KUWAIT CITY, Sept 18: Kuwait is known to spend large sums of money when the couples tie the knot and according to statistics which were made available last month, Kuwaitis reportedly spend KD 235 million a year on weddings, reports Al-Qabas daily.
The daily went on to say, on an average a middle-class Kuwaiti family spends no less than KD 35,000 while rich families can end up spending approximately a million dinars for a single wedding. However, the daily added, the expenditure depends on the trends and fashions, the reputation of the singers hired to entertain the guests and the standards of equipment and services. The daily put the number of weddings celebrated every year is between 6,000 and 9,000.
However, the Kuwaitis attribute the exorbitant expenditure to changes in the mindset of society. “In the past, things used to be really simple and straightforward,” a Kuwaiti man said. “Today, wedding celebrations have become an ostentatious show, an exhibition that the families want everyone to talk about.” The irony is, “Many people are pushed beyond their financial limits in order to meet all demands and fulfill the wishes of the families. The major result is that the bride and the groom start off their married lives with debts and financial burdens.” It is also a known fact that the recent trend in Kuwait is to hire a wedding planner to organize the ceremony.
“This is a new concept in the Gulf that we used to see only in movies,” the Kuwaiti said. “Now, it is making its way into the Gulf, and the immediate result is the steep rise in the costs of ceremonies. Of course, not all planners charge the same amount, but the details make the difference.” Emad Al Samhan, one of Kuwait’s most famous planners, said that some wedding ceremonies in Kuwait cost up to KD 250,000. He explained some families want an epic wedding and bring in famous singers who perform for about 90 minutes at the cost of approximately KD 76,000.
“Most wealthy families hold the wedding ceremonies at their homes where they have large spaces, but around 25 per cent of the families go for luxurious and famous hotels where between 500 and 700 guests attend. Usually, around 1,000 invitation cards are given to guests. With each card costing between 8 and 10 Dinars, you can see that the cost for just the wedding invitations is at least KD 8,000,” he told the daily. Some families in their quest for “fame” insist on bringing food from Paris or London.
Others bring flowers from Holland. Some hosts insist that their VIP guests be given expensive cutlery for food and gifts include expensive perfumes or incense. In other instances, families insist that chairs of the bride and groom be adorned with expensive natural roses and bars of gold.
Khalid Al Saleh, plans weddings for both the upper and middleclass families, said the details are often worked out carefully. “The groom or the family informs the planners about their budget for the ceremony, so that they can work out the details within the financial confines,” he said. “The planner presents suggestions and once they are endorsed by the family, they are carried out.”
Al Saleh said the amount spent today by middle-class families is the equivalent of what upper-class families spent 10 years ago. “Prices and costs have gone up, and both families and planners have to cope with the increases. For instance, the cost for the natural flowers to adorn the stage is so high nowadays.” “Many young people no longer want recognition for their celebrations and prefer to travel abroad. The families use all means to inform their relatives and friends about the weddings of their sons and daughters and there is no need for the wedding parties.”