Under lockdown and far apart, Sushen Dang and Keerti Narang went online to say their marriage vows — and pulled off a spectacular Indian wedding complete with thousands of guests and raucous Bollywood dancing.
In a country famous for lavish weddings that last for days, the young couple are among a growing number modifying their marriage ceremonies under a virus lockdown that has limited public gatherings.
Eager to go ahead with the arranged marriage on the auspicious date selected for them by a priest, the pair turned to the internet to tie the knot.
“We never imagined that even our online wedding would be so grand,” Dang, a 26-year-old data analyst who is based in Toronto, told AFP of the April 19 event.
“A hundred guests joined in our celebration on the app. We live-streamed the ceremony on Facebook which was watched by another 16,000 people.”
The nuptials spanned the country.
Dang, decked out in a turban and traditional sherwani kurta, logged on from Mumbai on the coast of the Arabian Sea, while Narang — in her red bridal finery — joined from Bareilly in northern Uttar Pradesh state that borders Nepal.
The priest overseeing proceedings chanted hymns as he sat before a ritual fire at his home in Raipur in the central state of Chhattisgarh, with guests logging in from Delhi, Gurgaon and the southern tech hub of Bangalore.
There were minor hiccups — some elderly family members were accidentally unmuted and pets photo-bombed screens.
But the energy levels remained high and the occasion was capped off with a fun Bollywood-style dance performance by their cousins.
The wedding video posted on Facebook has so far garnered nearly 260,000 views, making the newly-weds “feel like celebrities”.
– Wedding blues –
The spread of the coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown took place as India’s wedding season was in full swing.
In western Rajasthan state alone some 23,000 weddings meant to coincide with the Hindu Akshaya Tritiya festival on April 26 were called off due to the pandemic.