With most of the things on a grave standstill, The Wedding Industry has been on hold too. There is a ‘new normal’ lurking out there but what would this novel change bring forth in celebrating weddings?
Over the last few months, it has become clear to urban India that we need a lot less than we thought we did in order to survive: food, water, medicine, shelter, and of course, WiFi. Though I agree that in the short-term our bodies and minds can sustain on this government-defined diet of essentials – I strongly feel that over time, our hearts will need more.
Unlike the birds we hear much more clearly these days as they perch on our windowsills, humans are pack animals – we need connection, we need intimacy, and we need support- and that need extends beyond the 2-3 family members that we are currently quarantining with. This is why I believe that no matter what the future holds, the ultimate form of social bonding and celebration in India, weddings, may transmute, adapt, or recast, but will persist – and hold their place at the top of India’s social calendar.
Weddings in their purest essence are a celebration of all that is good in society: love, acceptance, community, and family, coupled with the adaptation of centuries-old traditions, and the very best of our country’s culinary and musical creations. Throw in a bride vs. groom cricket match, and they truly will be an amalgamation of everything India holds closest to its heart.
Does this mean that I think weddings in 2020 / 2021 will look the same as they did pre-pandemic? Definitely not. It is foolish to ignore the devastating economic impact of Corona, the travel restrictions, the eating away of savings, and the suffering of our people. However, I believe this will lead not to cancellation, but to adaption.
Some brides and grooms are looking only at postponing their weddings- they wouldn’t consider having their big fat Indian wedding any other way – even if it means waiting a few months. Others, who are eager to begin their lives together, are opting for a small legal or religious ceremony post-lock-down, followed by a larger celebration when the government (and their finances) permit. Others still are opting to go digital –getting married via a pandit on the phone or over a zoom call. That said, even post the virus – we believe that some shifts in the industry will be here to stay:
Intimate Wedding + Safety Diaries:
Weddings are going to be smaller in general. We will definitely see a fall in destination weddings, especially those abroad given potential travel restrictions. Local weddings will be less lavish, with a focus on celebrating with closer family and friends. Weddings will still be beautiful, but excesses will be cut.
Another aspect related to intimate weddings is increased safety – the fewer people present means there is less of a chance for the virus to spread. However, we expect families to continue taking precautions in the near future by conducting temperature checks, asking guests to wear masks, and in some cases asking vendors to be in full protective clothing as well.
Welcome to Digital & Virtual Weddings:
Wedding planning will become increasingly digital as the effects of the lockdown spillover into daily life. Families will be more comfortable researching venues and vendors online, sharing invites online, and doing some of their wedding clothing and jewellery shopping online. This will be due to increasing familiarity with online commerce during the lockdown, but also out of a desire to not move around unnecessarily for things that can be delivered to their doorstep.
On account of travel restrictions and smaller ceremonies, we expect an increase in virtual weddings, either by streaming/broadcasting the main ceremony for family and friends or even by sharing more intimate wedding moments like an at-home haldi or the post-wedding bride and groom games! Though it will be hard to replicate the emotions of having all your friends and family attend in person, it is still a great way to feel their presence and blessings.
The lockdown has pushed us to deconstruct ideas and parts of life that we deemed untouchable, and reimagine what they could look like. The same thing will happen with weddings as couples may choose to eschew certain traditions and create celebrations that are a truer reflection of themselves.
While couples take the next few months to figure out what is right for them, the wedding industry will be dusting off their shoulders, cleaning out the cobwebs, and getting ready to make weddings 2.0 a reality