Weddings, Debt, and Advertising

The communication from banks, for just about generations, is save today ‘bete ki padai, beti ki shaadi’. I am not even getting into the implicit sexism of this, simply because stereotypes work in advertising, and this is how India (and much of the world) was structured. Girls got married. The bride’s side paid for the wedding, and the gifts. And, that was that. There is enough and more literature on the financial and peer pressure on the bride’s family to meet up with ‘standards of weddings’, and I am not even talking about dowry.

It impacts all socio-economic groups, and while the amount may vary, the financial load is there. And, this is not an Indian problem alone.  Across most of the world, the bride’s side has picked up the tab for weddings, though that is changing slowly. I know of enough and more instances, where families on both sides have split expenses.

But, saving for a wedding and borrowing for a wedding are two very different things. We have heard of people borrowing so that ‘ apni beti ki shaadi dhoom dhaam se karenge’ and most of those stories have come to a bitter end. Some of those farmers debts that we read about, are also for these kind of expenses (not just crop related) – as, i said earlier – the amounts may be relative, but it is a steep financial commitment.

Therefore when a leading bank puts out communication like this, it makes me see kind of red (to match their logo colours)



In a country, where the pressure on the bride’s family to conform to ‘spending traditions’ is huge – this is a terribly irresponsible advertisement. Even, if there were no pressure, what is the bank suggesting – that the newly married couple start their life in debt for a single day event ?

Far more sensible would have been – we had a simple wedding, and icici helped us use the saved money (at a better rate) to buy a house. #justsaying


  • We had a long discussion on twitter as well. The very idea of a loan and wedding kills the message so many of us have been trying to spread. A simple wedding and easy life ahead. Question for most of us today is how we as people who do understand the stupidity of this campaign help the cause?

    Maybe I will also blog in answer to your post. Help gain some flow to this thought…

  • We had a detailed discussion over at twitter for this. There is a lot to be said about such campaigns. Especially in a country where efforts to downplay ostentatious (and the taboo of dowry) weddings have been increasingly prevalent, this campaign looks more frustrating. Why would you invite people to start their lives with a lovely wedding and debt. Instead modify their definition of lovely wedding and hence the life ahead.

    I think I am going to be blog in response as well. That is all that we can do for these things…

  • Dear Harini Calamur,

    We respect your views regarding the banner on our website on Personal Loans. The objective of this communication is to highlight the aspect of ‘self-pride’ that not just parents/husband, a woman is also capable of meeting her expenses. In fact, in our series of ‘apne dum par’ with Personal Loans, we have an banners where a working woman is shown to grow her business on her own merit. We also have other propositions showcasing different life stages of customers. Our clear intent is to aid our valued customers by providing them a suitable loan during their needs.

    Trust we have been able to clarify to your satisfaction.

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