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September 19, 2004

The Cheap Wedding Theory

 

The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in a sound hadîth: “The religion is good counsel.” The Companions asked, “For whom (is this good counsel), O Messenger of God?” He said: “To God, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims, and the common folk.”

 

 

My dear brother and shaykh of Xanga, Saqib Shafi (on the left in the above picture), recently asked me to come up with a theory on how one can have the cheapest wedding possible (though he helped with some aspects of this theory).  Despite him being no where ready to get married, I could see the poor man’s sincerity and earnestness in his question; I felt it was my obligation to help my brother with his request.  Especially when he quoted to me the “great” Imam Abdul Shirazi: “They shoulda neva gave you Desis money!” I could see that Saqib, while having a big heart, didn’t have a big wallet (he still owes me $40, that rascal).  I could see that if I were to help remove this worldly anguish of my brother, as another hadîth states, God would remove an anguish of mine on the Day of Judgement. I therefore spent some time to develop a practical theory (though I think all my theories are quite practical to those blessed with the eye of clarity) that I believe can be of some use.

 

Moreover, the recent spate of weddings (mashallah) in the community has led me to one conclusion: despite all the new families and relationships forged, it’s quite clear that most people are simply paying too much for their wedding. Now, I’m not talking about the weddings with $1 million mahrs, 5 functions, jewelry sets to all the guests, etc. That’s a serious issue that I think I’ve already dealt with before: http://www.blurty.com/talkread.bml?journal=kr156&itemid=3949

Nay, rather, I’m talking about even the normal weddings that people are having these days. Perhaps the overwhelmingly majority of people out there think there’s nothing wrong with them. And perhaps they’re right. But, as the Grand Shaykh of the KR Foundation (Keepin’ it Real Foundation) and an Economics major, I cannot help but feel that the same results of family and community building can be achieved at a much lower cost. If corporations can have consultants to analyze their companies and maximize their efficiency, why shouldn’t marriage? Isn’t it that people refer to marriage as “a sacred institution”; this institution too, I believe, can undergo some analysis such that changes can be made to maximize cost-efficiency.

 

Besides, if one chooses to follow the noble Theory of Wife Demotion, all those weddings are going to cost an arm and a leg.

 

Therefore, my dear son, you have asked us about an important matter that is difficult for those who do not know the way. Here’s how to remedy that:

 

  1. Finding a wife: This has to be the trickiest part of this theory because finding a female who wants to cut down on the bells-and-whistles of her own wedding is rarer than the Bears beating the Packers (though it just did happen today so that can give us all some hope). Amongst the current generation, one might find it easier to find and capture the Loch Ness monster than to find such a female. If such a female exists, then hold onto her like the cold grips of death and don’t let her escape. However, like I said, these women are quite rare. Therefore, the easiest and most economic way is to find a girl from the motherland who doesn’t have rich parents. This is not only so that she wouldn’t have been accustomed to all sorts of luxuries, but the fact that you can tell her parents that you, as a U.S. citizen, are the ticket to their clan’s migration to the graveyard that is America, will be enough to get them to agree to any terms and conditions that you set forth for the wedding. If one is able to find such a female, the rest of the theory becomes quite easy to follow.
  2. Engagement Ring: While there is no basis in the Sunnah or our tradition for an engagement ceremony and/or engagement ring, it’s quite clear that in the progressive modern Muslim world we live in, one is forced—by new-found custom—to give an engagement ring. I think it’s quite foolish for many reasons, but perhaps the most obvious one: she’s not going to wear that ring after she gets married, so why spend big bucks? I suggest giving her a Ring Pop: not only is it affordable, not only can she enjoy a variety of flavors, she can, as the jingle goes, “save some for later” if she’s not hungry at the moment.
  3. Getting a Hall: Even if one has the nikkah at the masjid (cost: $0), getting a hall for the walîmah is quite expensive.  I mean, all you have to do is feed these stupid friends of yours a meal right, why should you have to pay like $30 a head just to get them in the banquet hall, and then another $10-15 for food?  I suggest that instead of actually renting the banquet hall, gather everyone together in a tent in the banquet hall parking lot. Or alternatively, find a public park that you can rent for free (if you’re a resident of the area) and gather everyone there.
  4. Invitations: Forget making cards and spending a fortune for cardboard that’s going to be tossed away after the wedding date anyway. Besides, if you use the same printer and you have multiple marriages, there’s always the risk that the invitation maker might accidentally leave the name of a previous wife on the card… certainly upsetting your latter wife and confusing the general population. Instead, make a Xanga site and direct everyone to visit it via AIM. Or send everyone IMs and emails… you can get creative with different fonts and colors to truly have unique invitations.
  5. Food: First off, you have to be adamant that you’re not going to have a post-nikkah meal. Not only is it not part of the Sunnah, but do you really want to feed your loser friends two meals? This leaves us with figuring out what sort of food should one serve at the walîmah. Getting quality zabîhah food these days is quite expensive. Therefore, one option is to mass order those $3 fish combo meals from McDonalds… a sandwich, fries, and a drink. Another option, which is quite useful if you’re having it at a public park, is to just roast whole lamb/calves and slice a chunk off for each guest. Complement this by serving rice in two big pagonas, one for each gender, which everyone can commonly eat from. This will save money on plates and other needless utensils. Finally, if you’re even more strapped for cash, you can (as a sister recommended) have a potluck walimah and tell your guests to bring their own tupperware because throwing away food is not cool.
  6. Entertainment: Given the modern world we live in, it’s not enough to simply have the actual wedding—people insist on entertainment. Rather than trying to arrange for entertainment (singers, comedians, etc), let your guests decide on what kind of entertainment they want. For this, I recommend buying a bunch of Frisbees, footballs, and volleyballs, and leave the guests to their own devices. Necessity is the mother of invention, and your guests will be forced to use their creativity to come up with exciting recreational activities to amuse themselves.
  7. Gifts for Families and Relatives: This has to be the most culturally backward component of the Muslim marriage. Not only does one have to get gifts for the prospective spouse, it seems one also has to give gifts for the other side’s family as well. Clothes, jewelry, and cash are exchanged quite frequently in our community. But again, with all those marriages, you’re not going to have much of a budget to afford any of this nonsense. The best thing to do is to sneak into a medical conference and visit the pharmaceutical companies’ booths. Those guys give away all sorts of free and neat stuff to advertise their drugs: pens, walkmans, mousepads, t-shirts, and inflatable chairs are among few of the things one can easily find at such conventions. A visit to 2-3 conventions can guarantee gifts for her whole khandan (family).
  8. The Mahr (dowry): This one is tricky. There’s really no way around this, so instead of trying to find a shortcut here, I suggest to kill two birds with one stone. Instead of simply writing her a check for thousands of dollars, propose that the mahr will be that you pay for her Hajj or Umrah expenses. And then definitely go with the Simple Hajj option with Taqi Uncle. This will not only save you big bucks, but will have positive religious and spiritual benefits as well.

 

These are just some of the ways that the novice can save big money on his wedding. There are many other areas that we could have given advice about and commented on, but for those who truly understand, this will be sufficient. And God is sufficient as a Disposer for all affairs.

 

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9 Comments
  1. I got what I asked for and for that, I thank you. But what makes you think I’m not ready? If only you knew the tricks I have up my sleeve.

  2. Ask Kamran who came up with Ring Pop engagement ring and honeymoon in Hajj.

  3. hahaha ok that one was good….aim invitations…ahahahah… good luck to all your future wives inshallah..
    well if u plan on marrying a fob girl, and her parents arent rich..theyre gon expect a some big nice wedding since youre from amreeka. so i dont suggest marrying a fob girl cuz yall will get divorced (i mean God forbid) but it JUST DONT WORK THAT WAY ok. fobs are for fobs. normal people are for normal people. now if we could just define normal.
    and whats wrong with going to six flags or cedar point or something for your honeymoon? or ISNA? since everyone goes there anyways.. i mean.. HECK just have your nikahh and walima at ISNA too.. then u wont have to have no seperate shindig…no invitations needed..hall/entertainment supplied…and isna food sucks so no one will even want to eat no nasty crave rolls or bombay express…and everyone is all dressed up! and you can even make a gift registry at the bazaar. and get nbc  and ISNA vision to cover your wedding ahaha. finally, get Siraj wahaj to preform the nikahh. and you’re set!
    whats a spate?
     

  4. thanks for the comments. no eprops? that’s cold.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Dawg you got it all wrong. Pagonas what the hell is that? Bagonas fool.
    Plus i think youre using the word Shaykh way too frequently. No more SHAYKH for you!
    Other than that Solid. Freaking Solid!

  6. oh eprops i forgot about those…heres one..

  7. Anonymous permalink

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
    I thought the ISNA idea was pretty good.  Couple it with mass weddings (idea of Zubair Tajuddin), so people split the cost of everything, and the same people are invited anyways.
    Ring Pop engagement ring is golden though Saqib.  But I think that girls keep their engagement ring and wear it with the wedding ring after the marriage.  I think the engagement ring is more expensive than the wedding ring itself.  And if the girl has a problem with the Ring Pop, I liked Shariq Shafi’s idea of getting it at Costco and telling the fiance it is the most expensive thing on the list.
    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

  8. I heard they sell them in bulk there.

  9. assalamu alaikum
    find a girl from the motherland ..LOL..that is just too funny….but i can see your reasoning. Yeah and I agree…Muslims nowadays are spending wayyyyy too much money on their weddings….why not just give that money to the couple so they can use it later on?::sigh:: ppl have really got to remember the wedding of Fathima and Ali….just milk and dates!
    wassalamualaikum

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