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The Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia delivers this meme-friendly one-liner in the seventh episode of the hit Netflix series Indian Matchmaking. But she departs from this well-worn model in her attention to one extra characteristic: caste. This silent shadow hangs over every luxurious living room she leads viewers into.
On Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking,” marriage consultant Sima Taparia travels the world to meet with hopeful clients and help them find the perfect match for an arranged marriage. The format of the show is simple. Hopeful brides- and grooms-to-be meet with Taparia — often with their overbearing parents in tow — for an initial consultation. Criteria are laid out, potential suitors are presented on paper, dates are arranged, and then it’s up to the couple to decide if it’s a match.
In some respects, the producers should be commended. This is a show that turns away from the “big fat Indian wedding” trope and offers something fresh: a look at how some traditional-facing couples meet through the services of a professional matchmaker. The characters’ stories — as well as cringier moments — play out in entertaining ways, at times revealing the absurdities and awkwardness of matchmaking. I laughed when, for example, Taparia sought the consultation of an astrologist and a face reader.
Why Your Wedding Is the Perfect Place to Play Matchmaker
Then there was the time my dad told me I was disinvited to his future funeral, because my preference was to date whomever I wanted as opposed to accepting an arranged marriage and that was an embarrassment to the family. He conveniently denies this ever happened, for the record. The reality show follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai who travels around the world helping Indian clients find suitable matches for marriage.
Rather, marriage is a transaction between two families. Some of her clients are parents who are desperate to get their children married, others are marriage seekers themselves who turned to her service after they were unsuccessful meeting people on dating apps and elsewhere. What struck me most was that, in many cases, the characters we meet are not seeking acceptance and affection from a partner, but from their own families.
Akanksha Singh, an Indian female writer based in Bombay, explains why Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking and Sima Taparia misses the mark.
By Anika Jain on August 19, While the two lovers have the opportunity to go on actual dates and have some liberties when it comes to deciding their spouse, Sima Aunty is more or less setting up arranged marriages — an ancient tradition in many Asian countries, especially in India. In addition to these superficial preferences, families are very clear about their desire to match their children with a spouse from a high caste — despite the abolishment of the Indian caste system in Rather, it is unapologetically Indian, from the glamorization of fair skin to the marital pressure from families.
Notwithstanding the intense colorism and classism, the stakes for these singles is much higher than any other reality TV show. Now, this is not to say that arranged marriages are entirely forced and restrictive. As an Indian American myself, more than half of the married couples I grew up around had arranged marriages, including my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. In fact, my grandmother had never met my grandfather until their wedding day. All she had was a picture of him that she convinced her cousin to steal for her.
And yet, they have maintained a long and loyal relationship for over 50 years. Part of the reason arranged marriages are still so prominent among Indians is because marriage is not seen as two people falling in love.
Netflix show on Indian matchmaker stokes debate on wedding culture
Ruchika Tulshyan was 22 when her mother started searching for her future husband. And she has mixed feelings — happy to see her experiences represented but forced to reflect on some hard truths about the way women are objectified within the system. I was disappointed, of course, there’s colorism, there’s casteism, there’s a lot of emphasis on traditional beauty.
The show introduces us to a cast of Indian and Indian American men and women — including a single-minded lawyer from Houston, an appearance-obsessed jewelry designer from Mumbai and an outgoing dancer from New Jersey. As a year-old who had already finished grad school and was on track for a successful career, Tulshyan was shocked to hear that her mom had listed her name and photograph on an Indian matchmaking website without her consent.
It’s common to see Indian weddings portrayed as Technicolor fantasies — in Bollywood films, in the images of Priyanka Chopra’s wedding to Nick.
I was in the middle of an editorial meeting at the newspaper I worked for in when it came out of nowhere: an overwhelming sense of fear, the trembling hands, the absolute certainty that my heart was going to burst out of my chest. It would be years before I understood that what I had experienced that day — and would on three subsequent occasions — was a panic attack. I was 24, and just two hours before, my parents had called to ask me to be home on time that night.
I had no intention of watching it. I had been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt and made a bonfire from it. It is a practice that is followed in several Middle Eastern countries, Japan and Turkey, among others. They all came recommended through friends and family, that larger collective that works very hard to bring together not two individuals but two families — mirror images of one another, both wearing a thick cloak of respectability going back generations — into a union, under the guise of pragmatism, that promotes caste and economic hegemony.
Vyasar, as he worries throughout the show, would have indeed found the going very tough. What did I mean I was uncomfortable with the questions he asked?
What makes a show like ‘Indian Matchmaking’ possible? This book examines marriage in India
Gina Lagomarsino. Franchising private clinics is an exciting approach for improving the quality and affordability of private health services delivered to the poor. Formerly independent private clinics are brought into franchise networks that provide quality standards and training, improved supply chains for key health products, branding, and marketing. There is evidence that this approach improves quality of care and expands access to key services.
The day of the wedding these “nakodo” are the first to speak at the wedding party and wish the couple a happy marriage. A very good friend of my family who is.
Sima Taparia is like a human Hinge algorithm. Card system, except instead of dueling, the players must get drinks with one another. Like all good bad reality dating shows such as recent Netflix hits Love Is Blind and Too Hot To Handle , the dates are largely cringey to watch, and there is ghosting, awkwardness, and family drama. Oh my! But the show has been met with equal parts fascination and criticism. While Indian Matchmaking carefully and successfully swats away stigmas that surround the concept of arranged marriage—that marriages are forced, or that individuals lack the freedom to make their own decisions— critics have highlighted that the show reinforces heteronormativity, divisions between social classes, and discrimination based on skin color, ethnicity, and status.
We Need to Talk About ‘Indian Matchmaking’
Matches are very often made locally yet. This is very common among the farming classes, even to this day. There is now no recognised match maker, but when a Farmers’ son is looking for a suitable girl to be his wife, he or his people make inquiries among other farmer friends. This sometimes happens at fairs or markets where they meet and talk of such subjects. If a suitable girl is thought to be spoken of, the boy’s friends go on a visit of inspection to see her father and his place or farm and also to see the girl and judge of her suitability.
Essentially, she practices the age-old art of encouraging these crazy kids to just get together, already. By the show’s finale, has Taparia lived up to the title of matchmaker extraordinaire? Are any of the burgeoning couples on Indian Matchmaking still together? Indian Matchmaking gives no answers about the couples’ futures. The show’s finale is open-ended—purposefully so.
She’s going to continue doing this work, on camera and off. The story continues,” creator Smriti Mundhra tells OprahMag.