Australia’s Covid-19 restrictions have greatly affected wedding processions for Indian Australians. Most Indian families have had to either postpone their wedding or cut down on their wedding programs due to restrictions on social gatherings due to Covid-19-related uncertainties. These coronavirus restrictions have not only affected the families emotionally but also affected wedding-related businesses and suppliers.
A vivid example is that of Pralabh Gupta and Adhira Razdan, who got engaged in 2020 and decided to marry this year in a big fat Indian wedding style. Both were born to Indian parents in Melbourne and have been making wedding plans with their families for their traditional luxury wedding scheduled to be held on July 30. The couple is aware of the Covid-19 restriction and is prepared for it. However, their preparations are subject to uncertainties from the government. According to the couple,
“We are all set to take this big step, but it all depends upon COVID-19 restrictions in effect on that day. Anything can change last minute, and we are up for it.”
The bride’s mother, Dr Anjali Razdan, stated that they had invited five hundred guests for the program. She added that a luxurious reception and post-wedding formalities would follow after the wedding. The wedding celebrations are planned to kick off on July 18 with lots of pre-wedding activities, which both families would arrange. She said,
“We have booked all venues accordingly in line with COVID rules, prepared a guest list of almost 500 for the wedding day, but there is so much uncertainty around it when we think of a sudden lockdown at short notice.”
Although the family claimed to have backup plans to host a smaller wedding party if necessary, they feel they would experience great emotional stress if the original wedding plans upends. Dr Anjali Razdan said,
“For us, it is emotionally important to celebrate this event of a lifetime with our families and friends,” and “if restrictions come back, it would derail our idea of this dream wedding.”
Many other couples are either postponing their wedding for a future date or modifying their big wedding plans to smaller gatherings, with fewer pre-wedding functions due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Wedding-related businesses were also hit hard by Covid restrictions. For instance, a makeup specialist from Melbourne, Haffsah Bilal, who has numerous Indian bridal bookings lined up for the year, stated that she knew several different Indian Australian to-be brides who are presently feeling mentally exhausted as they trimmed down their wedding programs due to Covid-19 restrictions. She said, “It is the hardest time for these brides-to-be and their families. One of them postponed her wedding six times last year, and it was extremely stressful for her.”
Sharing similar experiences, the director of Melbourne-based restaurant Jai Ho, Saurabh Abbott, had to abandon six bookings last year due to coronavirus restrictions. He stated that several families were adamant on their initial plan of arranging a big luxurious Indian wedding.
Typically, Indian wedding programs are more extensive and costlier than an average Australian wedding. This is because Indian weddings are multifaceted events with several ceremonies, ethnic food, traditional bridal dresses, mandap decorations, overseas guests, entertainment, venues, invitations, and more. In addition, Indian weddings can host from about 150 guests to even 500 guests and are more than just a wedding ceremony. Hence, Indian weddings are a big task and tough to rearrange. How long can wedding businesses and indian wedding parties go on like this, remains to be seen.