Weddings get bigger and fatter


My marriage was solemnized in early 80s, an era of simple weddings-‘Band, Baaja and Baarat sans over-the-top extravagance of today. My wedding was, in no way a mega affair but definitely, a gala family union. Relatives-close and distant-came from far and wide but no elaborate arrangements were made for their stay. No hotel bookings, most of the guests were adjusted at home and the rest were accommodated by the friendly neighbors. No caterer, but an elderly woman was engaged to do the cooking for the whole lot of guests.

It was the time when Bollywood had not made its mark on Indian weddings except for ‘Babul ki duayen leti jaa……,.’ the sentimental track that resonated at the time of doli in every marriage. Unaffected by Bollywood, my pre-wedding ceremonies were quite a simple affair limited to in-house guests. ‘Sangeet’ was a humble ceremony; women in the family and neibghourhood sang traditional folk songs to the beat of dholak while my sister’s friend applied henna on my hands.

It was in 90s when the spate of movies such as ‘Hum Aapke hain Kon’, ‘Dil Wale Dulhania le jaynge’ ‘Ham saath saath hain’ changed the way Indian marriages were celebrated. Bollywood has jazzed up weddings adding to the glitz and glamour quotient; enlarging the scale enormously. Not only has the big fat Punjabi wedding become fatter but, thanks to Bollywood, the trend is catching up in other parts of the country. Celebrations are not just limited to the wedding day, but are extended affair with a number of intimate ceremonies such as ‘haldi’ and ‘mehndi’, earlier simple family affair, have been elevated to grand functions.

The simple sangeet of yesteryears is now an extravagant musical concert. Members of the Family and friends give dance performances for which choreographers are hired. My niece, the bride-to-be, looked hassled before her wedding. I couldn’t help asking, “Why are you so worked up?” “It’s the pressure of coordinating with the friends and cousins for the performance on my sangeet.” My God! Times have really changed. While we had no say in matters related to our wedding preparations, the bride and groom today not only actively participate in discussions related to cards, venue and menu, but also call the shots.


With a number of marriage palaces in the outskirts of the cities to choose from, selecting the venue for the function, of course, is a major issue. For the guests it may be an arduous hour- long drive but the venue must be over- the- top. All these grand wedding resorts may have a huge infrastructure, yet more often than not, the main halls are abandoned to hold the entire function in their sprawling lawns. Lakhs of rupees are spent on the outdoor décor- magnificent flower arrangements, fancy lights, elaborate tents and gazebos. Here I can’t help mentioning the inflammable material used in creating the set-up.

Indian weddings are becoming more and more ostentatious, destination weddings being the latest trend among the super-rich. It is quite possible one day the venue for the big fat Indian wedding is not an exotic location on the earth but on the moon.

(Published in Chandigarh Tribune on 9 January 2020)


12 Replies to “Weddings get bigger and fatter”

  1. Definitely Rama. Times have changed and we have to change accordingly. Not only the weddings , other occasions have also changed. First birthday function is no less than a wedding function. Our times were simple. I remember decorating the home with streamers, lots of cooking at home, organising the games etc and now everything, right upto the games and return gifts is organised by the events managers

    1. Alka, you have reminded me of the birthday parties we used to organize at home for our children-cooking, decorations , games-everything we did of our own.Today, the scales have gone enormously.Professionals have taken over. No wonder, event management companies and wedding planners are booming industries today.

  2. Well done Rama for vivid description of wedding celebrations during our times . It was perfect time to catch up with relatives . cousins sleeping on mattresses spread in a hall was so exciting. It created special bonds . Every one wanted to share some responsibility . Now not only is every family shut individually in hotel rooms but they get busy with beautician to get dressed and decked up . No one has time/ opportunity to talk to each other. Actually when ladies come back from the beautician it is difficult to recognise them 🤪! Keep writing Rama ! Salutations for your keen observation and style of penning your thoughts !

    1. Indeed amazing , beautifully penned down comments from a person of science, a botanist. Hats off to you Vini. So many memories flashed back…sleeping on mattresses … family bonding.

  3. Agree with your view totally. Here i have to add the effect of T.V is also towering over Bollywood effect,especially in small towns. The only plus point i see in these extravagant weddings is that it provides employment to hundreds. Event management companies ,fashion designers,,decorators,choreographers are a few to name whose business flourishes due to such ostentatious display of wealth while the poorer section of society has to endure the after effects of it.

    1. Priya , brilliant ! You really have the ability to draw out the positive in every situation .Yes, of course, the extravagant weddings generate employment.Going by the principle of economics one man’s expenditure is another man’s income . There is transfer of income from he rich to the poor.But it creates an unhealthy competition …many spend beyond their means

  4. Beautifully penned down!
    It led me down the memory lane of the times of our simple marriages. Now-a-days everybody tries to make the event more special but all this seems to be the waste of money.

    1. Thanks Sanjiv. Hearing from you after a long time.In fact, for me, too, it was a journey down the memory lane as I wrote the piece-remembering the simple ceremonies in homely atmosphere.

  5. Great to hear from you Aditi. How are you doing?
    And, of course,thanks for reading the article and leaving your comment. I am glad you enjoyed reading the article .

  6. Ma’am, now covid pandemic has changed our lifestyle completely -even marriages are limited to 50guests.That also with simplicity.
    We never imagined that it could ever happen. But nature did it.

    1. The write-up is of BC era( Before Corona). Now the scenario is absolutely different.You are right Garima what we couldn’t imagine has been done by nature. Forced by Covid 19, restrictions have been imposed on the guest list in weddings pruning a lot of ‘fat’ from Fat Indian Weddings.

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