Weddings are usually the much awaited extravagant affairs in Pakistan. Comes fall and there is no stopping the wedding season in Pakistan. From months old advance bookings to the extent where even seasonal tailors and salons would not accommodate older clients, the preparations and festivities know no limits. Social media platforms led us to a new world of elaborate wedding planners, expensive bridal clothes and lavish menus spread across buffet tables and with that, weddings in Pakistan have become anything but simple affair in Pakistan. It had just been about big fat Pakistani weddings on platforms like Instagram, all thanks to expensive wedding photographers with massive online following that gave us a glimpse to the inside world of such weddings.
But when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the end of 2020 across the globe, the fashion and wedding industry dealt with a huge setback with strict lockdowns and even stricter social distancing guidelines imposed by the government. Over the top wedding plans spiraled down to a new normal, the old fashioned normal. It really took a pandemic to tell us weddings could be simple, small scaled and hassle free. People and households who haven’t been able to afford such elaborate weddings and have reeled under societal pressures have borne the brunt since ages. For them, marrying their off springs and loved ones under such precarious conditions has proved fruitful for they can now opt to keep weddings a simple affair. What’s better than low budget wedding shenanigans? Nothing! We know and that is why many people gave no second thought to this lowkey route and made the most of their time sealing the deals. Pandemic for some has proved to be a blessing in disguise. For many, the Covid-19 pandemic dampened their plans of a wide-scaled celebration while for some, it surely saved them their hard earnt money.
“I had been planning my wedding for a year prior to Covid-19 striking Pakistan. Since my family was planning for an elaborate five day of festivities, the pandemic came just in time to my rescue,” says Umar Khan, a businessman in Lahore. “Why wouldn’t I be happy! I got away with two small functions at home and that’s it. I saved on that extra money that I can invest in my business that has already suffered for a year now,” he added.
If you’ve grown up in the 80s or 90s, I am sure our age group has attended simpler weddings back in the days. Without much show and pomp, wedding ceremonies were a small affair intricately organized in small verandas, drawing rooms or even on one of those cozy rooftops of their houses. They were more intimate with smaller gatherings and closed and loved ones in attendance.
“The over the top wedding trends on social media nauseate me. I’ve always wished for a simple wedding at home with only my loved ones around,” says Noor, a lawyer who has now moved abroad. “Thank God, I got to do just that.”
Many celebrities also jumped on to the bandwagon and opted for lowkey wedding affairs both in Pakistan and around the world. That included many celebs including television actors Ahad Raza Mir and Sajal Aly, Agha Ali and Hina Altaf etc. And in our neighboring country, Bollywood actors like Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi, Yami Gautam and Aditya Dhar tied the knot in extremely intimate gatherings. Moreover, veteran actress like Dia Mirza also tied the knot in an intimate ceremony with businessman Vaibhav Rekhi. Rhea Kapoor, daughter of veteran actor Anil Kapoor also tied the knot with her long time beau Karan Boolani in their drawing rooms.
This trend of small weddings had a huge impact on the wedding industry and countless small businesses that are linked to it. From florists to decorators, caterers, fashion designers and jewellery businesses have equally been impacted. But as Pakistan reels out of strict social distancing guidelines and economy begins to breath again, these extravagant wedding trends are here to stay for people who have patiently waited to get married all this while.