The smell of marriage is in the air. I attended a wedding for a daughter of a senior colleague yesterday at the Rizqun which must have cost a fair bit. After that I rushed off to my uncle's for my cousin's nikah and menghantar berian ceremony. The marriage ceremony will be next Sunday. And there one of my aunties told me that her daughter, another cousin, will be having a besuruh ceremony at the end of the year and I thought it will end there when my youngest aunty told me that in January, her second daughter, another cousin will be engaged too. In total it looks like despite just attending a cousin's wedding a couple of weeks ago, another one end of the month, there will be another two whose ceremonies have just started. If I was to add the number of invitation cards for the other weddings which I was invited but could not attend, the number of invitations for this month is indeed one of the highest.
I am glad I am not my uncles and my aunties as the cost of all these can be very horrendous. One jay-z asked me to write about the cost of wedding for both male and female in brunei as he noted that it seemed if you don't have a minumum of $30,000, you can't get married and that's only from one side only, and that's a typical cost - so he posed the question of what happened if the money is not available? Is it possible to make the wedding occasion as simple and as cheap as it can be?
I wrote an entry about this in May (link here) where there was a spreadsheet about wedding costs (and funeral costs) that readers may wish to use as an estimate of how much it would cost them. It can be fairly expensive and much more than expected. Other than to say, one must plan way in advance, there are ways of mitigating or lowering the costs. A lot of us tend to want the biggest and most luxurious wedding ever. Who doesn't? Afterall how often do you get to be Raja Sehari (King for the day). However we have to bear in mind that we need to look at our budget rather than have the whole wedding at a cost which we can't afford. The most important thing in a wedding is the Nikah Ceremony and yet if you were to have that only, the society goes into hyper whispering mode behind your back. So, some of us are forced to have the whole wedding ceremony just to save 'face'.
Can we economise on weddings? Lately I have seen a number of ceremonies merged or consolidated into a few ceremonies instead of many. One that I remembered vaguely was sometime last year where the many ceremonies were merged into one. At 10 am, you would have the menghantar berian, then at 11, the nikah, followed by a quick berbedak with zikir ceremoney and by 12, the bersanding. At the same time, one can economise by reducing the amount of hantaran and also the number of guests. So, there are a myriad ways where wedding costs can be brought lower. But the most important thing is that the family has to recognise that they have to balance between being lavish and being affordable.