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29 May 2023

Indian wedding invites turn digital – and naughty

By Shuchita Kapur

‘Hello Raj uncle. How are you? I’m getting married next month on the 20th. Click here to download your personal wedding invitation’

Don’t be too shocked – this is indeed how wedding invites in some of the tradition-dominated Indian households are now being sent and received.

If marriages are made in heaven, the invites are now being stored in the cloud – i.e., the Internet.

Digital wedding invites – and that too in the most Bollywood-style settings – are fast gaining acceptance among even the most traditionally-minded Indian families as a unique way to announce one’s big day to the world in today’s age of digital media.

A typical wedding video invite features the bride and groom in different costumes and settings, telling their story of courtship and love, and then urge viewers – their friends and relatives – to come be part of their wedding celebrations on the day.

And they can be delivered on a CD, DVD – or in an email as a link to your YouTube video. There are also special TV cards that can make the experience even more unique.

For Dubai residents, getting a digital invitation done is as easy as driving to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). A company named The Card Co. specialises in making TV cards (video invites) for weddings as well as corporate events.

A typical card has a video clipping attached to the traditional paper card. “We have a 7-inch screen with a 10-minute recording and a 4.3-inch one with a 4- to 5-minute clip. The recoding will have pictures of the client and they can even tell their story, about how they met, engagement… events leading to the wedding,” Leigh Odendall, Group Sales Manager of the company, told Emirates 24|7.

In traditional Indian weddings, most to-be brides and grooms were barred from meeting each other before their D-day. But with Indian society changing with the times, parents now give the nod to an occasional outing, provided their ‘adult kids’ return home on time.

As India progresses and the youth become more liberal, the fat Indian wedding is changing fast, something that could seem a bit odd, even provocative, to the traditionally minded.

And changes are visible everywhere. The age-old paper-card invites, which gave out the details of the ceremonies, are being replaced by digital ones, where the couple holds hands, hug each other, throw flowers and even kiss before inviting the guests to celebrate their wedding.

That’s a paradigm shift for a culture where, a couple of generations ago, the couple would get to see each other’s face only after the wedding ceremony.

Mumbai-based website www.blockbustershaadi.com specialises in making such invites, and beyond that, they also make filmy-style videos of the wedding and other special occasions.

During the video, the couple usually talk about how they met and about
their courtship period. This may sound very romantic to couples and people, who we’d say seem broad-minded, according to the Indian culture.

Yet, there will be a section of the society that will be scandalised by the entire concept. “This is something new to us. I’d never thought that I could run around the trees with my to-be husband before inviting the guests. This is what we are supposed to do after the wedding. I guess, public display of affecting is fast catching up among the youth,” said Meera Vij, an Indian national living in Dubai.

“We went to a wedding in Delhi and this one was very different. The bride did not cover her head (which seems a must in wedding), kept dancing all along and during the bidai (farewell) ceremony, and they played a popular party song instead of the usual send-off songs during the bidai ceremony. The song was more apt for the disco, but the bride requested it as she didn’t want anybody to cry,” says Sushmita P., a Dubai resident.

Right or wrong can be very subjective and it’s only grey, but as society changes, the age-old norms and styles may seem outdated to some and the newer version a mockery to others.

For those who find it a novel idea, the service can be provided in Dubai as well. “[We] provide service outside the country as well, in any part of the world. For a wedding outside Mumbai, there will be an added charge for travel and accommodation of the crew members,” reads the BlockbusterShaadi.com website.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)