JournalismPakistan.com June 6, 2013
My friend is in advertising. So is his wife, and her father, and their son, and his fiancée.
Last month the young couple decided to get married. So my friend has advised them to get the marriage sponsored.
He has designed this rate that shows two entwined hearts palpitating under halos with the legend: Marriages are made in heaven but you have to pay for them here on earth.
His wife has promised to leave him if he continues this embarrassment but the couple in love think it is a great idea and could be the 21st century 'in' thing to do.
The list of potential sponsorships cover the design and decoration of the marriage area for which the sponsor can put up a banner and also distribute leaflets as guests enter.
The car for the newlyweds can have three voice spots on the public address system and the airline for the honeymoon will get its logo on all the invitation cards in color as will the hotel that promises seven days free stay.
The caterers can decorate the dining area and have a large full color hoarding while the video film crew will promise to sell cassettes and open a stall in the 'market' area which my friend feels is the ideal thing to keep people busy. For a minor franchise he wants to open up a series of food stalls, tempura, dosas, bhelpuri, fish and chips, a video games mini-arcade and a small TV theatre so guests can keep themselves busy while waiting for the bride and bridegroom who are inevitably late anyway. Have you ever seen a marriage start on time...or even two hours late which is early.
The hall will be sponsored by the marriage planners and they will be authorized to give the compere four 30 second commercials.
My friend has some more ideas but he first has to deal with his wife who thinks he is going nuts.
Being the sort of person who knows which is the right side to be on I tell him he is going overboard.
Why, he says, it is imaginative, it is innovative and it pays the bills, how much do you think advertising pays, everything is sponsored these days so why not weddings...if it works we can do birthdays , start off a company, we could call it Planet Sponsor, then it could go public and you can be on the board, Chips can be the Chairperson.
Nice thought, I say, but Chips may not be there, she has threatened to leave you if you carry on with this nonsense, minor point that's slipped your mind, old son.
Women, he says, why can't she see the enterprise as a business thing, I mean, when we got married the first few years she wouldn't ask for doggie bags in restaurants, we used to leave all the chow mien and sweet and sour we'd over ordered. Got her to change on that but it took years.
Marriage is not a Chinese dinner, I say, there is sanctity to it, you can't sell pieces of the ceremony to the highest bidder.
See, that's the sort of friend I had.
Last heard of, he was going ahead with the idea. His piece de resistance is a guest raffle with two 32 inch LED TVs as prizes, blue tickets for boy's side and pink for the girl's. Put your name on it, give 100 AED for a charity and the newly-weds will pull out the lucky winners.
He calls me last week and says, if I get a sponsor for the Ladies Sangeet night I'll be ahead of the game.
I say, how's Chips, your wife?
Oh, he says, she's packing, you think we can sell space on the back of the invitation cards, it goes empty anyway.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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