Khushnuma Jabulee investigates some of the most unique weddings to take place in India.
A marriage is a union that is forged between two people that will keep you bonded to the other for life. Therefore these once in a lifetime bonds that are created need to be witnessed by close family and friends. Most weddings in India are celebrated with utmost pomp and show, some on a smaller scale and some on a larger one with an unending guest list.
Most girls dream of having their very own version of ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’ someday, but these ladies had their very own unique version that sets them apart from the crowd.
Home is where the heart is:
“Since childhood, most girls have their own version of the ‘big fat Indian wedding’. Some take months to decide on their reception lehenga, while others obsess about the best venue in town. Unfortunately or fortunately, I was never that girl. I imagined running away from my home in the middle of the night and being married the next morning in a temple. For me, it was more about me and my man than phony relatives and elaborate settings. Also, I don’t believe in spending a lakh on a wedding dress that’s going to be lying in the cupboard for the rest of my life,” said Priya Chaphekar, whose view on weddings since her childhood days were definitively unique.
Priya is a beauty writer whose heart lies in travelling. Well, that passion did lead her to meet her husband-to-be, Shekhar. As fate had it, they met through a mutual friend at the Lonar Crater exploration trip and the rest they say is history. “It was undoubtedly love at first sight accompanied by an astounding chemistry,” said Priya. “The best part was that both of us shared the same idea of a dream wedding.”
“Shekhar and I started dating in December 2013, but I took my time to say ‘I do’. Sometime in July 2014, when we were on one of our rain-kissed long drives, I told him I was prepared for marriage. Post August, there were no muhurats till December. So basically, we just had a few days to get everything in place,” said Priya.
Her mother suggested that they have the wedding at their home, which is a cozy one BHK. Thus on the morning of 14th August, 2014 they had their own lovely ceremony as per the plan. “30 people who meant the world to me, a scrumptious Maharashtrian menu comprising kakdichi koshimbir, batatewade, masala bhat and aluchi bhaji and a couple who couldn’t take their eyes off each other – I think that’s how it should always be. Short, sweet and simple,” said the Priya, who still goes on various trips to satiate her wanderlust with her husband post marriage. “Even for the honeymoon we chose to scale Mount Pangarchulla and snuggle in tents rather than live at a luxury resort. Yes, that does sound a little too much, even stingy, maybe, but that also means we can do two Himalayan trips a year!”
The vegan wonder:
The vegan culture is one of the more unique ones that has a huge amount of practitioners in the Western world. Due to an all-encompassing love for animals, Shasvathi Siva decided to practice the vegan diet and ensure that her passion gets carried onto others by having only vegan food on the day of her wedding. “It was a fully vegan wedding. There was no animal abuse in any part of the wedding. We are extremely passionate vegans and there is no way we would have conducted a wedding at the mercy of a few innocent lives. We worked hard to find alternatives, and where there’s a will, there’s always a way,” said Shasvathi. “Food included everything without compromise from jalebis, to ice cream, to curd rice, buttermilk and everything South Indian.”
29th November, 2015 should be marked as the day of the most eco-friendly and organic wedding, as well as the most unique one in general. “No flowers were used in the wedding either, as flowers are meant for bees and pollination. Both mine and Karthik’s moms, conducted the wedding in the arya samaj way. No plastic was used in the wedding and there was minimal wastage. Also, our pets as well as other pets were included as guests in the wedding and they had a blast too,” said Shasvathi.
Forever their little girl:
On 18th December, 2014, a wedding took place which on the surface looked like any other Indian wedding… that is until the final few ceremonies that took place. Ankita Sarawagi’s family thought that the ritual of kanyadaan was not something they were in favour of, as their little girl would always be their little girl, and it didn’t seem right to ‘give her away’.
“We didn’t have two ceremonies which are typically an integral part of any Hindu wedding – one being the kanyadaan ritual and the second being vidayee. We also didn’t keep any fast on the wedding day,” said Ankita. Elaborating on that further, she said “rather than following the rituals blindly, my parents chose to think over it. They wanted their daughter to remain theirs forever. She could have a life partner and a new family but without having to let go of her existing family. We are fortunate that Bhavin’s family and our priest not only understood our perspective, but also supported it. It meant that I would remain my parent’s little girl forever and I couldn’t have been happier.”
Since the vidayee ceremony is linked to the kanyadaan one, they did not have that either. “Vidayee induces a feeling of ‘Oh, I am leaving my parents forever’. The wedding day is a day to celebrate togetherness and new ties, therefore we didn’t want it to be any different. So we decided to not have a vidayee ceremony and simply said our usual goodbyes as one would on any other day.”