Smart weddings: From showy to intimate

Pakistani elite are now opting for short, manageable and tasteful weddings. Goodbye colorful shamianas!

Ayesha Fazal February 10, 2011

Military top brass, bureaucrats, businessmen and the Pakistani elite have struck the path to throwing 'Smart' weddings for their offspring. They can afford the once trendy lavish dos, yet are opting for 'Smart' weddings - Stylishly short, Manageable, Authentic and Really Tasteful

Outcome: they save their own and the guests’ time by having fewer functions, they redirect resources to the happy couple to start their new lives together and infuse the entire wedding with an intimacy and genuineness.

Smart weddings are also managing to do what legislation (one-dish rule) or government/ NGO propaganda (Jahaiz aik lanat/trousseau is a curse) never could.

These events are making others question the standard wedding format.

Wedding planners 'r' us

The personal touch is back in vogue. Farah Irfan, wife of a pilot ordered the outfit for her daughter Meeha from Anarkali, Lahore, and their tailor stitched it. Meeha was decked in her grandmother’s jewellery on her big day. Her sister supervised the stage decoration. No event managers, just family.

Delicious home-cooked food was served at the small mayun function arranged at their residence for 40 guests. No caterers. She wore the same dress at her nikah and mayun, designed by her sister and friends. Meeha signed her Nikah papers under a bamboo gazebo made by her father.

When people want to celebrate family heirlooms and honour their family’s aesthetic sense, media messages cannot corner them into succumbing to the designer drama wedding.

Abdul Aziz, a businessman, and his wife Halima Aziz had an intimate baraat function at their residence for their daughter Sakina. Among other things the menu included some home-cooked food. They made wonderful memories through this cosy get-together.

Less is more

Alaina and her husband Shayan skipped the mehndi, had one reception co-hosted by both families and a family valima the next day. Meeha and Sakina too did not have mehndis. Many privileged folks have fewer functions, preferring convenience over the race to impress people by tiresome shows of wealth. In the process, these trend setters are making lives easier for themselves and for others.

Smart is not dull

These people aren’t compromising on enjoyment. At their reception Alaina and Shayan had song and dance, and everybody had fun. Meeha and Faran Mirza had a similar arrangement where the bride even danced at her own wedding. She said,
“I didn’t want to sit and stare at the wall at my own wedding!”

Purposeful smartness

People are thinking things through and deciding how to add meaning and beauty to weddings. Halima held her daughter Sakina’s nikah ceremony at Faisal Mosque.

“Basic decency is a beautiful thing,” said Halima, and that’s what Sakina’s wedding was all about.

Quratul Aen Tariq and husband Osman Munir, both children of army generals, had a joint wedding reception. Quratul Aen hosted a dars on how to live a happy marital life. She recommends that other people do the same instead of having song-and-dance events. She says that the money saved can be spent on education, or given to the needy.

Increasingly, families are redirecting wedding budgets to travel arrangements for the young couple, so they get a chance to build a strong bond before getting into the trenches of a more practical existence.

Myth:  buying happiness

Many believe that the bigger the trousseau is, the happier the bride will be. How many elaborate weddings leading to failed marriages do we need to convince us that securing a daughter’s (or a son’s) happiness is not about redundant trappings? As Meeha put it, “I am more interested in the marriage than the wedding.”

Parents of grooms are catching up with this idea too. Sakina’s mother-in-law insisted on a trousseau limited to essentials that the bride would need. For furniture and gadgets the mother-in-law declared she hardly had any space in her house!

Thus Sakina’s jahaiz included only things she needed, not things that parents were ‘supposed to give’ to their daughters. Meeha’s in-laws were perfectly fine with this.

Attaining smartness: the journey

The concept of Smart weddings is so convenient that people are wondering why they didn’t think of it before. Inspired by Meeha, her friend Ayisha Mir is all set for a simple wedding, with no mehndi. Sakina’s friends also want smart weddings like hers.

The five-day wedding is still around though. So far Smart weddings have been adopted by the trendsetters, the faint-hearted will follow the trend only after it settles in deeper. Until then, there will always be those who want Such Tedious, Unending, Pricey, Immature, Designer weddings: Oops, the acronym turns out to be Stupid weddings!

Ayesha Fazal An Islamabad based education consultant and Fulbright Fellow from Harvard University. Fazal contributes to the Islamabad pages of The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Zeeshan Haq | 13 years ago | Reply Author, you really touch heart by providing perfect example and approach to feel the essence of marriage. As in our hypocitic society it has become burden and chronic pain instead a relief and a scared obligtion which a mature man and women should oblighed with all of their heart and soul. Great stuff and really like your words.
rukhsana | 13 years ago | Reply I love it, please can someone pass this information to the Pakistanis living in America having STUPID weddings with dholkis that go on for weeks, hosted by family's friends and costing up to 5 grand (yes that is $5,000).
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ