Weddings in India are becoming the biggest money spinners – seriously! There is a rapidly growing number of wedding planners and caterers serving people from all stratas of society – from the almost vulgarly rich to the middle class. Their service motto seems to be extremely simple – “Nothing is impossible and we are here to convert your plans into action. If you can’t plan, thats not a problem. We’ll do it for you as long as you can pay us.”
At a wedding I attended recently, I had the opportunity to chat with the marriage contractor about recent trends in Chennai. I looked at him with complete and utter disbelief when he told me about recent weddings he had planned and some of the more ridiculous requests like wanting to have ‘paruppu tengai koodu’ as tall as the bride – 5’5″ and carting it into the wedding in a ‘chariot’. He concluded with – “Sometimes, we do things to humour parents but the sad part is, some of these weddings don’t even last two years.”
My mind goes back twenty years when all my older cousins got married . Those were the days when marriages were a bit simpler. Family members ran errands – each family member would take responsibility for different things – the room keys, the provisions in the kitchen, the finances, presents and gift money, packing gift bags for all the guests (with special gifts for some close friends and relatives) and the children would help in any little way they could. There was a sense of togetherness, a sense of purpose, a sense of excitement and everyone definitely felt involved and felt as though they were part of the event.
The trend these days is that everything gets done easily with minimum stress for parents and the family. The wedding planners take all the stress out of the event. Maybe the only stress they feel is financial stress!
There are certainly no right or wrong ways to do things and the choice is totally subjective but the rational mind does question the need for such opulence. I am certainly not being spoil sport by suggesting that we take all the joy out of the occasion but surely there is a via media? Can the parents not put their money to better use – like helping the bride and the groom buy their own home?
Quite frivolously, I have been telling my children to introduce me to their prospective partners and then to elope!! Jokes aside though, when faced with reality I doubt if I will cave in to pressure from the family … time will tell!!