Real Brides Speak - Getting Married During The Pandemic

Published by - The Wed Post | 12 minute read

What is it that makes you want to get married? Is it all the bridal finery that you’ve dreamt of as a little girl, or magnificent celebrations that provide you with a thousand Insta-worthy images? Or is it the immense longing that you feel for your other half- the only person who makes you feel complete, safe, secured and sane?

Due to the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown that followed, these are the questions couples around the world were left asking themselves. With innumerable marriages and celebrations standing cancelled or rescheduled to unknown dates, couples have begun questioning the true meaning of love, togetherness and marriage. 

We spoke to five brides who pondered, contemplated and finally came up with answers to all of these questions. These are the girls who knew that they wanted nothing but to be with their partner during these difficult times, opted to go beyond the conventional definitions of weddings and had extremely small, intimate celebrations to solemnize their love, and here’s what they have to say about this decision that they took. 

Interstate Travel During The Lockdown

Chaitali and Nitin always wanted a very grand, palatial Punjabi wedding for themselves. The wedding planning process was in full swing, but destiny, evidently, had other plans for the couple. The coronavirus outbreak in India in mid-March clearly stated that their wedding scheduled on May 2 was only very unlikely to happen. While the bride and groom had spent all their time planning everything to the T, times stood uncertain and the families eventually decided to postpone the wedding to the end of 2020. However, only on the eve of the pre-decided date, Chaitali received a call from Nitin’s father asking if she still wanted to get married the next day. 

This is what got the bride thinking. She knew that she had been missing Nitin terribly and simply wanted to be beside him during this time of distress. She says, “My father-in-law called on May 1st and asked if we'd still like to get married on the decided date (May 2nd). To be honest, I was shocked, but I wanted to give this a try since I was missing Nitin a lot. All I knew was that I wanted to be with him, come what may! And hence, we sought special interstate travel permission that allowed my in-laws to travel to Delhi from Chandigarh. Due to this pandemic, I couldn't get married in the bridal lehenga that I had dreamt of all my life, but instead, I wore my mother's saree, which made the ceremony all the more beautiful and special. I also wore my grandmother's vintage gold choker and did the hair and makeup myself. Nitin too didn't have his wedding sherwani, and hence wore a tuxedo. We did our pheras with our closest family around us, while our friends and other relatives joined the wedding via Zoom video calls. The pandemic made me realise that all I wanted to do was spend my life with Nitin, and I am so happy that we got a chance to be together during this time. It matters much more than all the lavish celebrations I could ever have!”

A Court Wedding To Commemorate The Date

17th March was a big date for blogger bride Malvika Sitlani who began dating beau Akhil on the same date, 11 years ago! Being engaged already, she wanted to do something special on this day this year, and decided to get married a month in advance, when coronavirus was yet to affect our lives the way it has now! 

Here’s the account she shares - “The most recent event, my court marriage registration, happened in the middle of the pandemic, only a week before the lockdown. 17th March 2009 marks the time Akhil and I began seeing each other, and the value of the day only increased with each passing year, right to our 11th year of being together with a ring on our fingers. We thought, and this year we would celebrate by being married, at least legally. The appointment was taken a month ago, around 17th February 2020, when the virus was far away from India. I still remember Akhil and me contemplating 2-3 days before the marriage if we are still doing it, and confirming the time and date with the court officials several times. We knew that we just wanted to be together, close to each other when everything in the future seemed to be highly uncertain. We realised that it is only the present that really matters, and wanted to be married already! Cut to 17th March 2020, we walked out of the car with our families and found our closest group of friends and family present at 10 am in the morning, to celebrate with us, and that feeling only got me more excited. Right when we reached and met the officials, we were told that the servers were down and that it would take hours for them to retrieve it. We all waited together, ate together and finally signed the documents at 3 pm, instead of 10:30 am, but when the deed was done, all the waiting, the impatience of hours faded into insignificance. 

However, for Malvika and Akhil, a little celebration is always welcome. Talking about having some fun time with her favourite people after the pandemic is over, she says, “We are still in the process of finalizing our final vision of the wedding, and the basic details of it. However, it would be a destination wedding and we both are really keen on getting married in the lap of nature, where the hills or mountains are our biggest backdrop and decoration! Most importantly, we want to do it in the presence of our closest family and friends, so that it’s a cherished memory for all of the guests too.” 

Destination Wedding And The Experience Of Uninviting Guests

Intimate, elopement or grand, destination weddings of all kinds are always fun! So was the case for Rasmeen and Siddharth, who did have a fabulous wedding at Kandaghat in Himachal Pradesh, however, a tad bit different from what they had initially planned and expected it to be! Reliving the entire experience while speaking to us, Rasmeen says, "Initially around 250 guests were supposed to attend my wedding. Right from the outfits to decor pieces, everything was planned and set for the big day. Everybody from the photographers to makeup artists were booked and we were just waiting for the day to finally arrive. However, everything suddenly came to standstill, when Covid-19 started spreading in India. Out of 250, 50 of my guests were flying from abroad, and they couldn't make it because of the restrictions on travel. I narrowed down my list further, and uninvited 150 people only for their personal safety. Ultimately, out of my initial guestlist of 250, only 50 people could actually attend my wedding.We were not allowed to use the entire property and had to use the indoor space for the functions with minimal strength.”

Although the wedding did not happen in the middle of the lockdown, it was the night of Rasmeen’s mehendi when she found herself, her family, photographer, makeup artists and all the guests glued to the television watching the Prime Minister’s call for the Janata Curfew. An advancing lockdown could be predicted and there was an eerie feeling around. Some immediate decisions had to be taken, ceremonies had to be cut short, the reception had to be cancelled and guests were supposed to be sent back. 

“I was daunted and didn't know what was next. I had planned so much for my friends and picked everything myself for the wedding. But never did I imagine that my family would be present on my big day with a tensed smile on their face. I initially was going to have 4 to 5 functions, but we tried to keep it as short as possible. Everything was done in haste. We cut down celebrations and asked our guests to proceed back to their homes as soon as the Anand Karaj was over. But all said and done, I am grateful to have gotten married to the man I love right in time!", Rasmeen adds. 

A Heartwarming DIY Home-Wedding

Megha and Tushar were always sceptical about the entire idea of marriage. But after they met each other, nothing could keep them apart. Not even a dangerous pandemic that got the entire world in a shambles! With a grand romantic destination wedding planned in Agra, the couple was caught amidst a lot of confusion once the lockdown was announced. Although they knew that they couldn't wait anymore to start their happily ever after as soon as possible, they also wanted to abide by the regulations of the government and do only what was legally permitted.

Says Megha, "After the lockdown was announced, we were all confused as to what to do. While we did want to get married at our earliest, breaking the lockdown rules was strictly out of question. So we decided to wait for a fresh set of guidelines from the government, and once those were released, we started planning it all again. During this time of the pandemic, we wanted to be together, and nothing else mattered. Hence we had an intimate, quarantined wedding. It was challenging to bring down our guestlist from 300 to 30, but then we realised that all of this was secondary, and at that very moment, all we wanted was to be with each other, our close friends and family. We did the decor ourselves with fresh flowers that my brother bought from the nearby market. For the wedding, I wore my mother's vintage saree and Tushar wore a grey band-gala from his closet. My aunt cooked the meals at home, whereas my friends, Gomit Chopra and Gautam Khullar did the makeup and photography respectively with just a two-day notice. Over 150 friends and family who couldn’t physically attend the wedding supported us through video calls. Everything just fell into place, and was as dreamy as I had always envisaged it to be!"

An Isolated Wedding In A Rural Medical Camp

Dr Janhavi Shah is posted at the Jan Swasthya Sahyog hospital in the village of Ganiyari in Chhatisgarh with partner Dr Naman by her side. The couple had been planning getting married in the court for quite some time now, however, had multiple issues owing to their different nationalities. However, things do happen when they are meant to! While Health Care Workers around the world are succumbing to the tremendous pressure put upon them by the virus, these two doctors knew that although they could not change their fate, they wanted to face it together, married to each other! And so, as they deemed fit, Janhavi and Naman decided to get married at the medical hostel, with whatever resources available, without having anybody but two elders around, maintaining all the requisites of social distancing. 

In her Facebook post, Dr Janhavi says, "Naman and I have been together for a year now. After he proposed 3 months ago, we decided to have a ceremony in December with our families and planned for a court wedding in February. Somehow everything was getting delayed, but three weeks ago when I heard about how the doctors were dying due to corona, I panicked and thought that this was the end of the world. And if it was, I wanted to end as husband and wife! And hence we agreed to have a marriage ceremony, right in the middle of our rural medical residency camp in Chhattisgarh. I spoke to pandit Manisha, who was to officiate the December ceremony, and guided us through the rituals online! With the pandit and our parents on board, we started planning. 

Our friends helped us procure all the things needed for the pooja at the medical residency camp. From the home-made fire kund made out of a metal pan, sand and bricks, decorated with garden tiles to our seniors from the camp being present to bless us, we were really blessed to have been able to make it this way! 

We managed to get hold of a couple of henna cones for my mehndi, which a friend applied for me. For the ceremony, I wore a cotton saree that I had bought for the wedding that was planned to happen in December and for the varmalas, Naman and I made garlands from fresh flowers that we went and picked up ourselves. We managed to start the ceremony on time, and all our loved ones joined us via a video call. As they say, the more the merrier. And merry it was! We had some tech glitches, much fewer than I had expected though. The rituals went smoothly. Our family, although very far in distance, was visible on the screen and had never felt any closer. Hopefully, the apocalypse will be over by December, and we can celebrate with them in person!” 

As they say, love truly finds a way and conquers all!