Bengaluru: The big, fat Indian weddings are a feature unique to the subcontinent with top-notch event management companies minting crores every year. However, an uncalled for guest — the novel coronavirus — has forced families to alter their plans, and change their list of "essentials". Now, masks, sanitisers and social distancing have taken precedence over makeup, decorations and photography.
Trying to catch up in the post-outbreak era, the event management firms are offering packages for a gathering of 50 people, in line with the government regulations.
Pannaga, an event management company based in Bengaluru, has advertised for a two-day wedding package which includes catering, flower decoration, photo and video, floral rangoli decoration, bridal makeup and jewellery, garlands, priest, instruments. There is nothing unusual about this list until you read the entire package.
The company now also offers thermal screening, UV hand sanitisation, N95 masks for 50 people — all for Rs. 1,90,000.
"A lot of people have postponed their weddings to 2021. The others want to do it at their home. We are changing our strategy according to the present needs. Someone wanted it on their terrace so we are planning accordingly. We have to live with this now. People have also realised it," says Pannaga Srinivasalu, CEO of the company.
However, the number of bookings has fallen significantly, she says. There is only 1/3rd of the number they otherwise had before Covid-19 within and outside the state. The planning is especially difficult now when there is an inter-state requirement for the event.
In cases, where people cannot accommodate 50 people in their homes, the company receives request for small venues.
Event Houz, another event management company based in Hyderabad, has gone a step ahead. Their offer includes cuddle curtains for greeting, which has now gone viral on social media after netizens posted videos of them using the see through curtains to hug quarantined grandparents without touching.
The company also offers to provide assistance for web telecast if it is required, e-invitation card designing, 50ml sanitiser each for the 50 guests, N95 masks among others. The package stands at Rs 1,99,999.
The pandemic and lockdown to control the spread of the virus however proved to be a boon for Chethan KS from Bengaluru who always wanted a simple wedding. His wedding was fixed for March 29 at a venue in Tamil Nadu, where the bride hails from. He got married on the same day but on the terrace of his grandmother's home in Kolar district of Karnataka, after changing the venue thrice.
"Initially the wedding was planned with around 800 to 1000 guests, a reception on the previous day of wedding and another reception in Bengaluru the following Sunday. The budget was around Rs 15 lakh. But we ended up having only around 40 guests. The wedding cost us around Rs 2 lakh only. My friend who came for the wedding from Singapore was stuck in Bengaluru and a friend who came from Canada was stuck in Kolkata. We missed a lot of friends and family. We skipped a lot of rituals but did not postpone the wedding as it's considered bad omen," said Chethan, who works as a compliance executive in a private firm.
"On the other hand, I don't like posing for photographs, I have stage fright too. I was wondering how I am going to stand and pose for so long at the reception. With this, there were hardly a dozen photographs. That way I am happy. It felt like we eloped. It did not look like an arranged marriage," he added.