A wedding ceremony is a testimony of the fact that you are doing well in life. You will be judged by the degree of lavishness and dumb pomp of such ceremonies. It is an important event that should be marked with a special celebration, in the company of friends and family. It is a public exchange of vows and that is what marks it out as special.
However, the obvious question is: What on the earth has spending on the wedding to do with whether the relationship lasts or not? One obvious answer is that the debt accrued from the “special day” places an insurmountable burden on the couple, who start their married life owing money.
On Feb 21 2017, the state government issued an order putting a slab on the number of guests to be invited in marriages and parties under which the parents of brides cannot invite more than 500 guests, and the number has been limited to 400 for grooms. The government also said that no more than seven main dishes can be served to ensure that there is no wastage of any food items.
The failure of the administration in implementing the order has let loose the people here to spend hefty amount on their marriages and to irritate the people residing nearby with the high pitch sounds and speakers.
A similar order was issued by the then Congress Minister Taj Mohiddin in 2004, that had allowed hosts to invite 75 guests in bride’s marriage while the groom’s family was authorized invite only 50 guests, however, this order too was never implemented on ground.
The wedding industry in India was pegged at more than 1,00,000 crores in 2015 – with an estimated growth projection of 25-30 percent annually. Studies show that, on an average, a person, in India, spends one fifth of his or her lifetime’s savings on a wedding ceremony and Kashmir seems to be no exception to these numbers
It seems that a growing number of people feel compelled to go ahead with their big day, through guilt or financial obligation. Along with all this comes something else — the annual spectacle of people getting on their high horses and decrying such extravagance. While bridegrooms and their families are free to have the huge weddings that tradition demands, they are left with bills that plunge them into crushing debt.
Having said this, the sad fact is that the poorest of poor are forced by the modalities of our society. The ceremonies that commemorate a marriage are extravagant: Fancy locations, lavish clothing and opulent jewellery are hallmarks of a Kashmiri wedding and when families refuse to perform the rituals associated with each of these events, they are considered social outsiders.
More and more money being invested in weddings, as if somehow, magically, spending as much as possible ensures the quality of the day – and therefore, goes the unspoken notion, a couple’s future life together – as “perfect”. There is tremendous social pressure to spend on weddings. Low levels of education, poverty, and caste-based discrimination compound these pressures. So, when poor families require large sums of money for a child’s wedding, they invariably incur large debts
A poor man who cannot afford the minimal expenditures of his family is forced to do all this due to the social snares that have entangled all of us. So, the total amount they spend on weddings might be more modest than we imagine, but for the average family, it’s still worth more than a year’s income.
A wedding is not supposed to be a money-making or break even proposition, You need to take into account how well do you know this person and what your particular circumstances are, and a lavish wedding does not make for a happy marriage. Don’t force yourselves into the extravagances that you can’t afford. A simple wedding is enough for everyone to suffice it all, because, at the end, it’s the compatibility of the couple that’s going to hold, and not the “GOSHTABA”!
—The author is a student of Law at the Department of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir. He can be reached a: [email protected]