Indian wedding season has started and more couples are nowadays putting together their wedding websites with info, photos and videos to make friends and relatives living far away.
Floating wedding websites is not new, but the trend has really caught up now, thanks to increased internet access and reduced cost of creating such sites.
For instance, Mayuri and Shashank Baruah, a newly-wedded couple, created their wedding website soon after engagement.
"We have our roots in Assam, but we stay in Delhi. We have studied and worked all over the country. Shashank was also in London for three years. So we have friends all over," Mayuri told IANS.
"Soon after we got engaged, our friends and family friends kept telling us how sorry they were about not being able to attend the ceremony.
"We realised that the scenario will be similar during the wedding. But we didn't want to leave out anyone from sharing the moment with us. So we decided to give almost as good an experience through a personal wedding website," she said.
The website, with the couple's name as domain name, looked right out of a movie. They uploaded pictures and video clips of their engagement and all the pre-wedding events, right up to the D-day in Guwahati -- done to the last detail.
Of course, with the bride and groom busy, the responsibility of updating the website on important days was entrusted to a tech-savvy cousin.
"Apart from videos and photos, we also gave information on time and venue of all events along with maps so that there was no confusion. Since it was the first time many of our guests were coming to Assam, we also added details such as places to see around Guwahati, places to eat, shopping destinations, and emergency phone numbers and they loved the whole package!" Mayuri said, smiling in delight.
Nelly Abraham and her husband, Matthew, similarly created their wedding website and uploaded a video clip of them inviting others for added personal touch.
The couple are settled in Singapore, although they hail from Kerala and that is where the wedding was a month ago.
"Nelly and I had got two weeks off for our marriage. That's hardly any time to organise a wedding, Indian style! So we were doing everything to help our parents online -- from organising caterers and florists to hotel accommodations. Everything," Matthew told IANS.
"But the most important detail, inviting people personally, was what concerned us. So we created a wedding website and made a video clip of us inviting people to the wedding, just like we would do personally, and uploaded it. We got emotional phone calls later of how close to real that invitation felt," he said.
Nelly, Mathew said, later went on to even upload pictures of her shopping trips and costume trials, much like a blog, and to take the 'being part of it' feeling one step ahead.
Many of the wedding sites also come free, like blogs, but the couple have to do all the uploading and designing. Then there are the experts.
Sumit Bhowmick from Bangalore said his team created hundreds of websites for couples every month.
"A wedding website is like an extension of the more traditional wedding card, and much more. If we have details such as venues, dates and photographs, it hardly takes any time to create one. It's a trend now," Bhowmick told IANS.
More than anything else, letting his extended family and friends know his fiancee before "she formally became a part of the family" is what led Rakesh Mishra into creating their wedding website.
"I wanted my cousins and friends to know a little about Priyakshee before the wedding, so that there is a comfortable feeling of familiarity as she becomes a part of the family after marriage," Mishra said.
"So I updated little things like what her hobbies are, what her favourite song is on the website, and she did the same. We also put a little family history of each other's. We had our favourite song as the background score," he said.
The life span of such a website, is, however, a matter of personal choice.
While it is 'the end' for many, some couples continue with the site, adding pictures of anniversaries and other such milestones as they 'live happily ever after'.
(Azera Parveen Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)