2017 Nov 20
Weddings in Sri Lanka mean serious business. Chances are 85% of the entire extended family will be involved in the planning; a process which can actually take a couple of years. For the most part, they’re guaranteed to be a grand affair with plenty of photo ops for the ‘gram and an open bar ayyy. However, much like with anything else, there’s the good and the bad. As a Lankan you’re sure to have frequented many a wedding and will definitely be familiar with at least one of the types of below.
1) The extravagant ones
We’ve all been to this one; the super lavish wedding with the guest list nearing quadruple digits (how do you even know ¬that many people?), the skyscraper-esque tiered cakes, the elaborate choreographed dance groups and decorative flowers that would put the Garden of Eden to shame. When you enter the venue you’re sure to mutter some version of “budhu ammo” to yourself. But whether you admire the extravagance or think it silly, you won’t deny yourself the opportunity to pose for some mad pictures to show your followers how you’re living it up.
2) The ones chock full of traditions
While everyone loves the different, beautiful traditions of the people of our country, they can be a bit much sometimes. The extremely long winded rituals get old fast and while you’re happy to see the couple tie the knot, do they need to take hours to do it?! You didn’t get all dressed up to sweat around (outdoor weddings in this blazing heat yay) and wait for the seemingly never ending poruwa ceremony to end. Our ammas on the other hand, live for these ceremonies and you can often see them right in the front, clutching a tissue to their tearing eyes, probably picturing their sudu duwa following the same rite of passage.
3) The diverse ones
With Sri Lanka’s diverse, multicultural population, you’re sure to have gone to some cool mixed weddings that are inclusive of varying traditions and rituals. You’ll walk in and there’ll be a corner dedicated to taking the saat phere (the Hindu ritual of walking around the fire) at one end of the hall and an altar at the other, for example. Basically, your “bro” will sign away his freedom not just once but twice and consequently won’t be available for a cold one with the boys as often as you’d like.
4) Bridesmaid central
These are the ones where the bride and groom apparently needed the whole cavalry behind them in order to get married. When they pose for pictures, good luck spotting the couple through the throng of bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and pageboys encompassing them. After all, Sri Lanka doesn’t hold the Guinness World Record for the wedding ceremony with the most number of bridesmaids for nothing.
5) Celebrity themed
Clearly this couple doesn’t care about the limelight, because the star of this wedding is a politician or musician or celebrity of some sort who is a guest at the party. The priority of the guests isn’t to celebrate the union of their friends or loves ones, it’s to somehow talk to and/or take a picture with aforementioned “guest of honour”. This is of course in order to humblebrag about bumping into them (“OMG my life is so random! #casualmeetups). The line-up to take said picture could supersede the usual line to take pictures with the bride and groom.
6) Intimate weddings
Lately though, there has been a trend of lowkey, intimate weddings with the right mix of tradition, fun and guests that you can say actually matter to the couple. Perhaps it’s a generational thing because us millennials are less reliant on our parents and therefore more inclined to pay for our own weddings. Considering how costly everything is now, ain’t nobody got the money for overly grand functions or to pay for the entire family of your mother’s cousin’s husband’s brother in law.
Whatever said and done though, nothing really beats a quintessential Lankan wedding. Despite the typical, probing comments from the aunties and uncles about my skin colour, weight, clothes, marriageability, etc increasing as I grew older, weddings will always be a favourite part of life. I mean, it’s basically a giant party with the best food. Who can complain about that?