As wedding season approaches, we at Amrit Photography urge the community to rethink the big fat Indian wedding and the health risks of hosting mass gatherings. Weddings planned for the near future are most significantly impacted; however, weddings later in the year may experience unexpected limitations on guest count as an ongoing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a guidance for all group gatherings, stating that large events and mass gatherings, such as weddings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Weddings create opportunities for person-to-person contact and therefore pose greater risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially to older adults and persons with severe pre-existing health conditions. Even once things get better, it is safer to prevent hosting a mass gathering. Couples should start thinking of downsizing their upcoming nuptials aiming to have 50 guests or less to include just their immediate family members. If there was ever a time to plan and have an intimate Indian wedding, it’s now!
A smaller guest count means that you’ll be surrounded with only your closest loved ones to celebrate your big day like a party where everyone is equally happy for you. Think of all the big Indian weddings you’ve been to where the bride and groom spend hours sitting for shagan and then moving table to table at the reception trying to get a few minutes in with each guest. With so many people to greet, this task can be exhausting for newlyweds, and they often miss out on the meal and other details they have spent months planning. In addition, they don’t really get a chance to spend any substantial one-on-one time with individual guests. A small wedding enables the couple to interact with their guests on a more intimate level. There are no unnecessary guests who are invited due to family obligations. The wedding becomes a closely-knit affair where everyone is drenched in the joy of you getting married; the wedding actually revolves around ‘the couple’.
You will be eliminating elements of stress that comes along with planning a grand Indian wedding. Planning an event for close family and friends is less demanding than coordinating one for hundreds of guests, many that you don’t well. The couple and their families can focus on being present for the precious moments in an intimate wedding as opposed to hosting and catering to a large number of attendees. The most fun part of any Indian reception is towards the end of the night when only the close family members and friends remain at the venue. There is this unspoken feeling of freedom to finally celebrate wholeheartedly. Why not feel this way the entire time? Having only a few loved ones at your wedding gives you the freedom to be your authentic selves from start to finish. There is no formality to be taken care of, nobody judges anyone, and your wedding becomes a party that no one wants to leave.
When you are working with a smaller guest list, you have the flexibility to explore less conventional venues that create a unique wedding day experience. Endless options range from a private garden, rustic barn, cozy cabin, lavish yacht, terrace overlooking a beautiful view to even your favourite local restaurants, museums and art galleries. Couples can choose a venue that is meaningful and holds value to them, rather than a typical banquet hall. Keep in mind that the nicer the venue, the less you need to spend on décor! In this way, it becomes easier to have your dream wedding. See our post for list of unique wedding venues in BC. Smaller weddings make it easier to consider destination options. Due to current travel restrictions, this may not be a feasible option at the moment; however, for those planning for the upcoming year, a destination wedding can be way to explore some extraordinary venues and landscapes across the world.
At some point of planning, you may find yourself contemplating the tough decision of either compromising details of your day in order to accommodate hundreds of guests or cutting the guest list and having everything as you initially hoped. By choosing the latter, you maximize your budget to make your money stretch further so that you can plan your day without having to cut corners. The money you save on catering fewer guests can be allocated to other aspects of your budget, whether it’s the venue, fresh flowers, a live band, or decor. With the ability to pay more attention to details, you will be able to give your guests and yourselves a truly unforgettable experience.
One thing that many don’t consider when planning a wedding is the aftermath of waste and impact on the environment. According to The Green Bride Guide by Kate Harrison, the average wedding produces 400 lbs. of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. This number is amplified for our large-scale Indian weddings, where we see greater amounts of tossed paper goods, excess food thrown away, etc. By planning a smaller wedding, with fewer guests, you can help to reduce the impact of your big day on our planet. Aside from limiting your guest list, to take it a step further, you can consider sustainable wedding ideas to reduce the carbon footprint of your big day.
Although a small Indian wedding can seem bold and non-traditional, many have embraced this style of celebration. Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma are among those who have created a beautiful intimate wedding experience. The hardest part will be managing familial expectations of a grand wedding and being prepared to have uncomfortable conversations around why certain invitations were not sent. There will be occasional hurt feelings, but being honest in your approach should not damage your relationships. Likely others will follow in this style of celebration, especially given that the top priority is the safety of you and your guests. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how rapidly infectious diseases can spread in large gatherings, especially when vulnerable populations and travelers are in the mix. Let’s take precautionary learnings from this outbreak, so that we can do our part to enhance safety going forward. The above benefits of a small wedding have a deep focus on public safety, the environment, and ultimately creating a more enjoyable, personal wedding experience for you and your families.
We hope our efforts in trying to bring positive change to the way Indian weddings have traditionally been celebrated resonates with you. These are considerations to implement once the outbreak is stable. At the moment, please continue to follow the safety and health protocols to stay home and away from public spaces.
Stay healthy and positive through all this – better days are on the horizon!
Amrit Photography Team