“All you need is Love!” sang the Beatles getting relationships right over five decades ago. Alas, today there is no love lost between couples despite them tying the knot.
Ironically, their much-celebrated union, (however short-lived) tends to cost couples an arm and a leg.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Flashy, Indian weddings can be anything from elegant to garish affairs. One thing they all have in common however, are BIG Budgets.
Hoping to put an end to these ostentatious affairs is Bihar’s MLA Ranjeet Ranjan. The seemingly conscientious lady has been in the news for her renegade new bill aimed at cutting costs on the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’.
Ranjan proposes that folks expending over five lakhs on weddings shell out 10% on all additional expenditure to marry off the impoverished.
“Why weddings!” screams Vidisha Wadia who is recently engaged. “I mean, I would happily donate a percentage of my wedding budget to educate or feed the underprivileged. But, I don’t see the point of charity weddings when people are starving.”
Karan Rao her beau shares a different perspective. “The impact is much worse for inter-caste couples like us, as we have two sets of ceremonies to pay for! My dad is already paying for a Parsi wedding as well as a Konkani ceremony. Imagine the added burden of paying for a charity wedding too!” he says in derision.
With even a common man’s wedding budget soaring well into crores, the thriving wedding industry poses no mystery. Madhumita Banerji a city-based wedding planner confirms this, confessing that she doesn’t think a five-lakh wedding is realistic.
“Five lakhs won’t buy much in ceremonies today unless you’re planning to choose between feeding, seating OR entertaining your guests,” Banerji comments with a laugh.
Jayant R V of Forever Weddings attempts to explain why cost cutting is usually impossible. “The material, transport and labour costs shall anyways be constant. We’ll probably have to start offering more of artificial floral decor, invest in props, etc so we can repeat them with clients. It is the only way to bring down the expenditure,” he explains.
Conversely, Rashmi and Kaushik Das who have just tied the knot confess that hiring a wedding planner itself cost them around five lakhs.
“Weddings in India are not mere occasions but a strong sentiment. Hence enforcing a spending threshold is interfering with one’s sentiments,” opines Vijayan Gangadharan, General Manager of Four Points Sheraton who believes that charity should not be enforced.
“Nevertheless, should this bill pass, it will definitely affect the hotel industry since the threshold is being kept is Rs. 5 lakh,” he rues.
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