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February 19, 2017

Effects of Demonetisation On The Big Fat Indian Wedding

Text by Nittal Chandarana. Illustration by Surasti Puri

As plastic gains precedence, extravagant nuptials are giving way to simpler affairs

One of the more favourable effects of demonetisation is a dip in the scale of the big fat Indian wedding. A long-time champion of cash exchanges, the industry is experiencing a relatively fallow period. Weddings have always been both — a cause for celebration and an excuse to advertise one’s lucre. Little is left for the bride and groom to do, who most often play the dual roles of invitee and host. Two marriages made waves in the last quarter of 2016 — a 500-crore extravaganza in Karnataka, and a 500-rupee celebration in Madhya Pradesh. We propose following the latter’s lead and designing one fit for the gods, taking the new cashless economy into account.

Instead of elaborate invites fitted into a gold-plated box bearing an LED screen, much like the Karnataka affair, we’d definitely approve of switching to the email version. Quick, hassle-free and eco-friendly. Now would also be the perfect time to start striking off acquaintances from the guest list. That distant cousin you’ve never had a good rapport with can go. So can the aunt whom you last met when you were a child. Downsize the invitees, and the venue falls into place. Ideally, the home would make for an intimate yet charming location for the ceremony. If not, there’s no better time to ask for pending favours — a friend’s villa by the beach, your sister’s sprawling mansion in the countryside — it’ll all do. Multiple functions are also unnecessary. When you’re trying to cut costs in a season of economic imbalance, ‘All in a day’s work’ is your go-to mantra.

Coming to decor, rather than collaborating with planners who basically work the same routine everywhere, it might prove worthwhile to go the DIY way and literally add your own personal touch to the big day. The trousseau, though, is not to be tampered with. ‘You only get married once’ is reason enough to splurge on this one aspect. Tighten the purse strings for everything else. That leaves our favourite bit — the food. Cut quantity, not quality. Pick a few cuisines, and leave the unholy mix of flavours to others’ palettes. Settle for less than three different kinds of dessert and you’re on your way to a winning night.

It’s time to wave goodbye to extravagant dos. The demonetised wedding arose due to necessity rather than desire, and we hope it will eventually become cemented in the public sensibility. There’s no second-guessing its merits. It’ll make sure your pink notes are sitting where they belong — in your bank account, and not on a smug guest’s plate.

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