Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I support elaborate weddings...

Its become quite fashionable for people to say that expensive/elaborate weddings are such a waste of money and that the money thus wasted is better utilized if given to any charity. In fact I ended up with an argument with a friend of mine with regards to this.

Of course, I am not suggesting that one go into debts when it come to performing a marriage. Getting into a debt so that you can show-off your status is stupidity. I am suggesting that once we live within our means and save and spend money reasonably (within the means is the key here), weddings becomes a pleasure for all!

I do not believe that weddings are a waste of money. Why?

Here is why: Apart from the life long satisfaction which the couple would get, economy actually improves with elaborate weddings. How? Here is how. Think about spending on weddings this way, lets say 5 lacks were spent (not on loan but on savings).

1. Rs 25,000 on Nalungu (haldi ceremony): You will need haldi/chandan, blouse pieces, coconuts, fruits, flowers, lots of glass bangles, puja items etc. All these are available only at local small stores. You will be going to your loca fruit market to get fruits; local flowers lady to get flowers, local bangle shop for bangles, so on and so forth. So your 25,000 rupees have actually helped these local people (who are lower middle class like flower lady). isn't that a good thing?

2. Rs. 25,000 for mehendi ceremony. Mehendi is done by your local/popular parlor ladies. sweets are bought at a large scale. Juices/drinks are bought at a local bakery. All these small businesses have profited from your 25k.

3. Rs. 1,00,000 for Engagement Ceremony: Lets say 50,000 is spent in buying nice Rings is bought bride and groom. Isn't the jewelry shop making a living out of this? Another 25k is spend again on 1. the last 25 k is spent on lunch/dinner. Isn't your caterer and everyone working form it not getting a livelihood out of it?

4. Rs 2 lacks were spent on wedding: 25k for stage decoration and the hall decoration (flower-wala and the labor cost for setting the stage), 50k for the wedding hall (which includes chairs and stage setup), 25k for band baja and baraat, 70k for catering, 20k for small gifts for guests. You can count how many people had earned their living out of this 2 lacks you spent.

5. The last remaining 1 lack is for the brides cloths, grooms cloths, kaamvali expensis, grocery expenses for relatives, so on an so forth. Here, for how many people have you contributed money/wages?

All this, I am not even including the jewelry cost.
Think about these expenses on a bigger scale. It actually helps the economy grow. The flow in the economy brings the inflation down. the supply grows as the demand grows; as the supply grows the prices starts to fall. Most importantly, once the supply increases, anyone will try and look for better ways of getting things done for cheaper. Do you agree?

P.S: I am not talking about Aishwarya Rai-style-weddings which is nothing but a nuisance to people living around that area. I am talking about us middle -class people weddings.


  1. But Madhu,
    That will be the excuse for all extravagances.The way you explained,people should be more appreciative of the one who spends the maximum.All the money reaches some one else's pockets. So Mittal and Rai should be credited? Mittal took in lease all the hotels of Paris for his daughter's wedding.So,the hotels have made money..good excuse? Rich people buy millions worth yachts..the money reaches the hands of some laborers,isn't it good reasons?
    I don't think that is a logical explanation of the wastage of money on weddings.

  2. Dr. Antohny, By NO means I was suggesting that people who spend more are to be appreciated. If the post have comes across that way, I could go back and edit it. I was saying that, IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, then there is nothing wrong in spending money on weddings. I hear so many times the famous phrase, "why cant they give the same money for charity" or something in those lines. If any one wants to do that, by all means they should go ahead. The problem begins when they start preaching to others what 'they' think is right; when they start ridiculing others for wanting to have a big wedding.

    I have already said that I am not talking about Aiswarya-rai-style weddings; by that I have included Mittals. We don't have to agree but I certainly do not think that extravagance on weddings is a wastage as long as you can AFFORD it. I am not saying we have to take a loan but if you end up saving enough money, whats wrong in spending it on a once-in-a-life-time occasion?

    As per the Hotel getting the money; yes hotels did make money. It was Ritz wasn't it? Ritz is a public ltd company. people have shares in that company. When the company makes profits, dividends are declared. Only when the company is in profits, pay raise takes place for employees. More jobs with in the hotel open...all this I am saying at a 'macro' level. So, is that such a bad thing?
    Apparently the bride wanted some theme costumes for everyone. Designers (even from India) are brought in. So, is it so bad that someones business is flourishing?

    We will agree to disagree than. This is what I feel about this issue.

  3. hmmm YEah maybe what you say it right but i still feel why spend so much money uselessly, because look at how much food is wasted ..

    though i dont say one shud not enjoy and one shoud not do what they want to you shud but maybe as you say within boundaries

    Spending and not spending both have good and bad points :)

    i liekd what Dr. Antony said and i liked your reply too ...

    Bikram's Blog

  4. Yes Bikramjit, the most challenging part is the food wastage. Actually, if you plan ahead, even that can be addressed. Find a few orphanages/homeless etc and if you inform the management that they can expect food, then more than likely they will be willing to take. I think everything lies in planning. what do you think?
    When i was living in Bangalore, my companies director was getting married. it was a grand affair. He did foresee food wastage. Then he ordered 2 cooler-trucks. All the food which was untouched was kept in the trucks and homeless were there having a merry time. But, this sure requires some planning and commitment. I am not saying the beggars deserve only left-overs, but these are for the same people who would otherwise go hungry to bed.

  5. In olden days ... marriage used to me a communal celebration. All the members of the family used to take part. Right from making sweets ... or making haldi out of roots was done at home by ladies ... and men used to take care of other arrangements.

    But trends have changed, your point of affording is no more in count.. how many people are doing it the way you mentioned in the blog.. How many are planning the way to see no food wastage??

    Giving business to middle range business is okay .. but I dont think marriages today are the proper way..

  6. Hey Invi...welcome back. Actually ALL the marriages are done the way I mentioned. Is it not? Right from catering to flowers to cloths, you buy outside.
    perhaps I didn't understand what you meant by my point of affording does not count.

  7. It is a once in lifetime affair and there is no reason why must one not have an elaborate wedding---so long as one can afford it.
    Please go on and enjoy every moment of life.

  8. I feel that there should be a limit to it austerity or extravagance..
    Vulgar display of wealth is avoidable, but otherwise marriage is a life time affait and one must celebrate it with traditions and relations.But wastage should be avoided, specially wasting food in a country where hundreds go without food is a biggest crime.