For ages, a wedding in the family has meant an exhaustive guest-list which in turn has meant an exhausted messenger. Strictly adhering to generations of tradition and culture, ornate Ganesh-motifed invitations, with paisley bordered gold lettering, and a booklet for an itinerary, would personally be delivered to scores of relatives, friends and neighbours. Each of whom would also receive an ‘extra something’ in the form of prashad or a solid gold brick (ranging from South Indian to Baniya). But for the far-reaching effects of Facebook on communication in general, even the most sacred and spendthrift of traditions is slowly coming to an end.
Observing the current trend, the next generation of ‘happily-ever-after’ hopefuls in India, has begun using social media to offer a ‘more-personalised-than-listing-out-all-your-family’s-assets-on-the-left-side-of-the-wedding-card’ sense of creativity to their invites. The West has been doing it for years – be it a clever spoof in the form of a Hollywood movie trailer, like Jeff & Erin’s Youtube video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqLyCTESjg), a simple save-the-date invite on Facebook (http://weddingengagementnoise.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/facebook-wedding-invitation.jpg) or even a rather innovative Instagram (http://instagr.am/p/Hncg-syWyf/) upload like Patricia’s. The point is, here in India, it’s great to finally see young couples waking up to the ironic fact that – despite being a uniform platform for billions, social media invites might still be more personalised than the dazzling displays we put on each time we say “My great-grandfather and his uncle, invite _____ & family, to my wedding”.
Now, for all that’s been said in the previous two paragraphs about this new trend, here are a 5 pertinent positives, we’d like to point out.
1. Today’s Indian weddings are a global affair, with multiple locations and guests being invited from across the world; so it often becomes difficult to courier a wedding card with a box of ladoos all the way to Canada. In such cases, e-mailing guests an online Youtube link is so much easier. The video can be accessed by just about everyone for whom it was intended and even download whilst on the move, on one’s phone. The couple can get creative, personalise their invites as per family or friends and even monitor RSVPs with ease.
2. Recession or not, people don’t shy away from spending on what they believe is the most important day of their lives. In India, weddings are an occasion to try to outdo each other. In a bid to make things unique, some fly to ancient European churches for the event, others pay international celebrities to perform at a function. A cleverly created online-wedding invitation is one more way to make your wedding stand out – recording a romantic ballad, a video spoof of the latest action movies or even a well narrated photo-flip-book of how the couple met.
3. An online wedding invitation is way more cost effective, so you don’t have to be all majestic with your MasterCard. Here’s a small example. The last wedding I attended had over 2,000 guests. The price of each wedding card – Rs. 980. The cost of each gold coin that accompanied the wedding card – Rs. 2,880. The joy, the smiles, the excited banter amongst family from across the globe after watching your truly heartfelt video wedding invite – Priceless.
4. It’s a great way for two individuals with different cultural and religious backgrounds to deal with an otherwise volatile situation. No Ganesh and no “my grandfather’s name should come before your grandfather’s name”, simply two people with the freedom to invite whomever they choose in a manner befitting their own individual personalities.
5. This one’s a positive for the hardcopy wedding card industry. Don’t despair yet. The thing is, the trend is still in its nascent stage and finds popularity only amongst a handful of independently-managing young couples. In India, a majority of the weddings that take place are the ones between two families. Where, for the time-being age-old tradition, pomp, extravagance and formal wedding invites, are mainstays.