Many families in India typically host a traditional large-scale wedding, which has become increasingly difficult as COVID-19 continues to spread and impose restrictions across India.
Dinesh Sivakumar Padmavathi and Janaganandhini Ramaswamy from Tamil Nadu, where wedding gatherings are currently limited to 100 people, have now invited 2,000 people to their virtual reception next month.
And to make the event all the more interesting, as self-professed "Potterheads," or fans of Harry Potter, the pair have opted for a Hogwarts-themed party that guests can attend via their phones, tablets, or laptops.
"Because of the pandemic, a physical, real kind of reception is not possible with the huge number of people attending," said Padmavathi, "so, we decided: let's make it in the metaverse."
The metaverse is a term used to describe virtual 3D environments in which users can gather and interact. The groom himself is a 24-year-old blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast, who worked with start-up platform TardiVerse to create a castle-like digital space inspired by Hogwarts.
The couple will still participate in a legal wedding ceremony in person, at Ramaswamy's village in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district. They will then join their reception virtually to meet their guests. The one-hour event is set to cost around 150,000 Indian rupees ($2,016 US) to design, develop and host.
The newlyweds will be able to virtually address their guests, explore the castle and customise their avatars' appearance and outfit.
At least they won’t need to fork out for dinner and drinks for everyone.