When her elder sister decided to get married, Sonia Singh knew it would be an elaborate affair. What this 27-year-old freelance writer hadn’t

bargained for was her sister’s approach – she wanted the wedding to be the event of a lifetime. When the day dawned, she was “more of a host and less of bride”. The five-function event included a hen party and sangeet. “Marriages are so unpredictable. The least you can have is an elaborate wedding,” says Singh.

She was entirely on trend. Weddings and all the traditional paraphernalia associated with them are increasingly becoming more important than the institution of marriage itself. Item girl Rakhi Sawant’s reality TV swayamvar exemplifies the trend. Surprisingly, Gen X is focusing on tradition, which is increasingly fashionable.

Sociologist Mala Kapur Shankardass agrees that “it has become trendy to show that you are in with traditional mores. And what better way is there to indicate your cultural awareness than having a traditional wedding?”

Today, old is seen as new and every girl’s dream wedding just got bigger and fatter. Incidentally, the Indian wedding industry is estimated to be worth Rs 1,25,000 cr and it’s growing by 25% a year.

This is reflected in television soaps and Bollywood movies. Industry consultant Meher Sarid says her clients regularly ask her to replicate the weddings shown on TV. “Serials and movies use traditions from different parts of the country and make them ubiquitous,” she says. This is why bhangra might feature at a cocktail party for a Tamil wedding and a traditional Muslim wedding might have a mehendi party.

Market research professional Pavithra Ram says weddings are increasingly more important because “marriage isn’t a big deal anymore”. “Couples are usually seeing each other for sometime before they decide to tie the knot or are in live-in relationships. That’s why the ritual of a wedding instills a sense of newness and becomes first priority,” says the 25-year-old. Ram speaks from personal experience. In December, she cements her four-year relationship with “a wedding ceremony, a reception and a dance party”.

Wedding ritual, of course, is increasingly traditional, but not ethnic, insists Vandana Mohan, CEO of Wedding Design Company. “Contemporary and fusion are out, staunchly Indian is in, be it clothes, jewellery or decor,” she says. Streamlined fish-cut lehengas have given way to fuller ones, the décor is increasingly Indian-inspired and traditional jewellery styles such as polki or stonework are the rage. Who knows, some girl may even decide to hold a real live swayamvar, muses Sarid.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/sunday-toi/view-from-venus/