Will your children marriage be simple or grand ?

POSTED BY manish ON March 5, 2011 COMMENTS (93)

Marriages are made in heaven! But what about families who have to fund the marriages by taking loans? Those, who sell their assets and properties for these, at the most, 1-2 day events? Does it make sense at all?

You, as parents have goals for your children education sometime in future. Despite the pressure you undergo today to spend a lot on money for your children marriages sometime in future, will it be relevant to spend so much on that goal?

This is the second series of articles which sees how social and economical changes in our country will have impact on our financial goals in future, so that we can take decisions for saving for those goals today ! (Read first article of the series about Child Education here).

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When we coach our clients in their financial lives, we see that one of the main goals in their life is “Children’s Marriage.” For most, the present cost of this goal is around Rs 10,00,000, and by the time their children will be marrying, it definitely would cost a bomb!

These investors keep investing money for that goal for several years and work hard all their life at it.

But the question is –

After 20-25 years when the time comes, will it be worth spending so much on this goal? Can’t you lower the target of that goal and instead use the money on something else which would add more value to your life? What about buying a better house? How about living a 20% better retirement than you have planned? Or best, why don’t you just fund the education of say 2 kids from the streets? That to me, is more inspiring, more satisfying and a much better act to boot !

What happens today?

Now a days, marriages have become more of an event where the whole focus has deviated from the main goal of the rituals, the gathering of friends & loved ones, spending quality time and shifted to show-bazzi, razz–matazz, DJs, expensive decorations, partying, showcasing 100 types of food, and functions which last long hours !

And the biggest problem, if it can be called that, is that all this is done for people who actually don’t matter most of the time! I personally come from Uttar Pradesh and I have seen marriages there, If you want to compete with our state in Show-bazzi and non-sense extravagance, I give you an open challenge !

We all know, what is the goal of marriage. It’s bringing together two individuals and their families. They enjoy the event, get to know each other and perform rituals which really contribute to marriage. For people who don’t know, the Arya Samaj rituals which is the simplest and purest form of Hindu marriage, takes only an hour to complete the marriage !

And it has all the rituals from Hindu vidhi! Even with regular marriages it does not take much time to complete the marriage. It’s normally, a balancing acts between parents who push for making sure the “rituals” are there and the current generation who look for speed and simplicity.

As per an Indian study, as close as 15% of all grains and vegetables in India are wasted through “extravagant and luxurious functions”.

Parents and society pressure

Most of the people who are pissed off by the idea of useless spending still have to pass through this trauma because of the parents. Parents have attended all the marriages till date in their “circle” and it was all nice and full of events and 3 days long. Now it’s their turn to show off or at least give back !

No matter how much logic you can throw at parents in doing a simple marriage with less people and a low budget, it still does not help!

Even though we are in the 21st century, the majority of parents still start saving for their daughters marriage from day 1.  I say daughter’s marriage because its considered as the bigger headache and there is this ‘rule’ in our society that girls side bear the main expenses. What a cheap mentality is this !

If its going on from years, we have to change it, but lots of guys family still show as if they are bound by some imaginary forces to follow it !  Shame ! .  A lot of families go into debt because of this “happy event” in their daughters life. They sell their land, houses at times, & even mortgage their assets to fund marriages.

Is this a happy event or a sad one?

Why do people spend in weddings in the first place? There is enormous pressure in the conservative society for marriage spending. These are costly social get-together’s, in this country of more than 900 million middle class and poor people. In the marriage celebrations, the hosts have to feed couple of meals to some 500 to 1000 guests.

They have to give gifts to some 50 to 100 relatives and wedding guests. The cost of lighting, flowers, decoration, booze, music, dresses and gifts to bride and groom, and travel expenses often hits the economic foundation of most families.

I personally know families, in which a man loses almost all his retirement benefits to get two of his daughters married, even when there is no dowry involved. For a middle class person, even the simplest wedding can cost rupees 5 lakhs (half a million rupees).

Does society or culture coerce people directly or indirectly to bear huge expenses during marriage of their children? Yes. People are coerced or forced by the culture to spend money to prove themselves in front of friends, relatives and neighbors. It is a social expectation imposed on people, which tramples their freedom and choice to lead a dignified life.  – by Desicritics

How our Indian marriages and our customs took their shape !

Lets flashback few centuries back and understand how the procedure of marriages got to where it is today. In earlier times, it was parents who decided who the life partner would be. In most cases, the girl and boy would not have even seen each other!

Marriage was then, actually an event of getting every one familiar with each other – all the relatives, neighbors, friends, everyone came with purpose of getting along, and knowing each other. And it was an event which was “opportunity to meet!”  People lived far apart, and communication & travel wasn’t as easy as it is today.

Marriages were therefore long events with series of ceremonies and rituals . A strong reason for this was that girl can spend more and more time with their future family members and get familiar with her “new” life & family. With the passage of time, the real meanings have been lost and only the rituals remain.

What do people think about Indian Marriages ?

I conducted a survey few days back and there was a great response . I came to know what urban Indian (mostly metro’s) thinks about Indian marriages and some interesting results came out . See the survey report which I have created out of it .

Will your children marriage be simple or grand ?

Most of the people participating in the survey said that they feel marriages should be simple and fast, which indirectly tells that there should be less spending on marriages. However still a quarter of the participants said that it should be a grand event as its once in a lifetime event and hence deserving of expenditure!

There was also a interesting pattern seen on what people think about who should be part of a marriage. There were equal number of people who opted for “close family and friends” as well as “All the family, relatives and all kind of friends.”

Some even went ahead to say that they would like to call everyone who can embarrass them later saying “Arre yaar, tumne bulaya nahi” .. Believe me whoever says that kind of sentence never actually comes anyway! You can safely request him to come and then forget about him/her 😉 .

This clearly shows that while most of the people would like to spend less on their marriages, they still feel the pressure of society and therefore would would like to invite people. This is very obvious, given the way our society is shaped.

While a person attends many marriages in a year, only 1-2 of those marriages are the one which he actually cares about. Most of the others are just a formality. Imagine, while just inviting others is a headache, even the person whom you invite, also gets a headache of attending it!

Attending marriage is also becoming like actually getting organizing a marriage! No one wants to do it, but everyone has to do it!

As many as 58% of the survey participants said that if they attend a marriage, it has to be fast and simple as its just another formality for them, 12% even went ahead and declared those events to be a headache for them. Only 30% participants said that they would love to attend marriages which are grand, after all they are guest ! .

All ceremonies are driven by “Looking Good” factor

We live an ordinary life but our eyes would like to capture things in movies or television shows which are larger than life. Most Indian weddings shown in Indian movies and television shows are larger than life. They are shown as if our entire life is about spending on weddings and nothing else.

While watching movies we forget that everything is fake, it is not a real wedding happening on screen. The scene is created where everything shown is picture perfect. ‘Everything is created so that it LOOKS GOOD’.

When we have a family function each person wants to look good or wants to avoid looking bad in the eyes of relatives. They want the event to be the best, they want it to be different, they want people to say “kya kharcha kiya hai, kya baaat hai”.

This is what it’s LOOKING GOOD, nothing else.

The spirit of celebration is quietly taken over by the looking good factor. Most people don’t know this, they are not present to how the looking good factor is running their financial life. They simply want to look good and inside of that they over shoot budget, invite more people to the event and will try his level best to impress the guests.

Looking good element is not only present in the Host , please don’t be mistaken. It is fully present in the guests who are invited. When we receive an invitation to attend any marriage or function we attend the event just to look good.

We go to the functions thinking Nahi gaye toh aache nahi lagega”. Even the gifts we give on each wedding or occasion is decided by the looking good factor inside us. (Think about it). By the way where is all this coming from.

It is either to look good or you want to avoid looking bad when it comes to attending functions, giving gifts, organizing events. Some say it is my first son getting married so I will spend, some say it is my last son getting married so I will spend.

NO BOSS it is simply the looking good factor running the financial show of your life.

The point is you can go beyond The looking good factor you can get in touch with your true self-expression and focus on celebration rather than burning your hard earned money just to look good.

We have served dozens of our clients and almost all of them have been victim of this “Looking good” and messed up their financial life. however we have been successful in coaching them on how they should come out of this “looking good” and concentrate on a bigger goal in life , which is attaining financial freedom. I am sharing this with you, because I don’t want you to be one more victim of looking good factor. If you can get this lesson, you can design and live a simple yet extraordinary financial life.

But marriage is a one time event and to be remembered !

I agree !

Who’s stopping you from making it memorable and enjoyable? Life is to make each moment memorable and marriage is an event which has to be memorable. However do it in your capacity, thinking past and future and what impact it can have on you , not others.

If you want to spend 20 lacs on marriage, and you can afford it, then damn it all & just go do it! But shower it all on your family and people who matter, do it on people for whom you will be happy with, do it for everyone whom you will miss if they are not part of the marriage.

Instead of wasting it all on 750 people, of whom 600 are just weird acquaintances, better spend all 20 lacs on just 150 who are close to you and you would not regret spending it all on them. I would suggest, spend 15 lacs on marriage and go for a amazing honeymoon with those 5 Lacs!

Your spouse will love you for at least next 2 years for sure! Guaranteed! 😉

However if you spend 20 lacs on those 750 bums and are irritated at each moment, and then complain that real estate prices are high, paisa nahi hai, kaisa karenge, and all, then God help you! You choose your path and boy, please work on your emotional quotient! 🙂

Marriage’s in future

Now coming back to the point, If this is the condition today, in 2011, you can only imagine the scenario after 20-30 years. In this new India, more and more people are travelling to other parts of country, settling in other states, mingling with other communities and end up marrying with other castes.

This will only rise in future , not come down. Which means marriages will have to be more simpler. People will have much lesser time than today for “external” events .

With everyone busy in the rat race of life, and with new breed of individuals who will be “us”,everyone who will be part of your children marriage would be your friends and relatives who are almost of same age, and hopefully think alike and will be wise enough to accept that “uske ghar ki shaadi bade sidhe sade tarike se who rahi hai”.

We would not mind attending faster and simpler marriages.

So I want to give you no suggestions today; just food for thought. If you have a goal of your children marriage, discuss with yourself, rethink stuff…

It might happen that in future you might not have to spend so much money on marriages because the situation and those environment might not demand it. It may be they don’t even care for it! You might be losing on some other goal or some sleep over night on these points!

Experiences of Readers about Indian marriages

You can skip this part now if you wish to, I am just sharing some of the experiences of readers who have taken the survey and shared their personal views on Indian marriages .

Reader 1

Today people spend so lavishly on their son/daughter’s wedding like never before, even when they have to take personal loan for it. I really don’t understand the reason behind all this, I guess this is to do with their social/personal image.

Who dont want their daughter to be happy and not to face any taunt from future in-laws because uski baap ne uski shaadi acche se ni ki?? Maybe this fear makes them spend so much..!! For these people, I have a question, does spending so lavishly on their son/daughter’s wedding boost their social image and stop the taunt from in-laws family (PRACTICALLY)?

Did they work hard and save whole life to spend like this? Why not spend it on their own vacation, son/daughter’s honeymoon, things they desire most in their life etc? Why not buy a home they desire for (if they don’t have one), why not plan for retirement?

Why not use the money they want to spend to fund poor & needy child’s education than to spend on decoration & food at the marriage on rich & well settled family and friends (read everyone) who can say “arrey yaar, tumne bulaya nahin!”..

I am sure, the marriage can happen in small banquet hall (lawn) with only close friends and relatives invited, sharing the happiness immensely than to manage large crowds seeing your hard earned money flowing like daru from the bottle forming the ocean.. Shadi 3 crore ki can become shadi 3-5 lakh ki with happiness multiplied many times!

 

Reader 2

Today’s marriages are more of a show – “my cousin had a grand wedding, I will show them what a ‘grand’ wedding is next month when my son gets married.” It’s more like the Onida advertisement – neighbours envy sort of thing.

One who has attended a relatives wedding feels he can do a better show of it , like ‘people will forget that wedding, they will remember my wedding for a long time to come.  All show. I say go feed or look after some really needy people in that money spent on the lavishes of the wedding. Keep the wedding simple with minimum rites as required.

 

Reader 3

Few thoughts on the way today’s marriages are conducted these days in our country ( I may be little over the top being a bania 🙂  . First about the marriage ceremony itself – they are all the same.

A large glittering hall with a huge gathering of unrecognized people and a very few close friends / relatives. What’s the point of such expense ?

I’d think couple may be better off performing a simple marriage ceremony & utilize the money saved for themselves – expense on close friends / Honeymoon / Car purchase / House purchase etc.

Second, the marriage invitations have become much more transactional than an emotional invite. Your option of “Anyone who can say tumne bulaya nahin” captures that (wonder how many people will select it 🙂 ).

People invite everyone they can remotely relate to (it’s high fixed cost anyways as per grand arrangements – adding few people doesn’t matter).

If the ceremony were to be conducted in simpler manner, a much better & thoughtful function / reception party can be arranged for fewer people with lots of personal attention & hospitality that makes the event memorable for all rather than “aaj phir ek shaddi mein jana hai…dinner karke zaldi aa jayenge” 🙂 .

Ofcourse our parents generation for whom shaddi is an event to call upon the whole society would disagree. It ‘ll be nothing less than a crime not to call upon all and spend it all on a marriage.

I ‘d think as the current generation takes over the role of parents and arranging for child’s marriages (hopefully they will let us :P), we might move towards simpler marriages and grand functions for a lesser number of people.

 

Reader 4

Marriage used to be a divine affair, 2 people getting together and taking oath to live together until death, through thick and thin. Today some of the marriages I visit are more of wealth show and ego pumping affair for the couple and their parents.

Sure, those with hidden black money would want to spend it all here (visit a marriage of a real estate developers son/daughter, you will know).

I am a South Indian, and had visited a north Indian friends marriage in UP. It was an high expenditure marriage, with great food and gifts to all attendees.

Everybody enjoyed the food and drinks, and by the time the mooharat, started (midnight), there were hardly a handful of close relatives left to witness the rituals. It made me realize how fake and shallow Indian marriages have become.

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93 replies on this article “Will your children marriage be simple or grand ?”

  1. srinivas says:

    i have two daughters, last year married my elder daughter with spending and in the presence of relatives and friends, if some problem arise in their matrimonial life no body ready to come and help,
    know its my personal experience and opinion why should we spend more money beyond our limits, simply registered marriage or in a temple, instead of spending all these unncessary expenses like, marriage hall, food other decoration etc ( there is a survey and article on waste of somuch food items in so called functions) we can deposit the money same money on new couple for their bright future.
    it is very pain to give brith the girls and their marriage now a days in the present situtation.

    1. True . Thanks for sharing your pain wit us !

  2. RD says:

    Hi Manish,
    I read your this article today..Initially when i started reading the post i was not at all convince abt simple marrige but i continue reading it and at the end i can not say you what i felt..it was like “Shri Krishna ne Arjun ko Gita sunayi aur usko akhri main sara sahi gyan prapt ho gaya”

    Great Post..A Must read for every Bachlor (If possible Parents Too 🙂 )

  3. george joseph says:

    This article require a super “like” button.
    True to the core Manish. One more comment is the people who crib “the third serving of the desert didnt have the taste” as expected

  4. flubber says:

    Manish,

    Don’t you think by this way money rotates in our society, lots of black money comes out in the market and stimulate the economy?

    Flubber

    1. Flubber

      Yes I agree it does .

      Manish

    2. prakash says:

      True. But what about the undue pressure on people who do not have black money.

  5. vijay says:

    ye ladka bahut achcha likhta hai.

  6. RASHMI ACHARYA says:

    DEAR MANISH,
    YOUR ARTICLE IS EXCELLENT AND THOUGHT PROVOKING.
    I WILL TRY TO IMPLEMENT IN MY FAMILY.
    THANKS,
    RASHMIKANT.

    1. Rashmi

      Thanks for complement 🙂 . Keep reading

      manish

  7. Dhawal Sharma says:

    Hello,

    I have a different take on this article..As I was blessed with a baby girl 2 years back, i feel proud and honoured that one day i will be doing her KANYADAAN and for that i have to do lot many preparations and FINANCIAL PLANNING etc but not for once do i take it as a burden or headache..My daughter is my life, my everything and i want everything associated with her to be GRAND but only if i can afford that..

    When i went to market to buy her an imported toy, i liked the one which costed Rs 8,000 but i could not afford it and so we have selected another one for her which costed Rs 2,000 which i easily shelled out from my pocket..Now to some, it may look like spending Rs 2000 on a toy is a sheer waste..You could have purchased a balloon or wooden blocks for much less..But this transaction is not like that..My neighbours might think that i have brought this remote-controlled car of Rs 2000 for show off which is not the truth..

    Till my daughter become 24 or 25 or the suitable marriagable age, i have my relatives – both me and my wife’s (40 to 50), our close family friends (40 to 50), our collegues, acquintances, neighbours, and by that age, even my daughter would be having lots of friends and there family members..And on THAT SPECIAL DAY in her life, i want every body to come and share happiness with me, eat-drink-enjoy, who would have stood by me through thick and thin during those years, is it too much in the bargain to arrange for best food and comforts for them..

    Yes, agreed with the part where lavish marriages are arranged by taking loans is wrong..But what about someone who is doing it for his/her happiness, why would someone points at him and say that he is wasting money, showing off, incurring useless expenses etc..

    There are too many idioms in life – HAMESHA SACH BOLO – MEHNAT SE KABHI MAT GHABRAO – PAAP KI KAMAI HARAM HAI – PEHLE DESH KA SOCHO..Do all these things are followed in real life..NO..Otherwise INDIA would have been a different place to live..Same is with the marriages..To some, it looks like waste of time and to some, its the only occasion in months or years to be with the family (CHACHA-MAMA-BUA-MAASI-COUSINS) etc..I am a Punjabi and we are notorious for grandioius marraiges but i have countless number of friends from SOUTH INDIA and EASTERN STATES who says they enjoy PANJU WEDDINGS and want their weddings to be the same..

    To me, it all comes down to your capacity..If i have started investing and saving for my daughter’s education since day one of her birth, because one day i want her to be a DOCTOR – again, there might be a bogey which says you are herd mentality guy who only want their kids to be doctor, engineer, or lawyer..Yes, i might be but i would always be hoping and planning for THE BEST and the GRANDEST for my baby girl..

    (To me, it looks like most of our readers are bachelors and so they can say these PRACTICAL things but once they have there baby boy/girl in their arms, there dreams will differ)..

    and yes, i will personally invite you on my baby girl’s wedding after 23-24 years and i assure you that it will be a GRAND-GRAND affair 🙂

    One more thing, i know a lot many people coming out of grand weddings and saying, “YAAR, SAMOSE MAIN AALO PE CHILKE LAGE HUEY THEY”

    pss – One beneficial point is, the more people you invite the more SHAGANs and GIFTs you will get in return, offsetting some financial part..he he he 🙂

    1. Dhawal

      I agree with you that incase its in your capacity and your happyness is in that , You should have the event as you like . The article mainly points to those who take it as burden to have it grand just for the sole reason of pressure from society.

      So great to know your views .

      Manish

    2. Dheeraj says:

      Hi Dhawal,
      I appreciate your views with regards to your daughter, her studies and her marriage. But all of these are those which anyone can expect from a typical parent.
      Children could have different views at the time of their higher studies or marriage like we all young fellows are having in this blog.

      1. Dhawal Sharma says:

        @Dheeraj – arre yaar, despite being a married man and having a daughter, i myself is a YOUNG guy, age wise – physically – and at heart too 😉 and thanx for appreciating my views for my daughter’s wedding and education..I would do my best to be the best TYPICAL INDIAN FATHER 🙂

        I can very well understand what you say..I myself use to think on the same lines when i was stuyding that why only DOCTOR/CA/IAS and why not something else?? And after so many years of working and doing reasonably well in life, i again have the same feeling ki “NAHI YAAR, PAPA-MUMMY KI SUNI HOTI AUR PADH-LIKH LETE TO AAJ HUM BHI YAAR DOCTOR YA IAS OFFICER HOTE.” Sometimes a feeling or perseption remains the same, just vary a bit over the life cycle..

        You might think i would love to be a guiterist and marry a simple girl without dowry in a simple function at the age of 24-25 but again at the age of 32-35, your point of view will change and at that time you’ll say, i’ll be better off sitting in some corporate office with highly qualified/well placed girl, with a glittering function for my wedding..

        The bottomline to me from this article is, do according to your capacity..If you can afford a 50 lakh marriage, then go out and enjoy it and dont bother about what people might be saying about me as SHOW-OFF or extravagent..and in the same way, if you cannot afford it, do it in a simple way without bothering about what the family or SAMAAJ would be saying..

    3. Anjan says:

      Once again like many people, its your emotion talking. Of course you want your daughter’s wedding to be the grandest of them all. But have you thought about what your daughter might want when she turns 24 or 25? You are assuring people that is will be a GRAND-GRAND affair but what if your daughter just wants a small ceremony? Whose preference comes first? Will you ignore your daughter’s wishes like most Indians do?

      You also missed the entire point of this article. Say you go all out and spend 75 lacs on the marriage to make it a “GRAND-GRAND” affair. You’ll be the talking point of the town for 3 days. You’ll have spent your whole life savings in just 3 days? Then what? Did you ever think about your daughter’s future after marriage or does your responsibility end after marrying her off? The future is uncertain and it might happen that she’s not treated well by the in-laws and husband and is forced to get a divorce. She could very well be left in the dust and ruined for the rest of the life.

      Can you imagine how much your daughter would benefit if just gifted her that 75 lacs instead of blowing it all away to make 3 days of her life memorable? Her entire life would be secured and she would have nothing to ever worry about again financially. If her marriage is successful, that amount can easily be invested to fund the entire academic career of her child.

  8. Suneel says:

    Great Research Manish…. All the Very Best for your future assignments.

    1. Suneel

      Thanks 🙂 . Keep reading

  9. CA RAJIV SAXENA says:

    SOME PEOPLE ARE RELATING FINANCIAL PLANNING AND MARRIAGE. AND I WANT TO ADD ONE MORE THING, THAT SOMETIMES INDIAN MARRIAGES ARE A TOOL FOR CONVERTING BLACK MONEY INTO WHITE MONEY. PLANNING IS PLANNING!!

    1. Dheeraj says:

      Yes, rightly said rajiv
      Most of the big fat marriages are nothing just the way of converting black money into white taking hide in Gift tax laws.

      In my opinion, marriages should be very simple and whatever more money couple/both sides parents/relatives wants to spend should be used for funding the education of needy kids from the streets.

  10. CA RAJIV SAXENA says:

    WELDONE MANISH, INDIAN MARRIAGES ARE BECOMING COSTLIER THAN BOLLYWOOD MOVIES. PEOPLE WANT TO SHOW OFF THEIR STATUS.
    BUT I HAVE ALREADY DECIDED SOMETIME BACK THAT I WILL DO A SIMPLE SHADI. MY MARRIAGE WILL BE DUE SOME TIME LATER. NO DEHAJ, JUST A LOVELY WIFE. WHAT U SAY?

    1. Rajiv

      Yes very much , I am going to do the same .

      Forget bringing black money from swiss banks , if only peopel do simple marriages , in just 1 yrs the amount of money saved can irradicate poverty from India and help develop the whole country .. Oops .. did I speak too much or is it real !

      Manish

      1. CA RAJIV SAXENA says:

        WELL MANISH THERE R TWO SIDES OF A COIN. HOPE POVERTY IS ERADICATED.

      2. pravin says:

        i disagree. the money people spend on marriages are spent on real goods and services. they are paid to decorators and their workers,caterers and cooks,cleaner boys,sweepers.it generates more employment AND provides value to the customer(marriage party) than any socialist boondoogle like the MREGA.your statement about poverty elimination shows socialist hues.as if poverty can be removed by distributing money via govt subsidies .
        ALL money which is spent voluntarily is GOOD for the economy -black or white.just because taxes were paid on it means nothing.the fact that some bureaucrats can earn their salary by it means nothing for poverty eradication. either you have not thought thru your statement OR you have very romantic visions about how poverty is finally alleviated in developed nations.

        1. Pravin

          Yes you are right , I didnt gave much thought about the statements, It was just a statement which came in flow with Rajiv

          I agree this is not a realistic way to eradicate poverty .

          Manish

          1. CA RAJIV SAXENA says:

            i didnt mean so. thats why i said above there r two sides of a coin. cutting short expenditure on marriages may be used for better purposes. other side is heavy expenditure on marriage do provide employment to number of people.

        2. CA RAJIV SAXENA says:

          PRAVEEN HAS USED A WORD “MREGA”. I THINK HE IS REFERRING TO “NAREGA SCHEME OF GOVT.” LAST YEAR I WENT TO BIHAR ON INVITATION FROM A TRAININEE OF MINE, I SAW THE HEAD OF VILLAGE WAS BUSY IN GETTING THE PLANTS PLANTED EVERYWHERE. HE HAS HIRED “THEKEDAR”. THE VILLAGE HEAD IS PAYING LESSER WAGES TO THEKEDAR AND THEKEDAR IS PAYING FURTHER LESSER WAGES TO WORKERS. BOTH ARE EMBEZZLING, AND GOVT. IS HAPPY IN GIVING THE FIGURES TO PARLIAMENT THAT SO MUCH HUNDREDS OF CRORES OF RUPEES HAVE BEEN SPENT ON GENERATING RURAL EMPLOYMENT. WHAT A FISS!!!!

        3. Bhagirathi says:

          How much of marriage expenditure really goes to the groom and bride? And did they really want those things? They would have preferred to have the expenditure as cash in their hands to start a new life. But they don ‘t get to choose. It’s the parents who decide based on societal expectations and show off factor. If every Indian believed in simple marriages, wonder what would have been the amount of the difference between what people spend and what could have been avoided. Even if decorators and other service providers get employment, but at what cost to self? Congrats Manish! I do hope more and more people have the guts to stop bowing down to societal pressures and do what suits them and not land themselves in financial trouble.

          1. Thanks for appreciation . I hope more and more people read this and implement !

          2. Anjan says:

            This is the problem with Indian culture. Even though a wedding is supposed to be the most important day in the life of the couple getting married, their wishes get mostly sidelined. Its the parents’ wishes which get top preference. Their need to show-off to the community supersedes anything the bride & groom might want.

            I know some friends who don’t even want to marry but are forced into it by their parents. Most youngsters in India never get to marry the one they truly love because the parents only care about social image and can only allow you to marry whom they approve. The Indian marriage system is mostly a farce where the person getting married actually has very little say in the whole thing. Its like the puppet master pulling all the strings from behind the curtains.

            1. Yea I can relate to your comment Anjan

              TOo many people are stuck in this game of grand marriage ! .. But from my personal experience I can tell you , its tough at times for you to convince your parents and then its better to surrender to them 🙂

  11. Ashwin says:

    A very thought provoking open ended article, Manish! Just like with your previous article, every person will have his/her own take on this matter as well, depending on ones cultural/financial background.

    I would like to add some numbers to help readers draw context.
    ———–
    This is the breakup of a typical middle class – Mangalorean style traditional 1 day Hindu wedding, in south west Karnataka.

    Marriage Hall (1 day, 400-600 seating capacity + dining hall) : Rs 30000 – 60,000 or more depending on the location and several other factors.

    Caterers + decoration (flowers) + facilities + food/drinks + orchestra/music : 2,00,000 – 3,50,000 (Usually handled by a single party contract)

    Photographers: 15,000 – 30,000 + album cost extra, starting Rs. 20,000 per album + DVD.

    Gifts to close relatives: This is a completely woman only affair (usually silk sarees for the women, men only get cheap shirt/trouser material 😛 ) : 75,000 – 2,00,000 each side.

    + additional fee for hair and make-up artists, flowers, receptionists, car/bus hires, priests, extra helping hands
    + Cost of gold jewelery for the bride
    + Additional random cash expenses (can go up to 6 figures)
    + Additional charges for reception if held on a different day (almost equal to marriage expenses if hosted at the same scale and similar venue)
    + Additional cost for the pre-marriage rituals – Marriage hall (or residence), music, food/drinks.
    + Hotel accommodation costs for outstation family and friends
    + Additional cost for the post marriage rituals (mostly within the close relatives circle and hosted usually at the residence of the groom). In rare occasions this too is done at a venue similar to that of the wedding.
    + Huge dowry in certain communities! (20-25 Lakhs is usually the floor, will go up considerably if the groom is a NRI or has exhausted all the leaves in his passport book and works for infy-tcs-wipro and similar IT biggies.)

    I have not counted the costs involved in a 3-4 hr engagement ritual which typically happens 1 -4 months prior and expenses like honeymoon, setting up of a new house if the couple lives separately, opportunity cost in terms of combined salary loss for a whole month etc.

    As you can see, most of the costs are in hidden expenses pre/post marriage, the actual cost on the day of the marriage is approx 50% of overall costs involved.

    That’s an average marriage for you in the current period. Add inflation for each year (8-12%) + additional exp. due to further influx for north Indian style band-baja-baraat ceremonies to extrapolate into future!

    Disclaimer: I am no wedding planner, nor am I in the wedding industry, but have seen enough weddings in this region and know people in this line of business.

    1. Ashwin says:

      It would be wonderful if other readers too can share numbers for their community and region, ideally based on experiences of self or siblings’ marriage.

      The numbers are bound to be biased, but something is better than nothing!

    2. Ashwin

      Thanks for sharing that . You can see that a lot of costs are things like dowry and expensive decorations and spendings . A lot is added because of not-so important guests . What stops parents to declare the wedding as “close family and friends affair only”. You can see what amount of expenses can be saved .

      1. Ashwin says:

        Agree, but there lies the problem. We are all human, irrational in our choices. Being Indians, are bound by huge family/relative circle, than most countries in the west. It might be easy for a 20 something to say “I want my marriage to be simple and small”, but the current gen parents mostly in their 50/60s have seen many marriages, have bigger social circles, plus the self pride/prestige and the urge to make the event the talk of the community don’t allow them the “luxury” of a simple marriage, lest they be perceived as financially weak! This is where human psychology trumps excel sheet formulas 🙂

        Going forward, with more families going nuclear & social circles growing smaller, it might be easy (logical?) for the current generation to scale down Indian marriages for the current generation than those born in the 50s & 60s.

        1. Ahwin

          Yes , thats what I am talking about in the article too .. Mainly the article theme was that only that should would indian marriage will look like in future and how one wants it to be considereing his financial planning . For current generation I am as helpless personally as any one else 😉

          Manish

  12. Praveen says:

    It may be that the majority of people who opted for a ‘simple marriage’ in your survey may didn’t had the ability to spend huge amount in weddings. Bcoz I saw many persons who complain about lack of many things in costly weddings too., but when coming to wedding in their house they will omit many things telling ‘ITS SIMPLICITY’. .. but the main reason is they can’t afford those.

    1. Praveen

      I think most of the people option for the answer which they felt should be the case irrespective of their financial status . Why do you think that people who cant afford have choosen the option of simplicity ?

      1. Praveen says:

        Its like ‘The Inaccessible Grapes are sour” in fox & grapes fable.

        I don’t know about your survey., but I saw many friends/colleagues who took personal loans too to ‘celebrate that extra bit’ in their wedding

        1. Praveen

          Ok , yea a lot of people go for personal loan too to celebrate their marriage , its fine . What we are saying is one should not do it in pressure .

          Manish

  13. pravin says:

    my marriage took less time than it took for me to read this article…ha ha.joking apart, my kid will finance his own marriage -no worries on that . i financed 80% of mine and i’d expect my son to do the same

    1. Pravin

      Thanks for your views 🙂 .

      Manish

  14. -Akila says:

    Nice and great article.. Everyone has to keep this article on mind..
    Being a married chennaite girl..what I learnt from the marriage is to avoid the things like

    1. Jewels..Fear to wear. we cannot wear it always and should be extra alert while wearing.. all will take rest in the locker.
    2. Costly Silk sarees..Hardly worn by 1 or 2 times in our lifetime that too at our wedding 🙂
    3. Marriage expenditure(inviting close friends and relatives are enough)

    We didn’t spend much on the above things.. I didn’t purchase any spl jewelery for my marriage.. Instead of that bought artificial jewelery..picked my silk Saree at lowest price.. On top of it, I’m very happy to say that I spent my own money for my wedding.
    And I’m sure I’ll follow this for my children’s too and motivate my brothers to avoid lavish spending on the wedding 🙂

    1. Akila

      I am sure your after marriage life would be much easier . I know a girl who was totally opposite of this . She wanted each and every thing to be costly and to be perfect like anything . Different people different beliefs .

      Manish

  15. Ramadoss says:

    I liked it . Marriages should be simple . Solemnizing in places of worship really help . Famous temples in south witness 20-30 marriages in a muhurt day . I solemnised my daughters marriage at Guruvayur followed by a lunch .
    Good article.

    1. Ramadoss

      Thats great . I didnt knew that that happens in south so much until I saw a telugu movie bommarillu 🙂

      Manish

      1. Navin M says:

        Ramadoss, Manish

        Even I have witnessed and attended 40-50 marriages togather at single big places where attendes are limited from each bride-groom family and closes relatives. At one section marriages are going on by couple of pandits by mike and other section has food arrangements by guests. This happens 1-2 times in a year probably on very best day like ‘Vasant Panchami’. Here marriages are performed very simple way and uniformaly irrespective of richer or poor. Also those who want to participate in this grand event, they have been informed prior for registration, usually entries are kept minimum like 21 or 51 bride-groom pairs. This happen in Some part of Gujarat and also in some well-knows community like Patels, some of them have made compulsory. I personally feel this is really good initiative. Lots of individual expenses are being save. Best part is that, if anyone wish to donate something to newly marriad couples they can handover uniform gifts to them.

        1. Navin

          I agree with you , this keeps a compulsory check on the costs . However not many people do not consider this as the way-to-go . They would still perfer arranging it seperately , even if it has to be kept as simple ! . In gujarati its called “Samuhik Lagan” .

          Manish

  16. Abhijit says:

    Hi Manish,

    Excellent article,
    Kudos to you…

    1. Abhijit

      thanks , keep reading !

  17. Rohit Sasikumar says:

    Hi Manish,

    Couldnt agree more with you on the two articles in the series. In 20 years there will be sea of changes. Being a south indian, I had a simple marriage. Mostly the minset has to change. And in this case, its the bridegroom’s family. They are the ones who want lavish marriages with the bride’s family needing to spend fortunes to make them happy otherwise they will have to keep hearing taunts for the rest of their lives. Slowly this is changing and in 20yrs?? who knows if marriages will still be in fashion :).

    1. Navin M says:

      Rohit Sasikumar,
      I really liked south indian marriage, atleast less extravaganza and show-off and perfect hindu rituals. But I still have one qn regarding dowry, I mean see in Andha, how much dowry have been collected from bride’s parents? If there are 2-3 sisters, then bride’s parents will have deep financial setback. I also heard that some grooms from well knows surname are highly paid i.e. Lacs, crores..

      1. Rohit Sasikumar says:

        This is true. In south (Kerala, Karnataka, AP, Tamil Nadu), Bridegrooms are sold for a hefty amount :). You might have heard that in Kerala Brides are dressed up like GOLD MINES. Really hope that from our generation this trend disappears.

    2. Rohit

      haha .. who knows marriages will be in fashion . its actually a nice point to debate 🙂

      Manish

  18. Anand says:

    Nice article!

    Manish, you better invite me to your marriage… And it has to be in a 5-star hotel… otherwise .. 😉

    1. Anand

      thanks for your comment , If I do a grand marriage , I will not go myself !

      manish

  19. Shobha says:

    Hi Manish,

    Nice article as always. Yeah, agree that its more to do with Social Pressure and show off to peers.

    Really fought for my marriage to be registered but after all the Rona Dhona (U guys don’t care anymore, what will people say and all that) finally had to go for big marriage. But we put in rider there that we will spend our own money (50-50%) and parents will not chip. At least this helped us to keep finances in control.

    Agree, mindset has to change.

    Keep writing.

    Shobha

    1. Shobha

      Thats nice . When we give options , people think that they have to choose one of them , no other option , so your parents also chose one ! 🙂

      Manish

  20. Navin M says:

    Hi Manish,

    This is really eye-opening and amazing articles as usual. Everytime I read article, eyes are becoming more wide 🙂 I am a regular reader of your posts which i started couple of weeks back.

    Regarding article of marriage, I fully agree with your thoughts and ideas. Marriges should be simple. But as you mentioned, we have peer pressure from society and even from our families, we are bound to many obligations. But time is changing and we are moving towards that.

    I think self-awareness is the most essintial key. But I think it will not come automatically even person gets education. Almost of the readers of this site have good education and professional background which shares their ideas. But person like you still awakening by your great posts. What about others who don’t have medium of access to get right information or awareness? I think trend will only change when more and more people get benefited by way of right information.

    1. Navin

      You have the point , Most of the readers here are from a better background, net-savvy and educated one . But majority are not that well off as per as educaiton and this way of thinking is concerned .

      It will slowly change , I dont see much solution at the moment for people in small places , they will keep drilling themselves due to society and it woudl continue for some more decades !

      Manish

  21. Rakesh says:

    Manish,

    Excellent post. Liked the way you put the survey results.
    I would want my child’s wedding to be a simple one but if they won’t to make it grand it will have to come from their pocket. I financed my own wedding and would expect my children to do it for theirs too.

    Rakesh

    1. Rakesh

      Nice . As you said in today’s world where people have started their children education also have a big goal called “children education” . LOL

      Manish

  22. herge says:

    Nice article. Agree fully. Education is a must. Marriage is a choice. So the two cannot be linked completely. It is a parents duty to provide access to the best possible education for a child. Not their duty to marry off a child.

    However its very complicated: Take my own case. I had a love marriage. my wife’s parents agreed to the match only if the marriage occurred immediately. I was a student and my parents had to chip in. Only if such stupid conditions go will marriages become simpler. Parents must be invitees and not organizers.
    Women must become more independent etc. We have a long way to go. At least we are in the right direction.

    It is also incorrect to think in the west parents do not contribute to marriage. Arrange marriage doesn’t happen. But parents do chip in with money if they can spare it.

    1. Herge

      Thanks for your views . Does majority of parents in US contribute in Marriage like india or its a small percentage . I am of impression that most of the people save and fund their marriage and only in worst case take it from parents ?

      manish

  23. Abhinav Gulechha says:

    Thanks Manish….
    yes, I would definitely like to share my view. From my personal experience, I had to arrange for funds myself, and had to take loans to fund a decent marriage, as regards contribution from our side. Thankfully, after marriage, I could pay off the loan from the bonus that I got from my company. However, things would have been really bad if I would not have got that inflow, since after marriage expenses go off on a spiral, and if you are already servicing EMIs on other loans, it really becomes painful.
    Ok, one more thing, I am a Marwadi and as it goes across India, the customs are no different at my end. You are expected to spend lavishly at weddings. However, one point my friend suggested me when I was getting married- Abhinav, no matter how much amount you spend, there will be people who will find faults, so spend only by your means and not beyond that….
    In my view, trend is slowly changing, and your article is a catalyst in that direction.

    @ Mr. Anshu: Kind regards. I am frankly at a loss to understand the ‘twisting of my voice’ that you spoke about. One more thing, Manish has meticulously researched at article for the readers’ immense benefit. You have every right to disagree, but my humble request is that we can atleast maintain decorum of language in this forum, and state our disagreements in a clearer manner for every body to evaluate and understand, because that is the only way we all can grow!! (this is my humble opinion, you have full right to disagree with that too:)

    1. Abhinav

      I have seen marwari marriages in my hometown , Not sure which part of india do you belong , but in my state even marwaris take the baraat on road will that deisel generators and small children and ladies with big lights on their heads and dulhaji on the RATH with a small child beside him ! , dont tell me it happened with you too 🙂 .

      Also as you said that people will anyways find out faults and mistakes and what you “didnt do” . So dont do much , the allegations are going to come anyways and its a simple logic not to care for those who are finding faults in the way you arrranged things . Note that people who care and are really ours , dont even bring the gifts and their last focus is on “How was the food” , “What did girl side gave ? ” , “Are you wearing a proper marriage dress” .. blah blah ..

      I think in general humans have to be sweet to everyone , but indian marriages is somewhere you have to become different and act differently , be as shameful as you can because , damn you dont want to screw yourself because of others ! . time to change !

      Manish

  24. Nitin says:

    Thanks, Manish. I really liked the article. I wish everyone in our society could be aware of it. When I was about to get married, I also intended to make it simpler but parents had to do it extravagantly as it’s a matter of being in a society and do it the way society feels good. I just wish after 20 years everyone in our society becomes aware of what this article intends to say.

    1. Nitin

      Thanks Nitin , I can understand your situation very well being 27 and about to get married 🙂 . The worst part is that in today’s world children are weaker in front of parents when it comes to how marriage will be performed ! . We cant go against parents wish at times and have to surrender .

      1. Anjan says:

        Unfortunately, I am soon approaching the same boat you were in 4 years ago. I’ll try my best to convince my parents that I don’t need an extravagant wedding to be happy. I know they’ll want to go all out and spend every last dime of their retirement savings but I simply can’t let that happen.

        I have observed in the last couple of years that with enough convincing and reasoning even the most rigid of minds can be changed. So, I believe this marriage aspect will be one more hurdle to cross and its doable. The fact that I’ve been able to get both my parents off a dozen LIC policies has been a defining achievement for me 🙂 It certainly took a monumental amount of convincing but it was well worth it.

        1. Try anchoring here..

          First tell them you wont marry .. I know they will create a scene . Now settle for the agreement that you will only marry if its court marriage. I know it will not be accepted, but then you ask them for ARYA samaj wedding with only them and girls parents .I know even this will not be agreed ..

          But by this time, you would have surely made them fall for your wishes (a bit) . Now tell them you will marry if its a little wedding and not grand . However now it depends which community you belong too .. SOme communities simple wedding can put some other communities grand wedding at shame 🙂

          Goodluck . And try asking your parents about splitting the expenses with girls side (girls side should not do 100% expenses please, its your marriage too) . Welcome to dirty politics of Indian marriage system !

          Manish

  25. anshu says:

    @Manish, Such a Idiotic article I found after longtime . Please make sure that converted Christians keeping their Hindu name , are fooling us for long time and very much . Better to do not post such things…they will hurt us. I understand your article. This is a fashion , but not a old mind-set . 2nd thing ,for example .see.this guy(@Abhinav Gulechha) how twisting his voice in this Article.

    1. Anshu

      What makes you feel that its an idiotic artile ? Please share your views and which part of article you dont agree with you . You have not given your views and just told us what you feel about the article . Are you saying that spending a lot of money on wastage is fine ?

      Also regarding Abhinav comment , I am still not sure what is the problem there ? And how does Christians came into the picture as per your comment ?

      Kindly give your detailed comments so that we can debate 🙂 .

      Manish

  26. Abhinav Gulechha says:

    Hi Manish

    I dont have words but just have a WOW!!! for your article..

    I am a regular reader of your posts, and am amazed at the authenticity of thought and freshness of perspective that your financial planning advice conveys. Surely agree with the other reader, that you really play a big role in my financial education too:)

    I think slowly this generation is realising the fallacy of planning for astronomical sums to fund child marriage, and have started challenging the age old assumptions.

    I also think that apart from the number crunching, its also imperative on the financial planners to softly share this different perspective to the client (as you have done)….the crucial thing is to make the client think for himself….

    Thanks for the post, in cricketing terms, this post of yours has hit a six, off the park….!!!!

  27. Abhinav Gulechha says:

    Hi Manish

    I dont have words but just have a WOW!!! for your article..

    I am a regular reader of your posts, and am amazed at the authenticity of thought and freshness of perspective that your financial planning advice conveys. Surely agree with the other reader, that you really play a big role in my financial education too:)

    I think slowly this generation is realising the fallacy of planning for astronomical sums to fund child marriage, and have started challenging the age old assumptions.

    I also think that apart from the number crunching, its also imperative on the financial planners to softly share this different perspective to the client (as you have done)….the crucial thing is to make the client think for himself….

    Thanks for the post, in cricketing terms, this post of yours has hit a six, off the park….!!!!

    Abhinav

    1. Abhinav

      Thanks for your views . As you said , even financial planners have to use this communication in their practice and make their clients think ! . Why dont you share some think about how your particular community perceives marriage event as . What are your personal thoughts on this in your life ?

      Manish

  28. pattu says:

    Unlike the previous article, I agree fully with this! Children should be encourage to marry only when they start earning enough. Both the boy and girl should equally contribute to the marriage. To this day the boys side expect the girls family to shell our expenses. Lavish or simple marriage this attitude needs change.

    1. Pattu

      Yes , Definately it has to be changed , but keep aside indian thinking, we have sub communities in India which have very different outlook towards marriage , may be you can throw some light on how south indians look at it particularly and is it better or worst than average Indian thinking .

      manish

      1. pattu says:

        South Indian weddings are way more simpler than north indian weddings! The average wedding cost for a ‘simple’ wedding today here is a little less than 5 lakhs. We do have some weddings in temples but not that many. That has to change.

        1. Great 🙂 . It should change sooner !

    2. srinivasu says:

      yes, every word is true.
      The same near & dear may not help if oneday some thing goes wrong.
      thanks for a thought provoking subject.

      1. Srinivasu

        thanks 🙂 . Keep reading 🙂

  29. arjun says:

    Hi Mr.Chauhan ,
    The above article is very well written but unfortunately won’t change the mindset of the general populace.It’s sad that in this day and age people are willing to spend lakhs on a ritual that most of them can barely afford.A fraction of the money spent in mindless showmanship could ,if invested well,give a great start to the new marriage.Wild partying does not guarantee the success of any marriage – take a look of most celeb weddings (arun nayyar/liz hurley ..).
    My parents would have loved holding a big fat Indian wedding for me.I quickly did the next best thing and had a registered marriage!

    1. Arjun

      ohh you did registered marraige , thats commendable ! . I dont know if no one will be able to change their mindset , but even if few peopel change their perception about marriage spending , we are talking about crores of money saved 😉

      Manish

  30. Hi Manish,

    I think you are doing too much research for ur marriage 😉

    Need some time to read whole article.

    1. Yea .. you can say that ! . Read the whole article, you will enjoy it !

      Manish

    2. Jason says:

      @Hemant: LIKE! 😛

  31. Jason says:

    Love the infographic and the way you involve your readers! How many people responded?

    Your and your blog are a big part of my financial education 🙂

    1. Jason

      Thanks 🙂 . Man that infographic took around 4-5 hours ! .

      Around 120 people responded . you can see its written in the survey report itself at the end ! . So you want to share about marriages and society expectations in your comminity ?

      Manish

      1. Jason says:

        Cognitively blind 😛 It was right there in plain sight 🙂

        Personally at home, I’ve gotten the coolest parents. So no pressure. Community wise too, the Goans are pretty chilled out race for the most part!

        So, no worries there too 🙂 Besides, Christian weddings are normally a simple 45 minute affair.

        It’s the reception that gets you, what with the Goan customs or the Mangalorean customs!

        One happy side effect of the 10 pm shutdown rule in Bombay is that Christian weddings are now short, happy affairs 😀

        1. Jason

          Thats nice , Public rules helping us to cut the cost . I like it .

          Manish

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