Why it might be a good idea to start restricting your guest list

My Big Fat Goan Wedding

by Aliya Abreu

They Come, recipe Dance, Eat and Don’t Care Anyway

Why it might be a good idea to start restricting your guest list

You and your brand new bride are browsing your wedding album photos. You squint at some suited and booted chap guzzling beer in the pictures and ask your beloved “Who was that?” She shrugs, she doesn’t know either!

Weddings in Goa! A lot of us have had an overdose of those this season – if not in reality, than at least via Facebook and Whatsapp updates where proclaiming that you’ve just tied the knot with the love of your life (*gags*) seems to be the order of the season. And man, the weddings just keep getting fancier with every year. This season saw no shortage of the latest trends in fashion, especially the bridesmaids’ dresses. (We’ve gone up to eight bridesmaids now! Per bride, yes!) And the food, OMG! Live counters and buffets running up to fifteen plus courses. Then there’s the groovy dance music to knock you over, with Goan bands reviving songs to dance to, like Dollar Wine which is over two decades old! The new trend is to have a Photo Booth, where invitees can click crazy pictures holding props and cards with wild punch lines. There’s no denying it: The Big Fat Goan Wedding delivers as promised, with guests going home well-fed, well-entertained, and with enough gossip from the wedding to last till the next one.

In the love and laughter of these weddings, no one seems to see the elephant in the room. Why spend lakhs of rupees on hundreds of people half of whom the couple will never be able to call friends? Is it really worth the money spent?  A local daily recently carried the story of how ‘The Big Country Band’ was so fed-up of guests arriving late at the reception venue, that they started a campaign of sorts to get weddings started at the time designated on the invitation card. The band starts playing on time, whether the venue is filled up or not. This story looked into the many reasons why Goan Catholic weddings are starting later and later (some start as late as 9: 30 p.m). Loads of reasons were cited, but none that hit the nail on the head, according to me: If people cared about you or making your wedding a success, they’d take the effort to make it on time. Perhaps the invitees don’t really care about you, your wedding, and even your marriage? They’re just there to make merry and eat well. Oh wait, that’s not entirely true: they’ll care if your marriage eventually breaks up. They will find out, and they will talk about you behind your back, till their tongues hurt.

weddging

It’s not entirely the guests’ fault for not caring. In most cases, the invitees do not even know the couple, or are merely acquaintances. It’s the parents of the couple who have invited the people they feel indebted to in some way, or simply feel obligated to call. And the poor couple has to smile for the camera all evening long and greet people they’ve never met before and will never meet again, and politely thank them for attending the wedding.

People go for weddings for a number of reasons: the dancing, the food, the getting-to-dress up, but mainly because along with the invitation card, you handed them an obligation to attend your wedding, which they now feel forced to fulfil. They also probably grudgingly make a note of your name so that they can reciprocate and call you for their, or their children’s wedding … and so the cycle of obligation goes on!

Back in the day when I believed that God could solve all of the world’s problems, I paid close attention to what my Confirmation class teacher had to say. And one thing I remember with great clarity is this – Pay close attention to your marriage, not your wedding, for weddings last a day, marriages, a lifetime.

So take a good look at your wedding guest list. Knock off the freeloaders and those who don’t care too much for you. You’ll have a decent party of relatives, neighbours and friends who really love you, will turn up on time and make your wedding day memorable. You will actually recognise every smiling face in your big fat album!

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