Economy, Business And Markets

The Cost of Marriage

The Cost of MarriageThe Cost of Marriage

A majority of Iran’s population are youngsters, less than 35 years, who are considering getting married. This is good news for Iran’s wedding planning industry, but after years of government austerity and economic decline, in part due to American, European and United Nations sanctions, how affordable are weddings in this country of about 80 million people?

Prior to the collapse of the rial in 2012 and the subsequent jump in prices and inflation, the expected cost of marriage for a middle-class family living in Tehran would have been around $10,000-15,000, according to the Financial Times.

However, in 2015 the cost for the average wedding may be higher, with officially falling inflation still leaping ahead of the average income. Additionally, household goods prices are still well above the reach of the average consumer, especially the young consumer.

For example the average electronic and household items – the average dowry given by the wife’s family for the wedding – now amounts to 350 million rials ($10,000 at the market exchange rate).

Many families, to show their generosity and wealth, are likely to exceed this amount by three times or more.

The Financial Tribune spoke with some young couples recently married and some soon to be, including one recently married man, Houman, who spent in excess of $150,000 on his wedding.

Houman stated that he was forced to spend this much as both families expected a good happy event. He said in hindsight that he could have saved half of the money if the party was smaller.

In Tehran, about 300 to 500 people are usually invited to a wedding party.

Another recently married person, Shokoufeh who works as an engineer, said that her wedding hasn’t even happened yet but she and her family have spent 700 million rials ($21,000) kitting out her first home.

 Changing Trends

The Financial Tribune spoke also with one prospective couple, Ehsan and Maryam, who said they were going to cut down on their overall costs for their wedding by trying to keep it small and inviting less people.

This last statement suggests that a new trend is emerging amongst Iran’s youth. It seems as though many reluctantly still spend more than they wish, by sheer persuasion from their parents, though if many had it their own way they would reduce their overall wedding party costs and concentrate on their future personal possessions.

Due to inflation still hovering officially under 20 percent year-on-year, many new couples who wish to marry are forced by financial restrictions to either postpone their weddings or put a halt on them altogether.

However the new trend, which seems to growing among the youth, is a more streamlined procedure with a larger emphasis on the purchasing side of the wedding rather than the party side.

Whilst talking to the recently married couples and the soon to be husband-and-wives, one notices that it is not what their expectations are, rather the expectations of their families, whether that is traditional or modern that forces the brides and grooms.