• Sharin Hussain

Are Big Weddings Over? Lockdown Restrictions

With lockdown restrictions making us change the way we celebrate weddings, we have to ask the question, are big weddings over?

The pandemic has halted the businesses of many industries, most especially the booming business of weddings, with a whopping 14.7 billion pounds contributing to the UK's economy. Now that is a high figure, but can we say for certain, that will all go away?

I doubt it.

You see, the problem is, weddings will become a big thing once the restrictions have been lifted, life is restored to normal, and we can go out. The only difference? You'll see big weddings as a 'trend'. The current ongoing trend we see on social media sites is 'small weddings' or 'at home weddings' that have been affordable and intimate in a way that cannot be achieved at a grand hall.

I imagine that a lot of couples have seen lockdown as a blessing to save money and have the small wedding they've always wanted but could never do because they feel obliged to invite everyone they know to the wedding and that number could get high very quickly. After lockdown is over, I think many couples will want to do a big event for their wedding because they not only want to celebrate their love in front of family and friends but also celebrate (hopefully) the end of a pandemic.

Personally, I had a small nikkah with about 60 people which was my ideal wedding. I grew up thinking that I wanted a big wedding but the older I got, the more I realised that I didn't need it to be big. However, we did, in fact, have a 'grand' wedding in December 2019, (luckily just before lockdown) and invited around 450 people- which is actually small for an Asian wedding. Part of me thinks it wasn't necessary however the other part of me is grateful to be able to say we shared with as many people as we possibly could. I'll be honest, my parents wanted a small wedding but at the same time, they knew that there was this high expectation to invite everyone that they knew to the first wedding in our family, and more so, as I was the only girl.

In the Asian community, a small wedding hardly ever happens because our families are so big; it's almost impossible to avoid a big wedding especially when your parents may want to invite everyone in the family, friends, and distant relatives that you may have not seen in years. It's expected- it's normal. The difference in numbers? Well, from what I can tell, at a traditional church wedding, there tends to be a maximum of 150 people at the reception whereas, with Asian weddings, it could easily go up to 1,000 people. This can be quite expensive and sometimes, it’s hard to find venues that can even hold that capacity.

I feel like often enough, what the bride and groom want for their wedding, gets lost in the demands and expectations that parents have, especially if they are paying for it. So, it is a balance of being compassionate and doing some things that your parents wish whilst also remembering that they are paying to make you happy so they should understand that spending all that money is pointless if you as the bride or groom aren't happy with the results. It is still meant to be your day.

Rukhsar, a newly engaged bride, has said, ‘I am waiting for restrictions to be lifted as my immediate family is so big that I wouldn’t be able to invite just 30 people. I want the big wedding I’ve always dreamed of so I don’t think I should give that up just because of a pandemic- I’d rather wait.’ This statement may be the case for a lot of brides, who have been dreaming of their wedding from a young age and would perhaps want it to be grand therefore not willing to compromise and I have to say, I agree; this is their big day.

Aishah, a stay-at-home mother of two, had a small wedding back in 2015 and says ‘For us, it was a means to save a lot of money for our future rather than spend it on the wedding. It was an intimate event with only a few family and friends.’ This is the current situation that many brides are facing. Some had spent a year or two planning and when lockdown happened, many felt like they didn’t want to delay any longer because as you can tell, you can plan but not everything will happen the way you want it.

I don’t think big weddings are over, as a matter of fact, they are just on hold for now; once restrictions are lifted and we can all go back to the way things were, trust me, big weddings will make a huge comeback and will definitely boost our economy. As much as I loved my big fat wedding, we could have saved that money to buy a house and be more prepared for our future so, it just depends on what you want but like the saying, 'Money comes and money goes'. If you have the money to spend and celebrate as lavishly as you want then it isn’t anyone’s business to say otherwise. I think our economy relays heavily on the wedding industry and even with restrictions, a small wedding can still be costly.

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