Ofaira Ateeq Hussain
Marriage is an intrinsic part of life, especially in our socio-religious and family-oriented culture. Each class of the society spends an exorbitant sum of money, which is beyond their particular economic reach, to make the occasion memorable. Since numbers speak a vivid language, a comparison has been chalked out for our readers to understand how much a Pakistani wedding cost today.
It costs a middle class Pakistani no less than Rs. 200,000 to marry off each of their daughters, which by any standard is not a small amount. A person earning Rs.10,000 – 15,000 salary strives hard to meet marriage expenses within Rs. 200,000. He may also have to use some 20 % of his savings and rely on the gifts from close relatives in order to include them in the cost of the dowry.
The elite class takes the whole affair very seriously, and the wedding expenses may estimate over Rs.10 million. In some cases, expenses cross the hefty sum of Rs. 40 million, as decorated bungalows in posh areas are a part of the expensive dowry package.
Their wedding functions, called Dholkis, start 10 to 15 days before the actual wedding day. Sometimes reputed local singers are paid half a million rupees or more to perform for just one night, while some extremely rich people hire singers from India. In some instances, professional dancers are hired a month earlier to train the women of the family to perform at the Rasm-e-Hina ceremony.
Instead of procuring flowers from the local florist, many upper-class families import bouquets from Thailand, Holland, etc. The tradition of distributing only dry dates among the guests after the Nikah ceremony is outdated. Now, costlier packets made of shinning and silky fabric are purchased to encase assorted dry fruits.
For such families, wedding guests mostly comprise of bureaucrats, foreign diplomats, army personnel and dignitaries. The wedding turns into an important event for networking with high profile local and foreign personalities.
Digital photography and movie making has replaced the old VHS technology. The rate of wedding movies and still-photograph packages range from Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 80,000. Bridal make-up rates vary from Rs. 3,000 in lower and middle income class areas to Rs. 8,000 in upper middle class areas. In DHA and Clifton (Karachi), the rate ranges between Rs. 10,000 – 15,000.
New trends in decorating the venue have arrived with the introduction of net tents with chandlers and beaming search lights and even full velvet tents. The rent of tent decorations ranges between Rs. 40 to Rs. 500 per head depending on the demand.
A non-compromising attitude of self-projection is the driving force of many wedding expenses today. One may only wonder, what more is to come?
According to a random survey, families bear the following expenses at their daughter’s wedding:
Income of Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per month
- Jewellery – Rs. 125,000-150,000
- Furniture – Rs. 40,000-50,000
- Electrical appliances – Rs. 60,000-70,000
- Crockery – Rs. 10,000-15,000
- Wedding hall and catering – Rs. 50,000-200,000
- Wedding dress and accessories – Rs. 40,000-50,000
- Rasm-e-Hina party – Rs. 25,000-30,000
Income of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month
- Jewellery – Rs. 60,000-80,000
- Furniture – Rs. 30,000-40,000,
- Bridal dress – Rs. 10,000-15,000
- Crockery – Rs. 5,000-8,000
- Electrical appliances – Rs. 40,000-50,000
- Wedding hall and catering – Rs. 80,000-100,000