The past year has been a mixture of all things unfamiliar and uncomfortable, with us having to learn new ways of doing things we were so accustomed to in the past. Adjustments were made to even our smallest habits, like how we buy groceries. But amidst it all, what remained intact was our will to hold on to the joys of life, in whatever form they may be.
What we witnessed this last year was a rise in the number of weddings taking place, with more and more people choosing to form closer bonds with their loved ones, keeping them closer in hopes of getting through these difficult times together. Weddings at home became a more popular - and frankly, the only reasonable - option. But how do you ensure your special day, a day you've most likely pictured a certain way for years, is celebrated in a way that is still memorable, despite the circumstances?
Monami Zaman recently tied the knot at her humble abode in an intimate ceremony -- something she had always dreamt of doing, which the pandemic allowed her to make a reality. This ceremony, however, was in no way less than a grand celebration. We at Avenue T sat down with Monami to discuss the ins and outs of planning an at-home-wedding that ensured the safety of all those in attendance, without compromising with the delicate details of her dream wedding. Here are her top 5 tips on how to plan and execute your perfect pandemic wedding.
Limit the number of events
Keeping the current circumstances in mind, having multiple events may pose as a risk for you and the guests alike. Prioritize the events you absolutely must have at your wedding, and plan accordingly. Merging two events, such as the mehendi and holud, could also be a smart option if you're not willing to give up on either. Monami arranged a day-long bohemian event in lieu of a bachelorette, a holud/mehendi on the same day (just a quick outfit change is all you need for that), and the actual nikah ceremony on a separate day.
Assign different spots of the house for different events
As all the events will be held at home, find the perfect spot that could serve the purpose of each event. A little bit of planning and decorating can help you transform your house into the ideal venue for your big day. "I prioritized the segments that were well aligned with our outfits and had the best natural lighting", says Monami. She utilized different parts of her terrace for different events, while also keeping the indoors accessible during the mehendi and akht.
Cut down on the guest list
As much as we all like big weddings and inviting everyone we've ever met, a pandemic is, perhaps, not the best time to continue to do that. Make a guest list, and then narrow it down to your absolute closest people. Doing so will also allow you to find out in advance if they're Covid-free, and you can even ask them to get tested before the events, to be safe. Monami had less than 100 guests at the main event, with only a handful of close friends and family members invited to the other events.
Pick a theme that complements your home décor
For a smaller scale wedding, it's important to keep the costs at a minimum, too. The most expensive aspect of any wedding is usually the decor, when the bride's (and groom's) visions are made a reality with the help of a little bit of magic. For your home wedding, keep the color scheme, furniture, and decor pieces in mind, and you're already halfway done. All you need after that is some lighting, some props to accentuate the vibe you're going for, and you're golden. "We had just moved in to our new home, so we had a lot work done interior wise," shares Monami. "I didn't want to spend too much on wedding decor, so I used a lot of our furniture and curtains as the backdrops for photos. Thankfully, I didn’t need any external lighting either so we didn’t face any equipment placement or wiring issues. I planned almost the entire thing myself, which helped me stick to my vision and also cut costs significantly."
Take all necessary safety measures
There's a lot of work to be done before the wedding, a lot of which includes going out to crowded places and/or coming in contact with strangers. For your safety, and that of everyone else, get tested before the events. Ask your loved ones to get tested, too. Keep sanitizers handy at the event; if you're worried about them ruining the aesthetic, you can always decorate them too! Make sure the area you're using for the events allows for space between guests. And finally, get your house cleaned thoroughly after each event. At her wedding, Monami tried to divide the seating areas into three compartments: the stage where the event took place, a dining space, and different areas of the house where guests were encouraged to sit in groups of 5. Needless to mention, there were masks, sanitizers, and multiple washing stations in place. "We also tried to invite guests in different time frames, as the events were day-long, so not too many people were together in one place at the same time."
Put your posse to good use
No, really. Help them choose their outfits for your wedding events, and they can stand in as living props for the photos of your dreams. Not hiring professional photographers for all the events? No problem. Assign the friends with a similar sense of aesthetics as you to the job, and you'll be surprised at the skills some of them have been hiding all this time. Delegate your work to them; don't hesitate to ask your friends for help! You shouldn't have to stress out all on your own before your big day. And finally, and most importantly, if you've picked the right circle (and I'm sure you have), your inner circle will add immensely to the joy and festive spirit of your wedding. Monami's friends played a big part in her wedding planning and execution, and you can see for yourself how it all worked out.
Photos: Reminiscence Photography