5 things I discovered when my big fat Indian wedding shifted to a virtual celebration

Like every girl who’s grown up fantasising about her Indian wedding, I too had some major filmi plans. From my Sabyasachi lehenga to a bridal entry so stunning that everyone would remember; from a big, fat sangeet to my friends tearing down the dance floor—I wanted it all. And I was going to have it all, until one virus derailed all my plans at a shocking speed. I was to have a summer wedding in mid-April but once the lockdown got imposed in March, everything just escalated, and finally, we had to convert my Indian wedding ceremony into a virtual celebration with just 50 guests present physically.

Indian Wedding
Indian Wedding

What I thought would be my biggest heartbreak turned out to be a pretty nice surprise. And here’s why: 

#1. It’s just about the people you love! 

Restricting an Indian wedding to 50 guests means it’s literally just the immediate family or the people you really really love who end up attending. And when that happened, there was something so special about it. Every face in that room owned a little part of mine or my husband’s heart. And having them all together filled the day with so much love. 

#2. The bonds you make are for a lifetime

So just because I had to restrict the ceremony to 50 people did not mean I didn’t want all my functions. To do so smoothly, we shifted everyone into our old ancestral home and our families literally shared rooms, slept mattresses, and basically had one large slumber party. The one unexpected upside to that was that the people who mattered most to me and those who mattered most to my husband spent 3 full days camping together. It made all of them super close and this is something we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives. Age and relationship didn’t matter—everyone ended up bonding with everyone! 

#3. It saves you a ton of money!

Another happy by-product of my virtual wedding was that we ended up saving a ton of money. We hadn’t imagined any other kind of wedding and always took the massive expense as a given. When we couldn’t have the celebration of our dreams, and had to downsize, we ended up with massive savings. Our parents decided to gift what they would have spent otherwise to us on our wedding and now we have a really nice nest egg and plan to buy a new home with that. And to be able to do so at the very start of our marriage is something pretty amazing. 

#4. We still had all our guests participate

Now that’s the amazing part about a virtual wedding. We planned ours on Wedding Wishlist, and they created a beautiful website for us, arranged for live stream, chat rooms and more. So irrespective of location, our guests could just log in and be a part of our Indian wedding. They did performances online, gave speeches and dressed up and it made us feel so special.  

#5. There was a lot of personalisation

One would imagine a virtual wedding to be impersonal, but ours was anything but. We sent out a wedding meal to all our guests prior to the big day, went into different chat rooms and spoke with everyone, had our guests buy us gifts on our registry, sent thank you notes to each one. Basically, the entire experience was designed to make everyone feel a part of the celebration and all of our guests loved attending it. 

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Tanvi Saraf

Tanvi Saraf is a writer, editor and traveller who's recently moved to the south. Having worked with the country's leading publications, including Marie Claire, India Today, Harper's Bazaar Bride and L'officiel, she now heads marketing for WeddingWishlist.com & CherryTin.com. Her life's philosophy and choices are guided by her motto, "Enjoy it. Because it's happening", and with both our websites, she's all set to bring the joy back to gifting.

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