(An edited version of this appeared here.)
With so many ‘Weddings of the year’ being celebrated (it’s only April and I can already count two headline grabbing nuptials) I thought it would be a good idea to ponder over what it takes to have your shub muhurth splashed about in all the dailies.
For starters, being famous helps. Let’s face it, no one wants to know about Sarala Mami’s grand-daughter’s third cousin getting married unless that cousin happens to be Paris Hilton’s ex-boyfriend’s lovechild with Tina Turner (remember, a Paris Hilton connection always helps and there are plenty of those going around). Now for those who aren’t well endowed in the rich and famous department it is acceptable to use the six degrees of separation trick. Just imagine this headline:
‘Abdul Kalam’s secretary’s sister’s third daughter’s grandson’s best friend’s boss marries Pop Idol loser’
Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
So now that you have media interest it’s time to give you and your better half a marketable brand name - think Bennifer, TomKat, Branjelina, Abhiwarya – names you can envisage on coffee mugs, commemorative plaques and pre-nups. Now some names don’t really lend themselves to such co-joining. Take for example Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar (who you’ll be reading about more and more as this article progresses). Perfectly nice names on their own but put them together and you end up with Lizrun (sounds like an expectorant) or Hurnay (reminiscent of the reallocation of various internal organs). In such cases it’s best to change one’s name. After all, haven’t we all felt at some point of time or the other that our names are what are holding us back from greater success?
The next thing one needs to arrange for is a wedding venue. Think international. Think exotic. The chathram at III cross street just won’t cut it I’m afraid. And don’t even think of Italian castles and boring Bali beaches – they’re so passé. If you really want something special then head to a developing country. Somewhere with poor infrastructure and enough orphans for you to adopt and kick-start that rainbow family you’ve always wanted.
Once location, future children and other pesky details have been taken care of it’s time to focus on the most important thing. You. Well actually your clothes. They’re what will really set you apart. Make sure there’s something unique about your outfits and how they’ve been made. Perhaps your choli was embroidered by visually impaired Belgian Nuns. Or maybe your shoes were stitched by super intelligent dolphins off the coast of Australia. Abu and Sandeep just won’t cut it anymore. Once you know what you’re wearing turn your attention to your guests. You don’t think they should be allowed to wear what they like do you? Of course not! Hessian sacks for all your best friends (very eco friendly) or maybe they’d prefer to wear blue boiler suits – utilitarian chic rarely goes out of style. Since it’s your special day you can be as demanding and Bridezilla as you like. And since the big day is being touted as the wedding of the year thanks to that instantly recognisable brand name and distant familial ties to Elvis Prestley (rumoured to be attending the wedding) everyone invited will be willing to put up with even the most humiliating of things (just ask all the British women forced into wearing ghagra cholis and jhatkaing for Liz’s sangeet).
Speaking of those who are coming to the wedding it’s important to get your guest list down right. Screw the best friend you’ve known since nursery and your aunties and cousins – you can always send them a commemorative plaque or mug. Your wedding list has to show the world just how well connected, cool, cultured, cash flushed and contemporary you are. Politicians, business tycoons, writers, dancers and an assortment of models and actors (who of course will be conveniently forgotten when it comes to taking photographs) that you’ve never met before are the people you want to share your special day with. You don’t really need to know any of your wedding guests. You just need their addresses. Or their PR agents’. Have your people call their people. Most people will be too polite to call up and ask who the hell you are or so desperate to squeeze in to the OK! Magazine photo-op they won’t really care that they couldn’t even pick you out of a line up. Worst case scenario is they won’t show up but will feel obliged to send over a gift which would have hopefully come from the wedding registry you signed up with. Why settle for one more crystal Ganesha or ornamental grape bunch when you can get something you actually want? Or something that Wallpaper magazine tells you you really want.
To really prolong your minute of fame, instigate as many wedding day dramas as you can. The more people you piss off the more post wedding press conferences your guests will hold to publicly air their grievances. Then you can host a retaliatory press conference refuting everything they said. Just look at how long Liz Hurley and Papa Nayar have managed to stay in the news. It’s not all that difficult pissing people off. In fact it’s the one thing that all weddings – infamous and otherwise- have in common. Haven’t all our periamma’s complained that they only got one jangiri or that the second helping of sambar never made it their way? Hasn’t every Ramu Mama complained that no one bothered to enquire about his gout?
At the end of the day all weddings have some basic things in common. A bride and groom (or any other permutation and combination that tickles your fancy), irate wedding guests, ugly gifts and endless speculation are what form the foundation of every wedding. Everything else I’ve mentioned is what turns a Vanitha weds Vineet in to an Abhiwarya. (Ash, Abhi if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting for my invitation.)