Which words pop up in your mind when you think of Indian weddings? Extravagant or lavish. Perhaps traditional, intricately ritualistic and long winding. Certainly not phrases like gender equal, zero-plastic, environmentally sustainable or waste-free. These are the last phrases one would associate with a big fat shaadi. However, newlywed Dia Mirza shows us how it’s done. The actor-producer and responsible star tied the knot with her beau Vaibhav Rekhi in a woke wedding that smashed patriarchy and respected nature. There was no Kanyadaan or Bidaai here.
The UN Environment Goodwill ambassador practices what she preaches. The intimate nuptials took place in her garden lawn in Mumbai. “It is high time we stop blindly following traditions and make new ones which align with the current day and age. When a woman and man (join) in wedlock, it should only be about their love and friendship and not about the rules,” Dia wrote on Instagram. Read on to know why we are beaming ear-to-ear for this celebrity couple.
The progressive shaadi was a traditional one albeit with the difference. Not only did Rekhi’s daughter from his first marriage, Samaira, escort Dia down the aisle, his ex-wife Sunaina sent her good wishes. She went on to post a congratulatory video on social media where she expressed how happy she was for Samaira since she will “have more family”.
Sunaina says in her video: “I saw some videos where she (Samaira) was throwing flowers. It’s a really nice extension for her. We don’t have any family in Bombay, so it’s nice that she has more family. It’s always nice to create more expansion in your lives. Also, I want to take this opportunity to say that it is so important for a child to see love in their lives.” There is no room for resentment in this dynamic. It appears to be one of acceptance and respect.
Dia’s second wedding is making headlines not for any exotic destination or overpriced lehenga but for all the right reasons. In fact, the bride wore an elegant but simple red sari for the nuptials. The couple challenged patriarchy by choosing a woman to conduct the Vedic ceremony. The priestess is her childhood friend’s aunt Sheela Atta. The bride calls this “the highest point” of the event.
No Kanyadaan or Bidaai
The Kanyadaan ceremony is an archaic concept where the father “gives away” the bride to the groom. The notion that a woman can be “given” to someone implies that she’s an object meant to be possessed. Rather gender discriminatory when you think about it! Dia and Vaibhav steered clear of this regressive custom. They also didn’t have a Bidaai ceremony, where the whole family cries their eyes out when the bride leaves for the groom’s home.
The lockdown has eased up and with it, families are having big fat shaadis again. The number of guests has swelled to pre-pandemic proportions. However, this new couple is fully aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. They wanted to have as few people as possible to bless their union.
So, rather than a grand ceremony, they had an intimate gathering in the bride’s lawn. The garden setting turned out to be magical. This is where Dia has spent every morning for the last two decades, so you can’t deny the personal connection to the venue. This woke wedding goes to show that a carefully selected venue is superior to an expensive one.
Zero waste wedding
This shaadi had no plastics. Since the venue was in their own backyard, the family could control what kind of materials and food containers went in and out. The wedding was sustainable for other reasons as well: minimal decor made out of natural and biodegradable materials, and no wastage of food or edibles.
This woke wedding not only challenged patriarchy but also kept climate change in mind. Dia is a responsible star who refuses to live by the rules society has set out for women. And we couldn’t be more proud of her!