Time To Normalise Small, Intimate Weddings

Time To Normalise Small, Intimate Weddings
I’m going to be honest here: even though I throw a tantrum every time my mother brings up marriage —and you can believe my mother brings it up often— I have on occasion thought about what I’d like my dream wedding to be like. It’s an important question, even if you never want to get married, because it speaks volumes about your aesthetic sensibilities. And besides, isn’t it fun to daydream?

For a long time, even though I didn’t know what I wanted, I was dead sure about what I didn’t want. And that is whatever the Ambanis did when they had that big wedding that everyone on the internet was collectively freaking out about. I really don’t get the appeal of a big, gigantic wedding where the spotlight gets stolen by literally everything other than you.

Isha Ambani's wedding card that is rumored to have cost around 6 lac Indian rupees.

Think about it, if someone walks into a wedding where there is a giant chandelier made of flowers that move throughout, who is going to be paying attention to anything but that? If you have an ice sculpture of a bear and a dolphin at your wedding, you best believe I’ll be by the sculpture and not by the stage where you’re seated. Who wants that? Not me. I need all the attention on me, thank you very much.

I'm sorry, is my wedding supposed to look like an award show?

Also, not to be taken lightly, the whole exhaustion factor. Going to weddings is tiring work, even if they’re your regular 3-day events. There are only so many times I can fake a smile while my mother’s friends keep trying to introduce me to their ‘very eligible’ sons. I recently had to attend a friend’s wedding and he had five relatively normal events, to be very honest. Nothing crazy like a Sangeet night or a bridal shower or a ‘wedding party’, whatever that is. But oh boy was I tired by day 3! No offence to anyone who wants a Qawwali night, but if I want to listen to Miyyan Meer Qawwal sing Taajdar-e-Haram, I’d rather not be wearing uncomfortable heels while I do it.


Of course, there’s the whole extravagant opulent display of wealth spiel that goes with my critique of big, elaborate weddings, but that kind of goes without saying. It’s that whole idea of social pressures: society makes us feel like if our weddings aren’t huge and we aren’t inviting half the town to attend them, then we’re just embarrassments. At the end of the day, is your firework display and your moving flower chandelier for yourself or to prove something to other people? I understand that people are entitled to use their money however they wish, but after a certain point, some things just become excessive.

In contrast, what I’ve been leaning more towards, is the small, intimate wedding concept. Where it’s just a bunch of your closest friends and family, and you celebrate the new chapter in your life together in a down to earth way. The only present are the people who matter and care about you. No random people like Jameela Aunty who is secretly upset that you got married before her daughter, because that is what most desi weddings are; either a speed dating site for mothers in search of rishtas for their kids, or a jealousy filled competition of braggarts. I think Covid really helped win more people over to the side of smaller weddings, because well, we didn't really have a choice. But I think it's for the best. Maybe it's time to let old trends die.

I attended a wedding recently where they had a small Nikkah at home with just the immediate family present, and then the parents of the groom threw a nice celebration lunch for their close friends and family, and that’s about it. Short, sweet and simple. I love the idea of a wedding celebration held at home, in the presence of only your closest confidants. There’s something so charming and romantic about a ‘shaadi wala ghar’ all enrobed in happy strings of golden light. Streamers fluttering in the yard, and all your closest friends singing and dancing in the same garden you used to play as kids. It’s so much more wholesome, and meaningful and intimate. That’s what I daydream about anyway, not that I’m planning on getting married anytime soon (you hear that Mama?).

Khadija Muzaffar is the culture editor at The Friday Times. Previously a Fulbright scholar at NYU, she enjoys writing about society, culture, music and food. She tweets at @khadijamuzaffar, but is far more interesting on Instagram.