Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, July 9
Gone are the days when the ‘Big Fat Punjabi Weddings’ were the talk of the town. The times have changed drastically post-pandemic. For those couples who have tied nupial knots during the lockdown know that the only memories they have gathered all along during the ‘big day’ of their lives are that of frequent sanitisation, donning fancy masks and the ceremonies being conducted in their living rooms.
Though the nationwide lockdown spurred wedding cancellations across the country, many couples determined to get married swapped traditional customs with the online weddings and socially-distanced functions. Smaller gathering, more intimate affair, an emphasis on top-notch hygiene standards, subdued celebrations on Zoom links and contactless services are among the new normal of the lockdown weddings.
Amrita Kapoor (26), who got married last month, says, "I always wanted to have a grand wedding with everything special and different. After having a well celebrated engagement function in the month of March, I was excited to see how my marriage would be. However, everything turned upside down when curfew was announced, we had even shifted the wedding date from April to May but the lockdown kept on extending. Eventually, we thought of postponing my marriage to late 2020 months, but once we got the curfew passes for conducting the marriage in June, my husband's family got convinced and further decided to carry out the function this way only. The suggestions given by our priest also convinced my parents.”
However, her marriage didn’t lose the special factor. “My mother's sari that she wore on her wedding became my special outfit on my special day complemented with my grandmother's traditional jewellery. Though it was a homely affair, we had fun. My cousins turned photographers on my wedding, who were before the lockdown, worried about how it would pan out with so many guests to attend. The photographs have now been printed and I'm never going forget my 'lockdown wedding'," she quips.
Apart fom the couples who tied the knot recently, their parents also had some bittersweet moments to remember. The folks were confounded as to who should be invited and who should be left behind.
Jagwant Kaur, a parent, is one of those with mixed feelings. She says: “I prepared the special marriage feast on my own after my daughter's marriage. It was good that there was no crazy loud music, booze and unnecessary food menu that always leave a few guests disappointed!”
The new norms can also be witnessed at the marriage registration offices where the couples are now first welcomed with sanitisers and are not asked for sweets. Also, one witness is enough to get a couple's marriage registered. But the officials say, "The distancing norms have increased the time it takes for one wedding, earlier in a fixed hour we used to register 6-8 weddings, while now registering a wedding it takes around 20-25 minutes.”
Amrit Kaur Bedi, Wedding Planner;
Marriages are now restricted to limited guests. For the safety of our clients and their families, we now have to install gates with disinfectant sprays. N95 masks are must for all the guests and sitting arrangements are planned in such a way that there would be six-feet distance among the guests. Even the groom and bride are made to sit at a distance during the ceremonies. The marriages, presently, are being organised at clients’ homes. We have conducted seven lockdown marriages so far.
Jaipaul Kalia, Wedding Photographer;
Before the lockdown was announced my dates were booked and no slot was empty, however, with the Covid outbreak, the bookings either got cancelled or delayed. Currently, no pre or post wedding photoshoots are in demand and to stick to the limited guest list people prefer to capture their celebrations and functions on their own.
Palak Sethi, a newly-wed girl
Apart from a few family members and friends my marriage function remained a decent affair. There was nothing like that we missed out on anything, everything went well and most importantly my parents and brothers didn't have to panic. All the functions and ceremonies were conducted smoothly. Friends who could join the functions gave virtual hugs and blessings.
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