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Weddings during lockdown make for a great story to tell
Almost nothing can put a damper on the Big Fat Indian Wedding, not even a global pandemic. Couples still get their happily ever after despite restrictions and the looming threat of an outbreak. From space issues to teeming guest lists, couples share their wedding experience during the lockdown.
Some newlyweds were caught off-guard by the announcement of the shutdown and left wondering what they would be doing. For Shravan – who got married on March 26, just one day after the lockdown began – the situation was one of uncertainty.
“We had booked a marriage hall in Tiruvanmiyur, and they sent a message saying that the wedding could carry on with a limited number of guests. However, what happened was that on the morning of March 24, they sent us a message saying that the hall would not be available and so we had to go for our back-up plan,” said Shravan.
Many couples reported that whittling down invitees to just 30 did pose a problem. For Iyappan Premkumar, who got married on March 22, the day of the Janata Curfew, restricting guests was the only way to carry out their wedding in a safely.
“We cut our list from 800 to 200, thinking that it would be a more viable number, but we quickly realised that even that wasn’t going to happen. So we called up the guests and told them not to come,” he said.
Many decided to get married despite the restriction due to lack of availability of other dates or auspicious dates. “We conducted the wedding in our church. We had even sent a request to Diocese of Coimbatore, under which my hometown of Karur fell under, and received the approval from the bishop. We could not cancel the wedding after all that, so we went ahead with it,” said Arockya Anisha, who got married on April 27 in Karur.
For other couples, it was as simple as not wanting to delay the start of their lives together. “If we had postponed the wedding, my wife would be with her parents, and I’d be at home with mine, and we would have been separate and missing each other. At the end of the day, we went through with it because we wanted to start our lives together,” said Iyappan.
But the fairytale ending came after much difficulty. In addition to hall cancellations and lack of refunds in Shravan’s case, Anisha reported that many vendors also refused to follow through with their contracts due to shutdown restrictions. She adds that they had to also plan for a travel pass for her husband, who was stuck in Bengaluru at the time.
“The hall we booked refused to give us a refund, despite the Government order that they have to refund customers. So we decided to go ahead and conduct our wedding on my grandparent’s terrace with only 30 people, and managed to get our florist to decorate the area accordingly,” said Shravan.
Their ceremony also saw the effects of the coronavirus – from guests seated and standing at appropriate distances to some even sporting masks. However, the newlyweds recall interesting moments.
Anisha, who got married on April 27, said, “During the shutdown, many Christians are not allowed to come in for communion. My wedding was the first time in 40 days that they received physical communion from the priest, and got to physically sit in the Church. Many of my relatives thanked me for giving them that opportunity. Also, we distributed clothes to homeless people in our town.”.
Iyappan said, “We were disappointed that many close relatives were unable to make it from Canada.”. Others rue how many friends were unable to come in favour of family members, and other celebrations like receptions and sangeeths were cancelled.
However, the wedding they did have was special because it was more intimate, said Shravan. “Like how they used to do it in the olden days, I got married in my grandparent’s house. It was a special experience because not many people were there, and so our wedding was a more personal and intimate affair,” said Shravan.
For others, it gave them a chance to connect with the spiritual aspects of the wedding. “In a typical Church wedding, there would be over 1,000 people, and that was absent here. It was only 30 close family members. I could focus on the Mass readings and the ceremony itself rather than have to worry about anything else,” said Anisha.
Many couples hope to hold a reception and the other ceremonies once they can safely do so. “It was hectic, and there were times where I just couldn’t think because of all the stress. But it makes for a great story at the end – I got married during a global pandemic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Shravan.