They say, “Marriages are made in heaven.” Weddings are not.
They are meant to be grand, romantic, if not dreamy affairs, and of course a social occasion that not only ties two people, but also two families. As far as Bangladeshi weddings are concerned, there is however one big problem — keeping up with the Joneses!
Our foolish obsession over a big, fat, deshi wedding has tragically ruined many lives, crippled families a financial burden that they could never recover from.
Everyone brides-and-grooms-to-be dreams of that perfect wedding. Yet, one must question themselves over and again, what does it mean to be perfect? And is it any different than the proverbial 'picture perfect'?.
Social Media does not help; neither do weddings that you attend. In a society that is now obsessed with a materialistic display of wealth at all levels, wedding are now a load, which at times even decades of planning cannot smoothly see being executed. The financial stress, at times, can mount to immense pressure on both families, and even the bride and the bridegroom, leading to emotional mental stress.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a glamorous wedding, as long as it is an affordable one, but it simply cannot be the standard meant for all. That is exactly where the uncalled-for lies. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a wedding without being superfluous.
A wedding with close friends and family, a social declaration of the union of two souls — is it not what a wedding is supposed to be in the first place?
Let's break it down a little.
Rehearsals for the mehendi, 'sangeet', bachelorette/bachelor's party, wedding shower for the bride, ...that is 2018 Wedding in a nutshell.
In retrospect —
A holud, where the near and dear ones sing and dance in an all out spontaneous affair. The 'Aiburo-bhat,' usually associated with Hindu weddings, essentially the symbolic last meal of the bride at her parent's abode. The men enjoying an evening with friends; and the women with her besties spending what very well be their last bachelorette slumber party. Sans all the intoxicants!
Now think deep!
Has the wedding scenario changed much? Are we not repeating the same traditional events or rituals simply revamped in a Westernised, Bollywoodish form?
For hundreds of years, we have had our traditions. And this goes out for all countries. Wedding traditions were always there, they are still, and they always will be. So, why move from what we can truly call our own, even while uploading the images on Social Media and embrace something completely alien?
Are we now too ashamed to post an album title 'My Aiburo-Bhat' instead of the 'Bridal Shower'? True, not the exact same thing...but are they significantly any different?
However, one thing must be said. We must not suffer from the delusion that tradition is something static, and all about adhering to archaic notions. But what is so fundamentally wrong, in sticking to our ways of doing things?
We promote 'deshi' products, we promote organic food, we promote art exhibitions and we promote our music traditions — all for the betterment of society and presenting who we are to ourselves and everyone else interested, from Timbuktu to Florida! Then, why shy away from the basic 'deshi' wedding...the way it used to be.
In our foolish attempt to make everything gender free, many of our precious traditions are getting lost — the dhamail wedding dance of Sylhet, or the traditional wedding songs from the Cumillah and Mymensigh region, which are now lost with the demise of matriarchs of the families.
There has now been a growing trend of having joint receptions. Not a bad idea until the two families engage in a battle of vanity starting from the number of invites, to the food being served. Not all nuptial bonds are tied between two families of similar social and financial status. Should it be expected that both sides cut the costs incurred right down the middle, as is often the case? And by God, how can the groom not wear a Zurhem, if the girl is wearing a Sabyasachi.
Two separate events can at times be more economic than one fat reception — as long as the brides and the grooms stay within their means.
It may mean a smaller guestlist, but that will only mean a cosier affair.
It may mean chicken biriyani instead of kachchi, but who said the chef's magic spatula cannot create a delectable platter with chicken as he does with mutton?.
Wedding photography has always been important, as well as videography. While you may opt to hire professionals for both, why not entrust the youngsters of the family with this assignment, chances are they know the right people, who will say the right words, and not some random person who will just give a thumbs up and say, “Best of Luck!”
Saris cost money; sherwanis do too, and so do the jewellery. Buy Kashmir sapphire for your bride if you can afford to, but stick to simple gold, if you cannot. The success of a marriage depends more on understanding than love itself. Pause to wonder for a second, when going overboard with wedding expenditure are you not giving a false impression to the world, and most importantly you other half about what you are?
A photographer freezes moments. It is up to you on what moments you wish to preserve in time? Real moments of emotions, or orchestrated 'picture perfect' situations. Both send a message to the world and to you future half, make sure you are sending the right message; make sure it reflects you, your family, and your values.
Even a traditional 'deshi' wedding can cost north of a million, and we say if you have the means to back it up, please do. Go all out...as much as you can afford. Just think deep, and plan ahead, and by all means, stay clear of inviting the Joneses — you will not be needing them, ever!
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Abdullah Al Mahfuz, Meghla, Mysha
Wardrobe: Cats Eye, LS, Chondon
Jewellery: Glued Together, Araaz
Make-up and Hair: Noyon Ahamed & Niloy
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Set and Location: Mermaid Beach Resort, Cox’s Bazar