The next time you attend a wedding, you may need to brush up your general knowledge. As families and friends unite over traditional ceremonies, elaborate meals and parties, there is a new entry for wedding planners to pencil in: the quiz.
The concept is increasingly getting popular in India, keeping quiz companies busy making customised sets of questions for each wedding. “These quizzes should not be too cerebral. It is infotainment: we should not forget that people come here to enjoy themselves,” says Arvind Rajeev, founder & partner of X Quiz It, who has been holding quizzes, albeit informally, since 2015.
Girish Sampath, who got married in Chennai in May this year, kept guests engaged with quizzes at his own wedding reception. “I wanted something different from the typical music-dance events,” he says. A friend of his proposed the idea of holding a wedding quiz. “When I first told my wife, she was not too sure about it, but it turned out very well. Even one week after the wedding, people messaged me, mentioning how they had loved the concept,” says 36-year-old Girish, who works as a manager at a Bangalore-based non-profit organization.
Quizmaster Venkatesh Srinivasan, who is CEO and principal event host at Nexus Consulting, says that he was excited when he got the opportunity to do a wedding quiz for the first time in May this year. “The response was overwhelming. We asked questions related to South Indian wedding customs and rituals, some historically important weddings and weddings per se. We also did some research on the bride and the groom. This was for a fun segment, which had a ‘2 truths and 1 lie’ format, which guests had to identify from the three points mentioned on each slide based on either the bride or the groom. This was to judge how well they really know the couple.”
This mini segment was followed by general knowledge questions, he says, adding, “A wedding crowd is diverse, so questions cannot be too technical. The atmosphere should be easygoing and not promote any kind of competitiveness.” Venkatesh adds, “What is perhaps most interesting is to see the really elderly members of the family being enthusiastic and participating.”
The format depends on the set up. “If I am carrying a laptop and there are facilities like a giant screen, questions will be slightly different than the ones I would ask holding a mic in hand,” says Venkatesh, adding that his company conducted a wedding reception quiz in Chennai last month specifically themed around South Indian weddings.
Do such events demand specific props? “I don’t really have to dress up in suits and neither do I have to bring buzzers or laptop along with me. Even a microphone is not required,” notes Arvind. He adds that timings are flexible. “A quiz can be held either at the reception night or right after the wedding is over. Some families want midnight quiz, some want early morning coffee-time quiz.”
The nature of questions are usually decided based on the audience and themes that the couple choose. At a recent wedding, where most of the people assembled were NRIs, Arvind asked questions relating to South India. These ranged from identifying pictures of prominent city personalities and Tamil cinema-related trivia, keeping in mind that the age of audiences could be anywhere from 8 to 80.
Reflecting on how the couple can decide the theme of the quiz, Arvind reveals, “Recently, I conducted a quiz where most of the family, including the bride and the groom, were NRIs. The couple wanted me to keep the questions related to South India. We asked questions like, “who’s the only actor in India who’s acted across four formats of audio-visual- black & white, colour, 3D and performance capture? The answer is Rajinikanth.” He adds, “The average age of guests was anywhere between 8 and 80. When I asked what Priya Village Roadshow is better known as, a child came up with the answer (PVR).”
An avid quizzer since childhood, Mohammed Asif Ali - who is also Dewan to the Prince of Arcot – has never been able to down requests requests for wedding quizzes from his family and friends. “My friends, who are professional musicians, sometimes accompany me to perform at weddings. They perform for a minute and then I quiz my audience on that composition.”
Asif stars by dividing the participants into big groups. “Another way of doing it is the classic pen and paper method. I read aloud 10 questions. After writing down the answers, they will exchange their sheets for evaluation as I call out the answers.”
Sharing a memorable wedding, the philanthropist, who has been into professional quizzing for 20 years now, says, “My cousin’s wedding was quite special as he arranged for a piano for me to perform. So I played the musical instrument, then asked questions based on my renditions.”
While the main idea is to keep guests engaged, there is also a takeaway: learning something new. He adds, “I hold quiz shows at weddings for only family members and close friends, and do not take any remuneration for it. I do it to spread knowledge.”