The pandemic made it easier to plan intimate weddings we secretly always wished for

Imagine having no family dinners to attend, no visitors every two hours, and ample time to invest in a newly formed relationship.
Updated 29 Jul, 2020

With over a hundred days in lockdown, our motivation has really seen some highs and lows.

There are days when one is hell-bent on making the best of a bad situation and some days where you just ‘make very bad’ of a bad situation because you no longer see the value in the suffering. You don’t see what possible good could come out of this atrocity.

Yet, besides the dressing up bit and the scheduling, what are some macro-level things that this pandemic is really suited for? Starting some yoga? Learning to cook? But wait for it...

To get married! (Disclaimer: this epiphany applies only for people not already married)

Think about it; the wedding that we apparently “wish” we could have but know we can’t because of what the khallas and phuppos will say is really the small, intimate kind. To host a dinner, say qubool hai and be on your way.

Really, our aunts from both sides of the family can't get mad because hey, we're living in a pandemic.

Kia karain, majoboori thi, hamara tu bohot dil tha aap aatein” type scene; the kind of majboori our society respects and forgives (mostly).

Imagine having no family dinners to attend past the wedding, no visitors every two hours, and so much peace and privacy and time to yourselves to invest in a newly formed relationship. It's almost unreal.

But for someone who didn’t actually intend to get married this year, I thought better and spoke to the people who had their weddings planned this year, and despite the cancelled mehndis and broken dance dreams (which I am sure is a bummer on some levels), went ahead anyway.

Zahra Hashim, fitness trainer

"We planned our wedding specifically during Covid19, since both of us didn't want a grand wedding and the lockdown restrictions made it that much easier to pull off a small intimate wedding. The only worry we had was not to contract the virus and keep our loved ones safe.

Of course, mothers from both sides wanted a grand wedding with all the bells and whistles but we stood our ground and kept it simple since the safety of everyone was way more important for us than the nach gana around the wedding.

A couple ties the knot in an intimate wedding
A couple ties the knot in an intimate wedding

My husband is from Karachi — so the immediate family (11 people) drove all the way from Karachi to Islamabad in 18 hours, booked a guest house and decided to have the event in the garden of the guest house. The location worked as a beautiful backdrop to the wedding, especially since it rained on the wedding day and the sky looked like a painting.

I wore my mother's valima dress from 30 years ago, the hair and makeup was done by two of my friends. The dinner had four items with extra precautions taken to keep the cutlery clean (washed twice), the extended family and friends connected via a Zoom video call — around 80 people watched as we signed the papers and said qubool hai.

Looking back everything was exactly the way we wished for it to be, sitting among our close friends and family, relaxing and chit-chatting with no worries of pandering to a barrage of guests to see if everyone was enjoying and had something to eat or to see if everything was going according to our plans.

The entire event was propped up in three days with five people juggling tasks at their end including the bride and the groom. We're more than happy the way things turned out, and pray that this would become the new normal especially for the new generation.

We're planning to do a valima once we're over the pandemic situation no dates locked for that event though."

Ramsha Aslam, corporate executive

“My wedding was planned for November 2020. When the pandemic hit, we were met with fear and anxiety regarding the wedding as we did not know when this will end.

I am actually really grateful to my in-laws who suggested we move the date up and have a small private wedding.

The idea seemed sad initially (I would miss my friends and cousins) but I soon realised, this is the best option available and my only chance at having a small wedding ceremony (that I had secretly romanticised).

The family cooked for guests
The family cooked for guests

I got my makeup done from a salon that opened it only for me with lots of precautions in place for my makeup and hair. My siblings and parents helped make lunch for 20 people.

We had the ceremony in our drawing room. We took pictures, videos, had a small doodhpilai rasam, salami etc. We enjoyed home-cooked food for lunch and did the rukhsati.

Looking back, I have no regrets! I wish more people have the strength to make the best of this time and look at the bigger picture of getting married with a few loved ones in presence.”

Iram Masood, pharmacist

“Our wedding was planned for July 20 this year in Germany, where we're based. When the pandemic was announced, of course we were worried as many of our family members were planning to fly here to be the part of wedding.

As the situation in Germany started to get worse and public gatherings and incoming flights got banned, we decided to go ahead with a simpler wedding, ahead of the planned date.

Our nikah had already taken place so we didn’t see the point of waiting for things to get better. My husband and I decided to have the wedding in April and luckily nobody objected.

Zoom calls make attending the wedding virtually easier.
Zoom calls make attending the wedding virtually easier.

We had a really small intimate wedding. I did my own hair & makeup and really enjoyed that. We invited a total of 12 people and had the best time.

I don't regret not having a big wedding at all. The important thing is I got married to the person I love and we are happy together and that’s what matters.

Yes, there were a few relatives and friends who said we should have waited but I guess, you can’t make everyone happy.”

Serha Arshed, dentist

“Our wedding was originally planned for April 4 but then we had to postpone it without any set rescheduled date. My parents were in the hopes that the situation might get better but when even till after eid when no such possibility seemed apparent, we decided to have a small nikah along with the rukhsati on June 6.

Wearing a mask on your wedding seems like no fun but you gotta do what you gotta do
Wearing a mask on your wedding seems like no fun but you gotta do what you gotta do

Being from a very Punjabi desi family, doing a "small private wedding" was not an idea that was welcomed by everyone. The main issue was the number of people that we could invite. Whom to invite and whom to leave out was a big conundrum for my parents, as you know these sorts of things can lead to complications in our culture.

I personally feel I missed out on nothing. I have always felt anxious imagining myself sitting in front of a crowd.

So, I was pretty relieved with the whole situation. I couldn't call all my friends and there were no pre-wedding shenanigans; so maybe it wasn't as much fun as it could have been. But now that I look back, I'm just glad that we did it.”


It seems like the sweet simple (true to essence) wedding has brought about joy to not only those wondering about it but those who went ahead and did it anyway.

I understand the environment around us gets gloomy on some days and a marriage/celebration is not the first thing that comes to mind but I do feel all those who planned to get married this year, ceteris paribus, should. After all, life has to go on keeping in mind the 'new normal.'


Farrukh Arshad Jul 28, 2020 03:48pm
Love it, my wedding was as simple as these without any pandemic and I loved it. I wish and pray this becomes a norm in our society. For rich people this might be another "trend" but for poor people this can be a blessing in disguise where parents have to borrow large money from friends and relatives just to keep their social status in society.
Such Bolta Hoon Jul 29, 2020 02:38am
Khush rahoo, abad rahoo Respect each other Wedding ideally should be like that, very simple and memorable.
HAA Jul 29, 2020 02:58am
The only unfortunate thing is that it took a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands for us to start remedying our wrongs.
SayNoToPlastics Jul 29, 2020 09:25am
One of the real blessings of covid19 is that the terrible waste of time and resources associated with Pakistani weddings is no more . The saved money can be spent in many other useful ways which hopefully will stimulate the economy.