“With wedding jitters clasping onto my hands and feet, I feel like an invisible anchor tugging on to me from rear ends. I wasn’t forced into it, but was I ready?” – Anika, a soon-to-be bride yielded to her emotions of what seems to be revolutionized as ‘fear of the unknown’.
Some do it due to peer pressure, others dip into it to find and renew themselves with their significant other. However, what is it like to be married the ‘deshi’ way? Bangladeshi weddings have all dimensions of extravagant, glamour and color embedded onto them starting from the cores of love that the couples behold to the cascading décor. What are the perks of feeding a thousand people while the parents go through unfathomable rate of stress and the stirring of psychological roller coaster? Inner peace, one might presume.
Truth be told; more than a quarter of the mass people attending the wedding are unknown to both the bride and groom. Explanations of ‘you were this many’ or ‘you’ve grown into such a wonderful man/woman’ fly about and echo within the walls of the hall. The bride and groom-still reluctant to admit that they can’t practically and theoretically recall someone they may have met during their tender age go on to nodding and brushing them off one by one whilst plastering on a fictitious grin. Another perk of Bangladeshi weddings? The food.
The percentage of wedding crashers in this country is catapulting and the only assumption and reason for such vitality of stepping into a room full of strangers simmer down to just that one word – food. Deshi weddings are renowned for their scrumptious, rare and authentic food. People actually wait around the year to be lucky enough to get invitations on weddings. Well, at least modest people wait and sometimes are crestfallen when none of their acquaintances get married however, it differs for the crashers.
The bride is usually the attraction of the event too, who is sometimes draped in six yards of pure lurid yet, beautiful Benaroshi saree or Lehengas which have meticulously encrusted stone work on them. It requires a lot of temptation, dedication, sample work and time to make the jewelries; which are often customized according to the attire of the bride starting from the floral jewelries that adorn the special lady in her Holud/Mehndi program to the bangles, neck, nose and head pieces she embraces in her reception. It all matters!\
Now when such extreme measures of fascination is brought to life, why get away with it without taking a billion photos? Photography is one of the major pillars in any wedding in Bangladesh. In fact, the photo and cinematography industry in Bangladesh has resonated with such rapid advancements due to weddings and how photographers symbolize their art through it. One of the photographers of FNF Photography explained how the wedding industry works with a yearlong simple calculation who astonishingly proclaimed of acquiring, “Approximately 3.6 lac worth of wedding photography in a year.” Same goes for the other industries who are hitched to weddings including – Makeup, Catering, Bakeries, Decoration, Venue, Light and Sound, Cards and the list goes on.
An epitome of any cultural wedding in this country is also magnified by the beauty that the Holud programs hold. The dalas are intricately ensembles with ribbons, stones and other fancy decorations and exchanged between both the families which consists of the wedding attires, makeup, food, gifts and just more clothes for the whole family. To say that, Bangladeshi weddings are extra – would be an understatement. The highlight of any Holud program would also be the dance performances often taken part by the cousins, friends and acquaintances of the bride and groom. The competition here still persists with wishing best to the energized performers. Whoever wins takes pride and carries it around like an Olympic medal throughout the family.
One of the longest programs in history of weddings would be Holud or Mehndi events with the benchmark being set as high as 4-5 o’clock in the morning where people jazz around to the beat of the DJ, forgetting all their work and educational stress for mere hours.
In the midst of all the festivities, never forget the fact that; the more the people, the more the interference and the more gossip of the highest peak. But then again, weddings are bare without the closest of relatives and cliques; hence it is only standard to hate the ones you love sometimes. Bangladeshi weddings are a lot of things – they are sweaty, nerve-wracking, loud with glamorous and glistening decorations, a generalized pass to showing off, emotional with frequent screams of agony, frustration and stress, some more show off but most of all; it’s unique. People crave for it from every edge of the world, plotting ways to smell the Kacchi Biryani one last time or dressing up to dance and take worthy pictures that could be on their Instagram feed but mostly to feel connected and at home. Weddings in Bangladesh are a lot of things but what makes it a rare map is that saying ‘I do’, isn’t the end of a chain long era of festivity, it is rather the beginning.
Three months after her wedding and the tales that it invited in, Anika is living her best life with her spouse whilst indulging in various perks of being newlyweds.
“It was hectic; I’m not going to lie. At times I thought, is it all worth it? But eventually, when everything settles down you realize that it was beautiful – everything starting from the awry, the chaos within my deepest cell and the outermost, fantasies erupting to wishes and gradually reincarnating as real life; it was all worth it. When the best and worst moments of your life are behind you and that includes all weddings in general, you realize; what’s a wedding without some drama?”