Longest & grandest - the Abba of all shaadis just ended in Pakistan!
Eleven years ago, I decided to get married. It was the most boring three hours of my life. My jaw ached from all the smiling, my head hurt because of the way my hair had been mercilessly piled into a bun, the high heels gave me vertigo and I felt like an alien in the traditional gharara-kurta-dupatta that I was wearing.
I wanted the 100 people I had invited to head home. But they seemed to be enjoying themselves - at my expense, quite literally.
This was the pre-Facebook-Twitter-Instagram era. When brides couldn't have posted pictures with huge naths (nose rings) - mostly heirlooms - they had to wear. When brides felt exhausted greeting guest after guest as if training for a PT test. When brides felt faint with hunger as everyone else feasted (mostly because of that nose ring). When wedding ceremonies were mostly private and sacred affairs.
Cut to 2016.
Anush Ammar and Munib Altaf's wedding ceremony began in January 2016 in Lahore and, tipped to be the longest Pakistani wedding ever, may have just ended last weekend in Istanbul. Or so it seems.
The Anush-Munib wedding captured the imagination of the subcontinent for what it was. The glitter and glam. And the senselessness of such a prolonged ceremony.
But then if you have the money and the stamina - why not?
Guns & Roses
I had dismissed Pakistan as a nation of hijabis and bomb-makers till I casually flipped through the Sunday supplement of the once-popular Daily Times newspaper. The fashionable women who stared back at me could have been inhabitants of any part of the world from Milan to Macau.
And then I got to attend a Pakistani wedding. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang through the night at the sangeet ceremony. At the reception the bridegroom and bride looked straight out of a Bollywood movie cast. Everything at the venue was colour coordinated - from clothes to décor. Everything was beautiful. Everything perfect.
The Anush-Munib wedding extravaganza, therefore, did not come as a surprise. But the couple have given the cliché - a big, fat wedding - a whole new meaning. And that is why everyone is addicted to every detail of the wedding.
Anush Ammar is a rich girl. Her late grandfather was Gulzar Ahmed Khan, a former senator who among other things was the man who gave Pakistan the popular Gulzar lawn fabric. Together, Anush and Munib have launched Fabbitt.com, an online clothing store which trends forecasts and offers bespoke clothing services.
There are countless pictures on instagram under the hashtag #AnushMunib of the wedding. And countless comments everywhere.
@AmnaaSid my beef with #AnushMunib is that half her outfits are fugly. what good are ur billions if u cant even choose expensive clothes properly smh.
@karachivagabond "just in: #AnushMunib are expecting a baby, and will soon be hosting a baby shower. *but the wedding will go on, simultaneously.
@situationsarah traumatised by the insanity, vanity and profanity of the #AnushMunib /#AnushAmmar wedding. Celebrating happiness is one thing, but not this!
@SenorSaadAmjad I've a question. Will there be live coverage of #AnushMunib suhaag raat? Designer made condoms and diaphragms.
Moni Mohsin, the best-selling author, took note of the wedding too. "Readers often ask me where I get ideas for my column. I don't know I say. They are just gifted to me," she tweeted.
It's not easy to stretch your wedding ceremony over eight months. In India, you could break it up if your fiance is from a different religion and you are also keen on a court wedding.
But how do you this when in Pakistan? When you belong to the same religion? With security issues being a concern?
You take a cue from Bollywood.
Location: Lahore. Ignore the bombings.
* Dholki Function
* Nikah - at the historic Badshahi mosque in Lahore.
* Post-Nikah Dinner
You wear designer clothes and pose as Salim and Anarkali against the backdrop of the mosque. Take a break. Post pictures everywhere. Get covered by fashion magazines. Host other parties in between.
Change venue. Move to Istanbul. Ignore the bombings.
* Mehndi ceremony (bride comes in a palanquin)
* A Disney-themed party called Disney Princess Gone Tipsy
* Bridal Shower Party where the bride displays her jewels
* Sangeet ceremony the bride and guests dance to Bollywood songs
* The Yacht Party in the Bosphorus
* Boat Lunch
* More Parties
* Wedding Party
* More Parties
* After Parties
* Customised Vogue cover
Fairy Tale Wedding
Despite the extravaganza the couple have earned little respect in Pakistan. Comments range from how Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding was not this extravagant to how the couple should have spent the money Pakistan's poor.
But Anush is the one facing more flak.
On Instagram nza786 wrote, "Who is this girl? How is she so rich? I am hoping its self earned so I can admire her. If she has a rich corrupt politician dad I'll just think she is a loser."
shazipoo18 wrote, "Let's hope this is the end.....I'm sick of seeing this stupid wedding all over my feed. Nobody cares about your trillion events anymore. Talk about overkill and anticlimax."
In Pakistan, their wedding is being compared to an Indian TV serial which is unending. We just hope this fairy tale wedding follows a linear plot and does not end on a wrong note as it did for Anush once before.