Thyagrajan from WeddingSutra believes the concept of a grand wedding is firmly anchored in Indian culture. “Big weddings are an integral part of our DNA. They are a special celebration. You are part of the happiness industry. They’re going to make a comeback, ”he says, though he thinks it might take a year or two.
In fact, nine months after the pandemic, there are signs that interest is picking up again. In the banquet halls of five-star hotels, bookings for November and December rose sharply. The hosts need to get a little creative, however. For an upcoming ceremony, wedding planner Ekta Saigal Lulla said customers had asked that all guests be tested for Covid-19 two days before the wedding. Lulla has partnered with a diagnostic laboratory. She says, “Social gatherings and social distancing don’t go hand in hand no matter how hard you try. That is why we take precautionary measures beforehand. “
Target weddings, which have been almost forgotten in the past few months, are also slowly increasing. Saigal Lulla says newer venues are being explored from Cyprus to Malta to Vietnam. Now that the numbers are smaller, people are focusing on giving their guests a great experience, she says. “Instead of going to Lisbon, a popular wedding destination in Portugal, for example, people are exploring other places like Sintra or the Algarve, where they can rent a castle.” Countries like Switzerland, where weddings didn’t take place earlier due to generally small venues, are now on the table. “Since the guest list is shorter, customers can simply buy the entire property and make it an unforgettable experience for those few people.”
Kolkata-based wedding planner Pramod Lunawat is planning a wedding in Bahrain. He says customers are not concerned about travel safety as “they are now spending on charter flights instead of commercial flights”.
Although the pandemic has changed many of the ways we live, the anchoring of Indian wedding shows how immutable some cultural traditions are. Important ceremonies like these weddings can adapt, especially since Covid-19 still plays a big role in every occasion. But even when Indian wedding guests – and socialists around the world – are forced to think outside the box, some rituals just seem bigger than their challenges.