Weddings in the times of Corona – A bride shares her journey
Close your eyes and imagine your wedding day—you want it to be filled with love, laughter and blessings. Now open your eyes to today’s reality, and that perfect image becomes an impossibility. Thousands of couples across the country are cancelling their weddings in light of the COVID19 outbreak. Here’s the story of one such bride, Sindoori.
A love story that began over a decade ago…
“Krishna and I are both from Chennai but grew up in Singapore. As the only two Tamil families in our building, we grew up as close family friends. We were also in the same high school, but a year apart. When Krishna graduated, we lost touch, only to reconnect in 2015 and then again in 2018, when we finally started dating,” says Sindoori, a corporate lawyer working in New York.
The wedding planning
The couple, currently living in New York, planned a big fat Indian wedding in their hometown Chennai. “Both of us actually wanted an intimate wedding but our parents, as is usually the case, wanted a ginormous celebration,” she says. Giving in to their parents’ wishes, the couple planned a wedding with over 1200 guests, the largest venue in Chennai and all the frills. “While our families in India did most of the groundwork, I had the final authority on all ideas.”
And then came Corona!
“We realized that COVID19 could impact our wedding pretty early on. My father works with a big MNC that has manpower across the globe. He was in China in December for meetings, and was quick to realize the gravity of the situation,” reflects Sindoori. The couple’s wedding was planned for March 30, and though they knew timing might be tricky, they were hopeful that things would settle in the coming months. “We didn’t know which way it would go, but if things didn’t start settling by mid-Feb, we were prepared to scale down the celebration. It anyway didn’t seem right to have a big fat celebration when such terrible things were happening in the world.”
Come February, and there were no positive signs. “It seemed like the world was just late to react to the Coronavirus, making it difficult for us to take a decision. On March 11, when I was still in New York, I took the subway and was the only person on the train wearing a mask. People were still going about as usual.”
Things accelerated quickly…
From that point on, everything became a blur. The very next day, the Indian Government announced it would be closing its borders to non-nationals, and Sindoori, an OCI cardholder, was forced to fly back with Krishna a week before their planned travel date. “During our entire journey, we were surprised at the lack of checks at any of the airports and decided to go into self-isolation when we reached home.”
Scaling down the wedding
Then began what was almost a comedy of errors, with both families trying to further scale down the wedding as the situation continued to worsen. “When our original venue cancelled, we decided to make it a smaller affair of 500 guests. As the situation became graver, we booked an alternate venue of about 200 people and decided it would just be close family and friends. And then our florist cancelled saying the flower markets had shut down. So we further cut back and thought we’d have the ceremony in our Chettinad-style home with just 70-80 people. And then our priest cancelled! It was hard not to read the signs.”
And finally the cancellation
“Both Krishna and I were adamant that the health and safety of our loved ones was far more important than having the wedding as per schedule. We felt having the wedding now would be hugely irresponsible,” says Sindoori. “We knew of other couples choosing to go ahead with their weddings, and did not agree with that.”
The silver lining
Cancelling one’s wedding so close to the date, in such precarious times, can be heartbreaking for most. Was there a silver lining though? “Most definitely,” says the bride, who refuses to be pulled down by this situation.
“One needs to think about the kind of wedding you want. I was sure I didn’t want to get married in a time like this. And now I get a chance to have a do-over. Fix the things that didn’t go as planned this time, make sure it’s perfect the next time. Also, we wanted to have a small wedding to start with, but our parents found it impossible to downsize the guest list. By early March, they had withered down the guest list to 75 people! So now we know what’s possible and can have the intimate wedding we wanted,” she laughs.
Advice for other brides going through this:
- “Stay calm and positive through this. I come from a family of non-stressors, and we basically laughed and joked our way through the Coronavirus times. Yes, things are really bad, but the best you can do is be responsible, stay safe and push your wedding to a happier time.”
- “Though we struggled with all the cancellations, I also realized that most vendors are extremely understanding of the situation and are more than ready to refund and make accommodations. Yes, there will be some difficult ones, and some haggling, but mostly people are very helpful.”
- “The most heartbreaking part for me was cancelling the honeymoon because I absolutely love to travel and was looking forward to this. However, one needs to realize that these are problems of privilege—postponing your wedding or holiday. We have food on the table and our families are safe and that’s a lot to be grateful for. So focus on that.”
And finally, how to make the most of this lockdown?
Like most others, Sindoori too is keeping herself busy with the usual activities—“TV shows, video chats with friends & family, and household chores keep my day pretty occupied,” she says!
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