Be it the mehendi, sangeet or haldi, the smaller wedding functions preceding the nuptials are possibly the most exciting and integral aspects of the celebration. Here’s how you can organise them safely whilst retaining the spirit and celebratory tone of the festivities
Pandemic or no pandemic, we’ve all realised that life must go on (with all safety precautions in place, of course) as must the union of happy couples who have been waiting for months to be united in holy matrimony. While the main wedding ceremony and reception is usually a grand and crowded affair, it’s the smaller functions like the haldi, mehendi and sangeet among others that can be arranged—either at home or elsewhere. Here’s a look at how couples can plan and organise these functions so as to ensure an unforgettable and safe celebration.
It’s tradition for the groom to scour his bride’s henna tattooed hands in search of his concealed name. This mehendi ritual forms an important part of the pre-wedding ceremonies, as friends and family gather to join in the fun and have their hands decorated with fresh mehendi. However, given that it involves close contact among individuals, one needs to be doubly careful in the current environment. Namha Malhotra, founder, Castles & Coasters, shares, “Firstly, ensure that the mehendi artists are tested before the event and wear safety gear like a face shield at all times. The cones can be made at the venue and the hennaed hands dried with a hairdryer on high heat to kill any germs.” You could even consider doing away with the mehendi artists entirely (thereby reducing risk) and have someone from the family take over the task of applying mehendi to guests’ hands. Alternatively, you could turn it into a fun DIY event. Trrishant Sidhwaani, director of DreamzKrraft, avers, “You can give each attendee a personalised henna cone, customised mehendi design catalogue and a little trinket and organise a fun competition wherein guests can paint each other’s hands with henna and vie for a prize even as the groom tries his hand at drawing designs on his bride’s hands!” If you intend to invite a larger number of guests, do so in well-planned batches to prevent unnecessary crowding and also allow for routine disinfection, advises Aashna Saran, founder and creative head, Aash Studio.
This is perhaps the most exhilarating part of the wedding as it’s the one event where the couple can really let their hair down and dance the night away with their loved ones in full abandon. Add to that the fun of watching choreographed numbers that are practised, perfected and finally performed for the audience by the couple’s close friends and family. To curb the risks at this event, switch to virtual lessons or online practices or, better still, arrange for artists who can perform entertaining acts for your audience. Saran elucidates, “Book a large space with well-spaced seating arrangements and install a stage and extra screens so that people can sit and enjoy the entertainment from afar.” Malhotra, on the other hand, recommends that only the couple’s dances be choreographed while other performances feature a limited number of performers and the use of props like scarves to naturally maintain distancing without looking odd or peculiar.
Considered one among the important ceremonies preceding the wedding, this ritualistic holy bath ceremony sees couples being slathered with turmeric paste by their loved ones—deeming it a high-contact and therefore challenging function to organise. Malhotra recommends paying extra attention to the seating arrangement so as to ensure that the guests are at a safe distance from the couple. It might be wise to arrange and oversee the manner in which guests approach (one at a time) the couple and apply (quickly and away from the eyes, nose and mouth) the turmeric paste. She also suggests that the bride and groom shower immediately after the function to reduce risk. Sidhwaani, on the other hand, recommends taking the DIY route, as he shares, “Since many women may refrain from visiting a salon prior to the function, set up a DIY face mask counter replete with natural ingredients for the women to use. Further, you can distribute immunity boosters like organic haldi and honey as giveaways.”
· The staff, vendors and guests must get tested before the functions
· Limit your guest list and divide and stagger them across the functions. Segregate them in batches or group them according to age, risk factors, etc.
· Provide safety gear and ensure safety measures are followed by all