August 11, 2023
“Why is a girl’s wedding the biggest day of her life?” Karan, half of the titular wedding planning agency Made in Heaven and a rather self-aware cog in India’s shaadi industrial complex, declares. The couple’s parents often prepare for the day like athletes training for the Olympics. Families deploy florists, caterers, tailors, mehendiwalis, and planners. They delegate tasks with militant urgency to gaggles of overeager aunties. The whole affair costs a king’s ransom — this is, after all, the most important day for so many, not just the bride.
While the “Big Fat Indian Wedding” seems like the default, history proves that South Asian weddings were once modest affairs. Despite what many would have you believe, plenty of South Asian millennials — and not just celebrities like Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor — are returning to small celebrations. And it’s not just for the reasons you might think.