The coronavirus pandemic may have halted normal life across the globe, but it is yet to dampen the spirits of couples in love. The lockdown has forced many to postpone their weddings; however, for those who hold their wedding dates close to their heart, 'virtual wedding' is the new mantra.
Sushen Dang, 26, and his fiancee, Keerti Narang, had dreamed of making their wedding an affair to remember — but not like this. Instead of hundreds of guests gathering for cocktail parties and elaborate feasts, the couple got married over the video conferencing app, Zoom.
While Dang appeared on the screen from his parents' home in Mumbai, Narang, a makeup professional, was miles away in Bareilly, wearing her mother's wedding lehenga skirt.
The priest, based in Raipur, chanted mantras in front of the ritual fire and asked the bride's father to lead a digital kanyadaan, or giving away of his daughter. A hundred guests logged on from their homes to shower their blessings on the couple. Many also danced to the latest Bollywood hits.
"Not even in our wildest dreams did we imagine our wedding would turn out this unique," said Dang, a competitive intelligence analyst based in Toronto.
"It's the great Indian Lockdown wedding," said Anupam Mittal, founder and chief executive officer of online matchmaker Shaadi.com, which facilitated the Dang-Narang event. "We are helping them make the best of the situation in these times of adversity."
For startups, the pandemic requires innovation. Shaadi.com has helped coordinate several digital weddings with online makeup and mehendi (or henna) professionals, digital wedding invites and food deliveries to guests' homes. The online matrimonial service, with about 2.5 million live profiles, plans to build a separate resource for digital nuptials.
Similarly, Avinash and Kirti, two Delhi residents, had an online wedding on April 14 which was virtually attended by 80 of their friends and relatives. They also held an online mehendi and a sangeet ceremony.