Ruchita confesses to missing the signs. “Maybe it was just the joyous thought of finally solemnising our bond, I somehow completely ignored the whole conversation around the (coronavirus) pandemic.” The 29-year-old IT researcher from Florida was scheduled to wed her fiance, Sanket, 31, a data analyst, over three days of festivities in Punjab in the presence of over 500 guests, in the third week of March. Her big fat Indian wedding is now put off indefinitely, with the couple stuck in two continents. While Ruchita made it to her hometown Ambala in time for the wedding, her to-be-groom is stuck in the US.
Like all activities involving a crowd of people, the lockdown has also thrown wedding plans in disarray. Couples who were all set to take their vows, after having spent a long time planning their perfect wedding, have had to hit the pause button.
“I am not stressed, but sad and depressed,” says Anjali, an Assistant Section Officer in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. She was supposed to marry her fiance, Rajat, who is also an Assistant Section Officer in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in New Delhi on April 20. “We lost all hope after the (coronavirus) cases began mounting. We were hoping the wedding could still happen with just immediate family members, but now have accepted the fact we have to wait for another six months at least.”
While the expenses are causes for worry, it is the “emotional rather than financial hurdle” that is a problem, remarks Anjali. The logistics of rescheduling a wedding, particularly in India, are daunting, to say the least. Her fiance Rajat, who single-handedly made the arrangements from the groom’s side, echoes the sentiment, “It’s been incredibly stressful. Right from the venue, to getting the invitation cards printed, to booking a new travel package, every single thing will have to be re-done; it’s like starting from zero all over again. It is not just the money but the efforts that are required to arrange a Rajasthani wedding, which is exhausting.”
Meanwhile, Shivani and Siddharth are struggling with securing a refund from banquet owners in Delhi-NCR for their wedding, which was scheduled for the first week of May. “They are not willing to return a single penny, rather asking us to extend the booking any other time this year without any extra charges,” shares Shivani. After spending lakhs in advance bookings for the hair and makeup artist, wedding trousseaus and professional photographers, the family wonders when the lockdown will end and if they will have time to manage the event within the deadline.
For some, however, the lockdown has meant time to reassess what’s really important. Marylin, an IT professional in an MNC and Kenny, a chef were looking forward to their grand Christian wedding on March 28 in Mumbai. But they soon knew the national lockdown was inevitable. “Kenny and I had a chat to discuss the wedding, along with a little crying,” she recalls. She adds, “Though we had our family’s support, the elders in our family were at higher risk and it wasn’t worth putting their health at stake.”
However, the couple couldn’t wait to be married. “We couldn’t take the distance and anxiety. ‘How about this weekend?’, asked Kenny and I couldn’t say no,” shares Marylin. In a spontaneous turn of events, the couple solemnised their vows in the bride’s house on March 15 in the presence of a priest. The after-party took place on their building’s terrace with some pizza, chicken wings and wine. “Everything seemed perfect, with our loved ones around us and a few friends on FaceTime. Thankfully, both our wedding outfits were home so it didn’t feel like anything less special,” she laughs.
Here’s hoping the other couples too get their happy ending soon!