The marriage was conducted as per ‘Mantra Mangalya’, a distinctive style of wedding advocated by Kannada poet laureate Kuvempu. Vivek told TOI, “Being a photographer, I’ve seen hundreds of weddings, including one of the richest in India, from close quarters. I strongly believe simplicity has a limit, but not lavishness.”
Mantra Mangalya disallows dowry and recognises marriages across castes and religions. The wedding expenses are kept minimal and the guest list is restricted to close relatives and friends. The couple – and not their parents – bear the expense. In the absence of a priest, it was activist Vivekananda HK who read out the marriage vows for the couple.
Vivek said, “Convincing my family was not an issue since a relative had opted for Mantra Mangalya some 40 years ago, and their children followed it. I had to convince Shivani and her family. For them, it was a new concept. Every parent dreams of having a grand wedding, especially for their daughter. Since both of us are part of the wedding industry, opting for a simple wedding was difficult to believe for many around us.”
He told his in-laws how the wedding ceremony would turn out to be a meaningful one. “The best part is I’m debt-free on my wedding day. I had cleared all my loans before the wedding,” he said.
According to Vivek, the wedding with about 100 guests began by lighting the lamp before the portraits of philosopher, poet and social reformer Basavanna and Kuvempu and singing of ‘Nada Geethe’. The food menu — veg and nonveg — was elaborate, but the guests had to take an oath that they would not waste food at this wedding and in the future too. Shivani took care of the decor and everything was handmade, simple and eco-friendly. They used steel glasses and avoided plastic.
Shivani said, “It was challenging to organise a minimalist yet rich wedding. Convincing parents, family and society was stressful. Till the wedding took place, we were worried. Now, we’re happy that everyone is congratulating and supporting our decision. Our wedding is an inspiration for many,” she said.