Why Weddings Should Be A Shared Responsibility

Posted: June 28, 2015
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In this thought provoking post, the writers argues with conviction on why a wedding should be a shared responsibility between the groom and the bride, and not a burden on the bride’s family.

While the Kerala’s women’s commission is trying to put a limit on the expenses that go into a Malayali wedding, I was wondering if any other groups had extended support to spread awareness against people spending on extravagant weddings.

No, I am not against weddings. In fact, I love them. I enjoy the festivity and the food. But I am against burdening anyone with one because of societal pressure. I have been reading arguments about weddings being specific to each person and their wealth or choice. But does it really? Haven’t we heard of girls’ parents falling in debt by conducting a wedding or  X’s wedding being called off because the girl’s parents were not well-off enough to provide what was asked for by the groom’s side? While it is a choice for those who can afford it, it will be a bane for those who cannot. This might make many youngsters think and even change their opinion about the kind of wedding they want to have.

I call myself an equalist and have always stood by the idea that any wedding is the responsibility of the couple and both families and not just one.

I call myself an equalist and have always stood by the idea that any wedding is the responsibility of the couple and both families and not just one. Especially when we girls have equally worked hard to study and be on our own, why should we bow down to be burdened to spend for this party called a wedding?

Also, I believe that sharing would also make both families think twice about the size and cost of it. More so if the couple decide to conduct their wedding themselves. None of us in our 20s or 30s want to spend our hard-earned money on an extravagant wedding nor can most of us afford it. So why not stick to a simple one? After all you hope to celebrate your whole life together. I do wish to highly appreciate many families who have come forward and accepted the equalist approach. But it has been a slow transition.When I expressed this opinion to people these are the some of the comments I received.

Your parents will feel insulted if you expect a boy’s family to share expenses

Why? Shouldn’t they be proud? Shouldn’t they feel relieved that their burden has reduced? And now they can plan for that retirement vacation they had planned for years instead of spending it on my wedding. There is no reason to bring our egos out here. I am not recommending you to split every penny or  to bicker over equality. All I am pointing out is to come out with something practical to involve both parties so that one is not bogged down by it.

The boy might be earning more than you so how is it equal?

All the more reason for him to pitch in! We know for a fact that women earn only 80 cents per dollar a man earns so when we are striving to bridge that inequality why not take advantage of it too?

What if you quit your job after marriage or after you have a child?

Erm.. I quit to take care of our child? And he works to do the same. Again, it is a division of responsibility and paying for my wedding is definitely not a ‘paid-in-advance’ thing. What if he decides to quit or god-forbid gets laid off?

What will society say when they get to know about it?

Why should anyone know what is happening at my wedding. Well, in a way I would be proud to spread the word to inspire more youngsters but either way who cares what the society thinks? Who is paying for the roof above my head and the food I eat?

If the boy has a sister then they would have already spent for her wedding

Duh! Isn’t the whole point here to make everyone join the team?  Firstly, if they did already spend, then that is no reason for me to spend for mine. Secondly, if that has not already happened then this decision would make them support their daughter’s equality as well.

It is the parent’s responsibility to pay for their child’s wedding

I have never expected my parents to be responsible for anything after they educated me. I have a career and my own life. So a wedding is my life of which they are a part. Of course they can contribute towards it but it is not their ‘responsibility’.

Especially in India where the wedding pertains to everyone except the bride and the groom, I do wish the trend changes and the couples take more stand in deciding their guest list and the size of the wedding. To understand that wedding is intimate and special. The more crowded means more expenses and more responsibilities leading to less enjoyment and celebration.

Ask any couple who spent six hours standing on a stage, smiling and being polite to strangers on their most cherished da , they would any day swap it for a small, fun-filled one which involves only the people who really care about them.

Indian Wedding Image via Shutterstock

In my mid-twenties , a safety specialist by profession in US. A free thinker, equalist

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Comments

7 Comments


  1. Pingback: Why weddings should be a shared responsibility! | Jan's doodles

  2. Hi Janani,
    Very well written and echoing my thoughts. Whenever I help people understand the impact such extravaganza is creating on the female foeticide rate, nobody is able to connect it, and feel that this is an exaggerated thought of mine. I used to tell the others, how it can also help the newly wed couple understand the impact it would have on their bonding. Unfortunately everyone is ready to flaunt their wealth, and think that it would make their wedding memorable. Earlier, in southern parts of India, they never had the mehendi and sangeeth festival. But this trend is catching up there and the burden of all these are on the bride’s parents.
    A simple wedding where only the very close family members are present can be more personal, not making anyone conscious and enjoy every moment of it.
    May be they can even use the you tube to select group so that those who are not invited can see it, if they want to.
    I wish, atleast some of the girls initiate this and express it to the boy, instead of pressuring their parents to buy expensive dress and jewellery.

    • Hi Chintu,
      I absolutely agree, it is definitely a cause for many kinds of abuse that happen to women especially those who come from the lower economic backgrounds where there is lack of education as well (not that it does not exist in families from better social status). And I am glad you mentioned the bonding between couples. It is extremely true.. there is compromise, dislike, awkwardness, unfairness that comes along with the happiness and celebration during wedding preparation. People forget that it is in the end a certificate to let the government and society know that they are living together and are eligible for tax benefits.
      All the flaunted weddings create a false standard that is expected to be fulfilled by others in the society. How much ever people deny comparison, it happens anyways. And the social pressure to invite guests who range from “grandmother’s second cousin’s daughter” to “that lady who talks to me in the temple” just because they have invited us before or they will question why they weren’t invited.
      The whole point of a ceremony to celebrate the union of two individuals is lost and is disguised to many other forms which are not needed. All I can hope is people initiate the first step by taking up equal responsibility by sharing wedding expenses.

  3. Very well argued points, Janani. We have to bring in change, one person at a time. This is not some legal reform that can be altered by one stroke of the pen and a law. When young people put their foot down firmly and refuse the band baaja tamasha, things will begin changing for sure.

  4. Very nice..Nicely said..Truly an equalist approach is needed..But like you point out, I am not really sure how societal pressure will let that happen!

  5. Pingback: Weddings are about sharing too! | Jan's doodles

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