal make-up, specially designed e-invites, photography, mehndi (henna), the mandap or wedding pavilion, vegetarian food for 50 guests, DJ music and a decorated car, among others.
The cap on the number of guests is a huge problem here when the family and close relatives add up to more than 50. The daunting task of weeding out people who don’t need to be included is one fraught with debate and tension. Wedding cards inviting family and friends is no longer possible
The cost is attractive enough to bring tears of relief to any parent’s eyes, especially the bride’s mum and dad who normally suffer sleepless nights adding up the cost of getting their girl married.
The package also provides for masks of different colours for the bride and groom’s side as well as hand sanitation stations.
PPEs will be provided to the members of the band in attendance and caterers and the venue will be thoroughly sanitized just before the event.
The wedding planners say they are able to cut costs because they will use just one photographer and cloth decorations will replace expensive floral décor.
Another major saving is on cost of lighting as most people are opting for daytime functions in view of travel curbs. Make-up and henna artists are willing to offer their services at half the usual price as they, too, have been affected by the lockdown.
I wonder how many people here will go ahead with their nuptials or will they wait for the end of the pandemic before they start making plans. In many cultures, including the Chinese and Hindu, auspicious dates for betrothals and weddings are very important.
Hindus consult astrologers to determine compatibility of the bride and groom. So, many families do not want to miss the boat as far as auspicious dates go.
A joke forwarded on a WhatsApp group summed up the situation hilariously. A man phones his friend to inform him about an impending marriage but, before the friend can anticipate an invitation, he quickly says that since only 50 guests are allowed, he will not be able to extend an invitation.
On the waiting list
However, in case of a cancellation, the friend is number one on the waiting list. The friend isn’t mollified.
The cap on the number of guests is a huge problem here when the family and close relatives add up to more than 50. The daunting task of weeding out people who don’t need to be included is one fraught with debate and tension. Wedding cards inviting family and friends is no longer possible.
I am sure the brides whose weddings are going ahead during the pandemic must not be happy about having to wear masks after an expensive session at the salon or home.
We’ve all heard about hiding our light under a bushel. Hiding a beautifully made up face under a mask is also a shame. It isn’t always easy to recognize someone when they are masked and I can imagine the confusion among guests and the hosts when they try to identify people.
Many hotels and resorts are facing a slew of cancellations and are forced to refund advances under the force majeure clause in most contracts.
Maybe it would be better to adopt a wait and see policy as far as weddings are concerned if you want to be free to invite as many people as you like without being afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings.
Vanaja Rao is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad, India.