How To: Successfully Get Married In Court During The Pandemic

Nelly Wadia , 20 Jan 2021
Married in court, Nelly & Rishabh
Married in court, Nelly & Rishabh

I can tell you I was naive when I thought getting married in court would be a piece of cake. I figure there would be enough information available online but when I googled I felt more confused than ever. Truthfully, I just thought this was my get out for free card where I wouldn’t feel obligated to invite everyone to my wedding. I’m a fairly private person and don’t enjoy having certain parts of my personal life on display. A few of my friends asked if I would host my wedding on Zoom, I was swift to answer. What do you think my answer was?

I had simple expectations of my day, we would arrive we would sign and we would be home in time to get lunch. But, I should have known better because this is a government operation, amirite? Scroll on as I regale my experience and memory of that day. I feel like I may have to get married again just to wipe away the memory of my court marriage.

Here’s how my wedding in court turned out:

Firstly, my partner and I asked around and found out that it is imperative to get an agent. We went down to the Khar Telephone Exchange to see what the procedure is like. A couple of agents dropped a few taunts about how we’d be running helter-skelter just to get married. That was enough to be the fear of God in me. We both have full-time jobs and not enough time to do everything on our own. I asked a dear friend who is well connected if she could put me in touch with an agent as she has a few friends who had been married in court during the pandemic. We called the agent and asked him all the information over a call. He refused to meet with us which is only fair since he was based out of Thane.

After the signature
After the signature

Let me list out the things one needs to get married in court:

  • Copy of Pan Card.
  • Copy of Aadhar Card or Passport or Drivers licence. (Carry the originals) For the couple getting married of course.
  • Passport size photographs.
  • Aadhar Card copies of your 3 witnesses.
  • A pen with blue ink.

Once you register it takes approximately 30 days as they set up an announcement on the notice board where people can object to your wedding.

Make sure you carry all of these documents on the day of your wedding even if your silly agent doesn’t remind or tell you to do so. Plus, the agent will give you a document that states your registration is confirmed, carry that.

Moving on…to the story of the wedding day…

The agent tells us to show up at 11 am on the day we’ve chosen which was the 7th of December. So obviously everyone’s awake by 7-8 am, we’ve not had enough time for breakfast so we’re already angry. But we thought it would take us 20 minutes, so no one thought about it too much. We arrive by 11 am and the agent announces that we need all the documents I mentioned above. Of course, we’re all seriously pissed because we phoned him the night before to confirm if there was anything we needed. I go back him with my brother and mother-in-law to be. We pick up the documents, some food and water and drive back.

On arrival, he tells us it will take 4 to 5 hours now. We’re annoyed again because there’s no place to sit, our parents are old, we’re worried about their safety because there’s not a single hand sanitiser bottle in sight. I’m pretty sure none of those chairs we sat on was sanitised either. So we decide, let’s all grab some lunch at a nearby restaurant, my father is a bit of a hypochondriac so he’s terrified and is resiting. So we coax him into going and we finally get to eat. Of course, we inhale our food and tell the waiters about our situation, they were polite and obliged our haste. This was a good break because we got to cool off in air-condition and take some nice photographs together.

Family photograph
Family photograph

Moving on to the next phase of being married in court:

Out agent calls us and says we need to be there in 10 minutes, we hurry back and rush upstairs. At this point, I’m so tired I say, let’s just get this over with and slip into my flip-flops. In my right mind, I would have opted for nicer looking flats but who knew it would take this long. We’re waiting some more and people are waltzing in an out with their masks on their chins with no care in the world. I’m panicking about the safety of my father and mother-in-law and brother. I’m sweaty and tired and no one cares that there’s a pandemic going on.

Frankly, I hadn’t even processed I was getting married with all this chaos. People are getting married and divorced in the same room. Three marriages take place at the same time, I was honestly flummoxed and disappointed to learn of this. It felt hurried and uncomfortable. It was around 3.10 that we were called into the room, there was still more paperwork to get through, we signed and then we took our oath in front of the magistrate. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was finally getting married and obviously me being me, I ended up laughing and crying simultaneously.

Court marriage signing
Court marriage signing

Married in the end, finally:

All of this while being surrounded by a dozen people, we then moved over to the staging area which had the tackiest chairs. I refused to sit on them, stood and exchanged rings and our garlands. Darted out of that place in minutes since they were screaming for us to get off that podium. Not sure if anyone wants to be yelled at while trying to get married. We paid our agent Rs. 5,500/- to get everything together for us, but the final amount can go up to 7,000 rupees max. Anything more than that and you are being cheated.

Happy in the end
Happy in the end

I do not recommend getting married in court during a pandemic or otherwise even. While I understand that I am privileged to even make this suggestion I say this because your safety is at stake. Take some time and plan to do this in the future. Please tell me in the comments below about your experiences with a court marriage in India.

And don’t forget to follow @missmalinilifestyle for more interesting updates.

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