Wedding Bells & Prosperity Swells

nepali wedding‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la … Nope it’s not Christmas! But it sure is a time for joyous celebration all over the country. Bright lights, women donning beautiful colorful attires and fancy jewelry, men in handsome suits, groovy music, delicacies of all sorts; Kathmandu is buzzing with wedding festivities this time of the year. I love weddings just as the next person and these past couple of years I’ve noticed in these revelries that the clothing are a little more refined, decorations a little more tasteful, food a little more lavish and well the parties a little more grander. When all is said and done quite a lot of people may see unnecessary profligate spending and wasted opportunity to invest in productive economic activities beneath all this merriment; however I see prosperity with plentiful economic activities in action.

Just the fact that exclusive boutiques are so swamped with work that they cannot accept additional orders even with 2-3 weeks’ notice and ultra-expensive pieces of clothing and jewelries sell like hot cakes; the economy certainly does seem to be doing well compared to a few years back. People are increasingly able to spend more and so they do and economic prosperity seems to be on the rise. While investing somewhere else is obviously the smarter thing to do in terms of monetary return for themselves; monetary gains isn’t always the most important thing. Why do people earn if not for consumption of goods and services that give them the most utility? Everything has opportunity costs and tradeoffs and if throwing a grand party is what makes people happy and they can afford to do so; so be it!

Caterers, flower shops, decorators, boutiques, hotels, party palaces, party planners, beauty parlors are just a few of the many sectors that are flourishing due to wedding celebrations. So to say that wedding celebrations have no productive economic impact when in fact it generates plentiful entrepreneurs and with that numerous jobs; is flawed. It is of course unfortunate to see people succumb to societal pressures and spend more than they can afford by taking loans which take some years and in some extreme cases entire lifetimes to pay off. This ugly side unfortunately surfaces way too many times. The celebration of two people tying the knot should be a fun and enjoyable affair which embraces our rich culture and reflects the families’ happiness; instead of a stressful show of wealth. I believe it’s important for the society to accept all types of celebrations be it huge parties or simple gatherings of well-wishers, without any judgments.

Economically speaking, spending lavishly in weddings is actually helping a lot of industries to grow and prosper. Does that mean the NRs. 20, 000 you spent on that lehenga or party shoes couldn’t have been put to a better use? Absolutely not! It most definitely could have been spent on a number of other more important things; invested to get higher returns, or given to charity. However, it does mean that you are helping the retail industry prosper and also indirectly create job opportunities; thus you don’t have to be too guilty for your splurge as long as you can afford it and it makes you happy. The wedding expenditures show that the nation or at least the capital is getting a little more prosperous and the standard of living has potentially increased. On that positive note, I wish you all a very happy wedding season and happy spending!

Sneha Pradhan

Sneha Pradhan is a Researcher at Samriddhi Foundation with an interest in good governance. She is a graduate student at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pursuing a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Statistics with a minor in Complex Organizations from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts.


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