Indian parents save diligently to make their daughter’s wedding a lavish affair. Middle class wedding budget in india can include everything from buying a trousseau to booking a banquet venue.
But, many families are pressured to spend beyond their means. This is particularly true in villages, where the groom’s family asks for dowry.
Wedding dresses are an integral part of the Indian middle-class marriage budget. The average bride can expect to spend between a lakh and three lakh rupees on her outfit. The cost of the dress will depend on how much embellishments are added and whether it is made from silk or chiffon. Besides, the groom’s clothing and jewellery will also need to be taken into account.
Weddings in India are big business – around 10 million take place each year and the industry is worth $50bn. But the extravagant celebrations place pressure on families to meet expectations of the groom’s family and impress guests.
Those who do not comply face social pressures and even threats of debt bondage. Often, these pressures are not just financial – they are also physical. In rural villages, for example, women who refuse to go into debt for a wedding are ostracised by the community. This is exacerbated by a lack of education and poverty, as well as a thriving landowner-politician-security nexus that makes it difficult to investigate and prosecute traffickers.
Jewellery is one of the biggest wedding expenses for Indian middle-class families. With prices of gold, silver and diamonds going up, the average middle-class family can spend close to Rs 1 lakh ($200,000) on jewellery alone. Thankfully, cost-saving upcoming trends like costume jewelry are taking over and giving people a chance to look glamorous without breaking the bank.
Indians are among the world’s largest consumers of jewellery. The obsession with gold is largely driven by the perception that it’s auspicious and symbolic of good fortune. It’s not uncommon for Indians to mortgage properties and take personal loans to buy enough gold to show off at their weddings.
Despite the high costs, some social initiatives are trying to curb excesses. One such initiative, PGS, organises group weddings for poor families that are at risk of debt bondage. These ceremonies are kept simple and involve 50 people from each side so that the families don’t end up in crippling debt. It’s a promising start, but more needs to be done. Until then, Indians will continue to break the bank for their children’s weddings.
The cost of food is a major component of Indian weddings. Catering expenses are typically broken out on a per-plate basis, and the price will vary depending on your caterer’s menu selection. Expenses will also depend on whether you’re serving vegetarian or non-vegetarian options.
For many middle-class Indian families, it’s simply impossible to get through a wedding without spending big bucks on food and drinks. This includes the cost of chutneys, namkeens, and ice cream. In addition, there’s often a requirement to gift the groom’s family with gifts and clothing.
The heinous custom of dowry is another source of wedding stress for middle-class and poor families in India. In this patriarchal culture, men are deemed to be of greater worth than women, and the dowry often includes cash, cars and other material possessions. Some social initiatives are trying to combat the phenomenon, and one such program involves hosting group weddings for couples whose families cannot afford traditional ceremonies. This helps to ease the burden of debt bondage and avert exploitation by loan sharks. The cost of a typical Indian wedding can exceed USD $30,000, including gifts and catering.
Decorative items are one of the biggest expenses in Indian weddings. But they don’t have to be as extravagant as you think. The key is to spend your money wisely. Instead of buying new decor, raid your mother’s and grandmother’s closets for old sarees or jewellery. This way, you can get fancy decor for a fraction of the cost.
Outfits and jewellery are a must at any Indian wedding. But if you want to save on these costs, try borrowing or renting jewellery pieces. Costume jewelry also looks good and is a lot cheaper than traditional jewellery.
Another major expense in Indian weddings is catering. The cost of the food will depend on how many guests are invited and the kind of cuisine you’re planning to serve. You’ll also have to pay for drinks and desserts. You can also cut down on the number of guests if you want to reduce your spending. Also, consider having a buffet instead of a sit-down meal to make your wedding budget go further.
The costs of middle class Indian weddings skyrocket when families opt to hold their ceremonies in exotic locations. This can include airfare, hotel expenses, and transportation costs for extended families. These expenses are often overlooked, but they can quickly add up to a large sum.
High-profile Indian nuptials can also set unrealistic standards for lower-middle and poor families, triggering unnecessary social pressures. However, some social initiatives are working to change this trend.