India's first metaverse wedding draws thousands of guests

South Indian couple hosted online reception after tying the knot on Sunday

More than 3,000 guests turned up for India’s first wedding reception in the metaverse, hosted by newlyweds who wanted to avoid coronavirus restrictions on their big day.

The metaverse is a virtual reality platform that uses augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars and videos for social interactions.

Dinesh SP, 24, and his fiancee Janaganandhini Ramaswamy, 23, were married in a traditional ceremony in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

But with guests limited to 100 because of the pandemic, they decided to hold their reception in the virtual world.

Intrigued strangers also joined the celebration, billed as “Asia’s first ever metaverse marriage”, that started late on Sunday and lasted nearly two hours.

Avatars of the groom, Dinesh SP, 24, and his bride Janaganandhini Ramaswamy, 23, stand on a stage as they greet guests. Photo: TardiVerse

The groom, who works in blockchain technology and is a cryptocurrency enthusiast, and Ms Ramaswamy, an IT professional, are self-professed "Potterheads", or fans of the books and films about Harry Potter.

They set up a Hogwarts-themed metaverse for the reception with help from a tech start-up called TardiVerse.

Video of the event shows the couple’s avatars wearing traditional wedding attire – a white shirt and veshti, or sarong, for the groom and white sari for the bride – and standing on a stage as avatars of their guests arrive to congratulate them.

As big fans of the fictional boy wizard Harry Potter, the couple hosted their virtual reception in a Hoqwarts-themed castle. Photo: TardiVerse

“It was an exciting experience," Vignesh Selvaraj, the owner and creator of TardiVerse, told The National. "About 3,000 people attended the reception. I spent days and nights creating this space and I feel proud that it was a huge success.”

Some of the guests shared their experience on social media.

A Twitter user under the name Divit posted photos of the event with the comment: “Finally into Asia's 1st Metaverse Wedding. Interesting experience.”

Also at the reception was an avatar of the bride’s father, who died last April.

“I didn’t want to spoil my big day with limited guests so thought to throw a party on metaverse and invite people from around the world who can virtually join our special day,” Mr Dinesh said before the wedding.

The couple had sent invitations to friends and family around the world in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs – exclusive, cryptographically linked digital content.

Updated: February 17, 2022, 11:22 AM
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