Some time back, a Chittagonian couple set a great example by planning their wedding in the most unconventional way. They donated BDT. 2,00,000 to a charity, and donated books worth BDT. 52,000 to libraries. It got us thinking.
Why the Big Fat Bangladeshi wedding?
We Bangladeshis are now going to be much famous for our big fat weddings. They are super fun, yes. Food and chatter all around, excitement in the air, a hundred different delicacies to gorge on, distant relatives running around in the house, chachis and mamis gossiping like there’s no tomorrow. It’s like Eid always. The wedding week is a maddening roller coaster in everyone’s life.But beneath all the glitter and merriment, are a few fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters running on panic mode. From bargaining with the tentwallas to finalizing the menu to make arrangements for guests to stay, the family members go through a grilling ordeal when there’s a wedding in the house, more so when they are from the bride’s side. Gifts, cash and jewellery are exchanged. Endless hours spent roaming around in markets in the hot Bangladeshi afternoons. An average middle-class Bangladeshi wedding easily costs many lakhs today.
Everyone has a dream about marriage. But have you ever paused to think: do we really need all these? Does everybody want that or does everybody just comply to the norm? It has to be had even if the parties involved are short on funds. A lehnga worth lakhs; an aerial doli; the list is long. It’s a surprise that banks do provide wedding loans now, like City Bank, IFIC Bank, Prime Bank and many more.
The Newer Generation
We are a generation of comprising people who fend for themselves. We live away from our parents, we pay our own rent, and we pay for our meals. We split bills at dinner. We save to travel. Do we really want a big extravaganza attended by people we haven’t even heard from in 10 years? That neighb[orhood aunty who taunted you when you didn’t get a 90% unlike her son, or didn’t get through a good college; that relative who pestered your mother with sugar-coated taunts about why you were not getting married. Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on humoring people you don’t care about and who have never cared about you either?
We share our life’s milestones on Facebook with a friend list that has people we have never even met once in our lives, people who are complete strangers to you and there are chances you might not recognize each other if you were to cross paths on the street. But the real celebration is with close friends and family, ain’t it? Why do we make such a happy occasion of life into this crazy nerve-wrecking thing where everyone is on panic mode? Whether you are a boy getting married or whether it’s your sister, the madness of a wedding is enough to give even the toughest of people a nervous breakdown. It’s a universal truth that the bride and the groom are the last ones to enjoy their wedding. Blinded by the cameras constantly clicking them, with every guest trying to get a shot to register their attendance, and cheeks hurting from having to smile at everyone and anyone. By the time you are done, you are thankful that it’s all over. It’s like a dreaded exam, only much longer and tougher. But a wedding doesn’t have to be like an exam; it’s your happy occasion.
Money and Marriage
We are earning good money. And we are spending it where we feel like. The intention behind writing this is to not shame the big fat Bangladeshi wedding or to make anyone celebrating their big day feel guilty. If you have the resources and the will, it’s great. But if you don’t, and yet you are going ahead with it succumbing to social pressure, then there’s a red flag right there. It’s the same as getting married early just because everyone else around you is. Do things the way you like them, not the way society likes them. You want to get married on a hill, do that. You want to get married in a court and save all the money for a world tour for your honeymoon, do that! You want to have a big fat Bangladeshi wedding with all the beautiful little ceremonies of Ankht, Halud and Bou-Vaat, do that! It’s fine till the time you want to do it.
More money does not bring more happiness
If you are spending money anyway, how wonderful would it be to spend on something noble or something that gives you happiness? Not telling anyone how to celebrate or preaching them about social responsibility, but imagine how much better this world would be if everyone donated a little to charity from their wedding fund. If sacrificing that expensive arrangement or a floral shower could get a meal for 1000 people, nothing could be more auspicious for the beginning of a new life. I don’t know when I will get married or to whom, but when I do I hope I can make someone’s life better on my happy occasion.
Five most important reasons
I’m trying to present 5 reasons, why you should avoid big fat weddings:
Weddings can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming when you’re trying to fit in the daily tasks of work, family commitments and heaven forbid – an active social life. Especially if you’re not into over the top wedding ceremonies and 100-plus wedding guests!
1) A smaller wedding means more ‘wow’ factor for less. Opting for a smaller wedding allows you to splurge on the bits that are really important to you rather than spreading the funds thin just because you feel like you have a social obligation to invite the new partner of the second cousin you’ve never met. Having fewer than 100 guests means you can splash out on premium foods, a nicer dress or even that live jazz band.
2) Tip: If you’re doing away with tradition by having a smaller wedding, feel free to cut out anything that’s not relevant to you and your partner in the ceremony as well. If a church ceremony isn’t for you, make the most of the beautiful Brisbane weather and get married outside. The days of pomp and ceremony just for the sake of it are gone (and a smaller guest list means less people are likely to mind anyway).
3) A smaller guest list means more time with guests. A common complaint of brides and grooms is that they don’t get to say hello to everyone. If you opt for a cocktail style wedding, this allows guests and yourself to mingle even more. With your small guest list, it’s likely most people will at least know of each other – and if they don’t before the wedding, they soon will.
4) A smaller guest list often means you can have the ceremony and reception at the same venue. This is great for guests who don’t have to find somewhere to bide their time in between. This also allows you to incorporate some other ways to keep guests entertained while you take photos (without spending their whole time propped up at the bar). Think croquet, giant jenga – these are all ideas guests will love, that will also mean having to free up their hands from holding that Champagne/beer/wine in order to play.
5) A smaller wedding means you can get into DIY and really personalize every aspect of your wedding, from theming to wedding invitations. If time’s not on your side, the saved cash means you can enlist the help of a wedding planner to take the stress of the big day out of your hands!
Let’s change the way we celebrate. Let’s change the way we start a new life. Let’s make this world a little better. Get participated in charity!