The Lighter Side of Weddings
Contrary to popular notion, the wedding day can be the most painful day for the newly-weds. The more extravagant the nature of the wedding reception, the worse the plight gets. The only folks who enjoy the bash are the guests who, for the investment of a tiny gift, can have a rollicking time.
This is a hastily drawn etiquette, not only for the bridal couple, but for the wedding guests. The latter can enjoy themselves without getting confused with the programme which differs from community to community.
The guests are expected to turn up dot on time for the Muhurat or the garlanding ceremony at a Hindu-style wedding. But to get the best seats you must be punctual for the nuptials of Catholic weddings. The bride or the bridegroom may turn up late. No problem for them as their seats are always reserved.
Punctuality does not always pay for guests who attend Catholic wedding receptions. If anybody is a stickler for punctuality he will end up either heating up the chairs or cooling his heels.
I recall a co-villager of my village who wanted to teach his guests for his wedding reception a lesson in punctuality. He told me his ushers would debar entry for guests who turned up after the wedding toast was raised.
With much trepidation I hastened on my motor-bike for the reception at O Coqueiro's. I was not sure if I would meet his deadline. I reached the venue at the appointed time only to find myself as one of the first guests. The bridal couple was still to arrive on the scene.
Where greeting the bridal couple goes, the Catholic style receptions are bridal-couple-friendly. The couple has to suffer the torture of a non-stop pecking of their cheeks. In the case of the lagins, the guests enjoy the facility of a namaste. What is lost in terms of intimacy is, however, made up by an invitation to the well-wisher to pose for a photo.
The guests at the 'lagins' can look forward to the lunch or dinner after greeting the newly-weds. At the other wedding reception, one must have to suffer through the dances. Some young bachelors even have to go through mandatory dances with aunties and sisters before they can settle down to a dance partner of their choice.
The bridal couple are expected to relax at the reception. After all, they have been through a host of dances on their own. The only time when the bride or the groom can enjoy the dance, besides the special dance, is when they dance with their ex-boy friends and girl friends respectively at an organised session.
In the grand old days, receptions were great fun because the dances were more important than food. In fact, there was often no opportunity for a good meal at all. The tired dancer had to make do with snacks and a miserly helping of pulao. However, on an emptier tummy it was easier to fall in love.
Nowadays, the love is more for the buffet. The only dance some folks enjoy is the march that takes them to the buffet table. Very often the march leads to a scramble for the prized delicacies like tiger prawns. This is in bad taste. In contrast, the Hindu-style wedding buffet is more tummy-friendly. The veg dishes are not only healthy but fresh. This gives more time to befriend members of the same or the opposite sex, as the situation allows.
At the old-style weddings, video shooting was unheard off so that people could enjoy dancing into the moonlight. Nowadays with the punky bands in attendance, the refined art of dancing has received a beating.
The European bridal couple vanishes half way through the wedding reception. Partly to escape the second round of greeting from the guests. In the case of Goan weddings, the couple has to wait till the last guest leaves the hall. Unless the marriage was arranged a fortnight before and the bridegroom is leaving for the Gulf after two days.
by Valentino Fernandes