I was at a wedding this weekend. One thing that has always made me laugh on the topic of weddings, is that when I was younger I had been to more weddings in one year than most people had been to in their lifetime - I think there was a time when I went to five weddings in three months.
Weddings today are a lot different than I remember when I was younger. People of my generation are really going all out on their wedding day, especially if it has been a modern love marriage.
Way back when, weddings used to take place in crowded school halls with the ceremony being carried out on the stage. You would sit on those uncomfortable plastic chairs that came from the classroom and all of the guests would use the wedding as an excuse to gossip and catch up with people who they hadn't seen in a while and not really paying attention to the happy couple. One thing that I remember as a child is never sitting through an entire wedding ceremony - my cousins and I would always be around outside chatting. The food was served up in plastic plates which had sections for you to put each item of food in (sweets, curries, rice, etc) and there were only a few tables around. The unlucky ones who couldn't get a seat at a table would sit on the chair they were 'watching' the wedding ceremony from and either eat with the plate on their lap, or pull up another chair and use that as a table.
These days, things have changed so much. More money has been poured into grand occasions.
The wedding takes place in huge hotel wedding suites that have been beautifully decorated. Wedding mandaps (the structure that the ceremony takes place in made up of four pillars all joined together at the top - Google them) are more extravagant. For example, instead of wood, they would be gold coloured, or have flowers all over them, or be made from glass, or have crystal droplets hanging from the top. People of my generation, now want the wedding to take place in pin drop silence because we realise how rude it was when we were all running around and all the aunties and uncles weren't paying attention to the wedding ceremony. It is also important for the priest to give us an English translation so we know what we are doing instead of blindly following what we are told to do. We also want our non-Indian friends to understand what is happening so they don't get bored.
While some people still have the plastic plates, we now have tables to sit on! All of us! Well sometimes, because the meal takes place straight after the ceremony and there isn't time or space to turn the entire wedding hall into a banqueting suite.
We also put more effort into the registry wedding. Before, it would just be something that would have to be done, because no one was really married until the Indian ceremony. Therefore, no one thought it was important. Now, the registry weddings are a whole other ceremony in themselves. Some brides are now wearing the big white gowns like from the English weddings, or wear an Indian outfit that is similar. There are bridesmaids, best mans, ring bearers, and flower girls.
The receptions are great as well. There are proper plates, and tables with seating plans! No more running after a free table. More people are invited to the reception than the wedding, because the couple want the guests that they really want at the wedding and everyone else at the reception. It's better for them to have their gossip and catch up where it is appropriate to do so.
People of my generation want to really celebrate their wedding day. And I say, good on them!