No Matter What, I Will Not Compromise On My Big Fat Wedding!

Let your answer change from “everyone does it” to “I want a Big Fat Wedding...” and, believe me, that will indeed be your best day ever!!

The wedding season entails a time of joy, plus huge spending woes for an average Indian family.

First of all, I am in no mood to condemn the people who want to spend diamonds on their weddings. Believe me, I am all in for a pretty lehenga myself, but at what cost exactly? Moreover, why this obsession with extravagant spending when we earn not even 10% of what we spend?

There are several other factors to be discussed which we will see today.

Why the desire for Big Fat Wedding?

I am no less than those celebrities!

First and foremost, our desire to become like celebrities in every way. We look at those wedding pictures and wish for the same. Hardly do we realise that the 50 lakh wedding lehenga of a celebrity is a small part of his/her monthly earning whereas it takes decades for a common man to earn the same.

Bollywood did this to us!

Movies form a very crucial part of this culture. Especially the accelerated trend after Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani and other destination wedding-based movies.

I have ‘The Money’ so only Big Fat Wedding works for me

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The ego and the desire to impress relatives, because “society ko muh dikhana hai” (loosely translated to “What will others think about us?”) . Also, spending more than “Sharmaji ka beta’s wedding” (Mr. Sharma’s son’s wedding) phenomenon. Yes! You get it!

Love Marriage? Big Fat Wedding shows approval?

Arranged marriages are a family affair, which creates a cascade of the above-mentioned issues. In love marriages, the guest list already gets reduced due to the stigma, but sometimes the pressure on parents increases, even more, to show that they are ‘happy’ with the wedding and end up spending even more. So, naturally only a Big Fat Wedding…

Why do women want such weddings?

But why do women want such Big Fat Wedding? I got different and rather weird reasons when I talked to a bunch of my friends and family. Let us observe:

  • “My parents are giving all the property to my brother. I cannot ask a share in that as it will seem selfish, so instead I will let them spend on the wedding…”
  • “Everyone is doing it, so why not us?”
  • “It won’t seem good if my wedding is smaller than my friend’s…”
  • “Wedding happens once in a lifetime, why not spend more!”
  • “Nothing is in my hand or else I would have asked for a smaller wedding. I actually wanted court marriage!”
  • “My parents have a lot of money, why not let them spend?”
  • “No one will respect me at my in-laws…”

What is wrong in saying, “I wanted it that way!”

Now, there is just one question I need to ask and that is, why didn’t any of these women say, “because I want it that way”? Are they afraid to be judged? Why will anyone be afraid of that when one knows it’s the right thing to do? Or do people even judge each other for spending so much?

The simple answer is that women from a very young age have heard of fairy tales and stories of strong men on horses rescuing damsels in distress and later living happily ever after. Only that the prince needs to be chosen by the societal norms when it comes to India. The women are shown the dreams of a big happy wedding and not a marriage because, let’s face it, most of us brown people have unhappy and twisted marriages.

First, tell women what to do and then judge them for same?

Women are told to need and want these things and later they are judged for the same. Some celebrities have chosen to have simple weddings over the Big Fat Wedding, despite having truckloads of money, like Yami Gautam or Rhea Kapoor, but because “sab karte hai, alag mat bano” (everyone does this, why act differently), women rarely get a choice or voice of their own and simply repeat things like a parrot, just the way they hear it.

Spend more in the marriage, spend more even later

I dream of a 20k lehenga, for which I have saved enough money. For a wedding, I have been convincing my parents for years to refrain from spending on anything extravagant, unless I am settled and can contribute. From my experience, if you spend more in the marriage setting, you are bound to spend more even later, be it gifts or occasional festivals, or any other ritual.

This is not love

Personal choice for women in marriages mostly eliminates this element, but recently even laws in love marriages have been demanding.

Recently I came across such a couple where envelopes of ₹1 lakh and gold coins was being asked from the bride’s family, for every family member of the groom for buying clothes! Girls, this is not love, the guy knows your father has money and is exploiting you. In another case, my friend who was getting married to an IITian spent very little with limited guests and her fiancé even offered to pay half for the wedding which her father humbly refused to take.

Girls need to start taking their our own decisions and analyse every situation, be it wedding or job or anything else. We should also learn why we need and do not need to spend on certain things. Extravagance and show-off are why India’s wedding industry thrived even during the COVID pandemic.

I am not saying that spending is bad, but let your income and your soul decide if you even want to entertain hoards of people you don’t even like, to an extravagant wedding where you can’t even eat properly. Let your answer change from “everyone does it” to “I want to do it” and that will indeed be your best day ever!!

Image Source: Amish Thakkar via Unsplash

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Dr Arushi

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