That lust worthy, elaborate bridal lehenga made way for a more practical and sober sari, that bachelor party planned in Thailand found its implementation in a nearby Goa, those ambitious plans of booking the favourite live band didn’t see light of the day all together. If there is one industry that is more than just unhappy with demonetization of currency notes, it’s the wedding industry.
All those ambitious plans of young couples of making their D-Day, a cherished memory of life time were left bereft with dejection. One look at some figures would only resonate the hue and cry of the people hosting a wedding these days.
Some reports in the media suggest that a person in India spends about one fifth of his life’s earning in a wedding. The wedding industry- also touted as a ‘recession proof’ industry- was estimated to be as huge as 1,00,000 crores in 2015 and has a projected growth of 25-30% annually.
Since mostly all the weddings around India are spread across four days of extravaganza, there are people who prefer to wait for years to get married only to be assured about the estimated budget. The wedding grandeur projected in the television and Bollywood movies act as a catalyst on the shaadi chart of young couples- with each one of them wanting to ape everything that is shown on the screen.
No wonder then that the to-be married young couples don’t bat an eyelid when asked to shell out millions of bucks- only to make their wedding a once in a life time experience. It is not just about the larger-than-life wedding aspiration of the young, it is also the societal pressure on the family that, on many occasions, compels them to oblige and host a wedding that weighs their social status in the eyes of others.
And with the advent of the ‘wedding planner fad’, spending has known no bounds. From the pre wedding photo shoots to the charges of the beautician, from the details of embroidery on bridal lehenga to intricacies on the groom’s jootis- every little element in a wedding seems to cost quite a chunk. Some research figures show a mammoth consumption of 300-400 tones of gold annually only during the wedding season in India.
Wow! Now that’s a staggering piece of statistics. Speaking about the all important aspect of food, the culinary spread witnessed in a normal Indian wedding could put a dedicated food court to shame. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that a family falling in the high income group allocates Rs 20-25 lakhs of the budget on food alone. So amongst all this mayhem of shelling out tones of crores on a wedding, has demonetization, in a way, infused some sanity? Has these times of cash crunch actually questioned the madness of spending on a wedding?
Rs. 500, all of 500 bucks were spent on a wedding of an IAS officer in Andhra. Another news report also brought to light an incident of a Gujarati couple who ditched the grandeur of a lavish wedding and hosted a simple ceremony costing to Rs. 500. How , you ask? Simply by entertaining guests with some tea and water! Both these families were lauded all over the internet for the sane decision of shunning the extravagance and still getting married. Forcibly or not many families have taken cue from the couples choosing a practical ceremony and have been reported to cut unnecessary costs.
The excessive costs of the wedding venue have been saved by holding the ceremony at one’s own house, the guests list has been trimmed down to only important people being invited, the menu boasts of items that are just relevant and significant to maintain the decorum of the function rather than spreading out multiple courses that only result in ridiculous waste.
Does the inclusion of all these elements make the wedding any less important in the lives of people attached to it? Or is it the luster of the wedding day that decides the well being of the married life of a couple?
One is but reminded about the monologue of the wedding planner in a popular web series, ‘Permanent Roommates’, wherein she fires at the bride-to-be for being against an extravagant wedding. Even if it is in the sarcastic tone, she has rightly summed up the embarrassing extravaganza that Indian weddings are made out to be.
She stresses on how the wedding is never about the couple getting married, it’s about everything else. The protagonist later went on to fire the wedding planner because she didn’t want to get married only to impress hundreds of strangers.
Now isn’t that a progressive thought? Or is it really the glam quotient attached to an Indian wedding that is more significant to the society than seeing the couple leading a happy married life?