Being Women

Winter Weddings: 9 Charming And Nostalgic Memories

Dark, gloomy, foggy, depressing, cold, and numb—these words mostly scream out of our minds when someone gives us 10 seconds to describe winter. But I have been nature’s exception

Winter wedding evokes nostalgia

Dark, gloomy, foggy, depressing, cold, and numb—these words mostly scream out of our minds when someone gives us 10 seconds to describe winter.

I have been nature’s exception, though, and have forever loved winter for the warmth it brought along. To me, winters were all about vacation, packed houses, friends and family, picnics, and, of course, the ‘low fat” Indian weddings.

Weddings these days have metamorphosed into a glitzy and glam affair, mostly controlled and managed by event planners and photographers. However, the glamour of the weddings of the 70s, 80s, and 90s was something entirely different. Most of our family weddings happen in the winter season, and we celebrate the anniversaries with full vigour still. It’s the nostalgia that’s triggered by traversing the memory lanes of those days that brings in the warmth enough to last a season.

Memories of packing for a wintry wedding

The first thing I remember that brings a smile to my face is the way Mummy used to start packing in a big “Aristocrat” or sometimes even a trunk for the wedding we were attending, no matter whether it was two houses away or in some other town.

The first thing that went in were the hand-knit sweaters, which I dared to defy every time for wearing over my pink wedding dress; a few matching shawls that went over the sarees mom would be wearing; and a muffler, definitely for dad. Some blankets and sheets were also packed in lest the “hosts” did not make proper arrangements for sleepovers (remember, it was NOT hotel rooms at that time but some family whom we never knew who gave up their precious bedroom for the neighbour’s daughter’s marriage!)

Last but not least, a big container of “Ponds Cold Cream” was carefully placed in as the all-in-one super agent to deal with skin chafing, polishing, brightening, and a primer before the garish face powder. Well, well, be honest, ain’t this nostalgic trip already making you feel warm and happy?

Warmth of sitting on the lap, wearing sweaters under dresses and school socks with high heels

In the next chapter of the wedding, which was primarily a tussle of responsibilities between moms and aunts (of various kinds, relations, and ages), we were the ones who used to get squeezed into warmth and war.

Firstly, there always seemed to be a dearth of space wherever we were travelling (by bus or car, whatever it was) or wherever we were seated. The warmth of a lap, even when we were pretty grown up, was considered very normal.

The dress-up for the special night was always a big fiasco, as to keep the “warmth” going, we were always forced to wear sweaters under our pretty dresses, which made us look like a bloated balloon and school socks paired with high heels (a common notion of the cold catching via the feet). The final nail in the coffin was being smothered in kisses, followed by the squeezing of cheeks by completely unknown mausis and chachis who were apparently FAMILY.

As I type the words today, I can feel the warmth of those days, which I have put behind and lost somewhere along the way.

Memories of food

As the Shehnai started playing in the evenings, the entire air used to be filled with the aroma of tuberoses, vegetable chop or singara (those who know will know), “Mach bhaja, or fried fish,” and “Motton Curry 🙂 (yes, the wrong spelling is intentional). Friends, cousins, and neighbours would hang out in small groups, laughing over silly jokes, excited about how beautiful the bride looked, and anticipating the warm food on the plates and attacking it the moment we received the signal from the elders.

Happiness in small things—yes, that’s the cue for the fabulous winter weddings of my childhood.

The warmth of a new relationship

Inspite of all the fashion faux pax, garish makeup, black and white pictures (invariably covered up in mommy’s shawl at the dead end of the night), simple food, and overly friendly relatives and friends, winter weddings were a much dreamy and anticipated affair for us.

Many of my friends and cousins found their first crush and first love at winter weddings. Many souls got united after years of love and camaraderie at a winter wedding, forming new alliances. The weather and wedding vibes went hand in hand to create that almost surreal atmosphere for us that even today, when I look back, my heart is filled with a different kind of warmth, a unique kind of happiness that we as a generation had witnessed.

I still continue to draw warmth every now and then through those nostalgic moments, and as I said before, it definitely lasts me a season.

A Cosy affair

Having said all that, weddings in winter are still a cosy affair where very often it’s a reunion of friends and family whom we haven’t met for ages, food we have never tried before (food has gone international now in Bengali households), a flurry of new rituals unheard before, and a good measure of singing and dancing all enough to pump up the adrenaline and spread happiness, cheer, love, and light.

(Pictures are from the writer’s wedding album)


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4 Responses

  1. Very well written. Things to note here is the undertone of togetherness of family and friends. The presence of familiar faces used to give the warmth. And then there are cousin sisters and brothers.. Boy! Those are the days 🥰

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