It was an unexpected situation for me, an unmarried 25-year-old with absolutely no prospects to descend into a seemingly never ending Indian wedding rabbit hole, but here we are. 

Yes, I’m still talking about weddings.

For those just joining us, we’ve talked about the Bride-to-Influencer-Pipeline, we’ve unpacked the financial and emotional costs of weddings, and even unpacked the deeper roots behind some of this logic -- but the Indian wedding saga isn’t over just yet.

An underrepresented view in all of this is the perspective of the vendors, many of whom have unintentionally fallen at the mercy of the surrounding rhetoric around weddings.

It’s key to remember that vendors are not the problem, and that although over the last ten years the price of wedding services have increased tenfold, many have attributed the inflation to an issue of supply and demand.

People are willing to pay, and do what they can to ensure they have the “wedding of their dreams,” by seeking out the top vendors for premium service who will deliver and execute their vision.

While this comparison culture for brown people is not new, the comparisons coupled with social media are what have sent this situation out of control.

So, to add some perspective to the story, and to entertain my own curiosity, I spoke to a wedding vendor. (From Toronto, because I think I am accidentally effectively ex-communicated from wedding vendor circles in B.C. at this point, whoopsies). 

Anita G is a wedding vendor in Toronto who does made-to-order cakes with Pinch of Sugar Cakes.

In addition to being a vendor, Anita is also in the process of planning her own wedding. 

She started by pointing out that the wedding industry in Toronto is much different from that in Vancouver, and that when it comes to big weddings, B.C. really does take the cake in many regards.

However, she says that grand weddings are seen everywhere, and as a vendor, she has experienced it firsthand.

“We definitely do have an experience of lavish weddings here. I mean, just recently, I've seen so many people do these massive backyard weddings. And it's ridiculous,” she said.

“I know the cake vendors for those and they spend upwards of $20,000 just on their wedding cake. We definitely do have a lavish lifestyle where everything is based on, ‘what can I Instagram? What can I post? What can I show people that my wedding was different or lavish?’”

She added that having a vision for a lavish wedding will naturally cost you more, and it’s clear that vendors who are well established are able to pick and choose their clients.

Anita said that as both a vendor and a bride, the most important thing is being transparent with clients.

“There are a few decor companies here that say we have a minimum spend of $10,000, we have a minimum spend of $15,000, whether it's your wedding reception, whether it's your ceremony, they don't talk to you if its less than 10,000, and they won't even entertain like a consult,” she said.

“But they're very transparent about it, they’re like this is what we do because they have a high level standard of work.”

She added that for herself, she always tries to ensure she justifies her prices when dealing with clients, to give them an idea of what they are paying for so they can then make an educated decision.

“I also ensure I justify it like yes, I'm charging X amount of money, but keep in mind, you're getting this, this and this,” she said.

“Brown people talk. They’ll ask me for vendors and what my experience was with them and I tell them like, this vendor doesn't get back to me for like a month, or this vendor was charging me $4,000 and I don't understand why.”

Anita also said that as a vendor, she has seen firsthand how extravagant things have gotten.

“When you're in the industry, you see a lot of fluff. You see a lot of people that just want to show off. And when you're a vendor, you kind of see what matters,” she said.

“Do I really need a photo booth? No, I don't really need a photo booth, do I really need to have laser beams coming from the sky? I don't need that, you know what I mean?”

She said you don’t have to sacrifice having a nice party, but you can also do a nice wedding without all of the bells and whistles, if that’s something you as a couple have decided on.

“At the end of the day, me and him, we know that we'd rather just take that money and invest it into a house,” she said.

“We want to have a nice party, like we are still gonna have a great setup, but we also are very conscious that like, okay, what's our cut off? And we're budgeting things, because why do it for the show?

She suggests that couples, even before going to their vendors, have an honest conversation about what they really want.

“We kind of both have to keep each other in check. Kind of like okay, do we really need it? Who are we doing it for? Are we doing it for the Instagram post?”

She said that even as a vendor, despite knowing the industry, social media has become a barometer for people to measure themselves based on what others are doing. 

“I feel like Instagram just kind of became that new Pinterest for where we find things that we like, we save it, we archive it, and then we apply to our own weddings.”

“There’s three types of people; people who have the money and do it, people who have the money but don't really want to spend it and just kind of live within their means, and then most people who don't have the money, but want to have the lavish wedding. And I feel like the third one is what's really giving into this culture.”

The comparison culture creates a monster where nobody wants to be the odd one out by not having the big wedding that invites every aunty they’ve only met once. 

It’s a reminder that it’s okay to do what you want, and step away from the virtual world, which isn’t real to begin with. 

“I think there just needs to be some kind of reassurance because it is very overwhelming planning a wedding, when you keep seeing things [online].”

“It's okay not to be balling out. It is a lot of pressure, but you just need to keep hearing it and just kind of reset yourself and just bring yourself back to Earth.”

Anita ended with some advice for couples, as someone who is in the process, and has seen the other side. 

“Instagram is such a spiraling hole that you get so caught up in it. So just be patient and just understand that it's you and your partner. And that your lives are going to continue once the reception is done,” she said.

“So make sure you guys are on the same page. The way you handle wedding planning really just as a precedent for the way you're going to handle future issues in a marriage.”

I didn’t think it would take this many articles to boil down the very important point, but no matter what side of the equation you look at it: f**k what everyone else is doing, especially if it isn’t what you want. 

You can even be a wedding vendor yourself, but if you let the pressures of everyone else’s expectations, wishes, and Instagram feeds impact what you truly want for yourself, you and your partner are the ones that lose, everytime.

And while it is up to each individual to make choices for themselves and have agency over their lives, it can be really refreshing to hear someone say that your wedding day isn’t and shouldn’t be the be all and end all, despite what popular narratives may have told us.

But if it is, just make sure your Instagram is public so that we can see the pics too. 

PS. If you've been enjoying the wedding chronicles and want to join in on the conversation, join us for a virtual 5X Press Roundtable on December 7 at 7PM, where a number of 5X Press writers will be unpacking this topic.

Register online here.

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.