My mother and her sister — both of whom I adore very much — are as different from each other as the proverbial chalk and cheese. They are 10 years apart but a generation separates them temperamentally: one is as calm as the Pacific, the other is a hurricane in the Atlantic. Ironically, both have decided to get their sons married within six months of each other. One can only imagine the rest of the family dancing the headless chicken instead of the obligatory bhangra.
It gets worse: both are destination weddings. One took place from last November to this January between Jammu and Mumbai. The other has begun in Singapore, is currently on in Jaipur (from where I type this), and will end this weekend in Mumbai.
If there’s anything worse than living out of a suitcase, it’s getting married out of one. I don’t think my two scatty sisters-in-law could make it through without an army of aunts and girlfriends on either side. No, no amount of alcohol would have worked.
I still don’t see why anyone would want to get married at exotic locales. Why would you want to say your vows on a beach wearing flat shoes? Or in a palace filled with American tourists grumbling about Indians? Moreover, so many friends don’t make it leaving you with a smaller guest-list. Add to this: missing baggage, jewellery stress, coordinating flight schedules, fatigued grandmothers, cranky kids and other unending mishaps.
Destination weddings are stressful for all concerned but I suspect that’s part of the adventure. They’re also rather trendy — no one cares for standing stone-bored and frozen-faced on a reception stage or those oily five-star buffets anymore. Wedding travel can be fun, if you try a little. With some planning and handy tips, it can be relatively smooth-sailing. Relatively.
First, google. Check if said hotel has a hairdryer and a safe for your baubles. Check in before-hand, it is possible to echeck-in some hotels by mailing them your IDs. I would suggest carry costume jewellery (there are some lovely pieces at Mumbai’s Curio Cottage and Aquamarine), although I wouldn’t listen to my own advice here. Do carry a little travel iron; everyone will be relying on the hotel laundry’s limited few. A favourite trick is hanging clothes on the bathroom door with a hot shower running; most fabrics get beautifully steamed.
It’s truly hard to pack light for a wedding, you can’t possibly wear two pairs of shoes through six ceremonies over three days. Courier your stuff to the venue beforehand. It is expensive but it saves lugging bags through airports. You can take a little less makeup, but you’ll need lots of hair accessories. Pack in your floral and crystal clips, and do not forget safety pins and bobby pins.
Make a check-list so you don’t leave anything behind in a hotel room.
Carry your iPad especially if you have kids, there is no better babysitter. At least the bored kids won’t run out your phone’s battery.
Leave room in your valises for a memento, most out-station wedding couples give back-presents. It would be lovely if it’s small and easy to tuck. But some generous hosts, like my aunt, are giving away a giant stainless-steel bar service set. It weighs four kilos.
I love the idea of light-weight fashion, so much nicer to be chic than over-dressed. Pretty heiress Aashti Bhartia recently had her nuptials wearing a Raw Mango sari.
Destination weddings have busy itineraries and dynamite family dynamics. Do carry something that works for you as a pick-me-up. It could your playlist or the Hanuman Chalisa. Unfortunately, my feel-good only comes from bulky high heels.