An article in a weekly talks about qualified graduates from Engineering and Management Institutes quitting their jobs to follow their passion for photography – not fashion ,industrial or commercial but wedding photography! It seems creative wedding photographs are in great demand and photographers earn a few lakhs of Rupees from such assignments.
Thanks to technology and the use of photoshop, photographers play around with visuals and backgrounds in such a way that the final photo album featuring glossy digital printouts is not only very heavy but also has interesting pictures of the young couple in all kinds of filmy situations. Gone are the days when the photo albums had full size colour prints of the wedding pictures stuck with corner stickers so that they could be removed from the album if & when necessary. It was not unusual to find old Wedding Albums with missing photos in later years!
The latest trend, I read, is to hire a photographer to accompany newly married couples on their honey moon so that he can take candid shots of the couple enjoying themselves in various locations–instead of depending on some strangers to click occasional pictures of the couple in front of important & interesting landmarks!
A successful business friend of mine proudly informed me that he had spent nearly Rs.10 lakh on wedding photography alone for his daughter’s wedding held at a five star hotel! What a waste of money!
These days even South Indian weddings, which were traditionally two day affairs, are stretching to 4 or 5 days incorporating features like Mehandi, Sangeeth etc. which are essentially North Indian customs. All these additions are sky-rocketing the cost of weddings .Conducting a wedding has become a nightmare for the bride`s parents!
There is a solution to this problem, as courageously expounded by the son of a good friend. While announcing his intention to marry his sweet heart from his school days he made it very clear to his parents that his fiancé and he had decided to have a very simple registered marriage without any kind of celebrations or rituals. Repeated pleas from my friend to have atleast a small reception to receive the blessings from relatives and friends were vehemently turned down by the couple. The son told his father that all his friends and relatives can bless the couple from wherever they are.
Though I admire my friend`s son for his courage of conviction, I do not endorse the stand taken by him because marriages and such pleasant rituals are occasions when families and long lost friends get-together. Even estranged sons, brothers, uncles and aunts use such occasions to bury their differences and get back into the family fold.
While conducting marriages based on the respective religious rituals of parties involved cannot be wished away by parents , they can certainly cut down on wasteful expenditure. One can begin by restricting the list of invitees, cut down on the multi cuisine menu with a mind boggling choice which only confuses the guests( nobody eats 10 sweets that are served!) and not wasting money on expensive photography and other non essential items!
Remember, the most expensive and dazzling Sari that you bought for your dear daughter is worn by her only for the wedding reception- never again ; the heavy Managalsutra loaded with expensive gold that was ceremoniously tied around her neck by the bridegroom finds its place in the safety of the family locker the day after the marriage ceremony is over. When the parents express their displeasure, the girls say, `It is such a nuisance Amma. Besides it is out of fashion to wear the Thali(mangalsutra)every day. I will wear it on special occasions`.
How many of us have the courage to break away from traditions and be practical in conducting marriages? According to a report appearing in Times of India, a community living in some villages of Rajasthan have displayed this courage. They have announced a uniform code for conducting marriages and limiting wasteful expenditure. The code talks about the number of dhol players and lights one can use for the Baraat; wedding spread to have not more than two sweets ; an evening reception after sunset is banned etc. The families breaking the rule are boycotted from attending any events organized by the community and no one will attend events organized by such defaulters!
I remember during my student days, when there was acute shortage of rice & wheat in the country, there was a `guest control order` under the Essential Commodities Act restricting the number of guests who could be invited to a wedding. Probably we again need such Laws banning wasteful expenditure at weddings.
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