In Afghanistan, big, extravagant weddings are the norm. And the groom is responsible for all of the costs. This includes pre-parties and paying the bride’s family off. In the example that the New York Times gives, a civil servant earning $7,200 per year may pay $20,000 all in for his wedding. This compares to the quoted US average of $28,000 for a wedding. And for the purposes of argument let’s say that the average US salary is about $40,000. And it’s becoming more common for both spouses to work in the US. So, it is a major expense to get married in Afghanistan. The average wedding also can be expected to have around 600 guests.
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We wonder if there’s a groomzilla phenomenon in Afghanistan. “This is MY big day. You will not ruin it. I have the band, the videographer, the photographer, and all 45 of my first cousins are outside ready to fire a salute to us with the rifles.” Unfortunately, it’s not the case. The bride’s family sets most of the terms.
All we know is that it better be one heck of a party. We’re talking balloons, balloon animals, hot air balloons, the works. We suppose that it’s all relative though, wedding fun (as well as most other varieties of fun) was outlawed under the Taliban. If the options are crushing debt or a crushing moral police, we’d take debt most of the time.
Read more of the NY Times article on Afghan wedding debt…