Lavish weddings a thing of the past

Nikah at dawn, guest list reduced, food at home part of lockdown marriages

Pre-wedding celebrations till late at night, weddings with hundreds of guests, lavish spreads on the dastarkhwan (dinner table), and even the separate dulhe ka dastar (groom’s dining table) are now off the cards for the foreseeable future. Kind courtesy: the lockdown, and COVID protocols.

Instead of the nikah happening late in the evening, the solemnising of the marriage, officiated by the qazi, is being performed at the break of dawn.

The guest list is usually the immediate family of the bride and groom. While Hyderabadi weddings were known to not compromise on delicacies placed at the dinner table, this too, has been upended.

“My sister was married on March 31. There were 25 people from the groom’s side and around 15 people from our side. The wedding was at home from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. None of our first cousins got their children to the wedding,” Mohammed Salahuddin, a cloth merchant from Falaknuma, said.

Pre-wedding ceremonies like manjhe, and sanchak – mehendi were given a miss. The family, Mr. Salahuddin said, did not want to take chances, given the raging pandemic.

“I heard my aunt say that in other times, on the wedding day, we would be busy from Fajr (early morning prayers) till 3 a.m. the next day. The revelries wound up within 3 hours,” he says.

Hasan Ali, a 28-year-old, was married recently. The nikah was at the office of a qazi in Old City. In attendance were the bride and groom, and witnesses who have to sign on the siyahnaama. “We went there around 6.30 a.m., and left before 7 a.m. That was all. We had food at home. There was no separate dulhe ka dastar, on which the groom, his friends, and siblings sit and break bread,” he said.

With celebrations beginning at the crack of dawn, a menu designed to suit the early morning pangs of hunger has been the order of the day. The much loved mutton biryani, and its variants, were not on the menu.

Mirza Khursheed, a 34-year-old entrepreneur and resident of Banjara Hills, was engaged mid-May in a ceremony that lasted for only an hour and a half. It had a typical Hyderabadi breakfast menu: khichdi-keema, khatta, nahari, a stew with trotters, tala hua gosht (fried mutton) and sheermal.

Taha Quadri, a food catering professional, restaurateur, and baker, said that weddings of all communities are a fraction of what they were before the lockdown came into force. “Weddings have moved to smaller venues, and at homes. A lot of people who had planned weddings around this time told me that if the relaxation timings are extended to 6 p.m., they are willing to have functions in the afternoon. When it comes to food, it depends on person-to-person. Some wish to keep it simple, others want a scrumptious meal with many dishes,” he said.

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