In December of 2018, when Dolly Jain styled Nita Ambani’s 35-year-old sari with a Sabyasachi lehenga for her daughter Isha’s wedding, little did she know that in 2020, looks for prospective brides using old heirloom pieces, would become more of a necessity than to drum up nostalgia.
“Her mother’s sari added a special touch to Isha’s ensemble. But, in a corona-inflicted world, where ‘designer weddings’ are ancient already, we are being forced to innovate bridal looks with vintage pieces from the client’s wardrobe,” says Jain.
‘Big’ and ‘fat’ can be bid good-buy! Many couples have rejigged their wedding plans by embracing the idea of intimate functions, making use of digital advancements.
Like Bithika Ray and Subhajit Sen, ardent lovers of Rabindranath Tagore. Stationed in Kolkata and Delhi respectively, they were to be married on the Bard of Bengal’s birth anniversary this year. “But lockdown happened. Without dilly-dallying, we married over Zoom with our relatives participating virtually,” says Sen.
Estimated at $50 billion in 2019, the Indian wedding industry has taken a massive hit due to the crippling pandemic. ‘Big fat Indian weddings’, clearly a Goliath revenue generator, stands suspended. With supply chains truncated, large gatherings banned, stringent social distancing diktats and travelling restricted, it is the worst phase for those employed in the sector.
Wedding planners, makeup artists, designers, caterers, gift makers, scenographers and photographers have had better days.
Despite curtailed budgets, experts are ready with a dossier for small yet special affairs. Tech Treatment
“Since digital information is at our fingertips, weddings can be planned from the couch via video chats,” says Bhavnesh Sawhney, co-founder, FB Celebrations Pvt. Ltd. Here’s what you can do:
- Choose a streaming service such as Zoom, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live for consultations with vendors.
- E-invite guests by creating digital invites.
- Put your phone or tablet on a tripod, get in natural light, use potted plants and put on music to set the mood for the event.
- Present gift cards to the wedding couple.
Save on the décor cost by using gardens and terraces as wedding backdrops. Vineet Wadhwa, owner of Delhi-based restaurant FIO, says, “Restaurants, boutique banquets and home gardens will be apt for intimate weddings once the restrictions ease up.” Food FileThe ways food is served during a wedding can be thought out differently.
- Decide on time slot such as 6 pm, 8 pm and 10 pm to negate rush at buffet.
- Prepare conservative menus to avoid wastage.
- Send out digital restaurant/retail coupons with the invites instead of gifts. On the wedding day, get pre-planned dishes delivered to the guests.
- Arrange dholki dinners or potluck feasts for small gatherings at home. Or book a home chef.
According to couturier Rimple Narula, reaping dividends from the business should not be the focus now. “Sustenance of the team, comprising artisans and karigars, is more important.
Most clients have retained their orders despite their weddings getting reduced or postponed. Keeping in mind how future weddings will be smaller affairs, our next collection of lighter bridal outfits will feature recycled old embroideries and vintage textiles,” she says.
Social distancing norms have made things difficult.
“We’re unable to get two weavers to work in unison for heritage weaves, that’s why we’re concentrating on simpler designs,” says Aanchal Agarwal of OhFab.
Makeovers Reign Fish out your mother’s ghaghra or grandmother’s vintage sari and pair them with modern cholis and odhnis. Embrace heirloom jewellery.
Bridesmaids can drape Kanjeevarams or Banarasis over straight pants and palazzos. Pair embroidered jackets or modish blouses with lehengas.
Makeup Mantra Go subtle on the base and lips.
Focus on the eyes as that’s what will be seen most. “Even though budgets are tight, professional makeup is indispensable,” believes Delhi-based makeup artist Puja Taluja. All precautions are in place too. “We’re wearing masks, gloves and PPE kits, and sanitising regularly. Heavy discounts can be availed too,” says Delhi-based makeup artist Guneet Virdi. But photography is the last place you want to be scrounging on. “Afterall, memories are forever,” says wedding photographer Vineet Modi.