India

Indian weddings: Curb sought on excessive spending

Mr Reddy (left) with his daughter and other family members Image copyright Janardhana Reddy Family
Image caption Janardhana Reddy (left) with his daughter and other family members at her wedding, estimated to have cost 5bn rupees

The worst excesses of the Indian wedding industry may soon be curbed if a new bill is approved.

The proposed bill will not only limit the number of guests and dishes served to avoid waste, but also put a "tax" on the most extravagant newlyweds.

Those who spend over 500,000 rupees ($7,500; £6,000) will have to give 10% of the overall cost to poorer brides to help them pay for their weddings.

It comes amid rising anger over the huge sums being shelled out by some.

In November, the five-day wedding of businessman and ex-state minister G Janardhana Reddy's daughter, Brahmani, with an estimated cost of about 5bn rupees ($74m; £59m), prompted outrage as millions of Indians struggled with a cash flow crisis.

Among the extravagances were gold-plated invitation cards fitted with LCD screens, costing 10m rupees.

Image copyright AP
Image caption In other parts of India, people were standing in long queues desperately trying to exchange their soon-to-be illegal tender

MP Ranjeet Ranjan, who is proposing the Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill, 2016, told Indian news agency PTI weddings had become "more about showing off your wealth" and not about the institution.

"As a result, poor families are under tremendous social pressure to spend more," she said. "This is needed to be checked as it is not good for society at large."

The proposal could be taken up as a private members bill in the next session of the country's Lok Sabha, or lower house.


Costly nuptials

This wedding may have been pricey, but it is far from being alone. Here are just a few of the world's most expensive:

  • Vanisha Mittal, the daughter of India's second richest man Lakshmi Mittal, married Amit Bhatia in a ceremony rumoured to have cost $74m in 2004. According to Forbes, the family flew 1,000 guests to France for the celebration which began with a party in Versailles
  • The wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981 is thought to have cost about £30m - in today's money closer to £116m. In comparison, their son William's wedding to Kate Middleton cost just £20m, according to the Daily Mail.
  • In March, Russian billionaire's son Said Gutseriev wed Khadija Uzhakhovs in Moscow. She is thought to have spent as much as $1.2m on her wedding dress, and, according to MailOnline, guests were kept entertained with performances provided by not one superstar, but three: Jennifer Lopez, Sting and Enrique Iglesias. The cost? Possibly a billion dollars...

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