It was at the last wedding I attended in January that caused inspiration to delve into the abyss known as ‘Bridal Pre-Shoots’. There ensued a full 10-minute video of the couple to be travelling to different terrains, ‘caught’ having intimate conversations in a secret garden, visiting historical sites, praying and wishing, perhaps being sacrilegious without their knowledge.
This inspired me to write my rendition of how couples (mostly the bride to be) prepare for their wedding pre-shoot in Sri Lanka.
Whether their brides to be or not, women have a secret channel on YouTube dedicated to inspirational videos they’ve witnessed over the years. Dating back to the time of sloshing around foamy waves at Galle Face was trendy and even the famed simultaneous jump with the retinue, these videos are gems. It’s also useful to compile this so that sending it to your videographer will be a snap!
For a normal person, the amount you spend on the pre-wedding shoot and your wedding will suffice five couples in reality. For the nouveau riche community, having a full scripted ‘movie’ will fit their hearts’ desires. The average income earners will now draw out loans to furnish this mangala mela, deepening the pockets of Etch-Ess-BS or any local banks.
When you receive a quotation for the service, you realise that you not only have to foot the bill for the uber expensive videographer but you have to provide them lodging if it’s a resort wedding, transport, and fund the iththas whose sole duty is to perform the task of, ‘Malli, bring the camera here’. When my BFF got married six years ago I remember looking through the estimates and realizing that her photography and videography alone was the budget I had allocated for my total wedding.
If you’ve watched the cartoon from the early 2000s called ‘Hey Arnold’, you might remember that Olga though she publicly despised Arnold, has created a shrine in her closet where she would cherish in utmost reverence. I’m sure it’s the same with videographers. They probably worship the first couple whoever decided on these fancy pre-shoot soirees so that their estimate values have now doubled. If you don’t oblige, you will then be deemed the pariah of the Suba Mangalam world.
If you’re probably thinking that pre-shoots aren’t all that bad, let me remind you of the added costs that wag its tail at you – for instance, you have to hire the best makeup artists, purchase the props, hire the three 5-series BMWs to be parked as you run around in circles pretending to be interested in each others’ conversations, and the stretch limo as well – and let’s not even get started on the multiple changes in attire.
Once everything is done and dusted, the most important part of the whole exercise remains with this going viral on the photographer’s Facebook page. If he/she decides to use yours for promotions, you treat that as the highest form of compliments. You wait counting the number of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on the page and gloat as you see the comments trickling in.
Now that we’ve covered the ‘fun bits’, let’s also talk about the things that can and will go wrong; making sure you get permission to use public areas is a nightmare everyone is acquainted with. Whether it’s the Dutch Hospital Prescient, Galle Face Green, or Viharamahadevi Park – you need to get the approval of a lackadaisical officer who chews betel during work hours and has an insatiable itch in his nether regions.
Your partner or person from the retinue doesn’t show up on time or doesn’t show the same amount of zeal or passion as you. While you are busy with work but still make the time to take umpteen numbers of print-outs of the agenda and ‘scenes' to be memorized – no one knows what they're doing. Insta-Queens who compile a collage of them smiling in different angles is now unable to produce a smile that doesn't resemble Harley Quinn.
The photographer or videographer will magically send you a bill that exceeds the agreed value by Rs. 25,000 or more because of ‘extras' and you wonder if their business was based in Hollywood. Well, you decide, you will be shopping at Sathosa for the foreseeable future. Like most brides to be, if you have adjusted the value of the shoots just a bit (by accidentally dropping a zero), you know that this is going to be a Tsunami.
Let's not forget the constant bickering. Pressure, stress, the lack of finances and thumping credit card statements are just the beginning of every heated conversation. Sparks are bound to fly. You could be this close to leaving him, but you remember the precious shoes you purchased for the wedding and decide not to tie him to a tree and batter him.
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