As I write this piece, I’m glued to my smartphone, admiring the gorgeous wedding photographs of the newest hitched couple in B-town—Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani.
Almost after spending an entire weekend waiting for them. When will the photos be out? And the wedding film? Everyone around me echoes. And when they’re finally out, we spend hours cooing and aww-ing over them. Having long, detailed discussions with our circle where we discuss the tiniest details, from how much we loved the bride’s lehenga, to how breathtaking the destination venue was, to how the wedding film looked like just the fairytale every girl secretly dreams of. Almost as if this wasn’t the wedding of two rather famous Bollywood actors, but a childhood friend whose wedding we couldn’t make it to. And now once it’s done with, we feel the need to muse about it.
I could vouch with every bone in my body that this excitement, exhilaration and sometimes even borderline obsession with celebrity weddings isn’t mine alone. It’s a shared emotion by the masses, sometimes even when we’re not, particularly fans of theirs. And while this unhealthy involvement is mostly reserved for Bollywood celebrities or even cricketers, off late even popular influencers have enjoyed the same fan following, thanks to Instagram.
Celebrity weddings (Bollywood celebs, I’m looking at you) seem to have a certain ‘predictable’ set rhythm to them. In interviews, they deny that they’re involved with each other in the first place. Despite rather strong rumours, conjectures, and public sightings at events and award shows or even casual lunches and dinners—we have the paps to thank for these updates. This goes on for a while, and then the rumour mills go berserk with news of their upcoming nuptials, usually at a boutique destination (oscillating between Rajasthan and Italy in most cases). In slow trickles from the grapevine, we learn about the finer details of the upcoming wedding. Right from spilling the beans on the guest list, the mehendi artist, which designer the bride and groom will wear (Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra, anyone?)—every single detail that audiences will lap up is shared. And then voila, comes the first public acknowledgement by the couple themselves, with pictures from their wedding. Making us go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and all weak in the knees, until the next rumoured wedding in B-Town kicks it off the prime position.
It’s not that celebrity weddings are a new phenomenon. Or that they didn’t make the news in the 90s. Or that we weren’t interested in the insider details earlier. As most millennials from my generation will remember, the first celebrity wedding that perhaps sent fans into a frenzy was Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding to Aishwarya Rai. Possibly one that was covered extensively by the media (television and newspapers mostly, back then). And then there were others that followed. Yet what changed the game completely was the advent of social media, in particular, the mouthpiece we know today as Instagram. Right from publicly popularised hashtags to photograph drops to other tiny yet supposedly interesting details—from the bride’s customised kaleeras to videos from their sangeet performance—social media has bridged the gap between celebrities and the common public in ways we’ve never seen before.
From Anushka-Virat’s dreamy set up in Lake Como, Italy (coincidentally also where the #DeepVeer duo chose to tie the knot), to the #NickYanka and the #VickKat royal nuptials in Rajasthan to even the relatively homelier ones like the #RanAlia wedding within their own residence, celeb weddings have gone a step ahead in making us feel as though we’re attendees ourselves. Unlike being outsiders to events taking place within an ivory castle, walled away. Right from flaunting their designer outfits at their multiple wedding functions to insider pictures from their events (shared only by them thanks to the recent proliferation of the no-mobile phone policy at many of these weddings), our B-town celebs and their PR teams royally ensure we get a front-row seat to their celebrations. Making sure that these events get the same amount of attention, publicity and eyeballs as would one of their blockbuster releases. And giving us a piece of the pie as though we were present at the wedding like one of the invited guests themselves. Creating a buzz and hype around the event, where we feel the need to be part of the wave, whether we’re a fan or not. Sometimes it’s just our attention, sometimes it results in us ending up following them on Instagram, and for those of us who are even further vested, it results in us openly talking about the wedding on our social media. But overall, it becomes a much-talked-about event nevertheless.
While most celebrity weddings end in resulting in social media hype (eventually adding to their perceived brand value as a couple), some have even taken this a step further. Right from some celebrities opting to sell their wedding pictures and video footage to media outlets. To their PR and marketing teams indulging in the numbers race of whose wedding pictures get more engagement on Instagram. It seems the age of mega superstars is truly over. The enigmatic mystery previously enjoyed by the Khans has now been replaced by the accessible and relatable Bhatts, Advanis and Dhawans, who occupy a more ‘influencer’ status over that of a celebrity. Catering to the hashtag generation, did you even get married if it wasn’t on Insta?
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