Nepalese love the ‘big fat weddings’. So many delicacies to gorge on, so many gossips to toss around. From kids running around screaming to old folks getting emotional, there is a different kind of excitement in the air. And oh, the absolute favorite of all adults — ‘Who’s going to marry next?’
When I was young, I too wanted a big fat wedding. I wanted that large red lehenga studded with precious gems, a huge diamond ring, the 500-person guest list and beautiful flower arrangements that people would strain their neck to admire.
But, the more I went to these kinds of weddings, the less I fancied it.
The wedding week, or even the month, is a total chaos. It’s a maddening rollercoaster ride for everyone involved. Emotionally and physically.
Beneath the sparkly dresses and flashing cameras are mothers and fathers on a panic mode, frantically shouting in the air because the mandap decoration isn’t as they expected. Then there is the bride, exhausted from the weight of the very wedding dress and jewelry she had dreamed of since she was just 7.
Why do we have to turn our ‘most beautiful day in the life’ into a crazy stress filled blur? There’s just so much more we can do with the money, effort and time that goes into it all. If you aren’t convinced, here are five reasons why it is fine to ditch that big fat wedding.
Reduce stress on your big day
No matter how much a person tries to be their calm and collected self, a wedding makes even the toughest one go crazy.
There’s this mad hunt for the right venue. Wedding season in Kathmandu is more like a competition between families trying to book the best venue possible. Even if you manage to book the venue you like, it’s far from over.
There are endless hours of shopping through New Road and Asan ko galli to go through. Deciding the food menu, printing and sending out cards — just never-ending errands.
You can reduce all this stress by opting for a smaller wedding.
Keep your friends and families in sight
In a perfect wedding world, the bride and the groom are surrounded by family and friends all the time.
In a real world, the family is just too involved with greeting your kaka-kaki, mama-maiju, didi-bhinaju and everyone else at the entrance. And the closest friends are too busy with organization and little details.
Eventually, you find yourselves surrounded by unfamiliar faces who just came by for the bihe ko bhoj. Nothing feels worse than not having your family and friends right beside you on your big day.
Travel the world instead
No big fat wedding is possible without blowing more than 30 or 40 lakhs on the celebration. Think about how differently you can spend all that money. Imagine all the countries you could visit, you can visit them with the person of your dreams for a honeymoon. Remember, a wedding is for the world, marriage is for you.
If you aren’t someone who loves to travel, there are still other ways you can better use the money.
How about setting up the home of your dreams with the person of your dreams? How about hiring an interior designer to jazz up your living space? Or how about getting the equipment you always wanted for your home?
House electronics like a washing machine, coffee maker, dishwasher are an investment in your house to make your life a lot simpler. You can start decorating your house or buy electronics instead of having a huge wedding.
Remember, this way your money is spent wisely and for practical reasons, to make YOUR life simpler.
You can still have the wedding of your dreams
Only because you are ditching the idea of a big fat wedding doesn’t mean you still can’t have the wedding you have been dreaming of all this time. A small wedding that involves closest friends and family is much more of an intimate ceremony than a big wedding will ever be.
No more 500 guests who would still complain about how the chicken curry wasn’t good enough at the end of the day. No more kids screaming around for more ice-creams. You would have your parents and friends right beside you, whenever you want them.
So, how to have a smaller wedding?
On average, a big wedding costs around NRS 30-40 lakhs. You can easily save about 10 lakhs by avoiding redundant ceremonies like roka, or merging it on the same day with swayambar, sangeet (yes, apparently Nepali people have started having sangeet ceremony these days) and mehendi. The wedding and the reception are the days where the most money is spent and it can get tricky to reduce the cost. However, with proper planning, it is achievable.
Here are a few tips to get you started with planning a small, intimate wedding:
Avoid guest list bloating. You don't have to invite everyone you know. Just keep the list to your family and closest friends.
Hold the ceremony outdoors, or at home if possible. This helps you cut down on renting an overpriced venue while still creating a picturesque and memorable ceremony.
If not, book the banquet hall, not a lawn. Lawns need extra decoration and external catering whereas banquet hall costs include catering and come pre-decorated.
Choose affordable wedding dresses. It is unreasonable to splurge on an expensive dress that you will never wear again, isn’t it? It will just sit at the back of your closet collecting dust for years until you decide to pass it down to your daughter.
A small intimate wedding doesn’t mean less planning is involved. It’s still the most important day of your life. Get creative and plan the day of your dreams.
Destination wedding. Use your small guest list to your advantage and plan a destination wedding!
However, there’s no shame in holding a big fat wedding and I don’t intend on making anyone feel guilty about celebrating their big day.
If you want to have a big wedding, go for it. However, if you're thinking of doing it by borrowing loans, just to show to the society's ‘standards’, that’s a red flag.
It’s your big day and you have the freedom to decide how you want to get married, big or not. It’s time parents stopped worrying about samaj le ke bhanlan.
Tie the knot how you like, and not how society wants!