Why You Don’t Need a Big, Fat Indian Wedding

When it comes to weddings, Indians want their own, personal Bollywood movie. They aspire for larger than life venues, themed sangeet parties, a whole host of dance, drama and food from all over the world to feed a thousand guests, along with gifts and gold. Everyone, including your nearest and farthest, have to be there to witness your union with a human being, with whom you’re going to start living (a pretty regular) life. But we, and our parents, save up their entire lives in order to wed us off in a ceremony of a lifetime. Just go back and read the last sentence all over again. Saving money for an entire lifetime to wed us off.

Seriously? Is a wedding really worth all this money? If you are not an industrialist’s son or daughter, chances are, you will be working your ass off in a job, or working towards starting something of your own by the time you are deciding to get married. And if you are in this situation, chances are also high that you struggle to save money yourself. And then, to literally burn off this money in a span of one week in the festivities of your own wedding, you must have really loving parents who have saved a truckload of money for their dear son’s/daughter’s wedding, or you’re just plain clueless about the priorities in your life and the value of money.

Let’s start with the difference between a marriage and a wedding.

A marriage is the legal, social, religious and also, a spiritual union of two human beings who wish to start living together and fulfil their life purposes together.

A wedding is the ceremony, the functions, the rituals, the lunches and dinners and parties accompanying the marriage.

A marriage does not need 7 odd family functions in order to be recognized as a marriage. Societal expectations have made the simple act of marriage an uphill task by wrapping it up in a shiny, glittering package of wedding.

The society, comprised of your neighbours, relatives, friends, colleagues and distant family, hopes that you will invite each one of them to this ceremony, feed them till the seams of their shiny suits are literally bursting, and also, in the act, take away some (pretty useless) gifts for the new home you are about to build. Did we forget, along come sweets and gifts for all, jewellery and makeup for the bride and groom and their families, an odd ton of new clothes (mostly the shiny kinds that you will never end up wearing but tossing around from one closet to the next), dry fruits and nuts for the next couple of years at least, and lastly, a 5 meter long bill from the banquet hall, caterers, mehendi-wala, band-wala, car-rental, photographer, wedding planner and so on and so forth. This list is not even exhaustive. And I am just exhausted imagining it all.

Really? Isn’t the marrying couple already weighed down by the new responsibilities that it is expected to fulfil as adults living together post marriage, that it must start this new life after fighting the 7-day long wedding battle? And also, after footing a bill so back-breakingly heavy that they are left completely broke by the end of this fairytale affair? Wasn’t this all supposed to have been a beautiful new beginning to a life together? When did it become all about the wedding, more than about the marriage?

If you are not among the richest persons in the world and are about to have a wedding, KNOW this for a fact that a wedding can be simplified if YOU are interested in simplifying it. A lot of youngsters don’t even care because they also think that a wedding is once-in-a-lifetime thing and their families and relatives have expectations from them, but all this is NONSENSE.  You are an adult and it is YOUR wedding. And if you are shrugging off the responsibility of simplifying your wedding because you are too lazy or naive to make your family understand the importance of the money that will be flowing out of the banks just to please the crowd, then my friend, you really deserve this fat wedding and its consequences.

You should always remember, a wedding need not be fat, but pleasant. Within a smaller budget and with lesser people. You need not invite that distant aunt you last saw when you were 4 years old. You need not do 4 parties when only one will do. You need not break the bank and the fixed deposits just to be able to have 5 types of cuisines in the dinner. And if you need to spend your last 3 years worth of saving on buying that designer gown or lehenga, remember that with the same money, you could have bought yourself clothes that could have made you look ravishing each day for the next 2-3 years, instead of looking good on just your wedding day.

At the end of day, what matters is the presence of the most important people in your life on this important day, which is definitely NOT the “MOST IMPORTANT DAY” of your life, because the day you buy your own house, the day your child is born, the day you are the owner of a successful business will be far more important days of your life. And all of it needs money. (Yes, you need money to be able to afford having a kid these days. Do you have any idea how much good education costs?) And if all your money is gone on celebrating this one occasion, you will keep working your ass off for a very long time in your life.

And also, remember that you are a part of the giant vicious cycle in our society that keeps expecting people to have lavish weddings and larger than life ceremonies to mark their weddings. Seeing you having this ultra-grand event, your own brother or cousin or friend might feel compelled to have such a wedding. Who will be the breaker of this chain, my dear?

Be courageous, be practical, be sensible. If you don’t make this change, who will?

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