Saturday, November 10, 2007

Economics of Wedding Reception

After Iedul Fitri come piles of wedding in Jakarta. The next one just more extravagant than the others. Why do we spend so much on the one night celebration?

Is it a signaling gesture? It could be a way to tell the guests that the newlywed has good breed (parents able to finance the lavish wedding) and good connection (politician and business mogul as guest) thus credibly sending signal to current boss and potential employee to open the career path for them.

Is it a sunk cost tactic? The higher the cost of the wedding then the more reluctant the couple (and the family) to end up in divorce since all the cost involved (and photos and other memorabilia) will loose most of its value. Is there a correlation between wedding cost and duration of marriage? I admit this approach must take into account the relative value of wedding cost to (parental) wealth instead of absolute value of wedding cost.

Or is it an investment move? The more extravagant the marriage (the venue is usually a good indicator) it the more it invite the guests to put additional money in the envelope.

What do you think?





7 comments:

kurniawan said...

Hi salam kenal. I am moch n. kurniawan just call me iwwan, a friend of Berly. Nice thought.

I think the higher the cost in a wedding indicates a social status and prestige. It's a show off.

Divorce, for me, although I am not married yet, is caused by different reasons. Never heard people think they will not divorce because the wedding costs a lot.

WHat do you think?

anggraini said...

Why do we spend so much on the one night celebration ? Good question. I had this question also.
I don't think is a show off. It just a way to celebrate their happiness. It is something that they expect to be once in a life time experience. If they have more money to spend it. Why not ? If the newlywed has a good connection, that's one reason to make the celebration even better. To respect the people who give them blessings.
I'm not married yet. But I plan to.
For me, I just want to celebrate my happiness with my friends and family. Maybe it's only one night celebration. But I hope it will make a great memories of it.
About divorce ? Well.. I never heard people reluctant to get divorce because the wedding cost a lot.
And about investment ? I don't think is an investment. You can only hope what you will get from the guest is "quite equal" from what you've already spent. It is very rare if u can get surplus from a wedding.

the mouse said...

eh kak berly.. should i already be expecting an invitation popping out frm my inbox (cost saving :p)? or would you use the old and traditional printed-invitation-delivered-by-the-postman?

Eh anyway, imho HUGE wedding reception is only for sentimental (or show-off-y) issues. True that most people still have the ideal of marriage as a once-in-a-lifetime occasion... and where two different families are joined in a "sacred" union :D enz. enz.

seriously, who would expect a turn-over during their wedding reception?

i'd go for cost-saving wedding tho :D the more efficient the better :D we still hv this country to think about, why fuss on small things like marriage, eh? or not? :p

The Advocate said...

The cost of the wedding reflects the prestige of the family, but it is also human ego that gets in the way of what is essentially the celebration of and union of two individuals.

The ego here is having to be better than the previous wedding, better in this case means more expensive, and the more expensive the wedding is the higher the bar is set for the next couple.

High-cost weddings definitely would not seem to reflect longevity of marriage. You would probably need to do some empirical research to make that statement unequivocal...as the beatles sang "money can't buy me love"!

In the Indonesian sense wedding get out of control in terms of numbers because of the fear of offending someone. If you do not invite absolutely everyone then there is a risk of offending someone.

A small intimate venue with family and close friends is the way to go. But if your wedding has to be a public relations event then it goes without saying that the cost of the festivities will rise.

Finally, the more people invited the more envelopes that go into the box...the question though is does anyone ever recoup the cost of the wedding from the envelopes provided?

I guess it comes down to whether you get married for prestige and power, current or future, or whether you get married for good ol' fashioned love

metty said...

When it comes to family matters, many people will simply leave logics behind. You name it: wedding, mudik (going back to home town/city), even funeral. Life is not run with logics only, especially for us the Eastern people.

Berly said...

First, thanks you all for dropping by.

Kurniawan: Then you agree with the first probability that I listed. It is an act to signal the couple comes from successful and well off family. Or could be taken that well off family doing a small (a.k.a cheap) wedding will cost them reputation.

Anggraini: The parents have to choose between giving a lavish party or (larger) house/car. There is always a trade off, even if they have a lot of money.

The Mouse: I am sure my Padang friend there is most agree with you. Lucky him :-D

The Advocate: You should consider switching to be an economist. Your analysis that wedding reception becoming an arms race where none want to do smaller wedding reception than the other parents and aversion to offend by not inviting is just superb.

Metty: The recent research in Economic is studying value, norm, reciprocity, emotion and many other things used to be considered non economics.

fajar said...

salam kenal