If you think the American wedding-industrial complex is out of control, consider India's. In the midst of rising food prices, some say 15 percent of the country's food grains are being wasted at over-the-top nuptials. As its growing middle class feasts on extravagant, yet traditional, wedding banquets, India's poor struggle to eat enough thanks to rising food costs.
The country's Food and Consumer Affairs Minister believes the price of food is rising partially due to the fact that so much food is wasted at luxurious weddings, so now the government is considering a plan to regulate marital celebrations. India's policy would take cues from Afghanistan, where the government is also cracking down on super-sized weddings.
It's hard to imagine wedding guest lists to be of national interest, but in Afghanistan lawmakers want to limit weddings to 300 guests and require a $4.50 per head maximum. In Afghanistan, the concern is not about wasted food, but rather for young grooms who are going into debilitating debt thanks to societal pressure to throw an impressive wedding celebration. In a country where the annual income is only a few hundred dollars, the average wedding costs around $20,000 and grooms are expected to invite 600 people. While it might not be realistic, elopement sounds like an appealing option to me.