WEDDING fever has reached bubonic levels. The bunting is out, the fireworks are going off, the streets are buzzing with excitable chatter and the roads are rammed with beeping traffic.

No, I’m not talking about the nuptials of Prince Harry to his blushing bride Meghan Markle, just the usual start of wedding season in Bradford.

Is it just me or does it start earlier and finish later these days?

Wherever I look there are long cars decorated with ribbon, men dressed like Alladin and women barely able to walk as they are weighed by their make-up caked faces. Or maybe that’s just fashion these days.

One thing is for sure, aided and abetted by celebrities, social media, a mish mash of east and west traditions and most importantly wealth, Asian weddings have got bigger and more extravagant.

Well, to be fair, they have always been ‘big’.

I remember the look of horror on a colleague’s face when I casually mentioned I had been to a small Asian wedding one weekend.

“I couldn’t believe it. There were only about 800 guests.”

They nearly choked on their baguette.

But really, figures around 2,000 were not that uncommon back in the day.

Weddings would have ‘sittings’ though really they were more like ‘standings’.

You’d have to (admittedly shamefacedly) stand behind someone still munching on the gajar halwa to guarantee a place at the next serving. It wasn’t mainstream wedding etiquette but needs must. Meanwhile a tsunami of more guests would arrive, filling the hall and standing behind diners. You had to leave your dignity at the door or go home hungry.

Ah happy times.

In the olden days, a bride would really have no say in anything related to her big day. She was supposed to stay in the background and cry hysterically when it was time to leave with her new husband whom she, probably, like her dress, had never seen before either.

One time I went to a wedding where the bride caused the biggest scandal ever.

Women were speaking in hushed tones and covering the ears of their children: “Is it true?”

“NO, it can’t be!”

“Yes! I saw with my own eyes!”

Oh no, had the bride been mainlining Class A drugs in front of the guests? Had she snogged the groom?


“The bride looked up and was smiling!” Gasp, horror, faint.

Nowadays it is a completely different story.

Brides are not in the backseat they are the driving force.

They choose the groom, the clothes, the venue, the décor, the entertainment, the cake, the food, they even stand up and make speeches.

I have been to a few modern weddings and it is all about cramming in as much into the day as possible like they are making up for centuries of having no say.

Of course I understand why.

They were born and brought up in this country so of course some of the customs and traditions have rubbed off.

The younger generation have seen stuff about ‘fairy tale princesses’ and want that for themselves. It just looks much more fun. Or does it?

A recent wedding I went to saw a young bride, who had met her groom at university, naturally, walk down the ‘aisle’. It was a piece of carpet in the middle of the hall but still.

Walking in six inch heels, wearing three tons of gold jewellery and a heavily embroidered golden lengha is no mean feat.

The poor girl had beads of sweat running down her face by the time she got to her throne.

Then there are the speeches. Who decided that speeches should be an integral part of an Asian wedding? Stop it.

First of all, when it is a western wedding they just thank the bridesmaids and the best man.

In our culture, with our extended families, the process of saying thank you can take up the whole afternoon.

Just no.

It is all too draining.

However chaotic the old style weddings were one thing reigned supreme: the food.

Whenever I am seated at a very refined wedding ceremony with gilt edged white crockery and silver spoons all I really want is to fill a polystyrene bowl with ‘wedding salan’ that familiar dark nectar with the layer of liquid gold swimming atop (ghee) and bite into a rough manhandled corner of tandoori roti.

I can taste my childhood, the memories of my brothers segregated in the men’s section and giggling at an elder’s request for ‘meats please.’ A time of innocence.

All washed down with a delicious paper cup filled with Coca Cola.

Happy returns to all brides and grooms, of course, but that’s what I call a real match made in heaven.