Indian weddings and extravagance go hand-in-hand. Each year, the ceremonies evolve on a grand scale that involves spending excessive money. Gone are the days when marriages were a private affair. From hiring wedding planners to choosing exotic destinations, the event of the life becomes a status symbol to be flaunted.
The big day is special for the couple, and people come together to celebrate the holy union. While it is a joyous occasion, it comes at a regrettable cost. The family involved putting their lifelong savings to use. Weddings have become an essential tool for enforcing capitalistic aspirations for the parties involved in more ways than one.
The Big Fat Financial Burden
Globally, an Indian wedding is known for its lavish settings. The couple chooses a beautiful location where they decide to tie the knot among their loved ones, who are a part of a never-ending guest list. The once intimate ceremony has turned into a spectacle that makes a big hole in the family's pocket. "We all want weddings to be the show-stoppers where the costs touch the infinite limits of the sky. It is very disheartening to see how marriages have turned into a business," a platform named 'Nikah Forever' told The Indian Express. The one-of-a-kind matrimonial website encourages people to celebrate the wedding in a financially sustainable manner.
It is proven that the big fat Indian wedding is nothing but a financial burden on families. A typical middle-class family feels the pressure of throwing an over-the-top bash to celebrate their child's union as it symbolises their societal status. Also, the expenditure is higher for the bride's side. According to a survey done by a wedding website in 2018, nearly 20.6% of Indian females are willing to spend a whopping ₹10-₹20 lakhs on their special day.
India's Misplaced Aspirations
Apart from being impressionable, Indian society is aspirational as well. Bollywood celebrities have the necessary resources to organise the wedding of their dreams. Their fans put them on a pedestal where they look up to them in every way possible. One of them is attempting to replicate it, even if it means spending their life savings on it. For an event organised once in a lifetime, the financial burden is immense on the families involved. This is a direct consequence of the country's misplaced aspirations.
Dr Ranjana Kumari, the director of a Delhi-based organisation called Centre for Social Research, told Al Jazeera about the unnecessary pressures the families have to endure to live up to societal expectations. Indian weddings are the hotbed of wastage and have remained this for several years now. The survey mentioned above reveals that around 31.84% of women want to spend ₹2-5 lakhs and 7.87% aim to spend more than ₹5 lakhs.
Around 40% of the food at a wedding venue is thrown away after the event. Currently, India faces severe repercussions as it is placed 94th out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index. Not only that, 14% of Indians suffer from malnutrition, and 34.7% of children have stunted growth. Therefore, the money spent bears no fruit as it ultimately leads to excessive wastage.
The list of misplaced aspirations is endless. However, there is a ray of hope as some couples opt for sustainable ways to mark their special day. While this is a work in progress, India still has a long way to go to realise that such extravagant weddings are not only a financial burden but are massive sources of wastage of every kind.
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