A New Fad: Wed in Istanbul

A New Fad: Wed in IstanbulA New Fad: Wed in Istanbul

Living styles and standards are pretty diverse among the 12 million population of greater Tehran.

Sometime ago, the city’s wealthy class opened up an account on the widely used social media platform Instagram, calling themselves “rich kids of Tehran”, displaying their extravagant lifestyles and luxurious cars, accessories, choice of brands, while spending their leisure (or entire) time at lavish villas in the best parts of the country.

The Instagram account within days attracted thousands of followers, but was soon shut down due to the wide criticism it received from viewers who deemed the online feed a place to further promote consumerism and wasteful living patterns that push  the youth to strive for the wrong goals.

A recent article in the Persian-language daily ‘Hafte-e Sobh’ has looked at another newly-emerging trend among “rich kids”; holding overstated wedding ceremonies overseas in hotels, castles and palaces of Istanbul, a popular choice for Iranian tourists in recent years.

Apparently, holding wedding receptions in Turkey seems to have picked up among the wealthy. The services offered by agencies are said to be promoted via satellite channels and social media. Most of them are located in the destination cities, but some in Tehran as well are ready to provide the same services.

The new fad is a multimillion-dollar business. “We plan the entire event which could cost anywhere from 600-700 million rials ($16,000-19,000), while the same ceremony inside the country is 350-500 million rials ($9,500-14,000),” says the managing director of one of such agency.

The amount, however, does not include the hotel tariffs or flight tickets for the wedding party.

“We have contracts in place with the most luxurious hotels and venues of several cities in Turkey including Istanbul, Antalya, and Belek,” says another business owner. The managers and party organizers spoke on the condition of anonymity.

  The services include the entire wedding ceremony with all the paraphernalia, including a decorated car, and inviting famous performers to entertain the guests.

“The cost of services for each guest varies between $80 and $170; however if the venue is a famous or historical place, the jumps to almost $500 per person,” he says.

 Entrance Fee

A minimum number of 200 guests are required for every wedding ceremony in Antalya as per the rules and regulations of the respective venue, and each ceremony has an “entrance fee” of $110, which the host normally pays, and the party can last up to four hours.

The minimum number of guests is 100 for ceremonies in Istanbul, with $80 per person for the entrance fee. Add to that the expenses for flower arrangements per table or seat, fireworks and special effects and music and performers and the costs shoot up.

“These are just the minimum fare offered. If money is not an issue for the client, we can provide the full-luxury experience that costs double or triple the amount.”

A number of such weddings are hosted by expatriates residing outside of Iran who want “a comfortable and easy-to-access place for relatives to gather from across the world. Turkey, the closest and less expensive destination for Iran, seems to be the most appropriate choice.

Weddings, even within Iran, are a multimillion-dollar industry. Young couples, and not necessarily the affluent ones, often demand lavish spending on their marriages.