Islamabad - A wedding is a landmark cultural event for a family, its friends and relatives, which breaks the monotony of everyday life with an aura of glitz and glamour.

The ornate ambience of a wedding, in this part of the world in particular, brings moments of joy and revelling not just for bride and groom but for their families and hordes of guests as well. Women-folk attired in dazzling dresses and men trying to look their best weaves a spell of its own around the wedding ceremony.

But the occasion also brings moments of headache for the two households directly concerned with the epochal event in the two persons’ and their families’ lives.

On the eve of the ceremonies, they have to make minute details of finalising arrangements for the event which can go on for three days—Menhdi, arrival of groom’s party, their reception by bride’s families, Nikah ceremony and to top it all the valima reception.

The new trend-setting vogue of holding the marriage ceremonies at makeshift premises of “Marquees” is perhaps the most-satisfying answer to people’s diverse requirements for a marriage ceremony.

Providing a tapestry of colours and pageant to the onlooker, the undulating structures of temporarily-raised Marquee Marriage Halls are located in a cluster on private land adjacent to E-11 sector, just on the fringe of Islamabad.

Paying a handsome amount of rent to the land-owner from a nearby mausoleum, sometimes ranging from half-a-million to a million rupees a month, the Marquees are charging their customers sometimes thousands of rupees per head, making the dream of Marquee marriage the prerogative of privileged sections of society.

Once having booked a date with a Marquee Hall, which have such fancy names as Aura Grande, Monal, The Wedding, The Millennium, The Paragon etc, the marriage-bound families are facilitated every inch of the way—bewitching atmosphere, immaculate catering, mouth- watering food, clean

toilets, hustle-free parking, tight security etc.

A wedding in the Sub Continent is incomplete without “Dhol-Baja” and the Marquee managers can provide bands and well-embellished horse or mare at the drop of a hat, though making extra bucks for these services.

The Marquee Marriage trend is not confined just to Islamabad, rather spreading in all major cities of the country, making big inroads into the businesses of modern hotels and built-up Marriage Halls.

“Our target is elite class as marquees are providing variety of service and attractions to make a family’s landmark event a memorable one,” Said Mudassar, manager of a marquee, “The Wedding”.

Although the wedding ceremony is the mainstay of Marquee Halls’ income, these premises, spacious enough to accommodate 800 to 1800 people at a time, are also used for events like political gatherings, birthday celebrations, concerts etc, said Sardar Asif, the owner of Paragon Marquee. “A couple of events are daily managed with the provision of high standard facilities of catering, lighting, decor, parking and security, where a customer can welcome his guests with dignity and sense of relief in all weathers,” said Amir Malik manager of Monal facility.

The facilities, earlier established illegally in farm houses, started shifting to the vicinity of E-11 after CDA removed the illegal structures in the farm houses, said Barrister Adeel Aftab, a legal expert.

Adeel said the authority (CDA) must provide investors with suitable place and land to operate legally in its jurisdiction as a few parties are still doing business unlawfully with the help of concerned authorities.

“Today is my brother’s marriage and I’ve no concern with catering, food, lighting, parking etc. The whole family is relaxed and devoting their time to the guests” said Zarak Khan celebrating his brother’s marriage at Aura Grande in E-11 sector.