Love & Life

Love and Lockdown: TV Actor, Instagrammer and Designer Share Wedding Stories

Three Indian couples who tied the knot during the Covid lockdown share their wedding notes.

By Krishna Prasad

Nothing like a wedding to evoke positive vibes of love and hope! These three couples couldn’t wait to tie the knot and went ahead despite the Covid lockdown.

Navya Rao and varun Sai, bengaluru

Popular television actor and social-media influencer Navya Rao got hitched to her IT professional partner Varun Sai in June this year

Bengaluru-based 28-year-olds Navya Rao G and Varun Sai C met about a year and a half ago at an event. Both belong to different communities and their professional journeys are also a study in contrast. The daughter of famed Kannada actor Ganesh Rao, Navya has been a television actor herself for the past eight years, while Varun is an IT professional.

The couple got engaged in March and the wedding had been planned for October 26, 2020, but they decided to tie the knot earlier than planned as there were no clear signs of when India’s lockdown would end.

Navya Rao G and Varun Sai C

The wedding took place on June 15, and all their original plans for a grand reception had to be cancelled in favour of a simpler event. The only concern the couple faced was during the pre-wedding shoot as “we didn’t get enough time to arrange our outfits”.

Even so, they ended up with 100 guests from both sides. The wedding took place at Saligrama party hall near Sita Circle, Bengaluru. Everything went smoothly, and the families took all necessary precautions keeping Covid in mind.

“Since the crowd was minimal, we saved more than 80 percent of our budget,” says Navya. There are no plans for celebrating their wedding post-Covid with a ‘real party’, because all rituals were followed.

The happy couple

Lockdown or not, any wedding has its memorable moments. “We both were nervous at the time of tying the mangalsutra,” Navya laughs, adding that it ended up being one of most special moments of the wedding.

“Instead of inviting thousands of people to the wedding, it’s better to have a smaller circle who bless you from their heart,” she says.

Sanjana Nahar and Kanishk Dugal, Delhi

It took a lockdown for accessories designer Sanjana Nahar and businessman Kanishk Dugal to realise they wanted a wedding right away

On June 29, 2020, wedding bells rang for accessories designer Sanjana Nahar and businessman Kanishk Dugal, as both their families came together in a homely ceremony during the lockdown. Though based in Delhi, the duo first met at a wedding in Thailand, and there had been no looking back ever since.

They didn’t want to wait for the lockdown to end, so the wedding took place as planned. “It was only in the lockdown, in fact, that we realised we wanted to take things forward, that we needed to do this now, and that nothing was better than having an intimate affair at home with our closest people,” says Sanjana, who is the founder of the label Jalouze that specialises in embellished clutch bags.

Sanjana Nahar and Kanishk Dugal

Having studied textile design from NIFT Delhi, Sanjana did her Master’s in international fashion business from Nottingham Trent University, UK.

Fortuitously, both the bride and groom have ample fashion in their lives, and everything was arranged in-house for their wedding.

Sanjana’s mother designed and created a beautiful lehenga for her daughter. The bespoke jewellery was taken care of by Kanishk’s mother, Jahnavi Dugal, who is a jewellery designer herself.

The wedding itself took place at home, and they invited only 15-20 of their closest family members. They also arranged for an online streaming of the wedding for relatives and friends.

Digitally connected

In the absence of wedding-service operators, they managed everything else themselves – the flower décor in the home and on the car, gift-wrapping each present, and cooking up a delicious meal. Soon after the wedding, the newlyweds travelled for a short honeymoon to Bikaner and Suryagarh.

“Having a lockdown wedding made us realise that this was probably the way ceremonies were done in the olden days, when every family member contributed to make their daughter’s wedding the most memorable one,” says Sanjana.

Martina Roy and Zain Anwar, Delhi

The lockdown cleared the path for college sweethearts Martina Roy and Zain Anwar to finally seal their relationship after several years

Instagrammers Martina Roy and Zain Anwar, both 29, met while doing their Master’s in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi, and have been a couple ever since. At present, Martina teaches English at a reputed school while Zain works with a major internet company.

With their engaging and humorous content, they have close to 40,000 social-media followers between them. They had planned to get hitched in September 2020, and the lockdown didn’t change their mind.

Martina Roy and Zain Anwar

But it did come with its own challenges regarding the wedding arrangements. The festivities began with the traditional haldi ceremonies at both their homes, though the absence of household help was a big hurdle and the parents of the bride had to take care of the entire décor by themselves. They simplified the meal arrangement by ordering from Martina’s favourite Kerala-cuisine restaurant, Mahabelly.

“There are many stressful aspects of organising a wedding during the lockdown. One major concern was the guest list. Considering social distancing norms and the cap on the guest list, the good old big fat Indian wedding was off the table and reducing guests was the hurdle. Our original plan was to have about 300 guests, but we could only invite 80 guests in total. Moreover, travelling and organising things was yet another challenge,” says Zain, who shed 20 kg over six months before the wedding.

Martina and Zain after their court wedding

“On the whole, we’ve seen and experienced a very different wedding by ensuring guests follow all safety protocols,” he adds.

The interfaith couple had their official wedding solemnised in their local sub-divisional magistrate’s office and then a reception at the India International Centre in Delhi, where they went on a live Zoom session for friends and family who couldn’t make it.

Martina wore a beautiful red Banarasi sari from designer handloom label Ekaya, while Zain wore a sherwani in his late mother’s favourite hue, soft pink. “The pink looked rather nice with the red,” he notes.

First published in eShe’s November 2020 issue

Syndicated to Money Control

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