A number of other couples have also been married in virtual ceremonies to maintain social distancing
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the adoption of online alternatives for a number of everyday activities, such as shopping and work. Now, some are turning to virtual weddings as the crowded ceremonies of the past would make social distancing impossible.
Egyptian immigrant Tabassum Taharin was supposed to arrive in Bangladesh with her family on March 1 for her wedding to Nakib al Ishmam. After the Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, the two tied the knot in a virtual ceremony on June 8.
“We got married with both of our guardians present and I dressed like a bride. I did not get to come to Bangladesh, but I’m still happy we were able to get married to each other despite being thousands of miles away,” Tabassum said.
“I had no choice but to cancel our wedding, which we had been planning for six months. Now, we are both mentally settled, because in a virtual way we were able to get married when we wanted to,” she added, mentioning that she got the idea of holding a virtual wedding from her friends and relatives.
A number of other couples have also been married in virtual ceremonies to maintain social distancing.
The wedding market of the country has collapsed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and a total 7,500 registered kazis have been unemployed for the past three months, according to the Bangladesh Muslim Marriage Registrars Association.
Kazi Mohammad Shajahan from the Uttara kazi office told Dhaka Tribune: “In the three months of lockdown we have served 3-4 online marriages per month. This was good for us and for those families.”
He added that, apart from online marriages, only 2-3 marriages I have taken place per month – 5% of what took place before the pandemic.
Bangladesh Muslim Marriage Registrar Association Secretary General Kazi Iqbal Hossain said they used to perform an average of 40 marriages per month in an area, but it has come down to 3-5 marriages in last three months.
Some kazis told Dhaka Tribune marriage through mobile phones has been around in the country for many years and virtual ceremonies are a natural development.
Rules of virtual marriage
Kazi Mohammad Shajahan said that these marriages are being conducted according to the complete Muslim customs and apply as normal. Brides and grooms mail their authorized letters and electronic signatures are used.
“All kinds of legal papers are accepted online, and the marriage is held in front of witnesses from both sides,” he added.
Kazi Iqbal Hossain said sometimes more than 20 people attend virtual weddings through video conference.
An online wedding platform
From the first week of May, Selvice Wedding (event.selvice.co) started their new online wedding service.
Through the service, couples can invite all their relatives and host live concerts, among other features.
They have 20 enlisted kazis to perform the ceremonies and Selvice arranges the program.
The idea of online marriages has received a good response from kazis, although the service is new to them.
“Since the video conferencing system is now available to everyone, they think it will open a new door,” said Managing Director and Executive Officer of Selvice Wedding Labib Muhammad.
“We started research when online marriages started becoming very popular in Vietnam during the lockdown. I have been doing market research since March and now I am working on a promotional campaign,” he said.
He added that there are four marriages in the pipeline, so far.
“After fixing the wedding dates, we will start the programs one by one,” he added.