On Thursday, when a young Marwari bride got hitched to her friend of 10 years at a five-star hotel in the city, the couple gave us a glimpse of how the big fat Indian weddings would look in the new normal. While social distancing norms made everything seem different from weddings as we know it, what made for the most striking changes were masked couple on the dais and a banquet filled with just 50 guests, instead of the usual four-digit attendance. Snehal Agarwal and Gaurav Nahata’s families had zeroed in on their wedding date last December and did not wish to change it come what may. “Marriage is an auspicious affair, and nobody likes to tamper with the date once it’s decided upon in consultation with priests. And who knows how long this pandemic is here to stay? In fact, Gaurav was ready to go ahead with the wedding even if just 10 guests were allowed,” Snehal told us moments before leaving the bridal room where she got ready for the big day.
Though many of the couple’s relatives and friends living outside the city and country could not make it to the wedding, the ceremony was live streamed for them on Zoom. “Initially, we had a list of over 1,200 guests. Now, it’s just 25 each from both sides. Though I am missing a lot of my loved ones today, it’s time we accepted the new normal and got on with our lives,” said Snehal, pointing out the good part of having limited guests. “It allowed me to attend to each one of them personally, which would be impossible in normal circumstances. With few guests, both the families got to interact and know each other well. Gaurav and my parents could take care of everyone and made sure they were having a good time,” said the bride, hoping that the norm of having limited guests continues hereupon.
While their sangeet was a small family affair, all the other rituals, such as baarat, varmala and phera, were carried out following the safety and social distancing norms. Though Snehal had a designer mask to complement her red lehenga, she did not give the lipstick a miss. “After all, Gaurav and I will have to take off the masks for a bit to get our wedding photos clicked!” she beamed.
For Snehal, it was a historic wedding that looked straight out of a sci-fi movie and she was excited to be the protagonist. “If nothing, people will remember me as the bride in a mask! I’m sure Gaurav and I will have a lot of interesting stuff to share with our grandchildren,” she laughed before leaving the bridal room to exchange vows.
‘Every cosmetic product was sanitised in front of the bride’
While Kaushik did Snehal’s makeup, Rajat styled the bride. On his experience of working in the new normal with a PPE suit on, the makeup artist said, “The hotel staff are extremely careful about maintaining hygiene and social distancing. Even the decorators were wearing PPE suits. We were not allowed in the room upstairs. Instead, a bridal room was allotted to us on the ground floor where only three people could be present. Every cosmetic product was sanitised in front of the bride. A hotel staff is there to ensure that all safety protocols like wearing masks, sanitising hands and social distancing are strictly followed. But working in a PPE suit is very suffocating as the temperature is fixed at 24 degrees.”
Source:Times of India