Life | Knotty Travails!

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Knotty Travails!
Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh and Inputs by Neha Gupta
Published: Volume 21, Issue 9, September, 2013

What is a wedding but meticulously planned theatre for those in attendance, finds an aunt who helps arrange her niece’s destination soirees. Verve dips into her diary...and turns into a wedding planner for the adventurous

Going to a destination wedding is always buckets of fun. Planning one – not so much. I recently had to help my sister plan one at an exotic Thai locale. The beaches are fantastic, we’ve heard. The waves under our already-wrinkled toes, the sun on our already-tanned skin; well it’s what children want nowadays. Vows by the sunset and chiffon frocks instead of Swarovski lehengas. Poor Tarun, Sabya and Manish – they are going to have to work doubly hard to sustain their bridal couture business. And all of us – having to go shopping for things that steer clear of our ankles and don’t have a shimmer on them. How plebian it is to have a subtle wedding. It’s a good thing everyone won’t be there....

The guest list – well one mustn’t go there. The wedding is quite nearly called off because of the guest list. It seems silly, but there it is. It reaches the point where there is some vicious discussion about killing off some relatives in a timely fashion. The parents have a pretty tight list of invitees – it’s true, they do want to invite their tailor and the step-aunt that lives in Kenya whom no one has ever met, but then you can only do the daawat once in a lifetime for your only child, right? (Even if it goes to a second marriage – generally the sho-sha is generously muted.) And really – the tailor has known the bride longer than the groom – he has been stitching her clothes since the time she has been in diapers – so who deserves to be there more?

With the parents arguing over how many weddings they had been invited to and attended, the bride and groom insisting that it is their moment and only people they really know and care about should be there; as most things do, it all comes down to the bill. After much bloodshed, tears of betrayal and the drama to befit a Balaji Diwali special, they whittle the guest list down to 300. Of which 150 are under 30 and 75 of whom are foreigners from places I can’t pronounce, much less find on a map. So that leaves just a few of us to carry on the tradition of bitching out the other side, gasping with a faux scandalised air at the youngsters and weeping at the vidaai.

The wedding ceremony is so quaintly poised on the water, while a dress circle seat is reserved for us on the waterfront. Along with the little booklet to translate the shlokas and vows, the considerate family has also organised binoculars for the audience. It’s nice – we have our own space, can peer into the binos when we decide to catch what’s going on – in between bites of Thai cake and spicy gossip – and give the family their privacy. That way the entire occasion remains a rather private affair – if having only 300 at an Indian wedding isn’t private enough. Tiny speakers dot the waterfront, where we can hear what the Pandit is saying – noting the large number of non-desis in attendance, he ups his tricks by adding flair and doing his own little broken-English translations. After all, what is a wedding but a meticulously planned theatre for those in attendance?

It’s all very well now, but getting Panditji here has been a task in itself. Now I’m quite proud of this – I organised this part of the journey. Panditji couldn’t travel to the destination alone, so I figured the saffawala (person who ties the turbans over the men’s heads) could accompany him. You mustn’t ask me whether they wanted to travel business class or not, but it is a special feat that I convinced them that economy is altogether better and safer. It turns out that the saffawala is quite a fellow. He’s rather in demand for this specialised art, and is hopping off to America before the ceremony has even ended. So Panditji and the saffawala end up having a favourable journey to the destination – it’s all in the stars, after all. I think they are now friends on Facebook

I need to track down the missing wedding photos – it was quite a sweet affair after all, what with the jello-shots and the beach raves. I couldn’t feel my toes after a point of time. Three months later, the photographer hasn’t sent us the photos yet. He is quite a spiffy number – doing mood shots and natural light silhouettes. I know it sounds like a condom ad, but photography these days is very different from our layered make-up, bright lights, hands-held-together poses, bling-and-click moments. It’s a bit wanton nowadays, to be honest. After my mother harassed me for photos, I began trying to track down this hotshot photographer. It seems he has been all over Europe attending functions and clicking away that he hasn’t had time to get home and regroup! So after basking in the Riviera sunshine, he has promised to send some over to us via or something like that. Is it a specialised (and expensive) courier service? Will have to see how one can pick the photos up from there. Must share them with you sometime.

What if when...

  • Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia got married at the 17th century Chateau Vaux le Vicomte in France, they fused the palace’s quirky history and India’s vibrant culture? A mela where les artistes captured moments on canvases, a rich display of bouquets, spruced with fine literature for the more impassive guests?
  • Tanvi Jindal and Krishna Shete wed in Villa Le Rose in Italy, they hosted a grand pizza counter chased by Limoncello shots to add fun to a family affair? A gondola mandap and yodelling pandit – Venetian style?
  • Reshma Bombaywala and Dimitri Lezinska said, ‘I do,’ in Goa, they tossed, shaken and stirred cocktails in theme with their nuptials – just to add an edge to the usual fusion wedding?

We would choose...

  • Kerala, because garlanding the groom, precariously balanced on riceboats is thrilling.
  • Angsana Velavaru in Maldives, because being wed underwater, in seclusion is tempting.
  • Rio De Janeiro, because a carnival themed baraat is dapper.
  • Khajuraho, because it (ahem) sets the mood?
  • Chiang Mai, because baby elephants handing out baby coconuts and orchids to visitors is grandiose, yet cute.

We would want to remember...

That wedding at Grand Centara, Pattaya, which converted a banquet hall into a foot spa station service and another into a salon to accommodate 50 guests so no one would have to wait.
– Rajesh Gupta, wedding photographer

That wedding in Ohio, which broke away from the usual by throwing in that tabooed black colour with red and gold. The cake humorously showed their love of football, and photographs were taken with fun props in the themed colours.
– Crimson Blu Photography

That wedding in Mexico, which celebrated the stress of getting over the ceremonies by jumping into a cove! Trash the sari is how they termed it.
– Keith Cephus Photography


  • Taj resorts
    They love weddings! They have an idea box right from the proposal to the many marriage ceremonies. Making honeymoons special is all about letting the Taj group fulfil your adventurous and romantic desires.
  • LUX* Resorts
    A tropical wedding with retro-styled ice-cream parlours, spa sessions and beach screenings is a huge possibility at LUX* Belle Mare, Mauritius. Schmoozing under coconut trees and dipping our feet in the azure waters with breeze grabbing our tresses is such a romantic thought.
  • The Chedi
    So Muscat isn’t exactly romantic. But this luxury hotel sure is. Just tell them what you want and they’ll spread an array of options for weddings – dreamy or funky. In case the guest-list is a tad too much, send them off to the Royal Muscat Opera House or get Chedi to engage them in a snap.
  • Le Kaila
    Running off to Méribel in the French Alps is ideal for a cosy wedding. The slopes are rumoured to be a favourite amongst the younger British royalty. Hydro-massages and aqua gyms are all one needs to steer clear of those cold wedding feet.
  • The Phoenician
    Ocean, beach and Alps too mushy for the couple? Trot off to Scottsdale’s deserts where this resort sits in the lap of Camelback Mountain. Kissing the groom against the backdrop of a waterfall, and at a height is such a dizzying thought.

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