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Indian Wedding Season Is Here Again

This is turning into a year of wedding celebrations in my friend and family circle (completely unrelated to Bollywood pictures used here).

What a big deal we make of them! 

Are there any wedding celebration showcases bigger, grander or badder than the ones that Indians are prone to put on?  (And why is that, by the way??)

All you have to do is to check out some of the contemporary bridal attire promoted today to get the idea of how far they have come. This is simply a representative area since I am talking about the whole gamut of products and services surrounding the special event. We have effectively created a shaadi industrial complex around Indian weddings – not just in India but here in the US and anywhere else that has settlers from India.

Back to the future?

It’s only early, early spring, but ‘the season’ has started, alright.  I expect to attend and participate in a  plethora of weddings during the year. And it will take all kinds –

    • Elegant and sophisticated
    • Simple (these days, the exception that proves the rule)
    • Grand
    • Ornate
    • Over the top (for those of you interested, Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc* will rent you elephants for the baraat)
    • Mixed Race/Mixed Religion/Mixed Region
    • Arranged Marriages
    • And not.

* This is actually a neat enterprise that is committed to elephant care and welfare. So when you rent an elephant for your wedding, you are actually doing a service to this endangered species. If there’s no wedding in your future, check it out anyway!

This year, for a change, I am looking forward to wedding season. Hmmmmmm, I wonder why? I’m actually quite excited.

The closer my relationship to the bride or the groom, the more fun I expect to have. Especially in connecting and re-connecting with friends and  family. I’ve already got  two under my belt this year.

Depending on which region of India dominates the planning of a wedding (or whether it’s the bridal couple or their parents that rule) , it can turn out to be any of the following (not all are mutually exclusive) –

  • One big party – fun all the way
  • Quiet and Solemn
  • Noisy and Chaotic
  • Ritualistic and Ceremonial
  • Meaningful
  • Unforgettable

I’d guess that if wedding planners had one wish then, across the board they would aim for that one universal experience for the bridal couple, their entourage and wedding guests, i.e. making it unforgettable (for all the right reasons!).  

The corollary to this, of course, is that no one wants their wedding celebration to invoke that punishing, forgettable feel of ‘bland’. But just look at the vibrant colors in the picture below, as an example. Indian weddings, in general, are just this colorful and vibrant. Combine this with some spicy Indian cuisine, and luckily for my Indian friends, bland is simply not an option. 

In any case, best wishes and good luck to all who are making 2013 their special year!

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The Great, BIG Indian Wedding Spectacle

Weddings are really huge  in India – no matter which way you look at them – their sheer scope, size, budget, variety…

To see how huge, all you have to look at are the proliferation of everything bridal.

Bridal shows, bridal trousseau’s, bridal jewels, and so on.

Wedding planners have become mandatory appendages to every wedding.

After all, each wedding has multiple events.

And each occasion has an unique theme which is carried out in everything from decor to food.

And typically, thousands of guests. So, wedding planners are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity.

Wait! What am I saying? I forget this is India I am talking about, so I simply cannot generalize like this!  Let me rewind a bit.  I am talking specifically about weddings of the upper classes, and especially those based in the large metros of India.

So, within these classes, with money flowing freely (much almost exclusively in the form of cash that you can touch and feel),  weddings are celebrated exuberantly and ostentatiously, the Indian way. Naturally.

The show opens with the wedding invitations. Some are as large as a book. Elaborately created by professional designers. Using hand-made paper, hand-painted or hand-printed. Hand-delivered with sweets, a silver memento or even a designer sari. So, when it starts with a bang like this (i.e. setting the expectations), you can imagine that it has to end with a bigger bang. A much bigger bang! Enough to keep guests talking for weeks, if not months.

The hospitality industry simply thrives during wedding seasons. Grand halls and ballrooms, five-star hotels and up-market restaurants – they all do well. Orchids have become passe when it comes to flowers. Now, people are on the lookout for what exotic flowers can be imported from Singapore or Europe…preferably something rare, that no one has used before. !

Being unique is the name of the game. We are talking Unique with a capital U. God forbid that any concept or design from a previous wedding be reused!

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Want to see the diversity and variety that exists in Indian weddings?  These are just a couple of the quick finds of Indian wedding planner websites.  Here’s a wedding planner’s website so you can comprehend the range of choices of types of weddings possible. And check out this array of very exclusive wedding plans.  These are for destination weddings in Goa, Rajathan, Kerala and the like. What amazing settings!

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Speaking of settings (you know, like in the movies), here’s a rather unique and interesting phenomenon. Bollywood stars also do well during wedding season. They are ‘invited’ – basically, paid to meet, greet and mingle with guests!

At a recent high society elite wedding, several stars were on hand as “guests”. They are also paid (much more, obviously) to perform for the guests.

Shah Rukh Khan himself was the star attraction at a recent wedding celebration. The draw was his dance performance for the wedding guests!

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With all the attention on him and the other mingling stars, one wonders if anyone paid attention to the real stars of the wedding.  The bride and groom.

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And, can you imagine Brad Pitt dancing at someone’s wedding in the U.S. for a fee?  Wow!

Time to start a new trend, Hollywood…this time by copying Bollywood. What say you, Brad?

I think it’s a rather neat idea because you can always use the proceeds for one of your favorite causes.

If you decide it’s something worth pursuing, how about a bet with me that your first gig will be to perform at an Indian wedding?  🙂

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Offerings By McKay Savage from Chennai, India [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Brad Pitt By Maggie from Palm Springs, United States (Brad) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mandap By Taxman (Taxman) (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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