Goodbye to the year of weddings

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Goodbye to the year of weddings

Sunday, 06 January 2019 | UMANG AGGARWAl

Goodbye to the year of weddings

The year 2018 saw a flurry of high-profile nuptials that set  several new trends. While some of these might end up making the big fat Indian wedding only fatter, there were some celebrity nuptials which stood out due to the sheer simplicity and austerity, writes UMANG AGGARWAL

The stars of so many big stars aligned and translated into them getting married in the year gone by that it deservedly got the title of the year of celebrity weddings. Refashioned tattoos, extravagant ceremonies, pre-marital pregnancy, sneakers, blatant racism, and age gap — each of the celebrity weddings had its own unique reason to be discussed excessively. A whole new range of trends has been set by these weddings. While some have been called adorably responsible, there have been others that have been so extravagant that emulating them would be practically impossible for common people.

In the past two decades, there hasn’t been a single year with these many big weddings. Moreover, if one thinks about substantial discussions over celebrity weddings that resulted in a flood of images on the internet, one has to go back to Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding in 2007. Even though many other weddings have been organised since then, a mix of controversy, secrecy, immense fan following, and yet some semblance of privacy and sheer beauty made the Rai-Bachchan wedding stand out. Before 2007, one would have to go back to Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan’s wedding in 1991 or Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh’s wedding in 1980 for beautiful pictures and Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia’s wedding in 1973 for controversy. But thanks to the social media presence of celebrities and also, to some degree, coincidence, the year 2018 managed the feat of setting new standards for celebrity weddings.

Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh

Her tattoo, her depression, his fashion sense, their consistent self-improvement as actors — Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh had their share of highs and lows together as well as apart. In the six years that they spent dating each other, they took their audiences through almost all the emotions defined in the dictionary as much through their movies as through their social media posts and public appearances. Their wedding at Lake Como in Italy in November last year was too dreamy, too well kept a secret — and as obsessed fans complained, too beautifully long — for social media to not break over it.

But the year of celebrity weddings deserved just such a celebration.

And to top that, Bollywood’s “truly international” star Priyanka Chopra got married around the same time and with a competing degree of extravagant shenanigans.

The flamboyance of the DeepVeer wedding has been discussed half of November and all of December, and predictably, there’s not one clear winner between dreamy and redundant as an appropriate adjective for the way it was planned. What’s clear, however, is that in the past two decades, there has not been a single year even half as celebratory as the one that just ended. From the couple’s footwear and their rings to their guest list and their demeanour — every little detail about this wedding was one of a kind and warranted excited discussions that would go on for weeks, much like their post-wedding celebrations.

Since her controversial break-up with Ranbir Kapoor, Padukone’s ‘RK’ tattoo — which she got for her former beau on the nape of her neck — had been quite a topic of discussion. She had been asked when she would get it off several times. And when she finally did, she set a trend for many brides-to-be. Her customised chooda, traditional saree from Bangalore’s silk house, and her Sabyasachi wedding dupatta that had shlokas all over it have resulted in a boom in the sale of local city shopkeepers, who make a living out of creating affordable ‘inspired’ designs for those who want a slice of the dream that DeepVeer lived in Italy. Deepika’s wedding dupatta with a border filled with shlokas and her refashioned tattoo have been two of the big trends that this Lake Como wedding set.

Rahul Shah, a tattoo artiste who works in Rajouri Garden, says, “Since November, we have had quite a few women come to us to get their tattoos refashioned. They would earlier ask us what they can do to hide it. But now, they prefer to get it restyled. Recently, a girl got her tattoo, which earlier said MM, changed into ‘Mum’s my world’.”

Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas

The 11-year age difference between the Bollywood beauty queen-turned-Quantico lead Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas was all that anyone and everyone could talk about till almost the end of 2018. But then, the couple went ahead and got married, and gave both fans and haters a lot more to talk about. The couple had two weddings and three receptions. They had one ceremony in traditional Hindu style and another one in Christian style. For the latter, Chopra wore a custom-made 75-foot-long Ralph Lauren veil. What was extra special here was that this was one of the very few occasions where the designer brand made a wedding veil for someone outside of the family. The ceremony was held at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India. The same location was also used by the Ambanis for some ceremonies for their daughter Isha Ambani’s wedding.

The biggest newsmaker around the time of this wedding, however, was an arguably racist article about the couple posted by the Cut. Even though the article was deleted very quickly after it was published, followers were quick to notice and criticise its contents as it supposedly called Priyanka Chopra a “global con artist” who had duped the much younger Nick Jonas into a fraudulent marriage.

As for the trends set by this wedding, there have been quite a few people who said it was one of the three big weddings this year that were too flamboyant for society’s good. It’s true that most people cannot afford to host two wedding ceremonies and three receptions. But if one goes by the discussions that followed the wedding ceremonies of Nickyanka, DeepVeer, and Isha Ambani, it’s not just a case of sour grapes that is making the followers of these celebrities call their style of celebration somewhat irresponsible. There are some who genuinely feel that making such a big show of an affair as sacred and private as a wedding is not the way to go about things.

Sonam Kapoor-Anand Ahuja

A summer wedding at her aunt’s house in Bandra, Sonam Kapoor had the first big, fat star wedding of the year. Customised wedding jewellery, Bollywood biggies as baraatis, and Anil Kapoor as the emotional father, Sonam’s wedding was a hit for all reasons filmi. But the one trend it inspired was that of the groom wearing sneakers with his sherwani and the bride’s sister, Rhea Kapoor, wearing sneakers under her lehenga. Arguably inspired from Sonam Kapoor’s movie Dolly Ki Doli, the trend of sneakers with lehenga made inroads into wedding shenanigans of brides as well as baraatis this year.

Rashi Singh, a Delhi-based 30-year-old woman who got married in December last year, says, “My feet are definitely thankful to Sonam Kapoor. I wore pencil heels to my wedding reception and within an hour, my feet were sore. There was no way I could have danced wearing them. So, I put on my sneakers and danced the night away.”

Another trend that this wedding kicked off was that of a heavy dupatta instead of a phoolchaadar — the more modern version that has flowers knitted together in a wooden frame — being carried by the bride’s brothers over her head on the day of the wedding. Sona Kalra, a 26-year-old Delhi-based woman who recently got married, says, “I used the dupatta of my engagement lehenga for the phoolchaadar ceremony on the wedding day. It felt right because it did not hurt the environment.”

Milind Soman-Ankita Konwar

An age gap of about 26 years was what defined the relationship between model and actor Milind Soman and air hostess Ankita Konwar, as their followers on Instagram came up with mixed reactions to their relationship declaratory posts. But when the two got married in April last year, the focus started to shift from their age gap to the unique way in which they organised their wedding. It was on April 22 that the couple got married in Assam, dressed in traditional Maharashtrian outfits made with eco-friendly bamboo textile designed by Madhu Jain.

Later, they also had a barefoot wedding in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with a waterfall in the backdrop. The couple planted a sapling for each wedding guest. “Nurture the gifts you have received... planting a tree with @earthy_5 (Ankita Konwar’s Instagram handle) for every guest, 11 done!” they wrote on Instagram, as they posted a picture of the model and his bride planting saplings with henna-dyed hands. They had a small, vegetarian, alcohol-free wedding, and supposedly kicked off the trend of saplings being planted or gifted to wedding attendees — like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli did — to make Indian weddings a way to improve the environment.

Rajit Singhal, a 33-year-old engineer who got married in November last year, says, “At my elder brother’s wedding three years ago, we had about 1,000 guests and a lot of food and wine was served. I have always been a fan of Milind Soman because he is so fit. His style of getting married made me decide that I, too, will at least have a less lavish affair. We had only about 150 wedding guests.”

Neha Dhupia-Angad Bedi

Skin-hugging clothes to flaunt the baby bump is a trend attributed to Kim Kardashian. Soon after that, Bollywood caught up with the trend when Kareena Kapoor Khan was pregnant with Taimur Ali Khan. But it’s Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi who recently put Bollywood faces to the age-old love story where a couple gets married in a hurry because they have miscalculated and gotten pregnant. They broke the sudden news of their wedding — a private Anand Karaj ceremony held in Delhi — on Instagram. Three months later, what followed was another Instagram post by the couple that got far more attention than even their wedding picture. It was a picture of the ecstatic couple with Bedi holding a pregnant Dhupia. Followers of the actor couple were quick to notice that for just three months, the baby bump looked too big. Soon, the dots were connected and the couple, too, happily accepted the fact that the reason for a ‘sudden wedding’ was pregnancy. They have been blessed with a baby girl. And the ‘trend’ that fans are thankful to them for setting is the kind of unapologetic and uninhibited openness with which they handled the pregnancy and the wedding. Later on in an interview, Dhupia also said, “I don’t believe it (the wedding) was hush-hush or secret as much as it was private. Both of us are private people. We just wish to control the amount of information we want to let out about our private lives.”

Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal

This wedding was in the news more because of the enormous amount of money spent by the bride’s father and the people who attended and performed at the ceremonies than for any other reason. Beyonce, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and John Legend were some of the celebrities to perform at the wedding/engagement functions. As for the attendees, even the newly married Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas had made it to the wedding. Aamir Khan was captured serving food at the wedding. There were followers who were smitten with the way the wedding was held and then there were those who couldn’t help but question if this level of flamboyance was healthy for the society that we live in. Now imagine living through a year where the extravagant trends set by these celebrity weddings are emulated!

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