Several young couples in Delhi NCR are now adding a charity angle to their wedding in a bid to contribute to society.
The big, fat Indian wedding is a stellar production. There’s smashing Bollywood music, the most talk-worthy couture, lavish molecular gastronomy menus, celebrity performances and, of course, an ostentatious display of jewellery, fancy cars… and even private helicopters, in some cases. For Delhiites, it’s that pinnacle event that defines their social status. However, there seems to be a change in the air. Wedding planners in the city say that while the big, fat weddings continue to grow fatter, some young couples are adding a charity angle to their wedding in a bid to contribute to society.
While some are donating excess food and flowers — and, occasionally, even their wedding outfit — to the underprivileged, some are putting together their shagun money to fulfil the wishes of others. “There are many couples who get married in a temple and give the money they save to noble causes. They often distribute gourmet food to [the poor] outside the temple. Sometimes, couples also invite children from orphanages to their weddings. Over the past six months, I’ve planned many such weddings. The number is certainly on the rise. Many couples also use their shagun money to help acid attack victims through NGOs,” says Kiran Sabharwal, 40, wedding planner.
It’s not just the couples who are engaging in charity. “We, as wedding planners, have an important role to play as well,” says Akshat Gupta, 31, wedding planner. “We often tie up with caterers and NGOs to ensure that food is not wasted and all the excess food is donated. We also suggest ideas to couples who like to donate.”
So, is this trend going to grow bigger? “It won’t happen overnight, but I think it’s the way forward. It’s the young generation that understands and practises the concept of a ‘sustainable wedding’, whereas our mothers and fathers still prefer the big, fat Indian wedding,” says Abhishek Kaushik, 31, floral set designer and wedding planner. “One of my close friends got married in a temple recently. His parents wanted a big, fat Indian wedding, but he didn’t. It was a simple wedding, where all the food was distributed to the poor outside the temple. Also, with the help of caterers, they made sure leftover food was sent to charities.”
One of the couples who decided to donate on their big day are Himanshu Saxena, 32, and Pankhuri Saxena, 29. Their idea was to use the occasion of their marriage to help those in need. “We tried our best to minimise the exchange of gifts from both ends. We donated half of the shagun amount to an NGO called Zindagi — this gave us a lot of joy. The whole idea of not being not too lavish with the wedding and doing our bit for society brought us closer,” says Himanshu.
Another Delhi couple, Aakash Gupta, 27, and Runika Gupta, 25, who got married early this year, decided to donate their lehenga and sherwani to an NGO, for it to use the clothes for community weddings. “Our parents wanted a lavish destination wedding. However, we weren’t interested,” says Aakash. “We didn’t want to waste money and resources. Ours was a low-key wedding, and we believe if one is in a position to bring some joy into someone else’s life, then one should. You only wear your wedding dress once, so why waste when you can donate it? All the excess food from our wedding was also donated to orphanages.”